08.09.2014

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The bioeconomy above all focuses on technological innovation to make better use of available resources. In principle, this is not a bad idea, says Barbara Unmüßig. The question though is for the benefit of whom and at whose expense these innovations are implemented, and also what the undesirable side-effects are like. A plea against focusing on growth.

Prior to the Rio+20 summit a variety of international actors including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the OECD and the World Bank launched the concept of the green economy – envisaged as a retreat from our fossil-fuelled, resource-intensive global economy. They hoped that the green economy would be enshrined as a core concept in the Rio+20 closing statement, “The Future We Want”. This did not eventuate. The European Union would have liked to see the summit adopt a roadmap for a green economy. This, too, did not emerge.

The starting point of all reflections on a green economy is climate change and the scarcity of resources – think “peak oil”, “peak water” and “peak soil”. For this reason all its protagonists want to see ecological transformation towards a decarbonisation of the global economy – with massive investment in resource efficiency and renewable energies.

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