The Worldwatch Institute has just released their 40th anniversary edition of the State of the World, and this time it’s titled Governing for Sustainability. In it, this year the institute looks at how governments are reacting to people demanding environmental action in defiance of powerful and monied corporate interests pushing environmental concerns to the side.
In this edition, contributing authors examine the potential for improving governance by analyzing a variety of trends, such as local and regional climate initiatives, energy democracy, and corporate responsibility. They argue that sustainability depends on action in both the economic and political spheres. Financial industries need to serve as public stewards again. Unions can help ensure that the transition to sustainability is socially just. Most importantly, citizens must take responsibility and empower themselves.
“Ultimately, it seems to us, all governance begins with individuals in communities. Humans are no more isolated actors in politics than they are the independent molecules of mainstream economic theory,” says State of the World 2014 co-director Tom Prugh.
“Pressure to improve governance, at every level, can come only from awakened individuals, acting together, dedicated to making their communities sustainable places,” adds State of the World 2014 co-director Michael Renner. “From there, it may be possible to build communities in a way that affords every person on Earth a safe and fulfilling place to live, and offers future generations the same prospect.”
Read the report here.
More countries than ever before now have policies that support renewable energy production. This is obviously a good thing as we are seeing the impact of climate change (like the recent tornados in Japan). We are now a seeing a global effort to slow climate change via policy over the last couple years with Asian and South American countries enacting polices, previously it was primarily only European nations.
The economic diversity of countries enacting support policies for renewable energy has also greatly expanded. High-income economies accounted for 69 percent of all policy support by mid-2005, but by early 2013 this had declined to 30 percent. The other economic groups each increased their share by more than 10 percent.
“As the renewable energy sector continues to mature, policymakers face a host of new challenges,” said Evan Musolino, trend author. “While the pace of countries adopting new renewable energy support policies has slowed somewhat in recent years, the sector has experienced a flurry of activity centered on revising existing policy mechanisms. Policy changes have been driven by a variety of factors, both positive and negative.”
Rapidly changing market conditions for technologies such as solar photovoltaics, where module costs declined by 80 percent since 2008 and by 20 percent in 2012 alone, have dramatically reduced the level of support needed to make projects attractive to investors and feasible for project developers. Simultaneously, the global economic slowdown left many countries with continuously tight national budgets, which has threatened support for the renewable energy sector. The combination of factors has led to a number of cuts to existing incentive programs.
Read more at Worldwatch.