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3a Green Growth/Energy& Resource Productivity- Smith, M., Hargroves, K., and Desha, C. (2010) Cents and Sustainability: Securing Our Common Future by Decoupling Economic Growth from Environmental Pressures, Routledge, London

Cents and Sustainability is a clear-sighted response to the 1987 call by Dr Gro Brundtland in Our Common Future to achieve a new era of economic growth that is ‘forceful and at the same time socially and environmentally sustainable'. It is important to re-examine how to achieve this, because some still argue for significantly slowing economic growth to reduce pressures on the environment despite the fact that this would have serious negative economic consequences, not to mention making it virtually impossible to end extreme poverty.

Hence this leaves the question ‘is it possible to reconcile the need for economic growth with the need to significantly reduce environmental pressures?’ In 1987 Our Common Future, argued that not only was it achievable but that it was an imperative, a position that was criticised then and is still questioned today, despite the evidence it provided. Cents and Sustainability responds to this by presenting the strongest case for ‘forceful’ and ‘sustainable’ economic growth based on a strategy to decouple economic growth from environmental pressures, combined with renewed efforts to achieve environmental restoration and poverty reduction. Beginning with a brief overview of some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time, the book then explains ‘decoupling theory’, overviews a number of factors that can undermine and even block efforts to decouple in both developed and developing countries, and then discusses a number of key considerations to assist the development of national ‘decoupling strategies’. The book then focuses on presenting evidence to support greater action, not just on climate change, but also on decoupling economic growth from the loss of biodiversity and the deterioration of natural systems, freshwater extraction, waste production, and air pollution.

In the lead up to the UNFCCC Paris COP in 2015 and beyond, Cents and Sustainability will be a crucial guide to inform and assist nations to develop strategies to significantly reduce environmental pressures, strengthen their economy, create jobs and reduce poverty.

Materials

  • Cents and Sustainability: Securing Our Common Future by Decoupling Economic Growth from Environmental Pressure - (http://www.naturaledgeproject.net/centsandsustainability.aspx) Visit

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