UNCTAD Discussion Paper on Green Growth and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reply

A recently published discussion paper authored by Ulrich Hoffmann, the Head of the Trade and Sustainable Development Section at the secretariat of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) questions the potential of Green Growth to sufficiently reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The paper, titled “Some reflections on climate change, green growth illusions and development space”, argues that even though Green Growth (based on decoupling of economic growth from material throughput and conventional energy use) might be a good way of “creating new growth impulses with reduced environmental load and facilitating related technological and structural change”, its potential to sufficiently reduce GHG emissions is greatly limited by constraints in growth, technological, population-expansion and governance as well as some key systemic issues. The author suggests that “one should not deceive oneself into believing that such evolutionary (and often reductionist) approach will be sufficient to cope with the complexities of climate change.”

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