PM11 Moses | Sustainability | United States Government

Sustainability

National Press Foundation February 16, 2011

Marina Moses, Director Science and Technology for Sustainability Program Policy and Global Affairs Division The National Academies mmoses@nas.edu 202-334-2143

Historical Perspective*
• Post WW II Development - US led an international system based on economic development, human rights, and peace and security

• Development intended to promote human opportunity, quality of life and freedom --- ―Progress‖
• What’s missing??

* Dernbach, Editor ―Agenda for a Sustainable America‖

Historical Perspective, cont.*
In the 70’s and 80’s • Problems: – Widespread poverty – Growing environmental degradation • Systematic causes: – Increasing consumption of resources – Population growth

World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) • Created by 1983 U.N. General Assembly resolution • Definition of sustainable development: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” • Described ―a threatened future‖ • Called on U.N. General Assembly to • ―transform this report‖ into a global plan • of action for sustainable 4 development

United Nations Conference on Environment and Development--1992

At Rio de Janeiro ―Earth Summit,‖ nations of the world endorsed sustainable development – Agenda 21—comprehensive action plan – Rio Declaration—statement of principles – Forest Action Plan – United States participated actively and agreed

5

Rio Declaration Principles
27 principles for sustainable development, including: Integrated decision-making Precautionary approach Intergenerational equity

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Necessity of reducing and eliminating ―unsustainable patterns of production and consumption‖ and adopting ―appropriate demographic policies‖

Additional Principles
Public participation, public information, and access to justice Internalization of environmental costs Environmental issues best handled ―at the relevant level‖ of government

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―Peace, development and environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible‖

Our Common Journey: A Transition toward Sustainability (NRC, 1999) – described the goals of sustainability as:
“The primary goals of a transition to sustainability over the next two generations should be to meet the needs of a much larger but stabilizing human population, to sustain the life support systems of the planet, and to substantially reduce hunger and poverty.”

Additional Milestones Millennium Declaration (U.N. General Assembly, 2000)

Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (World Summit on Sustainable Development, 2002)

U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio de Janeiro, May 2012

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Sustainability • A different way of thinking • Paradigm shift • ―Organizing Principle‖

• Unique characteristics: grass-roots, ―transdisciplinary‖
• How does it work?

Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Policy and Global Affairs Division
• Encourage the use of science and technology to achieve long-term sustainable development.

• Goal: to contribute to sustainable improvements in human well-being by creating and strengthening the strategic connections between scientific research, technological development, and decision-making.
• The program concentrates on activities with the following attributes: • Cross-cutting in nature, requiring expertise from multiple disciplines; • Important both in the United States and internationally; • Effectively addressed via cooperation among multiples sectors, including academia, government, industry, and NGOs.

Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Programmatic Elements
• • • • Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability Network for Emerging Leaders in Sustainability Sustainability at the Academies Newsletter Sponsor-Requested Workshops and Studies

Approach
• Applied Cases • Framework Studies

Examples of the Applied Cases

A Sustainability Challenge: Food Security for All
Objectives
• • Help establish the dimensions of the food security challenge Explore how to sustainably meet growing food demands during the coming decades

Convene Two Public Workshops in 2011
• Measuring Food Insecurity and Assessing the Sustainability of Global Food Systems (February 2011) – Examine the empirical basis for past trends, the current situation and projections for the future. Exploring Sustainable Solutions for Increasing Global Food Supplies (May 2011) – Examine a set of issues fundamental to assuring that food supplies can be increased to meet the needs of the world’s growing population now expected to grow to 9 billion by the year 2050.

Regional Approaches to Urban Sustainability
Organize a series of workshops beginning in Fall 2010 to foster discussion of regional approaches to making U.S. metropolitan areas more sustainable, with an emphasis on building the evidence base upon which policies and programs might be developed.

Three Major Themes Relevant to Metro Atlanta – Transportation & land use – Public health & the built environment – Water resources conservation Objectives – Discuss the ways that regional actors are approaching sustainability – Examine the role that science, technology, and research can play in supporting efforts to make the region more sustainable – Explore how federal agency efforts, particularly interagency partnerships, can complement/leverage the efforts of other key stakeholders

Linkage Example

Water and Energy

Thomas Graedel

Large-scale Desalination

Large-scale Desalination

Power Distribution Station

The Issue:

Do we anticipate having enough energy to acquire the water we need?

Sustainability Linkages in the Federal Government Rationale • Understanding the linkages between domains (energy, water, land, non-renewable resources) is essential for the development of policies and programs supporting long term sustainability.

• These linkages are not always recognized or accounted for by federal policies and programs and, in fact, often trigger unintended consequences.

The Sustainability Silos of the U.S. Government
Environmental quality (EPA) Land (DoI) Energy (DoE) Food (DoA)

Health (DHHS)
Water (NOAA) Minerals (USGS)

The Sustainability Silos of the Experts
Environmental quality (ecologists) Land use (geographers) Energy (power engrs., matl. sci.) Food (crop researchers)

Health (medical researchers)

Water (hydrologists)

Minerals (geologists)

Sustainability Linkages in the Federal Government
Objectives • To identify and describe the most critical linkages between domains, with potential sustainability impacts highlighting temporal, geographic, and spatial differences.

• To develop a decision framework which could be used to analyze or assess consequences, tradeoffs, and synergies of policy choices among linked domains.

LANDSCAPES

Urban

Coastal

Coastal Mineral Rich

Agriculture/Forest

Sustainability Linkages in the Federal Government
• After a series of briefings, information-gathering meetings, field visits, and a literature review, the committee will be able to:
o Describe the major linkages inherent in each case study within the defined ―landscape‖ o Determine the government policies and programs influencing the management and use of critical resources within each ―landscape‖ o Identify sustainability consequences (positive and negative) resulting from existing stove piped policies and programs o With input from local and federal stakeholders, the committee will explore options for assuring that key linkages identified in case studies are recognized and addressed as part of future policy decisions

Incorporating Sustainability in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency • A committee under the STS Program will conduct a study at the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Office of Research and Development to help define efforts to incorporate sustainability concepts into Agency programs. • This study will build on existing sustainability efforts in EPA by strengthening the analytic and scientific basis for sustainability as it applies to human health and environmental protection within the Agency's decisionmaking process.

Incorporating Sustainability in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency The consensus report will answer the following questions:

• What should be the operational framework for sustainability for EPA?
• How can the EPA decision making process rooted in the risk assessment/risk management (RA/RM) paradigm be integrated into this new sustainability framework? • What scientific and analytical tools are needed to support the framework? • What expertise is needed to support the framework?

Science and Technology for Sustainability Program Special Event Celebrate EPA at 40 and Help Address Environmental Issues for the Future Launch of a National Research Council Study Incorporating Sustainability in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 4:00 – 5:00 pm Marian Koshland Science Museum Corner of 6th and E Street NW Washington DC Metro: Judiciary Square (Red Line) or Gallery Place (Yellow/Green Line) A committee under the Science and Technology for Sustainability Program (STS) will conduct a study at the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Office of Research and Development to help define their efforts to incorporate sustainability concepts into agency programs. This study will build on existing sustainability efforts in EPA by strengthening the analytic and scientific basis for sustainability as it applies to human health and environmental protection within the Agency's decision-making process. Program Remarks: Ralph J. Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Bernard D. Goldstein, University of Pittsburgh, Chair, Ad hoc Committee, Incorporating Sustainability in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Question and Answer Session and Reception to follow. If you plan to attend this event, please register by Monday, November 29th at 5:00 pm at http://www8.nationalacademies.org/iscregistration/public/default.asp?event=A0ABFE48 or call 202-334-2047. Please note space is limited and registration will be closed once capacity has been met. For more information on the STS Program, please visit our website at: www.nas.edu/sustainability.

Moving forward….. • • • • Account for tradeoffs/synergies in the decisions we make Factor the future into current decisions Be transparent in the decision process Frame questions differently – ask about social, economic and environmental impacts • Think ―systematically‖

Additional Information
• Website www.nas.edu/sustainability • Monthly newsletter To subscribe, send email to: sustainability@nas.edu

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