"The difficulty lies not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones "
John Maynard Keynes
The UNCTAD Discussion Paper argues that growth, technological, population-expansion and governance constraints as well as some key systemic issues cast a very long shadow on the “green growth” hopes.
The focus on green growth is largely a re-packing of the 25 years old sustainable development, of which we heard a lot but seen very little. It may rather give excuses to do nothing really fundamental that can bring about a U-turn of global GHG emissions. The proponents of a resource efficiency revolution (called eco-efficiency, factor 4 or factor 10 or lately simply green growth) need to scrutinize the historical evidence, in particular the combined effects of economic and population growth.
Furthermore, they need to realize that the required transformation goes beyond innovation and structural changes to include democratization of the economy and cultural change.Climate change calls into question the global equality of opportunity for prosperity (i.e. ecological justice and development space) and is thus a huge developmental challenge for the South and a question of life and death for some developing countries, and a question of global solidarity for the others.
The paper is available at:
The paper is welcome and its origin in a UN organization gives it high credibility.
Eco-efficiency and de-coupling are not delivering
Poverty, Property and Profit
Jackson's Cinderella economy
Green Economy a win-win-win?
Now, this should not be taken as if I would be against all the good new green innovations, such as organic farming, solar energy, electric cars etc. But it is important to realize that our challenges go beyond what can be fixed with a few technological changes and consumer choice in a market economy. This is clearly seen in the case of organic farming. It has grown tremendously in the last 25 years, but still only represent one percent of the global food market. The underlying drivers of the capitalist economy works in the other direction, and the consumers who pay extra for organic products are paying for market failures in the lingo of neo-liberals, but I would call it policy failure or even more dramatic:
systems failure. game over