Contributors: Hennicke, Peter, Prof. Dr. (Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie)
Scientific paper contribution: Decoupling resource consumption and economic growth: Insights into an unsolved global challenge
Abstract: The paper demonstrates that a “resource efficiency revolution” in combination with “sufficiency policies” could be a promising step towards a sustainable development. This might create much technological optimism. However there is much evidence that technological progress has to be accompanied by radical socioeconomic transformation and new patterns of sustainable production and consumption to break the nexus between GDP growth and the use of nature. Thus more research on the social context of implementing “GreenTec” and of the socioeconomic drivers of “lead markets” is needed. To frame this research the paper is organized along the following lines: First indicators and key areas for decoupling are presented. Second the analysis is differentiated for the global North (industrialized countries) and the global South (developing and emerging countries). Third a concept of absolute decoupling for the case of Germany is described. Fourth a short outlook is given on how the rapidly growing “new consumer classes” (e.g. in China and India) might change the overall picture dramatically.