Is green growth possible?

Economic growth or ecology? Or both? Some argue “green growth” can solve global environmental problems and unemployment. But others dismiss it as a dream saying growth is impossible without depleting natural resources.

This content was published on June 25, 2012 - 11:00

Can new technologies stop the exploitation of raw materials and create jobs at the same time? Or hasn’t technological progress always been aimed at increased spending? (Cars today are more fuel efficient but the average trip by car has become longer).

Is it possible to achieve progress?


Twenty years after the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, the international community met in Brazil’s second largest city for the Rio+20 summit from June 20 to 22. 

The conference aimed to find the most concrete accord possible on ways in which the global economy can continue to grow at the same time as protecting the environment.


The big result: the Rio resolution marked the introduction of a “green economy” - defined as creating “well-being” and jobs without damaging the ecosystems - on the global policy agenda and identified it as a “key tool” for living sustainably.

Apart from that the final accord reaffirms many of the goals of the 1992 summit. The word "reaffirm" is used 59 times in the 49-page document entitled "The Future We Want." They reaffirm the need to achieve sustainable development (but not mandating how); reaffirm
commitment to strengthening international cooperation (just not right now); and reaffirm the need to achieve economic stability (with no new funding for the poorest nations).
Some of the biggest issues activists wanted to see in the document that didn't make it in included a call to end subsidies for fossil fuels, language underscoring the reproductive rights of women, and some words on how nations might mutually agree to protect the high seas, areas that fall outside any national jurisdictions. 

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