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“Continued human progress now depends on an economic transformation that is more profound than any seen in the last century,” says Worldwatch president Christopher Flavin. “We should be practicing a sustainable approach to economics that takes advantage of the ability of markets to allocate scarce resources while explicitly recognizing that our economy is dependent on the broader ecosystem that contains it.” Worldwatch State of the World 2008: Innovations for a Sustainable Economy
Sustainability Update: Promising Entrepreneurial Trends are Not Enough, Collective Will & National Mandates are Urgently Required
By Richard Power
Worldwatch Institute's State of the World study is an important resource.
The State of the World 2008: Innovations for a Sustainable Economy, highlights some positive trends for both the global environment and the global economy (they are interdependent):
In 2006, an estimated $52 billion was invested in wind power, biofuels, and other renewable energy sources, up 33 percent from 2005. Preliminary estimates indicate that the figure soared as high as $66 billion in 2007.
Carbon trading is growing even more explosively, reaching an estimated $30 billion in 2006, nearly triple the amount traded in 2005.
Innovative companies are revolutionizing industrial production while also saving money: for example, chemical giant DuPont cut its greenhouse gas emissions 72 percent below 1991 levels by 2007, saving $3 billion in the process. ... Another sign of dramatic change is the 575 environmental and energy hedge funds now in existence, most of them formed in the last few years. “Clean tech” has rapidly grown to be the world’s third-largest recipient of venture capital, trailing only the Internet and biotechnology. And 54 banks, representing 85 percent of global private project finance capacity, have endorsed the Equator Principles, a new international standard of sustainability investment. World Watch Institute: Innovations for Sustainable Growth
Of course, as positive as these trends are, they are not nearly enough to overcome the dual threat of global warming and the sustainability meltdown.
Is much of what is being done simply "greenwashing," i.e., a touchy-feely P.R. image to distract from destructive behavior?
Journalist Stephen Leahy elucidates the issues:
"Innovative green efforts by governments and business are becoming commonplace," said Gary Gardner of Worldwatch, a U.S.-based environmental think tank. ...
Green announcements now come daily. Last month, Virginia Tech University said that it had teamed up with a private investor, Hannon Armstrong, to put 100 million dollars a year into improving the energy efficiency of Washington area buildings. In May, Citigroup (also known as Citi), one of the world's largest banks, announced plans to invest 50 billion dollars to address climate change over the next decade.
That squarely contradicts the fact that Citgroup is the leading financier of fossil fuel energy and the world's top financier of coal, which is the chief source of climate-altering emissions from the U.S. and in other countries.
Is Citigroup's promise to address climate change what's known as "greenwash", or a sincere effort to do business sustainably? Stephen Leahy, Inter Press Service, 1-9-08
Nevertheless, the trends documented in State of the World 2008 also underscore how much more would get done and how much faster efforts would accelerate if the political leaders of the great nations -- particularly the USA, which has spent the years since 2000 in deep denial and on a binge -- began to accept their responsibility to mandate life-affirming changes in how we sustain our growth.
To overcome the global challenges of the 21st Century, we need to move beyond the laizze-faire and monetarist doctrines that have failed us in so many ways. We cannot allow them to shape the survival decisions that confront us now.
Five Most Recent Sustainability Updates
Sustainability Update: It Isn't Just the Sea Level That's Rising .... The UN's International Year of Sanitation Begins
Sustainability Update 11-17-07: The Distance from Southern California to the Azawak Valley? Near & Getting Nearer with Every Drop of Water.
Sustainability Update: Each Hectare of Forest Lost is One Less Sand Grain in the Hour Glass of Our World
Sustainability Update 10-5-07: Ask Them, "What Is It That You Don't Understand?"
Sustainability Update: Thom Hartmann & Bioneer Kenny Ausubel on Evolution, Not Devolution -- From Warring Tribes of Bacteria to Green Collar Justice
For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.
Worldwatch Institute, Sustainability, The Eleventh Hour, Climate Change,Global Warming, Richard Power, Words of Power