(IEA 2009); water is becoming scarce and water stress is projected to increase with water supply satisfying only 60 per cent of world demand in 20 years (McKinsey 2009); agriculture saw increasing yields primarily owing to the use of chemical fertilisers (FAOSTAT 2009), which, on the other hand reduced soil quality (Muller and Davis 2009) by almost 10 per cent relative to 1970 level, and did not curb the growing trend of deforestation-remaining at 13 million hectares per year in 1990-2005 (FAO 2009).
There has been a long-standing perception among both the general public and policy makers that the goals of economic growth, environmental protection, national and energy security involve a complex set of trade-offs, one against another (Brown and Huntington 2008; CNA 2007; Howarth and Monahan 1996). This study aims at analysing the dynamic complexity of the social, economic, and environmental characteristics of our world with the goal of evaluating whether green investments can create synergies and
help move toward various green economy goals: resilient economic growth, job creation, low-carbon development and resource efficiency.
By adopting an integrated approach focused on the interaction of stocks and flows across sectors, this chapter examines the hypothesis that a correct management of natural resources does not necessarily imply accepting lower economic growth going forward. Instead, it explores the question of whether equal or higher growth could be attained with a more sustainable, equitable and resilient economy, in which natural resources would be preserved through more efficient use. This initial framing is in contrast with a variety of sectoral reports focused on energy and climate change mitigation scenarios. By way of contrast, the green economy approach supports both growth and low-carbon development, by reducing emissions and conserving stocks in the short-term to profit from their healthier state in the future.