Is the Gothenburg region’s economic growth environmentally sustainable?

In the Gothenburg region, the level of carbon dioxide emissions has been constant for most of the 2000s, and from 2011 onwards has fallen sharply. At the same time, economic growth in our region has increased by more than 60 per cent. That is, the economic growth has increased while CO2 emissions have been constant or fallen. This so-called "decoupling effect" shows that the region has gradually improved its efforts to achieve a more sustainable economic growth.

The figure below shows only CO2 emissions produced in the Gothenburg region. Some of the emissions concern exported products consumed outside the Gothenburg region, in which one can argue that "our own" contribution is lower. On the other hand, we have no data on CO2 emission from our imported consumption. How the two effects balance each other we cannot say.

Since the beginning of the 2000s, the CO2 emissions have fallen by 12 per cent in the Gothenburg region. Simultaneously, economic growth has increased by 61 per cent, and the population in the Gothenburg region has increased by 15 per cent, which results in a clear decoupling of the two lines in the figure below as the lines move in opposite direction over time.  

Source: Statistics Sweden and National Emissions Database

Note: the following graph is downloadable and the categories are clickable.

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