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Why We Are Working With Colleagues in China to Develop Sustainability Metrics

I am in no way an expert on China, but one need not be an expert to understand that China's elite know they are in the midst of a deep crisis of environmental sustainability. I visited Beijing last week to finalize a partnership between Columbia...

Posted October 22, 2014    

Sustainable Consumption and the World of Endless Images, Voices, and Ideas

The world we are creating with global communications and global economic production is fast becoming a true global society. Nevertheless, place -- or home -- continues to have meaning as both communities and nations become even more treasured in a...

Posted October 17, 2014    

The Transition to Renewable Energy is Difficult but Feasible

The United States Energy Information Agency estimates that 11% of the world's total energy comes from renewable sources, a number they project will grow modestly to 15% by 2040. They also estimate that 21% of the world's electricity came from...

Posted October 7, 2014    

It's Time to Abandon the Delusion of a Carbon Tax

At the United Nations last week, President Obama urged the nations of the world to follow our lead and begin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The president has moved aggressively to use the powers of the Clean Air Act to begin the decade-long...

Posted September 30, 2014    

Mayor Bill de Blasio Pivots Toward a Sustainable New York City

Nine months into his mayoralty, with over 300,000 climate marchers having massed in Manhattan, and a U.N. climate meeting just finished, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided the time was right to renew the city's sustainability effort. The...

Posted September 25, 2014    

Learning from the Era of American Environmental Leadership

This past week, I had the honor of attending a new class at Columbia taught by Tom Jorling and Leon Billings on the origins of American environmental law. Jorling and Billings have accomplished a great deal in their long careers. Billings worked for...

Posted September 10, 2014    

Plastic Bags, Nuclear Waste and a Toxic Planet

Last week we saw California move a step closer to banning one-time-use plastic bags and the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission legalize above-ground storage of nuclear waste. What's the connection? Every once in a while I think it is useful to...

Posted September 3, 2014    

Solar Could Grow Faster if We Had a Functioning Federal Government

It is obvious that the United States federal government is struggling to perform basic governance functions and, as I wrote earlier this summer, it is incapable of leading the transition to a renewable economy. Nevertheless, one of the key elements...

Posted August 27, 2014    

Will de Blasio and Cuomo Make Sustainability a Higher Priority?

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has allowed the Mayor's Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability to lose nearly all of its talented staff, while New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is using capital funds meant to finance environmental...

Posted August 12, 2014    

Our Dysfunctional National Government Is Incapable of Building a Sustainable Economy

My Columbia University colleagues Bill Eimicke and Alison Miller recently joined me in authoring a new book entitled Sustainability Policy: Hastening the Transition to A Cleaner Economy. If all goes well, Jossey-Bass publishers will release the book...

Posted August 5, 2014    

Sustainability Science Requires the Freedom to Observe and Understand the Planet

Co-authored by Arthur Lerner-Lam, Alison Miller and Sean Solomon The scientific heart of Columbia University's Earth Institute is the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which has been engaged in observing and analyzing earth systems for over 65...

Posted July 14, 2014    

Competent Leaders Need to Understand the Science of Sustainability

In speaking about climate policy last week, President Obama chided senators who are trying to dodge the climate issue by claiming they were not scientists. The president went on to claim that he was not a scientist either, but that "I've got this...

Posted July 8, 2014