Decarbonisation and the Welsh economy

Fundamental questions need to be asked and choices need to be made about the future of Welsh society and the economy. For instance, should Wales promote new, green industries, taking advantage of new technologies and better industrial processes that can be exported and can drive economic growth? Or should Wales instead pursue a strategy of gradual ‘degrowth’ to reduce its impact on natural resources and increase the sustainability and resilience of local economies?

These choices go beyond technocratic decisions about how to achieve an agreed goal, rather they involve political and economic choices about what the shape of the Welsh economy and the structure of Welsh society will look like in the future. It is important to articulate these choices, so that the public can choose which to endorse, and to enable policymakers to take a longer-term, strategic perspective. This will require actions to be taken to build this future vision.

At WCPP, we are contributing to this discussion by commissioning a range of experts with diverse viewpoints to support policymakers in forming their long-term strategies. Our experts have been asked to write opinion papers on some of the key questions surrounding decarbonisation in Wales, highlighting why their position should be adopted by Welsh Government and public services in Wales.

Economic development: Green growth or degrowth?

Is continued economic growth possible, or even desirable, during the transition to net zero? Or should we instead pursue degrowth, which would mean a deliberate contraction of resource use? Our pieces explore this question in light of Wales’ policy and legislative environment, including the implications of either approach for the well-being of future generations.

Energy needs for Wales’ future economy

The energy transition is probably the most advanced aspect of decarbonisation, but, as recent events have shown, requires careful management within a broader energy systems context. Our pieces will explore the different options for Wales’ energy future, and how these options place differing demands on infrastructure.

How wild should Wales be? Land use, agriculture and climate change

While there is broad agreement that land should be used to protect and promote biodiversity, agriculture remains significant in the Welsh economic, social and cultural landscape in addition to its role in food production. Debates surrounding rewilding and ecosystem regeneration therefore will need to balance the needs of rural communities with broader net zero goals. Our pieces will consider differing aspects of these issues.