- Environment - Feb 17 A novel socio- ecological approach helps identifying suitable wolf habitats in human- dominated landscapes
- Environment - Feb 16 Art and space enter a new dimension
- Medicine - Feb 16 Underwater seagrass meadows dial back polluted seawater
- Life Sciences - Feb 16 ’Resurrecting’ tiny lake- dwelling animals to study evolutionary responses to pollution
- Environment - Feb 16 Sociologist joins poverty, sustainability experts at UN
- Environment - Feb 16 Deep reefs unlikely to save shallow coral reefs
- Environment - Feb 15 Q&A with Stanford experts puts Oroville Dam breach in context
- Environment - Feb 15 Engineers look to help artic ships assess ice buildup
- Earth Sciences - Feb 15 How an Ice Age paradox could inform sea level rise predictions
- Environment - Feb 15 Alien species on the rise globally
- Environment - Feb 15 Researchers Catch Extreme Waves with High- Resolution Modeling
- Environment - Feb 14 Team marks fifty years of weather watching
- Earth Sciences - Feb 14 New methods further discern extreme fluctuations in forage fish populations
- Environment - Feb 13 Opinion: India’s militant rhino protectors are challenging traditional views of how conservation works
- Environment - Feb 13 High metal levels found in Queensland turtle blood
- Environment - Feb 11 Humans affect Earth system more than natural forces
Scholars say global governance overhaul needed for earth’s sustainability
A group of the world’s leading environmental scholars are sounding the alarm that human societies need to transform their national and international environmental institutions into a more coherent and robust planetary stewardship model to steer away from rapid and irreversible changes to the Earth’s subsystems.
University of Toronto political scientist Steven Bernstein is one of the authors of a paper which appears in Science on March 16, 2012.
In the article, more than 40 of the world’s top scholars warn that incremental change is not sufficient to bring about societal change at the level and with the speed necessary. “Structural change in global governance is needed, both inside and outside the United Nations (UN) system and involving both public and private actors.”
Among their recommendations:
- Reform and upgrade the environmental agencies and programs of the UN to ensure a strong environmental organization with a sizeable role in agenda-setting, norm-development, compliance management, science assessment and capacity-building.
- More strongly integrate the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainable development from local to global levels and create a new mechanism that gives special predominance to the largest economies – the Group of 20 – as primary members that hold at least half the votes.
- Close remaining regulatory gaps at the global level, including in the development and deployment of emerging technology like nanotechnology, synthetic biology and geo-engineering, to ensure transparency, information-sharing, engage multiple stakeholders in policy dialogues and ensure that environmental considerations are fully respected.
Possible reforms of the intergovernmental government system will be a key focus of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio De Janeiro in June 2012.
“The institutions left us from the Earth Summit twenty years ago have proven woefully insufficient for the challenges of this century. Rio +20 presents an historic opportunity to build more effective governance – the only question is whether there is the political will to do so,” says Professor Bernstein, director of the Master of Global Affairs Program at the Munk School of Global Affairs.
The paper is based on a comprehensive assessment conducted in 2011 by the Earth System Governance Project, the largest social science research network in governance and environmental change. Its international research program explores political solutions and novel, more effective governance systems to cope with the current transitions in the biogeochemical systems of our planet.
Read more: How Rio+20 can herald a constitutional moment by Frank Biermann and Steven Bernstein, The Guardian.
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