Environment Growth Vs Economic Growth

Author: Dikshansh

Rapid increase rapid decrease in GDP[1] many of us discuss such an issue with full dedication but what about the land on which we live, everything we get from it but it is not the issue for us. We drill, mine, degrade but only a few care about it.

If we see GDP, it is well-defined by consumption. Most of the consumption is non-renewable and directly influence the factor of environmental degradation.

But not all Growth factor affects the environment negatively such as people also consume products like Solar panel, star rated electrical appliances and other resources which help in environmental protection.

In the past century, we have seen rapid economic growth with the rapid growth of Carbon emission and supported by a decline in Natural resources.

Why does this happen?

Everything has its own cost (Basic Economics), for the past century we paid it at a price of our natural resources and some damages Like

Forest: we have paid for the inexpensive forest.

Pollution: From groundwater to air via land, we polluted everything.

Land Degradation: Mining activities, Deforestation, and land misuse lead to increased salinity, soil erosion, mineral losses, and many more.

Biodiversity: we pray earth as mother and all we are her child but, we do not care about it. We started hunting poaching illegal trade and destroying habitat which resulted in declined diversity of our biodiversity Extra carbon and other pollutants leading to Global warming, Ozone Depletion,

Let us see the Environmental Kuznets Curve[2], which was made based on some of the factors affecting Per capita income and environmental sustainability.

The curve may have certainties but is the best representation of the relation between

Degradation and Income level ( One of the Economic factors). It is visible that low income and high-income countries have low degradation. Let us dive deeper with low-income country, which is mainly agriculture or raw material-based Economy. Development starts by industrializing itself and turning it from agriculture-based to a manufacturing-based economy. This process includes practices such as mining, energy generation (mainly by coal and oil), Cutting forest for new high-energy intensive and carbon-intensive industries and infrastructure, this all contribute to degradation and hence we a rise in the curve, worsening of environment. Further, the Kuznets Curve for high-income countries declines which can be attributed, to a paradigm shift and structural change from manufacturing industries to services-based industries. This shift is due to investment in a product that indirectly reduces emissions or contributes to environmental protection. Also, ecological sustainability, technological progression, stringent environmental regulations, and policies in High-income countries result in a decline in energy consumption and environmental degradation.

We have seen or heard of many incidents which show us that mother earth is in a problem. For example - Amazon fire, Californian Fire, Kerala floods India in 2019, Australia bushfire 2019- in 2020 is still ongoing where many species have died, loss of habitat, pollution has risen and many more issues.

The current situation of the earth Makes us think that No options other than Act now. And many countries meet to act on it by bringing many convention and protocols and implementing it like :

• Montreal Protocol[3]

• Kyoto Protocol[4]

• Paris Agreement

• Kiev Protocol

• Vienna Convention 1985 - Protection of the Ozone Layer

• Basel Convention on hazardous waste and their disposal

• Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

• Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

• United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

And all convention and protocols help in the SDG program of the UN[5], to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Contains 17 goals that directly and indirectly affect the economy and environment.

Some of the Common measures taken around the globe are: Using the 3Rs reducing, recycle and reuse, promoting environmental education and awareness so that people transform their lifestyle for sustainable living, use of suitable technologies that are indigenous, eco-friendly, and culturally sustainable. And manage sewage, proper sanitation, tackling industrial pollution. Some of the advanced approaches for tackling environmental degradation with economic benefits are Emissions taxes, fees, Subsidies, Tax-subsidy combinations, Combining standards and pricing approaches, and Liability rules.

Many countries have started acting on it below are a few of them:


The Ministry of Environment is responsible for addressing the issues by giving policies for environment protection with economic benefits such as national policy for the environment and water resources, policy for the preservation, conservation, and sustainable use of ecosystems and forests, proposing strategies, mechanisms, economic and social instruments for improving environmental quality, and sustainable use of natural resources, Policies for integrating production and the environment.


The Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland (EPA) has to work on many aspects of environment protection with the care of the economy, by taking responsibilities including Environmental Licensing Environmental planning, education, and guidance Regulating greenhouse gas emissions, Strategic environmental assessment of Industrial activities, Waste management.


The approach of the Indian government for Sustainable development are:

1. The Clean Development Mechanism projects in India

It aims to solid waste management, pollution control, etc. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to clean India, National Rural Drinking Water Programme, and Namami Gange, conservation of the River Ganga

2. State Action Plans on Climate Change:

It creates awareness programs, institutes, and promotes activities that address Climate change.

3. National Clean Energy Fund and a Coal Tax

India imposes coal tax to encourage clean energy. National Clean Energy Fund and the National Policy on Biofuels

4. National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change and Projects for Ecosystem conservation

National Adaptation Fund aims to address climate change. National Afforestation Programme and Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats are core projects aimed at the protection of land ecosystem

5. Affordable & Clean Energy, Sustainable Cities & Communities:

National Solar Mission work toward renewable energy, and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation(AMRUT) is working to address sustainability in urban infrastructure


Ministry of Environmental Protection of the people's Republic of China (MEP) had courteously implemented policies to protect and recover habitat losses and to prevent economic losses due to pollution, land degradation, and other ecological damages. Some of my favourite Pollution control instruments of China are Subsidies for energy-saving products, Cleaner production, Discharge permit system, Non-compliance fines, Pollution levy fee, Regulations on refuse credit to high-polluting firms, Environmental compensation fee. All of these contribute to GDP as well as Biodiversity.

It is the need of the moment that all of us from people to government, to do service against environmental degradation, which is getting worse day-by-day, take initiatives to protect the environment and economy. It is possible when people with enthusiasm and eagerness to protect and conserve the environment.


[1]See https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/gdp.asp [2]See https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/14337/environment/environmental-kuznets-curve/#:~:text=%20Causes%20of%20Environmental%20Kuznets%20curve%20%201,growth%20is%20improved%20technology%20and%20higher...%20More%20 [3]https://www.britannica.com/event/Montreal-Protocol [4]See https://www.britannica.com/event/Kyoto-Protocol [5]See https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html#:~:text=The%20Sustainable%20Development%20Goals%20%28SDGs%29%2C%20also%20known%20as,all%20people%20enjoy%20peace%20and%20prosperity%20by%202030.

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