The transformation of economic growth towards a lower dependency on fossil fuels and related greenhouse gas emissions is essential for the feasibility of a successful global climate strategy. Last year was the first in decades in which the world economy grew but global CO2 emissions didn’t – a development referred to as “decoupling”. In the run-up to the international climate conference in Paris (COP21), the Heinrich Böll Foundation published the study “Turning point: Decoupling Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Economic Growth” which presents empirical evidence from different countries.
The decoupling trend in the global economy provides a powerful argument for an ambitious Paris climate agreement. When the last light will have been turned off at the Paris Le Bourget conference space, lots of work will lie ahead. While the Paris deal should be understood as floor rather than ceiling, the focus will be on the implementation of what has been decided. Both state and non-state actors should then be encouraged to get the world on the right path to avoid dangerous climate change and to reap the benefits of a successful low-carbon transformation.