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Decoupling: A Dangerous Fantasy

Robert Fletcher

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Teaser: Decoupling offers a dangerous neoliberal fantasy that we can overcome environmental limits to indefinite economic growth.

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. . . While asserting the necessity of dramatic decoupling for any hope of genuine sustainable development within a growth-dependent economy, in short, UNEP simultaneously admits that: 1) there is virtually no evidence that decoupling works; 2) the conceptual basis for even imagining it is weak; and 3) even if it were possible it would be politically infeasible.
Paradoxically, UNEP subsequently claims that even though overall resource use has risen dramatically worldwide “some decoupling of resource use from economic activity has taken place: the world economy has been dematerialising.” In this statement, astoundingly, intensified resource extraction is reframed as evidence of dematerialisation itself! . . .

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