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Shades of green growth scepticism among climate policy researchers


Despite strong promotion of green growth by policymakers and international institutions, there is mounting criticism concerning the compatibility of continued economic growth with sustainability goals. Our global survey of 789 climate policy researchers reveals widespread scepticism in high-income countries, supporting the notion that as national income rises, environmental goals prevail over economic growth. This finding underscores the importance of considering alternative post-growth perspectives, including agrowth and degrowth strategies, to cultivate a more comprehensive discourse on sustainable development strategies.

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Fig. 1: Respondents’ positions on the growth-versus-environment debate.
Fig. 2: Growth position and relationships to GDP per capita and IHDI in the country of origin.

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This work contributes to the ‘María de Maeztu’ Programme for Units of Excellence of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (CEX2019-000940-M). I.S. acknowledges funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 101056891, ClimAte Policy AcceptaBiLity Economic (CAPABLE) framework. I.S. and S.D. further acknowledge support from an ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (grant agreement number 741087). We are grateful to J. van den Bergh and G. Kallis for their useful comments.

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L.C.K. and I.S. jointly conceived the research and drafted the paper. I.S. and S.D. gathered the data. I.S. performed the regression and clustering analysis.

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Correspondence to Lewis C. King.

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Nature Sustainability thanks Tiziano Distefano, Markus Kröger, and Peter Victor for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Discussion, Methods, Figs. 1–7 and Tables 1–7.

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King, L.C., Savin, I. & Drews, S. Shades of green growth scepticism among climate policy researchers. Nat Sustain 6, 1316–1320 (2023).

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