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The Emergence and Importance of President Obama's Climate Policy

In a quiet and low-key move last week, President Obama took what may turn out to be one of the most significant steps he has ever taken to reduce greenhouse emissions. As reported by Julie Hirschfeld Davis in the New York Times, the president signed...

Posted March 25, 2015    

The Divestment Distraction and a Positive Vision of Sustainability

The environmental community has long needed to stop bad things from happening and over time has developed the mindset that the job of environmental protection is to avert damage and destruction. Emerging naturally from that mindset is the tactic...

Posted March 17, 2015    

Sustainability Planning in New York City: Let's Build on the Path-Breaking Work of the Bloomberg Team

One of the signature, legacy accomplishments of Michael Bloomberg's time as New York's mayor was PlaNYC 2030, the city's path-breaking sustainability plan. This plan and the metrics established to monitor its implementation were an important part of...

Posted March 13, 2015    

Energy Technology: Deploy What We Have vs. Build Something New

Last week, the American Energy Innovation Council, a group of six prominent business leaders, including Bill Gates, issued a report maintaining that the U.S. government is spending far too little on energy research. As Justin Gillis reported in the...

Posted March 4, 2015    

Preventing Sea Level Rise in New York City While Cleaning the Air in India and China

Last week, the New York City Panel on Climate Change predicted a hot and stormy future for the city that never sleeps. Apparently, by the end of the century New Yorkers will have ample reason to lose sleep. I view these projections as possible yet...

Posted February 25, 2015    

Educating Sustainability Professionals: Learning By Doing

For many years, law schools, medical schools, social work schools and public policy schools have performed pro bono services as an integral part of their teaching and learning processes. As Columbia University's Earth Institute works with schools at...

Posted February 20, 2015    

Studying Sustainable Finance

In my view, there are four key elements of green finance:The first is to develop private financial instruments and techniques, along with public policies to help attract capital to the sustainable elements of the economy.The second is to identify,...

Posted February 10, 2015    

The Defeat of Climate Denial

Over the past weekend, a poll was released indicating that Americans have conclusively rejected climate denial and understand the reality of climate change. According to New York Times reporters Coral Davenport and Marjorie Connelly:An overwhelming...

Posted February 4, 2015    

Science, Policy, and Decision Making

I started my professional career at the U.S. EPA and even though I was in a "policy shop," analyzing policies to develop regulations, I was struck by how few of us had expertise in environmental science. One of my areas of doctoral study was...

Posted January 27, 2015    

How Governmental Sustainability Policy Can Speed the Transition to a Cleaner Economy

In the next several days, Jossey-Bass will publish a new book I have co-authored with my Columbia University colleagues Bill Eimicke and Alison Miller. It is entitled: Sustainability Policy: Hastening the Transition to a Cleaner Economy. The book is...

Posted January 23, 2015    

Banning Styrofoam, Managing Our Waste, and Promoting Sustainability

New York City, following the lead of San Francisco and Portland, has banned styrofoam containers in an effort to change the nature of its waste stream, as the type of styrofoam being banned cannot be recycled. The ban will result in the use of...

Posted January 16, 2015    

The Growing Level of Environmental Awareness

While it is far from universal, more and more people understand that we need to sustainably manage our planet's resources and ecosystems. This awareness has been growing for about a century, but has picked up momentum in the past decade. Evidence of...

Posted December 30, 2014