Green growth” may provide false hope and excuses to do nothing really fundamental to bring about a U-turn in global GHG emissions. The arithmetic of economic and population growth, efficiency limits related to the rebound effect, as well as systemic issues call into question the hopes of decoupling economic growth from GHG growth." (Source:

Brilliant analysis by Ulrich Hoffmann (Senior Economic Affairs Officer of UNCTAD).

One should not deceive oneself into believing that such an evolutionary (and often reductionist) approach would be sufficient to cope with the complexities of climate change. “Green growth” proponents need to scrutinise the historical macro- (not micro-) economic evidence, in particular the arithmetic of economic and population growth, as well as the significant influence of the rebound effect. Furthermore, they need to realise that the required transformation goes beyond innovation and structural changes to include democratisation of the economy and cultural change. Climate change calls into question global equality with regard to opportunity for prosperity (i.e., ecological justice and development space). It poses a huge developmental challenge for the South and a question of life and death for some developing countries.”

Read also the (less convincing) answer to Hoffmann’s piece (“Green growth: is it really an illusion”)  by Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker who still believes the only thing needed is political will.