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Green growth

  • Published
    7th Sep, 2023

According to a study, Emission reductions highly insufficient for 11 high income countries including Canada and Australia; calling there ‘green growth’ is misleading and greenwashing.


Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or misleading information about how a company’s products are environmentally sound.

What is ‘Green Growth’?

  • Green growth means fostering economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies.

Green Growth vs. Sustainable Growth:

  • Green growth is not a replacement for sustainable development. Rather, it provides a practical and flexible approach for achieving concrete, measurable progress across its economic and environmental
  • The focus of green growth strategies is ensuring that natural assets can deliver their full economic potential on a sustainable basis.
  • That potential includes the provision of critical life support services – clean air and water, and the resilient biodiversity needed to support food production and human health.
  • Natural assets are not infinitely substitutable and green growth policies take account of that.

Key findings of the study

  • The study analyses 11 developed and high income countries namely, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
  • The analysis suggested that none of the 11 high-income countries that have “decoupled” emissions from growth have achieved emission reductions that are consistent with the Paris Agreement goals.
  • The researchers first identified 11 counties that achieved “absolute decoupling”, which means those that decreased their CO2 emissions alongside increasing GDP between 2013 and 2019.
  • To do this, they collected GDP data from the World Bank and CO2 emissions data from the Global Carbon Project.

The Paris Agreement is a treaty signed by 196 countries to limit “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

  • Scientists have warned that green growth can only occur if decoupling is fast enough to reduce emissions consistent with the Paris Agreement.
  • Decoupling, according to the study, is a decrease in CO2 emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP).

What do decoupling means?

  • The term decoupling refers to breaking the link between “environmental bads” and “economic goods.”
  • Decoupling occurs when the growth rate of an environmental pressure is less than that of its economic driving force (e.g. GDP) over a given period.
  • Decoupling can be either absolute or relative.

Decoupling environmental pressures from economic growth is one of the main objectives of the OECD Environmental Strategy for the First Decade of the 21st Century, adopted by OECD Environment Ministers in 2001.

  • Indicators of decoupling are;
    • The factors include the country size, population density, natural resource endowments, energy profile, (changes in) economic structure and stage of economic development.
  • Significance: When decoupling indicators are used to compare environmental performance among countries, the national circumstances of each country must also be taken into account.

Green Growth and India’s stand

  • The vision for “LiFE or Lifestyle for Environment,” set forward by the India’s aims to inspire a trend towards living sustainably.
  • To lead the world into a green industrial and economic transition, India is vigorously pursuing the “Panchamrit” and net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
  • Additionally, India is putting into practice numerous policies and programmes for the effective use of energy across various economic sectors, including green buildings, green equipment, green farming, green mobility, and green fuels.
  • Large-scale green job opportunities are facilitated by these green growth initiatives, which also contribute in diminishing the economy’s carbon intensity.

Government Interventions:

  • National Green Hydrogen Mission: It will support the transition of the economy to low carbon intensity, lessen reliance on fossil fuel imports, and enable the nation to assume technological and market leadership in this emerging industry.
  • GOBARdhan Scheme: 500 new “waste to wealth” plants (200 compressed biogas (CBG) plants and 300 community/cluster-based plants) were built as part of the GOBARdhan Scheme to support the circular economy. 10,000 crores were invested in total.
  • Bhartiya Prakritik Kheti Bio-Input Resource Centers: Over the course of the next three years, the Center will help 1 crore farmer’s transition to natural farming by establishing 10,000 Bio-Input Resource Centers, establishing a distributed national network for the production of micro-fertilizers and pesticides.
  • MISHTI: The MISHTI (Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes), which will be run by combining resources from MGNREGS, Campa Fund, and other sources, will revolutionize mangrove protection.
    • MISHTI will help with mangrove planting on saltpan areas and along India’s coastline.
  • PM PRANAM: Prime Minister Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment, and Amelioration of Mother Earth, through this program, states and union territories will be encouraged to promote the balanced use of chemical fertilizers as well as alternative fertilizers.
  • Amrit Dharohar: Union Budget for 2023–24 announced the Amrit Dharohar programme, a central government initiative to protect wetlands.
    • Over the following three years, Amrit Dharohar will be put into practice to promote the best possible use of wetlands, and improve biodiversity, carbon stocks, ecotourism prospects, and revenue production for nearby communities
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