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    082305

    Jessica Tuchman Mathews: the case for reinventing technology to promote sustainable development.

    Lerner SD

    In: Earth summit. Conversations with architects of an ecologically sustainable future, by Steve Lerner. Bolinas, California, Commonweal, 1991. 25-38.

    The public debate on the environment leading to the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil has been restricted to global climate change instead of global change. The Summit should be part of an ongoing process and not a framework convention followed by protocols. Separate conventions for biodiversity and deforestation are likely to emerge, even though one convention integrating both biodiversity and deforestation is needed. Many environmental and development issues overlap, suggesting a need for an international group to coordinate these issues. Negotiating separate conventions for the various issues is costly for developing countries. Rapid population growth contributes to environmental degradation, but no coordinated effort exists to reduce it. The US continues to not support the UN Population Fund which, along with threats of US boycotts and disapproval, curbs initiatives to reduce population. At present population and economic growth rates, an environmental disaster will likely happen in the early 2000s. Developing countries, which also contribute greatly to global warming, will not take actions if industrialized nations do not initiate reductions of greenhouse gases. Developed countries emit the most greenhouse gases, have been responsible for most past emissions, and have the means to initiate reductions. Of industrialized nations, the US stands alone in setting targets to reduce carbon dioxide. Unlike some European nations, the US does not have an energy policy. The US abandoned public transportation for the automobile while Europe has a strong public transportation system. The World Bank has improved greatly in addressing global environmental issues, but only 1% of its energy lending is for energy efficiency. The Bank knows that projects implemented by nongovernmental organizations are more successful than those implemented by governments, yet it continues to lend money to governments. Humans need to redesign existing linear systems to be like nature's circular systems in which by-products are starting products for another reaction.
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