Eurostat's Concepts and Definitions Database


Absolute decoupling
Term extension
Decoupling can be either absolute or relative. Absolute decoupling occurs when the relevant environmental pressure is stable or decreasing while the economic driving force is growing. Decoupling is relative when the growth rate of the environmentally relevant variable is positive, but less than the growth rate of the economic variable.
According to the OECD definition, decoupling can also be measured by a decoupling factor I with I=1-D. The variable D=Qb/Qa shows the change of the emission intensity Q with time (a= starting point of the selected period, b=end point). The intensity Q=P/F is defined as the ratio of environmental pressure (P, e.g. CO2 emissions) and the driving force (F, e.g. economy measured in GDP or GVA). Positive values of the decoupling factor indicate that the ratio between environmental damage and the driving force is decreasing with time. Strongly increasing emissions or a reduced economic growth leads to negative values (Decoupling factor, see "Indicators to measure decoupling of environmental pressure from economic growth", OECD, 2002).
Eurostat, "Economic activities and their pressure on the environment 1995-2001", Statistics in Focus, Environment and Energy, 2/2006, Luxembourg, 2006
Related terms
Term Term extension    
  • Relative decoupling
  • Environment View
    Statistical theme(s)
  • Environment and Energy
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