Conscious Decoupling: In real terms

By Richard Black, ECIU Director

About two weeks ago we published a short report looking at the UK's performance in the quarter of a century since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro - a quarter of a century during which many countries including the UK have sought to curb their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the United Nations climate change convention, agreed at the Rio Summit.

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Feel the transforming power... Image: Tjflex, CC licence

The UK, as we showed, has out-performed the rest of the G7, the bloc of leading developed nations. In per-capita terms, our economy has grown fastest of the seven, and our carbon emissions have fallen furthest.

Since we published our report, we've had requests from a number of economists that we expand the section on per-capita economic growth to incorporate figures expressed in 'real' as well as 'nominal' terms - in other words, when factors such as inflation and currency movements are taken out of the equation. 

This we're happy to do - and so here is the amended version.

The story it tells is, qualitatively, exactly the same, although the numbers are different. Citizens of G7 nations are on average richer, but have a smaller carbon footprint, than in 1992; and the UK is ahead of the pack on both counts.

It confirms, once again, that Sir John Major was right when he predicted just before the Rio Summit that constraining carbon emissions need not harm prosperity.