NEWS New project searches for policies that will reduce emissions without harming the economy.
Can greenhouse gas emissions be reduced without stopping economic growth? And, if so, how might the “decoupling” of growth from emissions be achieved? These questions are the heart of a new research project starting at Umeå University in 2021, entitled “In Search of Decoupling: (How) Can We Combine Climate Sustainability with Economic Growth, Good Jobs, and Public Preferences?” The project, which also includes researchers in Switzerland and Canada, was recently awarded 11 508 000 SEK by the Swedish Research Council (VR).
Malcolm Fairbrother, Professor of Sociology, will lead the project. He emphasizes that some countries, including Sweden, have succeeded in substantially reducing emissions, even while growing their economies. But many other countries have not, and researchers around the world disagree about what this means.
- Whether economic growth inevitably increases greenhouse gas emissions may be the most contentious issue within the climate research and environmental communities. Some climate researchers and environmental advocates are optimistic about opportunities for “green growth” and new jobs in less polluting industries; others reject that emissions can be sustainably “decoupled” from growth. This open question is one important reason why governments have been far too slow in addressing the challenge of climate change. Given the world’s urgent need for better climate policies, the project aims to identify ways of reconciling human flourishing with environmental sustainability.
The researchers will study the relationship between growth and emissions in three ways:
In Search of Decoupling: (How) Can We Combine Climate Sustainability with Economic Growth, Good Jobs, and Public Preferences? is financed by the Swedish Research Council 2021-2025. Learn more about the project.