Print version ISSN 0103-4014
CECHIN, Andrei and PACINI, Henrique. Green economy: why optimism should be coupled with the skepticism of reason. Estud. av. [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.74, pp. 121-136. ISSN 0103-4014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-40142012000100009.
The green economy initiative carries with it the optimistic view that the economy can and should be driven by investments in clean activities as opposed to the extraction of natural resources and polluting industries. However there are limits to the emphasis that is often put on efficiency improvements and on the substitution between sectors of an economy. For the economy to be green, the reduction in environmental impact per unit of GDP should be higher than GDP growth over a period. Even though recent evidence shows that some countries aparently passed the peak in the use of materials and energy, global extraction of natural resources and CO2 emissions has increased. A probable cause is that rich countries have outsourced polluting activities to poorer countries. It is time to bring the skepticism of reason to the debate and seriously discuss degrowth, not of GDP or of opportunities for human development, but of the global resource extration and carbon emissions.
Keywords : Green economy; Environmental Kuznets Curve; Dematerialization; Degrowth.