Dossier: Inside the Green Economy

Dossier: Inside the Green Economy

A green 5 dollar bill with Abraham Lincoln on it

Introduction to Inside the Green Economy

Green Economy is a source of both hope and controversy. For some, it points the way out of permanent environmental and economic crises and promises to reconcile – a long cherished Utopia – ecology and economics. It fosters the hope that we can hang on to our current high standard of material prosperity.

By Thomas Fatheuer, Lili Fuhr, Barbara Unmüßig
Originally, the Green Economy was meant to create the political space for a deeper conversation. Yet, as argued in this book, such a conversation must go beyond a shallow ‘economisation’ of nature and quick techno-fixes.


The Book

Inside the Green Economy - Promises and Pitfalls

The economic and ecological bases of a general prosperity are in danger, the gap between rich and poor is widening. The concept of the Green Economy offers a new model, based primarily on large-scale technological solutions. But the Green Economy cares little about politics, barely registers human rights, does not recognize social actors and suggests the possibility of reform without conflict. It suggests that the world as we know it can continue with green growth.


Rethinking the Green Economy - Which economic model do we need for social and ecological justice? This and other questions were discussed by Tim Jackson, author of "Prosperity Without Growth", and Gerhard Schick, author of "Machtwirtschaft – nein danke!" with the authors of Inside the Green Economy. The event on 19 September 2016 was facilitated by Petra Pinzler.

Interview with Tim Jackson

It’s a combination of ecological, social and indeed economic and financial reasons why we have to end up looking at shifting that model of how we understand the economy. We need a transformation.

Book samples

The Green Economy as a way out of the global crisis?

“Business as usual” is not a realistic option, as even the international mainstream of the World Bank, UNEP and OECD acknowledge, an admission which has in turn boosted the Green Economy’s career prospects.

By Barbara Unmüßig, Thomas Fatheuer, Lili Fuhr

Reviews on the Book

"Inside the Green Economy is a wonderful critique of the alternative program we have embraced: timid, we have prostrated ourselves to the economic illusion of consensus and the chimera of growth. [...] If it is not to be a complete political suicide then we must first challenge the mythology that the market will save us. Inside the Green Economy is a clarion call for why this must be our fight if we are to survive on this planet." Graham Bracken

Theses & Articles

There is no plausible scenario that credibly combines growth, an absolute reduction of environmental consumption and more global justice in a world of nine billion people.

Beyond Carbon Metrics

Over the last ten years, “climate change” has become almost synonymous with “carbon emissions.” Our single-minded obsession with measurement is undermining effective climate action.

By Camila Moreno, Lili Fuhr, Daniel Speich Chassé

The Return of Repression

The repression of NGOs and other civil society groups increases worldwide, which leads to a decline of democratic freedom. This issue should be added to the agenda of national parliaments and multilateral organizations.

By Barbara Unmüßig

Civil society under pressure

Shrinking – closing – no space: Governments across all continents villainize civil society actors. Where does their sense of threat emanate from?

By Barbara Unmüßig

Related Publications

Carbon Metrics

Just in time for the current UNFCCC COP in Morocco (7-18 November 2016), we are publishing the second edition of "Carbon Metrics". The revised edition takes last year's Paris Agreement into account and also looks at the impacts of new technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

New Economy of Nature

Publication Series on Ecology 35: From climate change to ecosystem degradation – the solution to these problems could reside in an economic “valuation” of nature and its services. But can that really give nature any better protection? This publication provides a readily understandable introduction to the subject and illuminates the concepts and instruments that follow from the idea of monetarizing nature.

Last-ditch climate option or wishful thinking?

This report summarises the key evidence that must be considered about Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). It looks at the overwhelmingly destructive impacts of existing large-scale bioenergy production and use. It examines the different technologies proposed for BECCS and shows them to be unproven, highly complex and thus failure-prone, and extremely costly.

Related Dossiers

Dossier: Patterns of Commoning

The book Patterns of Commoning is a special series of essays which explores the inner dynamics of commoning - its ethics, social practices and worldview. In our dossier you can find a selection of nine texts to stimulate your appetite for more.

Dossier: Biodiversity


Synthetic Biology describes a set of new genetic techniques for designing and engineering lifeforms for industrial purposes. So far, there is neither a public debate worth mentioning nor any regulation by law. Our dossier looks at the risks Synthetic Biology poses for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Innovations change our lives, but they do not work miracles. Nuclear technology did not solve the world’s energy problem, nor did the green revolution end world hunger.