Economic Growth and Carbon Emissions

From a new paper by Enno Schröder and Servaas Storm:

“The unmistakably alarmist tone of the ‘Hothouse Earth’ article stands in contrast to more upbeat reports that there has been a delinking between economic growth and carbon emissions in recent times, at least in the world’s richest countries and possibly even more globally. The view that decoupling is not only possible, but already happening in real time, is a popular position in global and national policy discourses on COP21. To illustrate, in a widely read Science article titled ‘The irreversible momentum of clean energy’, erstwhile U.S. President Barack Obama (2017), argues that the U.S. economy could continue growing without increasing CO2 emissions thanks to the rollout of renewable energy technologies. Drawing on evidence from the report of his Council of Economic Advisers (2017), Obama claims that during the course of his presidency the American economy grew by more than 10% despite a 9.5% fall in CO2 emissions from the energy sector. “…this “decoupling” of energy sector emissions and economic growth,’ writes Obama with his usual eloquence, “should put to rest the argument that combating climate change requires accepting lower growth or a lower standard of living.

(…) And International Monetary Fund economists Cohen, Tovar Jalles, Loungani and Marto (2018), using trend/cycle decomposition techniques, find some evidence of decoupling for the period 1990-2014, particularly in European countries and especially when emissions measures are production-based. The essence of the decoupling thesis is captured well by the title of the OECD (2017) report ‘Investing in Climate, Investing in Growth’. The OECD report, prepared in the context of the German G20 Presidency, argues that the G20 countries can achieve ‘strong’ and ‘inclusive’ economic growth at the same time as reorienting their economies towards development pathways featuring substantially lower GHG emissions.”


Posted by at 8:14 AM

Labels: Energy & Climate Change


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