State of the World 2014

State of the World 2014

Governing for Sustainability

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For bulk purchases, please contact Angela Osborn.

The Worldwatch Institute

320 pages | 7 x 9.25 | Figures, photos, tables

Citizens expect their governments to lead on sustainability. But from largely disappointing international conferences like Rio II to the U.S.’s failure to pass meaningful climate legislation, governments’ progress has been lackluster. That’s not to say leadership is absent; it just often comes from the bottom up rather than the top down. Action—on climate, species loss, inequity, and other sustainability crises—is being driven by local, people’s, women’s, and grassroots movements around the world, often in opposition to the agendas pursued by governments and big corporations.

These diverse efforts are the subject of the latest volume in the Worldwatch Institute’s highly regarded State of the World series. The 2014 edition, marking the Institute’s 40th anniversary, examines both barriers to responsible political and economic governance as well as gridlock-shattering new ideas. The authors analyze a variety of trends and proposals, including regional and local climate initiatives, the rise of benefit corporations and worker-owned firms, the need for energy democracy, the Internet’s impact on sustainability, and the importance of eco-literacy. A consistent thread throughout the book is that informed and engaged citizens are key to better governance.

The book is a clear-eyed yet ultimately optimistic assessment of citizens’ ability to govern for sustainability. By highlighting both obstacles and opportunities, State of the World 2014 shows how to effect change within and beyond the halls of government. This volume will be especially useful for policymakers, environmental nonprofits, students of environmental studies, sustainability, or economics—and citizens looking to jumpstart significant change around the world.


"Although optimistic, [State of the World 2014] is framed by a sentiment of crisis, with humanity at an unprecedented crossroads requiring a sharp departure from politics and business as usual... examin[ing] both obstacles to, and opportunities for, responsible political and economic governance."

Agricultures Network

"This year's report, published by Worldwatch Institute, marks the organization's 40th anniversary. The study looks at what governing for sustainability really means. Authors highlight the responsibility of political and economic actors to achieve sustainability measures. They also noted that to be effective, governance systems must be inclusive and participatory, allowing members to have a voice in the decision making process."

Domestic Fuel

"For thirty years, the State of the World report has helped to map the gathering and then accelerating storm of environmental, climate, and resource crises. Identifying itself firmly with the collective interest of humanity as a whole living in harmony with nature, the annual report has sought to balance authoritative reporting of the increasingly bleak health of the environment with sustainable pathways out of the accumulating crises. In a world of competing sources of authority and power, the pursuit of atomized individual and national self-interests will court planetary disaster. This year's State of the World report has its focus on governance: how, in a world without world government, we can and must make enforceable rules for using finite resources democratically, equitably and, above all, sustainably, with fallible governments and imperfect markets working together for the common good."

Ramesh Thakur, The Australian National University, Editor-in-Chief, Global Governance

"State of the World 2014 can be read as a 'State of the Wealth' report. Never before has wealth commanded so much power or been so concentrated?even to the point of threatening civilized life. Wealth becomes unable to offer, not just a better future, but any future. Therein lies its weakness and the hope that the major governance shift that sustainability requires can be brought about."

Roberto Bissio, coordinator of Social Watch

"The scientists have told us what we need to know about climate change. Now, as this fascinating volume makes clear, it's time for the political scientists to step up?and more importantly all of us in our role as citizens, making sure that we replace our ruinous energy oligarchy with a vibrant, sustainable and just democracy."

Bill McKibben, founder, 350.org

"This book is a manifesto of practical hope published in the shadow of accelerating environmental catastrophe. It tells us that we do not have to sit on our hands and close our eyes as we wait for the deluge. Instead, we can govern and lead with some courage in the interests of all humanity."

Senator Jamie Raskin, Maryland State Senate Majority Whip and Professor of Constitutional Law, American University

"In my four decades in government and public life, I have seen first-hand most of the flaws in national and international governance that this trenchant book critiques. Its suggestions for improving the ways we manage our relations with each other and with our planetary home are provocative yet clear-headed, and?if only we implemented them?would likely to put us on the path to true sustainability."

Timothy E. Wirth, former U.S. Senator, the first Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs

"Achieving sustainable ways of living is inextricably linked to how we organize work in the future. State of the World 2014 makes an important contribution by illustrating how trade unions, far from being outdated, will be at the forefront of a just transition. It is a challenging compilation?coming at exactly the right time."

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation

"This volume offers a variety of informed and often passionate voices on the interface of environmental degradation and risk with conceptions and models of governance that, if we can summon the will, would promote sustainable management of the global commons. A clear, lively, thought-provoking book which serves well as a reasoned call to action."

David M. Malone, rector of the United Nations University
Acknowledgments

Foreword \ David W. Orr

 

PART I. Introduction

Chapter 1. Failing Governance, Unsustainable Planet \ Michael Renner and Tom Prugh

Chapter 2. Understanding Governance \ D. Conor Seyle and Matthew Wilburn King

 

PART II. Political Governance

Chapter 3. Governance, Sustainability, and Evolution  \ John Gowdy

Chapter 4. Ecoliteracy: Knowledge Is Not Enough \ Monty Hempel

Chapter 5. Digitization and Sustainability \ Richard Worthington

Chapter 6. Living in the Anthropocene: Business as Usual, or Compassionate Retreat? \ Peter G. Brown and Jeremy J. Schmidt

Chapter 7. Governing People as Members of the Earth Community \ Cormac Cullinan

Chapter 8. Listening to the Voices of Young and Future Generations \ Antoine Ebel and Tatiana Rinke

Chapter 9. Advancing Ecological Stewardship Via the Commons and Human Rights \ David Bollier and Burns Weston

Chapter 10. Looking Backward (Not Forward) to Environmental Justice \ Aaron Sachs

Chapter 11. The Too Polite Revolution: Understanding the Failure to Pass U.S. Climate  Legislation \ Petra Bartosiewicz and Marissa Miley

Chapter 12. China's Environmental Governance Challenge \ Sam Geall and Isabel Hilton

Chapter 13. Assessing the Outcomes of Rio+20 \ Maria Ivanova

Chapter 14. How Local Governments Have Become a Factor in Global Sustainability \ Monika Zimmerman

 

PART III. Economic Governance

Chapter 15. Scrutinizing the Corporate Role in the Post-2015 Development Agenda \ Lou Pingeot

Chapter 16. Making Finance Serve the Real Economy \ Thomas Palley

Chapter 17. Climate Governance and the Resource Curse \ Evan Musolino and Katie Auth

Chapter 18. The Political-Economic Foundations of a Sustainable System \ Gar Alperovitz

Chapter 19. The Rise of Triple-Bottom-Line Businesses \ Colleen Cordes

Chapter 20. Working Toward Energy Democracy \ Sean Sweeney

Chapter 21. Take the Wheel and Steer! Trade Unions and the Just Transition \ Nina Netzer and Judith Gouverneur

 

PART IV. Conclusion

Chapter 22. A Call to Engagement \ Tom Prugh and Michael Renner

Notes

Index

 

Boxes

5-1  Networked Governance to the Rescue? \ Matthew Wilburn King

7-1  Extracts from the Constitution of Ecuador \ Cormac Cullinan

8-1  Representing Future Interests Within the United Nations \ Mirna Ines Fernández

8-2  Sovereign Wealth Funds: The Financial Arm of Intergenerational Governance? \ Elizabeth Buchan

9-1  Litigating for the Public Trust \ Alec Loorz

13-1  A Policy Mechanism for Ensuring Sustainable Development: National Resource Sufficiency Evaluation \ Ed Barry

14-1  Local Agenda 21: A Powerful Movement with Wide-ranging Impacts \ Monika Zimmerman

14-2  Local Government Involvement in the UN Biodiversity Convention \ Monika Zimmerman

14-3  Cities in the UN's Post-2015 Development Agenda

17-1  The Norwegian Oil Fund \ Evan Musolino and Katie Auth

18-1  Ten Years On: Argentina's "Recuperated" Worker-Owned Factories \  Leccese

19-1  Public Benefit Corporations in Delaware \ Colleen Cordes

21-1  The Just Transition Framework \ Nina Netzer and Judith Gouverneur

22-1  Women, Governance, and Sustainability \ Robert Engelman and Janice Pratt

22-2  Building a Culture of Engagement \ Tom Prugh

 

Tables

1-1 Carbon Emissions by Type of Entity, 1751-2010

1-2 Worldwide Protests by Selected Grievance or Demand, 2006-2013

4-1  Factors Contributing to Eco-Complacency and Disbelief

4-2  The Governance Tool Kit

5-1  Growth in U.S. Energy Usage, 1950-2010

5-2  U.S. Total Investment versus ICT Investment, 1992-2012

13-1  UN Millennium Development Goals: Goals and Targets

16-1  Growth of the U.S. Financial Sector, Selected Years, 1973-2007

16-2  Growth of U.S. Household Debt, Selected Years, 1973-2007

19-1  U.S. Movement for Benefit Corporation Laws

19-2  Global Reach of Certified B Corporations

20-1  Global Capacity or Production of Selected Renewable Energy Technologies, 2000 and 2012

20-2  Revenues and Profits of the World's 50 Largest Corporations, by Industry, 2012

21-1  Green Economy Approaches: An Overview

21-2  Selected Proponents of the Green Economy

 

Figures

2-1  Google Scholar Hits for "Governance" and "Government," 1950?2010

14-1  Local Climate Actions Paralleling Global Actions, 1990?2013

15-1  United Nations Funding Sources, 2012

16-1  The Virtuous Circle Keynsian Growth Model, 1945-75

16-2  Productivity and Real Average Hourly Wage and Compensation of U.S. Non-supervisory Workers, 1948-2011

16-3  The Neoliberal ("Market Fundamentalist") Policy Box

16-4  Main Conduits of Financialization

16-5  Putting Finance Back in the Box

17-1  Freedom of the Press in Countries Most Dependent on Oil and Gas Earnings, 2011

22-1  Women in Parliaments, 1997-2013

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reviewquotes: 

"Although optimistic, [State of the World 2014] is framed by a sentiment of crisis, with humanity at an unprecedented crossroads requiring a sharp departure from politics and business as usual... examin[ing] both obstacles to, and opportunities for, responsible political and economic governance."

Agricultures Network

"This year's report, published by Worldwatch Institute, marks the organization's 40th anniversary. The study looks at what governing for sustainability really means. Authors highlight the responsibility of political and economic actors to achieve sustainability measures. They also noted that to be effective, governance systems must be inclusive and participatory, allowing members to have a voice in the decision making process."

Domestic Fuel

"For thirty years, the State of the World report has helped to map the gathering and then accelerating storm of environmental, climate, and resource crises. Identifying itself firmly with the collective interest of humanity as a whole living in harmony with nature, the annual report has sought to balance authoritative reporting of the increasingly bleak health of the environment with sustainable pathways out of the accumulating crises. In a world of competing sources of authority and power, the pursuit of atomized individual and national self-interests will court planetary disaster. This year's State of the World report has its focus on governance: how, in a world without world government, we can and must make enforceable rules for using finite resources democratically, equitably and, above all, sustainably, with fallible governments and imperfect markets working together for the common good."

Ramesh Thakur, The Australian National University, Editor-in-Chief, Global Governance

"State of the World 2014 can be read as a 'State of the Wealth' report. Never before has wealth commanded so much power or been so concentrated?even to the point of threatening civilized life. Wealth becomes unable to offer, not just a better future, but any future. Therein lies its weakness and the hope that the major governance shift that sustainability requires can be brought about."

Roberto Bissio, coordinator of Social Watch

"The scientists have told us what we need to know about climate change. Now, as this fascinating volume makes clear, it's time for the political scientists to step up?and more importantly all of us in our role as citizens, making sure that we replace our ruinous energy oligarchy with a vibrant, sustainable and just democracy."

Bill McKibben, founder, 350.org

"This book is a manifesto of practical hope published in the shadow of accelerating environmental catastrophe. It tells us that we do not have to sit on our hands and close our eyes as we wait for the deluge. Instead, we can govern and lead with some courage in the interests of all humanity."

Senator Jamie Raskin, Maryland State Senate Majority Whip and Professor of Constitutional Law, American University

"In my four decades in government and public life, I have seen first-hand most of the flaws in national and international governance that this trenchant book critiques. Its suggestions for improving the ways we manage our relations with each other and with our planetary home are provocative yet clear-headed, and?if only we implemented them?would likely to put us on the path to true sustainability."

Timothy E. Wirth, former U.S. Senator, the first Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs

"Achieving sustainable ways of living is inextricably linked to how we organize work in the future. State of the World 2014 makes an important contribution by illustrating how trade unions, far from being outdated, will be at the forefront of a just transition. It is a challenging compilation?coming at exactly the right time."

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation

"This volume offers a variety of informed and often passionate voices on the interface of environmental degradation and risk with conceptions and models of governance that, if we can summon the will, would promote sustainable management of the global commons. A clear, lively, thought-provoking book which serves well as a reasoned call to action."

David M. Malone, rector of the United Nations University
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320 pages | 7 x 9.25 | Figures, photos, tables
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9781610915427
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2 014
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