Joachim Peter Tilsted and co-authors have a new article in Ecological Economics, titled 'Accounting matters: Revisiting claims of decoupling and genuine green growth in Nordic countries'.
Ecological modernisation in the form of support to the notion of green growth remains the dominant discourse in environmental policy globally. Still, questions of limits to economic expansion and growth on a planet with finite natural resources have been at the core of environmental discourses at least since the 1970's. A recent effort by Stoknes and Rockström (2018) seeks to unite notions of ecological limits with the concept of green growth by proposing genuine green growth as denoting a situation when growth respects planetary boundaries. Focusing on recent trajectories in emissions intensity, they highlight Nordic countries including Denmark as examples of such genuine green growth. In this article, we demonstrate that the specific conceptualization of genuine green growth and resulting claims about the Nordic countries rest on particular assumptions, specifically concerning national-level carbon accounting frameworks and the size of the remaining global carbon budget. By opening up these assumptions for analysis we illustrate the partiality and potentially misleading nature of the conceptualization of GGG.