Abstract: The policy instruments at the core of the notion of green growth are central to the South Korea’s National Strategy for Green Growth (NSGG): (1) green stimulus packages; (2) “price-based” or market corrective policies; and (3) green research and development to bring about a technological shift that increases resource efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. This assessment of the NSGG explores the potentials and limitations of (3) in light of the Jevons paradox, the commonly found association between improved efficiency and increased resource use. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and total energy use have increased since the implementation of the NSGG despite overall improvements in energy efficiency. We argue that the Jevons paradox is a fundamental limitation of the NSGG and suggest policy alternatives to the NSGG: (1) increased public participation in environmental decision-making and (2) economic degrowth.

Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 144, 15 February 2017, Pages 239–247