I have followed this debate for many years and here's my summary.
Growth is great as long as it's sustainable. So is it sustainable now? Well, we have already exceeded 6 out of 9 planetary boundaries. In 2015, it was 4 out of 9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_boundaries
Updated study to be published later this year. The source for 6 out of 9 is not yet available in English, but all other links below are in English. https://landetsfria.nu/2021/nummer-282/fler-hallbara-granser-kan-ha-passerats
From the European Environmental Bureau 2019:
The executive summary states: Is it possible to enjoy both economic growth and environmental sustainability? ...
The conclusion is both overwhelmingly clear and sobering: not only is there no empirical evidence supporting the existence of a decoupling of economic growth from environmental pressures on anywhere near the scale needed to deal with environmental breakdown, but also, and perhaps more importantly, such decoupling appears unlikely to happen in the future. ...
policy strategies ... [must include] the direct downscaling of economic production in many sectors and parallel reduction of consumption that together will enable the good life within the planet’s ecological limits ...
It is a reason to have major concerns about the predominant focus of policymakers on green growth, this focus being based on the flawed assumption that sufficient decoupling can be achieved through increased efficiency without limiting economic production and consumption.
As I see it degrowth is not a goal, but might be a consequence of reaching our environmental goals in time. There is a lot of important new research about degrowth, so I will try to summarize: Most humans try to solve problems by adding, but we should more often reduce. More complexity increases risks: https://podbay.fm/p/sean-carrolls-mindscape-science-society-philosophy-culture-arts-and-ideas/e/1630327697
Degrowth researchers I talked to say that we have convincing findings that green growth is not likely. We might see decoupling, but not rapid enough and not for all major environmental problems. So we have to choose between economic growth or reaching our environmental goals in time. Meta-study based on more than 10,000 scientific papers:
More research: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301857037_A_Simple_extension_of_Dematerialization_Theory_Incorporation_of_Technical_Progress_and_the_Rebound_Effect
The world might fail in reaching further growth even if we continue trying. So what happens if we globally soon encounter a long period of degrowth? Probably not as much as many fear. Research has found that the need for growth is much about expectations. Like investments and loan decisions are made in the belief that growth will continue. But more is not the same thing as better. A large Swedish report in English about four different scenarios of a future beyond growth: https://bortombnptillvaxt.se/english/startpage.4.21d4e98614280ba6d9e68d.html#.YSfAq8gvND8
All together, this new research indicates that GDP increases if we work more hours or use more resources (capital, energy, raw materials) per hours. Economic growth is not equivalent to efficiency, creativity or development, but is primarily driven by capital investments: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/8/5/490?fbclid=IwAR35JaACj8pRq54I-K4bFTB2gk1rqjq_1_Brz6ThdFRlVcz0p8HKu0iZPzc
In reports by the UN panel on climate change (IPCC) and the corresponding body for biodiversity – IPBES – the researchers are increasingly more outspoken about overconsumption. The IPBES report from 2019 is based on more than 15 000 scientific publications and was compiled by more than 400 experts from 50 countries. One of the key messages is that a sustainable global economy needs to focus on decreasing levels of consumption and new visions for a good life – quality of life instead of a focus on economic growth. https://zenodo.org/record/3553579#.YSzCGMgvND9
We can still have a lot of growth in important areas, but not overall. So perhaps the best way if you want long-term growth beyond the Earth is degrowth right now, but not for space exploration?
Income level is the single largest contributor explaining the variation in greenhouse gas emissions between households in Sweden, so maybe we should embrace the popular opinion to choose more free time on the society level, instead of raising high salaries even higher?
Even during the pandemic, Americans want to prioritize environment more than growth: https://news.gallup.com/poll/344252/americans-emphasis-environmental-protection-shrinks.aspx
We also see global public support for more focus on environment and well-being at the expense of economic growth: https://globalcommonsalliance.org/news/global-commons-alliance/global-commons-g20-survey
Finally, a report about where we have scientific consensus about growth, and where we have the real difference in opinions: https://cogito.nu/publikationer/ten-thoughts-on-growth
Your thoughts about this?