Green growth or degrowth? Evaluating the potential of technology for sustainability

Parakram Pyakurel

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    Abstract

    The raging debate between green growth and degrowth continues. Technology is a focal point in this debate as the advocates of green growth and degrowth have contradictory views on the roles and impacts of technology on environment and society. Green growth advocates believe that technology can allow indefinite growth while simultaneously ensuring environmental and societal sustainability, whereas the degrowth advocates argue that technological progress cannot allow indefinite growth. These views are largely opinion based rather than informed by objective and systematic analyses because comprehensive tools to evaluate the roles and impacts of technology on environment and society do not yet exist. This paper develops a much-needed framework to comprehensively evaluate the roles of technology on environment and society by analysing the interactions among the dimensions of technology, environment, economy and society. Key parameters that characterise technology are proposed for its evaluation and the policy implications of technological evaluations are examined. Finally, potential future research directions are explored. The technological evaluation approach proposed in this paper has a potential to significantly advance the green growth versus degrowth debate.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-36
    JournalEconomics and Policy of Energy and the Environment
    Volume1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021

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