When is it worth protecting a wetland or enacting a new safety regulation? Writ large, what is the role of government in promoting and protecting public welfare? Regardless of our political orientation in this dizzying presidential election season, few would oppose basic government standards for electrical wiring in our homes or in the service of food safety, right? But how much is enough or too much?
This year’s CERES conference in Boston was provocative and challenging -- as it should be in celebration of 25 years of creative, innovative, and collaborative advocacy to bring greater openness and accountability to corporate behavior. And it is behavior, of course, that needs to change; openness and accountability are only the tools of the trade in modifying corporate practices.
Since participating recently in the UN Investor Summit on Climate Risk, and in preparing for the Sustainable Land & Water Program Expert Workshop in Amsterdam on Friday, I’ve been thinking more about risk as fundamental conceptual framework for making meaningful comparisons and connections.
I am comforted by the awareness that changes we dismiss as inconceivable are often viewed by historians as having been inevitable. A Happy New Year might thus include news of the following momentous changes.
Richard Stone has produced a provocative and important new documentary on nuclear power that was screened this week at the Sundance Film Festival. But as important as it is, Pandora’s Promise is a film that in its current configuration undermines itself.
As Hurricane Sandy shifted the national conversation in the closing days of the U.S. 2012 presidential campaign, so too has the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School interrupted the partisan machinations over government spending and taxation. As we look forward to 2013 and beyond we thus have a rare moment to reflect and observe that these issues share a common root: the respective roles of government and business to shape our future as people and as a national community.
The mega-cities of the nearest future are either hubs of innovation and creativity, as outlined by Richard Florida at the Aspen Ideas Festival, or overrun slums without electricity, transit access to center city, running water and the most basic urban services. Or maybe they are both?
Jonathan makes connections that other people miss. Beyond an understanding of any single environmental issue or energy challenge, he knows how to use knowledge to drive change, how to bring the right players to the table, and how to reframe seemingly intractable problems to create space for new approaches. He’s a strategic thinker with a very clear sense of how things work.
Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Climate and Electricity Policy, Resources for the Future