Nav: Home

New study dismisses green growth policies as a route out of ecological emergency

May 27, 2019

The paper "Is Green Growth Possible?" is coauthored by Dr Jason Hickel (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Prof Giorgos Kallis from ICTA-UAB, and has been published in the journal New Political Economy.

For material footprint, the question pertains to whether we can achieve absolute decoupling of GDP from resource use. Their findings show that empirical projections show no absolute decoupling at a global scale, even under highly optimistic conditions. In addition, they suggest that, while some models show that it may be achieved in high-income nations under highly optimistic (and indeed unrealistic) conditions, this cannot be sustained in the long-term given limits to efficiency improvements.

These results assume existing levels of GDP growth, of around 2-3% per year. They consider that it may be feasible to achieve absolute reductions in resource use with GDP growing at less than 1% per year. However, to achieve reductions rapid enough to get us down to safe thresholds will require degrowth strategies.

For CO2 emissions, the question pertains to whether we can reduce emissions fast enough to stay within the carbon budgets for 1.5C or 2C, as per the Paris Agreement. Researchers state that emissions reductions in line with 2C are only feasible if global GDP growth slows to less than 0.5%. Likewise, they indicate that reductions for 1.5C are only feasible in a degrowth scenario. These results hold even under optimist policy conditions, with high taxes on carbon and fast rates of technological innovation.

In other words, while we need all the government policy interventions and technological innovation we can get, any successful attempt to achieve adequate emissions reductions will require that we scale down aggregate energy demand.

In light of these results, we conclude that green growth policy lacks empirical support. Indeed, the evidence opens up questions about the legitimacy of World Bank and OECD efforts to promote green growth as a route out of ecological emergency. Any policy programmes that rely on green growth assumptions - such as the Sustainable Development Goals - need urgently to be revisited.
-end-


Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

Related Emissions Articles:

Continued CO2 emissions will impair cognition
New CU Boulder research finds that an anticipated rise in carbon dioxide concentrations in our indoor living and working spaces by the year 2100 could lead to impaired human cognition.
Major new study charts course to net zero industrial emissions
A major new study by an interdisciplinary team of researchers finds that it is possible -- and critical -- to bring industrial greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2070.
Capturing CO2 from trucks and reducing their emissions by 90%
Researchers at EPFL have patented a new concept that could cut trucks' CO2 emissions by almost 90%.
Big trucks, little emissions
Researchers reveal a new integrated, cost-efficient way of converting ethanol for fuel blends that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Uncertainty in emissions estimates in the spotlight
National or other emissions inventories of greenhouse gases that are used to develop strategies and track progress in terms of emissions reductions for climate mitigation contain a certain amount of uncertainty, which inevitably has an impact on the decisions they inform.
How buildings can cut 80% of their carbon emissions by 2050
Energy use in buildings -- from heating and cooling your home to keeping the lights on in the office -- is responsible for over one-third of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States.
Fracking likely to result in high emissions
Natural gas releases fewer greenhouse gases than other fossil fuels.
Scientists discover the source of new CFC emissions
Since 2013, annual emissions of a banned chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) have increased by around 7,000 tonnes from eastern China, according to new research published in Nature today by an international team of scientists from the UK, South Korea, Japan, USA, Australia and Switzerland.
China not 'walking the walk' on methane emissions
In China, regulations to reduce methane emissions from coal mining took full effect in 2010 and required methane to be captured or to be converted into carbon dioxide.
Droughts boost emissions as hydropower dries up
Recent droughts caused increases in emissions of carbon dioxide and harmful air pollutants from power generation in several western states as fossil fuels came online to replace hampered hydroelectric power.
More Emissions News and Emissions Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.