Green growth – a synthesis of scientific findings
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionTechnology Forecasting and Social Change. 2019, 146 390-402. 10.1016/j.techfore.2019.06.013
Governments in countries across the world increasingly adopt the “green growth” discourse to underline their ambition for the greening of their economies. The central tenet of this narrative is the economic opportunities rather than challenges arising from the pursuit of environmental sustainability. Our paper synthesises insights from 113 recent scientific articles, dealing with both environmental issues and economic growth, as well as innovation. Our ambition is exploratory in attempting to take stock of heterogeneous contributions across the spectrum of social science. The articles have been reviewed with a focus on six themes, derived from current discussions in economic geography and transition studies: skills, technology, physical resources, markets, institutions and policies. Four major implications emerge from the review. First, green growth requires competences that allow for handling complex, non-routine situations – in both the private and the public sector. Second, technological progress should be directed towards greener technologies, to avoid investments funds being channelled to brown technologies for short-term returns. Third, our knowledge of the opportunities for achieving green growth must base upon a joint assessment of market failures, structural system failures and transformational system failures. Finally, greater attention should be devoted to the geography of green growth processes at different scales.