A core element of sustainable development strategies is that economic growth is decoupled from resource use and associated environmental degradation. This report examines evidence from literature to evaluate whether absolute decoupling is a realistic long-term solution to rapidly approaching environmental crises. It finds limited evidence for periods of absolute decoupling, despite two decades of green growth policy. Where absolute decoupling in environmental pressures has occurred, this has not been rapid enough to respect planetary boundaries.It makes a number of recommendations to policy makers. These include the consideration of concrete targets for resource use and emissions reductions linked to planetary boundaries and global fair shares, developing consensus on alternative measures for societal progress and accepting low levels of economic growth for the Nordics.