Climate Change Means the Death of Sustainability

4 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2012

Date Written: August 31, 2012


This short essay for the Environmental Law Collaborative explores the relationship between climate change as a physical reality and sustainability as a goal of law and policy. It argues that climate change's impacts on the basic physical, chemical, and biological processes of Earth vitiate sustainability as a meaningful goal at anything other than the most general of levels. Sustainability in this context is a form of dead-end nostalgic conservatism; what climate change demands instead is adaptability to change and resilience in the face of potential loss of functionality -- ecological, social, cultural, and economic.

Keywords: climate change, sustainability, resilience, adaptation, adaptability

Suggested Citation

Craig, Robin Kundis, Climate Change Means the Death of Sustainability (August 31, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Robin Kundis Craig (Contact Author)

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

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