Still Stumbling Toward Sustainability: U.S. National Governance, 2002-2007

John C. Dernbach, AGENDA FOR A SUSTAINABLE AMERICA, Environmental Law Institute Press, 2009

Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No., 08-32

19 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2008 Last revised: 23 Jul 2015

John C. Dernbach

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School

Date Written: February 21, 2008

Abstract

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.

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

Suggested Citation

Dernbach, John C., Still Stumbling Toward Sustainability: U.S. National Governance, 2002-2007 (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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1096214 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1096214

John C. Dernbach (Contact Author)

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School ( email )

3800 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9380
United States

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