Prospects for sustainability at the State Department - Part 1

So, what are the prospects for sustainability at the State Department under the new Obama Administration?

On January 26, Secretary of State Clinton introduced Todd Stern as her new Special Envoy on Climate Change. Stern, a fellow at the Center for American Progress, may be remembered as one of the senior negotiators of the Kyoto Protocol under President Clinton years back. The appointment represents a turn away from the previous Bush Administration's resistance to actively and responsibly dealing with the climate change problem. The question now is how far Stern can and will go. What will be his powers and limitations? What is his understanding of the interrelationships between climate and other issue areas, and with the principles and values of sustainability?

Which raises another question for CitNet members: Where should strategic action on climate change fit within a broader national sustainability strategy?

Obviously this is an essential element, but how should it fit among the other critical elements? Climate change is one of the results of unsustainable production and consumption patterns, ranging from the daily lifestyles of citizens to the policies and practices of industry and government. These cut across the various sectors of food and agriculture, transportation, housing, construction, as well as energy. How to achieve the appropriate balance between meeting needs and avoiding harm?



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