Still Stumbling Toward Sustainability: U.S. National Governance, 2002-2007
John C. Dernbach
Widener University - Commonwealth Law School
February 21, 2008
John C. Dernbach, AGENDA FOR A SUSTAINABLE AMERICA, Environmental Law Institute Press, 2009
Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No., 08-32
This paper assesses U.S. sustainable development efforts in the five-year period since the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, and makes recommendations for the next five to ten years. National governance for sustainability requires at least three major elements--a legally grounded national-level strategic process, sustainable development indicators to measure progress, and public engagement and education on sustainability. The United States has no overall national strategy for sustainable development, and is a long way away from employing the strategic analysis and decision making required for sustainable development. The United States government has moved toward environmental indicators in the past five years, but not sustainable development indicators. While there has been a serious and necessary effort to engage the public on behalf of the nation's anti-terrorism effort, there has been no comparable effort to engage the public to address the variety of other sustainability threats we face, including climate change¿perhaps the most urgent and obvious of all sustainability issues. To move ahead, the United States needs to formally integrate sustainable development into its existing strategic efforts, develop a set of sustainable development indicators, seriously address climate change, and support and encourage the public on behalf of sustainability.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Keywords: sustainable development, United States, federal government, Governmental Performance and Results Act, sustainable development indicators, public education, national strategy, partnerships, climate change
JEL Classification: K10, K32, Q01
Date posted: February 26, 2008 ; Last revised: July 23, 2015
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