Martin Philipp Heger and Lukas Vashold write for Brookings: Economic growth plays a critical role in raising living standards and enabling human progress. However, economic growth needs to decouple from negative environmental consequences, as these, in turn, degrade the very foundations of human development. One example of a negative environmental consequence is airborne emissions that lead to climate change and air pollution. To meet any emissions reduction target, the minimum requirement is that economic growth decouples from emissions growth. Hence, at best, emissions would be reduced from year to year, at a steady pace, even if the economy grows—a process called absolute decoupling. At second-best, the growth rate of the economy would outpace the growth rate of emissions—a process called relative decoupling.