Growth, and by extension development, is still indisputably resource and fossil fuel dependent and largely characterized by unsustainable and harmful modes of production that undermine the very resource basis upon which humanity depends. Fossil fuels still account for over 80% of energy consumed (IEA, 2013). These patterns are at odds with global aspirations and commitments to more sustainable development that date back to the early 1970s and which were reinforced at the 2012 Rio+ Conference. While significant attention has been placed on changing production and consumption patterns through pricing mechanisms, green labour market opportunities and new technologies, relatively little attention has been paid the role of the social sector as an actor and as a critical partner for tackling resource inequalities which persist in the face of significant global wealth.
New paradigm but same old model
With its proactive and pragmatic environmental-economic approach, green growth has spawned an enthusiastic new generation of policy actors focusing on research, coalition building and policy reform. The green growth wave encompasses various concepts some focusing almost exclusively on carbon emissions (e.g. low-carbon and low-emission development) and others like green economy attempt to expand the economic basis of the paradigm to include social dimensions.
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