Mother Pelican
A Journal of Sustainable Human Development

Vol. 8, No. 2, February 2012
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
Home Page


Advances in Sustainable Development


This supplement attempts to be a radar screen for recent/emerging/forthcoming advances in sustainable development. In selecting items for this supplementary page, priority is given to information about publications and tools with an educational and human-centric focus. This update includes the following reminders that sustainable development has a human face:

1. Suggestions for Prayer, Study, and Action
2. News, Publications, Tools, and Conferences
3. Advances in Sustainable Development
4. Advances in Integral Human Development
5. Advances in Integrated Sustainable Development
6. Sustainability Games, Databases, and Knowledgebases
7. Sustainable Development Measures and Indicators
8. Sustainable Development Modeling and Simulation
9. Sustainable Development and the International Community
Note: Items in this page are updated as information is received and as time permits. If the reader knows about new pubs/tools that should be announced in this page, please write to the Editor.

1. Suggestions for Prayer, Study, and Action


A Poem for Prayerful Meditation

"All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

"Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

"The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them,high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

"The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset,and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

"The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

"The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;

"He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well."

"All Things Bright and Beautiful"
Cecil Frances Alexander
Ireland, 1823-1895



Open Source Textbook Initiative

Sustainability: A Comprehensive Foundation
November 2011

One criterion of the grant is to create and make available, via the Internet, an open-source textbook for use in introductory college courses. A self-imposed criterion is to identify an expand ing field of knowledge, common to all three campuses, where the open-source textbook could provide a sound foundation for effective teaching and learning. To that end, the team guiding the project has selected "sustainability" as the general focus of the University's open-source textbook. It should be noted that "sustainability" was also the field of study identified by Illinois community colleges for a potential a partnership with the University of Illinois. This textbook serves a need identified by faculty teaching in the sustainability area, i.e. the lack of a single, comprehensive, introductory text.

"Sustainability: A Comprehensive Foundation" is a free, open-source textbook available for viewing online or as a download for use on e-readers or printing. First and second-year college students are introduced to this expanding new field, comprehensively exploring the essential concepts from every branch of knowldege – including engineering and the applied arts, natural and social sciences, and the humanities. As sustainability is a multi-disciplinary area of study, the text is the product of multiple authors drawn from the diverse faculty of the University of Illinois: each chapter is written by a recognized expert in the field. Designed for the new generation of e-readers, the book can also be viewed in a browser, saved as a pdf, or printed.

A Sustainability Guide for Everyday Folk:
Over 200 Topics and Suggestions
Covering Health, Food, Hygiene, Art, and More

Sage Liskey, Zine Library, 29 December 2011
(Free Download ~ Redistribute and Alter Freely)


Become a Global Citizen

Check this out:

What does it mean to be a "global citizen"?

Meet 15 Extraordinary People Transforming the Way We Live
The YES! Breakthrough 15, YES! Magazine Issue 60 Winter 2012

2. News, Publications, Tools, and Conferences



Environmental News Network

Planet Ark
World Environmental News

World News Network

Mother Earth News

Climate Action News

World Technology News

Sustainable Development Media

World Pulse


WiserEarth News

New Internationalist

The Global Journal

Trade & Environment Nexus

Yes! Magazine

Human Development News

Science Daily
Earth & Climate News
Sustainability News
Science & Society News

International Institute for
Sustainable Development (IISD)
Reporting Services

Policy-Strategy Coverage

Sustainable Development Policy & Practice
Sustainable Development - Small Islands
Biodiversity Policy & Practice
Climate Change Policy & Practice
Energy Policy Issues
Multilateral Environmental Agreements
Earth Negotiations Bulletin

Theme Coverage

Sustainable Development
Biodiveristy & Wildlife
Chemicals Management
Climate & Atmosphere
Forests - Deserts - Land
Human Development
Intergovernmental Organizations
Trade & Investment
Water - Oceand - Wetlands

Regional Coverage

Lating America & Caribbean
Near East
North America
South West Pacific

Rio+20 Coverage

Sustainable Development Conference
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
4-6 June 2012

United Nations News Service
Rio+20: Making it Happen
UN Sustainable Development News
UN Gender Equality News

Value News Network

Catholic News Service

Anglican Communion News Service

Ekklesia Christian News Bulletin

Religion News Service

LiveScience News

Inter Press Service (PSI)

Triple Bottom Line
CSR News

The Progress Report

Global Health News

Kosmos Journal


Eldis Development Newsfeeds

General - all subjects

Newsfeeds by Subject

Ageing populations
Aid and debt
Children and young people
Climate Change
Climate adaptation
Corporate responsibility
Finance policy
Food security
Health systems
ICT for development
Influencing policy
Jobs, Events and Announcements
Manuals and toolkits
Trade policy

Newsfeeds by Region

East Asia and Pacific
Latin America and Caribbean
Middle East and North Africa
South Asia



2012 Environmental Performance Index
EPI, Yale University, 26 January 2012

Resolving the Food Crisis:
Assessing Global Policy Reforms
Since 2007

ITAP, 25 January 2012

Human Rights Watch World Report 2012
HRW, 24 January 2012

Global Employment Trends 2012:
Preventing a deeper jobs crisis

ILO, 24 January 2012

ASEAN in the Global Economy:
An Enhanced Economic and Political Role

ERIA, 23 January 2012

Global Go-To Think Tanks Report 2011
TTCSP, 19 January 2011

Global Economic Prospects 2012
World Bank, 18 January 2012

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2012
United Nations, 18 January 2012

Ecumenical Women Advocacy Guide
Ecumenical Women, 10 January 2012

Global Risks 2012
World Economic Forum, January 2012

Poor People's Energy Outlook 2012:
Energy for earning a living

Practical Action, January 2012

Climate Change and Development Strategy
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), January 2012
One Pager ~ Full Report

Global Energy Assessment (GEA)
IIASA, 23 December 2011

Leading the Pack or Lagging Behind:
A Foresight Study on
Environmental Sustainability and Competitiveness Policy Horizons Canada, December 2011

Renewables Global Status Report 2011
REN21, 2011

Macondo Well-Deepwater Horizon Blowout:
Lessons for Offshore Drilling Safety

National Academy of Engineering
14 December 2011
Summary ~ Report

The Democracy Index 2011:
Democracy under stress

Economic Intelligence Unity,
The Economist, December 2011

The Future of the Electric Grid
MIT Energy Initiative
20 December 2011

Energy Development Trends:
The Role of Rapidly Emerging Countries

Center for Strategic and International Studies
20 December 2011

Applying a Gender Lens
to Science, Technology and Innovation

UN Conference on Trade and Development
16 December 2011

The energetic society:
In search of a governance philosophy
for a clean economy

Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
6 October 2011

Rethinking Support
for Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change:
The Role of Development Interventions

Simon Levine, Eva Ludi, and Lindsey Jones

Global Christianity:
A Report on the Size and Distribution
of the World's Christian Population

Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
19 December 2011

On the Road Again:
Progressive Countries Score
a Realpolitik Victory in Durban
While the Real Climate
Continues to Heat Up

W. Sterk et al.,Wuppertal Institute
23 December 2011

Professionals and Climate Change:
How professional associations
can get serious
about global warming

West Coast Environmental Law
17 November 2011

Global Climate Risk Index 2012
Released 29 November 2011 at COP 17

A Guide to Statistics on
Historical Trends in Income Inequality

CBPP, 28 November 2011

Women of Africa
Ernst & Young, 25 November 2011

Health at a Glance 2011:
OECD Indicators

OECD, 23 November 2011

The end game in Durban?
How developed countries
bullied and bribed to try to kill Kyoto

World Development Movement, November 2011

Global Gender Gap Report 2011
WEF, November 2011

Climate Economics: The State of the Art
SEI, November 2011

Fostering Low Carbon Growth: The Case for a Sustainable Energy Trade Agreement
International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, November 2011

Crafting Future Just Biodiversity Laws and Policies
WFC, November 2011

Fostering Low Carbon Growth: The Case for a Sustainable Energy Trade Agreement
ICTSD, November 2011

Keeping Track of Our Changing Environment: From Rio to Rio+20 (1992-2012)
UNEP, November 2011

Pursuing Clean Energy Equitably
UNDP, November 2011

Civil Society Organizations:
Time for Systemic Strategies

GTI, October 2011

Global Financial Stability Report:
Grappling with Crisis Legacies

IMF, 1 October 2011

World Development Report 2012:
Gender Equality and Development

World Bank, October 2011

Energy for all:
Financing access for the poor

IEA, October 2011

Basic Capabilities Index 2011
Social Watch, October 2011

Healing a broken World
Society of Jesus, 2011

Transforming Energy Systems
WBGU, 2011

Adaptation Can Help Mitigation: An Integrated Approach to Post-2012 Climate Policy
Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, 2011

Energy Access Scenarios to 2030 for the Power Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa
Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, 2011

2010 International Religious Freedom Report
USA State Department, 13 September 2011

Key Source of Data on Income and Poverty
U.S. Census Bureau, 13 September 2011

Education Impacts Work-Life Earnings Five Times More Than Other Demographic Factors
U.S. Census Bureau, 12 September 2011

Blending Climate Finance
Through National Climate Funds:
A Guidebook for the Design
and Establishment of National Funds
to Achieve Climate Change Priorities

UNDP, September 2011

Fostering Innovation for Green Growth
OECD, 2011

International Energy Outlook 2011
US DOE/EIA, September 2011

The State of the World's Girls 2011 -
So, what about boys?

Plan International, September 2011

Leadership, Capacity Building,
and Sustainable Development
in Contemporary Africa

World Journal of Entrepreneurship,
Management and Sustainable Development,
Volume 7 Numbers 2/3/4, 2011

Climate Engineering:
Technical Status,
Future Directions,
and Potential Responses

USA General Accountability Office
28 July 2011

Special Issue:
Green Economy and Sustainable Development

UN Sustainable Development Journal, August 2011

Charting International Labor Comparisons
USA BLS, August 2011

Charting International Labor Comparisons
USA BLS, August 2011

Will Rising Democracies Become
International Democracy Supporters?

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
12 August 2011

Developing Linkages to Preserve Biodiversity
Andrew Long, SSRN, August 2011

Failed States Index
Foreign Policy anf Fund for Peace, August 2011

Enabling a Flourishing Earth:
Challenges for the Green Economy,
Opportunities for Global Governance

Klaus Bosselmann et al., Earth Charter Stakeholders Forum, August 2011

Education for a Sustainable Future
UN Rio+20, July 2011

Institutional Framework
for Sustainable Development

UN, Rio+20, July 2011

World Investment Summary Report
World Investment Full Report
UNCTAD, 2011

Investing for sustainable development? A review of investment principles – trends and impacts
IIED, July 2011

Helping UN negotiators protect the poorest
Climate Change Group, IIED, July 2011



2012 Environmental Performance Index
Interactive Map & Database

EPI, Yale University, January 2012

Eye on Earth
Global Mapping

EEA, December 2011

Database of Actions on Adaptation
to Climate Change

UNFCCC, December 2011

Climate Scoreboard
Climate Interactive, 2011

REN21 Renewables Interactive Map
REN21, 2011

Calculator of the
Carbon Footprint of Nations

NTNU, 2011

Geospatial Toolkit (GsT) for
Integrated Resource Assessment

NREL, November 2011

Climate Impact Equity Lens (CIEL)
Stockholm Environment Institute
November 2011

Global Adaptation Index
Global Adaptation Institute
Fall 2011

Gridded Population of the World
CIESIN, Columbia University, 2011

The New eAtlas of Gender
World Bank, 2011

Statistics and Tools
for Gender Analysis

World Bank, 2011

Gender Statistics Database
World Bank, 2011

Live World Data
The Venus Project, 2011

Clean Energy Analysis Software

RETScreen International, 2011

IGES CDM Methodology Parameter Data
IGES, 2011

IGES Emission Reductions Calculation Sheet
IGES, 2011

OECD Sustainable Manufacturing Toolkit
OECD, 2011

OECD Family Database

OECD Social Expenditure Database

Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services
and Tradeoffs (InVEST)

Version 2.1, Natural Capital Project, 2011

Interactive Map and Rankings for the 2011 Failed States Index
Foreign Policy and Fund for Peace, August 2011

Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC)
NASA & Columbia University

IGES GHG Database

Emission Factors Database

Renewables Interactive Map

Forestry Industry Carbon Assessment Tool
Green Resources, Tanzania

Agent-based Computational Economics
of the Global Energy System

Climate Hot Map
Union of Concerned Scientists

Solar Thermal Barometer


Forest Monitoring for Action

Water Evaluation And Planning System

Long range Energy Alternatives Planning System
Energy Community

Global Land Tool Network

UN-Energy Knowledge Network
Multi-dimensional Energy Poverty Index (MEPI)
and Energy Development Index (EDI)

Measuring Energy Poverty
Visualization Platform


United Nations Data
UN Statistics Database
UN MDG Indicators
UN Human Development Index (HDI)

Humanity's Footprint Data
Ecological Footprint
Footprint for Nations
Footprint for Cities
Footprint for Business
Carbon Footprint
Personal Footprint
Footprint & Biodiversity
Footprint & Human Development

Earth Policy Institute Data Sets
Population, Health, and Society
Natural Systems
Climate Change
Energy Resources
Transportation Systems
Food and Agriculture
Economics & Development

World Bank
World Development Indicators (WDI)

Data for the Social Sciences

STAR Database Beta-Test Now in Process
Invitation to Participate

Links Government Investment,
Science, Technology,
Firms, and Employment

Sustainable Society Index
Interactive Map

Interactive Mapping of
Population and Climate Change

Population Action International

Global Advocates Toolbox
Population Action International

Teaching and Learning
for a Sustainable Future:
Dissemination and Training Toolbox

UNESCO Education for
Sustainable Development

Economic Input-Output
Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA)

Green Design Institute
Carnegie Mellon University



Conference Alerts
Find Conferences Worldwide
by Topic, Country, or Keywords.

Calls for Papers
Find Calls for Papers Worldwide
by Specialization, Country, or Keywords.

Journal Articles
The latest Tables of Contents
from thousands of scholarly journals
Search by journal title, ISNN, or keywords


Degrowth in the Americas
Montreal, Canada 13-19 March 2012

GLOBE Conference 2010
Trade Fair on
Business and the Environment
Vancouver, Canada
14-16 March 2012

Planet Under Pressure
In anticipation of UNCSD - Rio+20
London, 26-29 March 2012

Religion and (In)Equalities
University of Chester, UK
28-30 March 2012

Knowledge Gaps
in Climate Change Research –
How are you tackling it?

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change
University of East Anglia, UK
11-13 April 2012

Energy Future:
The Role of Impact Assessment

IAIA, Porto, Portugal
27 May - 1 June 2012

UNCSD - Rio+20
UN Conference on
Sustainable Development
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
20-22 June 2012

18th Annual International
Sustainable Development
Research Conference

University of Hull, UK
24-26 June 2012

7th Conference on Sustainable Development
of Energy, Water and Environment Systems

UNESCO, Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia
1-6 July 2012

Water Resource Management
in Times of Gobal Change

32nd International Geographical Congress
Cologne, Germany, 26-30 August 2012

Metadata for Meeting Global Challenges
DCMI International Conference
Kuching, Malaysia, 3-7 September 2012

International Conference on
Culture, Politics, & Climate Change

Boulder, Colorado, USA
13-15 September 2012

World Clean Technology Summit (WCTS)
Kampala, Uganda
26-28 September 2012

Evidence for Sustainable Development
Berlin, Germany, 5-6 October 2012

Earth System Governance Tokyo Conference:
Complex Architectures, Multiple Agents

UN Conference Center Tokyo
28-31 January 2013

3. Advances in Sustainable Development


  • Bold action is needed to make sustainable development a reality, The Elders, 30 January 2012
  • Initial Discussions on the “Zero Draft” of the Outcome Document for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), IISD, 30 January 2012
  • Ambitious UN Sustainability Conference in Rio to Avoid Climate Talk, Alex Newman, New American, 28 January 2012
  • Five-Year Action Agenda: "The Future We Want", Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN, 25 January 2012
  • Global Compact Launches Web Platform to Mobilize Business for Rio+20, UN Global Compact, 23 January 2012
  • Does green growth make economic sense? Yes, but you have to do it right, Bert Metz, European Climate Foundation, 16 January 2012
  • Towards Rio+20, World Democratic Governace Project Association, January 2012
  • Rio+20 Draft Outcome Document Released, Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 11 January 2012
  • Leaked document reveals Rio+20 sustainable development goals,
  • John Vidal, The Guardian, 10 January 2012
  • The Place of Environmental Education at Rio+20, Christina Cotter, Human Impacts Institute, 10 January 2012
  • The Future We Want, UN CSD, Zero Draft for Rio+20, 10 January 2012
  • Green Economy: ‘Everyone’s talking about it’ - An analysis of the UNCSD Zero Draft text submissions, Green Economy Coalition (GEC), January 2012
  • Road to Rio+20 – Fresh Opportunity to Scale-Up Sustainable Development?, AfricanBrains, 5 January 2012
  • Rio+20: Preliminary information for participants, ZUNIA, 5 January 2012
  • Spiritual Dimensions of Sustainable Development, Soetendorp Institute, January 2012
  • Interreligious Statement Towards Rio+20, Soetendorp Institute, January 2012
  • Premises for a New Economy, An Agenda for Rio+20, Great Transition Initiative, January 2012
  • Rio+20 Participation Guide: An introduction for children and youth, Rio+twenties, Brussels, 2011
  • Why Rio+20's 'Green Economy' Approach is Not Enough, Jordi Sanchez-Cuenca, Polis, 26 December 2011
  • Summary & Analysis of the UNCSD Second Intersessional Meeting, 15-16 December 2011, IISD Earth Negotiations Bulletin, 19 December 2011
  • Rio+20 Friends of the Ocean, Friends of the Ocean Forum, 19 December 2011
  • Could Rio+20 become a new precedent of sustainable development multilateralism?, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan, 16 December 2011
  • Rio+20: A global movement towards a sustainable economy, Global Reporting Initiative, 14 December 2011
  • International Policy: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Pew Environment Group, 13 December 2011
  • Global Women's Submission for the Rio+20 zero-draft document, Women Rio+20 Steering Committee, 3 November 2011
  • Earth Charter Recommendations, ECI, 2 November 2011
  • ICT for a Greener Economy: Recommendations about using ICT for sustainable development, IICD, 24 October 2011
  • A New Assessment of Global Warming, Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project, 20 October 2011
  • Rio+20: An international perspective on the “green economy”, Club of Rome, 18 October 2011
  • Arab States Recommendations for Rio+20, ICSU-UNESCO, Cairo, Egypt, 12-14 October 2011
  • Policy Brief on the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development, International Environmental Governance, 27 September 2011
  • Rio+20 recommendations by Nigerian Major Groups , ICSU-UNESCO, Abuja, Nigeria, 6 September 2011
  • What Do You Want From Rio+20? - Rio+20 Three Demands by Country, WRI, 31 August 2011
  • Global Environmental Quality: Recommendations for Rio+20 and Beyond, Brookings Institution, 8 August 2011
  • A High-Impact Initiative for Rio+20: A pledge to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies, IISD, August 2011
  • Recommendations: ICSU-UNESCO RIO+20 Regional Workshop for Africa, ICSU-UNESCO, 1 June 2011
  • Recommendations for Local Sustainability, ICLEI, in preparation

  • 4. Advances in Integral Human Development

    Human Development Report 2011
    Sustainability and Equity:
    A Better Future for All
    UNDP, November 2011

    "This Report explores the integral links between environmental sustainability and equity and shows that these are critical to expanding human freedoms for people today and in generations to come. The point of departure is that the remarkable progress in human development over recent decades that the Human Development Report has documented cannot continue without bold global steps to reduce environmental risks and inequality. We identify pathways for people, communities, countries and the international community to promote environmental sustainability and equity in mutually reinforcing ways.

    "The cover diagram symbolizes how different policies can have different implications for sustainability and equity. Whenever available, we should prefer solutions that are good for the environment while also promoting equity and human development. Pursuing sustainability and equity jointly does not require that they be mutually reinforcing. In many instances they will not be. Sometimes the most feasible alternative involves trade-offs between sustainability and equity and requires explicit and careful consideration. No trade-off is isolated from a society’s structural and institutional conditions, and so we must address the underlying constraints and identify positive synergies between sustainability and equity. This Report is aimed not only at finding positive synergies but also at identifying ways to build them."

    Inclusive Sustainable Growth: Action Plan for 2012-2016
    UNDP and Government of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, January 2012

    5. Advances in Integrated Sustainable Development

    Rio+20 Needs to Address the Downsides of Growth
    by Herman Daly, Natural Resources Forum & CASSE, 26 December 2011

    Note from the CASSE editor: "The Natural Resources Forum (vol. 35, no. 4) asked 29 experts, including Herman Daly, “What do you think should be the two or three highest priority political outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), scheduled for Rio de Janeiro in June 2012?” His answer succinctly sums up the steady-state perspective."

    Herman Daly - "The conclusion of the 1972 Limits to Growth study by the Club of Rome still stands 40 years later. Even though economies are still growing, and still put growth in first place, it is no longer economic growth, at least in wealthy countries, but has become uneconomic growth. In other words, the environmental and social costs of increased production are growing faster than the benefits, increasing “illth” faster than wealth, thereby making us poorer, not richer. We hide the uneconomic nature of growth from ourselves by faulty national accounting because growth is our panacea, indeed our idol, and we are very afraid of the idea of a steady-state economy. The increasing illth is evident in exploding financial debt, in biodiversity loss, and in destruction of natural services, most notably climate regulation. The major job of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is to help us overcome this denial and shift the path of progress from quantitative growth to qualitative development, from bigger to better. Specifically this will mean working toward a steady-state economy at a sustainable (smaller than present) scale relative to the containing ecosystem that is finite and already overstressed. Since growth now makes us poorer, not richer, poverty reduction will require sharing in the present, not the empty promise of growth in the future."

    Recent Updates on "Limits to Growth" by the Club of Rome
    40 Years After the "Limits to Growth" Report
    The Count-Up to 2052: An Overarching Framework for Action
    The Limits to Growth Revisited, Ugo Bardi, Springer, June 2011

    What was the real message of "Limits to Growth"?

    Source: Club of Rome Videos and YouTube

    2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years
    A Report to the Club of Rome
    Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of The Limits to Growth
    By Jorgen Randers, Chelsea Green, Available July 2012

    6. Sustainability Games, Databases, and Knowledgebases

    The Earth Charter Game is now available in two languages (English and Portuguese):

    Earth Charter Game from Instituto Harmonia na Terra on Vimeo.

    7. Sustainable Development Measures and Indicators

    2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI)
    Switzerland Ranks at Top of the 2012 EPI
    and Latvia Takes #1 Spot in New Trend EPI Rankings
    Ysella Yoder, Yale University, 26 January 2012

    Davos, Switzerland – Switzerland leads the world in addressing pollution control and natural resource management challenges, according to the 2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) produced by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. Latvia, Norway, Luxembourg, and Costa Rica round out the top five positions in the 2012 EPI, which ranks 132 countries based on 22 indicators across ten major policy categories including air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity, and forest management.

    Switzerland’s top-notch performance on the overall EPI derives from its high scores on metrics related to both ecosystem vitality and environmental health, particularly its very strong performance in biodiversity and habitat protection and air pollution control. Occupying the bottom five positions in the EPI ranking are South Africa, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iraq – all countries grappling with deteriorating environmental circumstances in the context of significant economic development pressures and other challenges.

    As a complement to the performance “snapshot” which the EPI offers, the Yale-Columbia research team introduced this year a Pilot Trend Environmental Performance Index (Trend EPI) that shows which countries are improving and by how much on an issue-by-issue basis over the period 2000-2010. Latvia stands at the top of the new Trend EPI followed by Azerbaijan, Romania, Albania, and Egypt.

    "The EPI and Trend EPI demonstrate that policy choices matter when it comes to environmental progress,” observed Angel Hsu, the 2012 EPI Project Director. “Latvia, which ranks second in the overall EPI and first in the Trend EPI, has launched major energy and environmental initiatives in recent years – eliminating coal from its power generation and actively reforesting – and the results come through loud and clear. Other countries at the top of the lists have similar strengths,” she noted.

    While many countries had generally positive environmental performance trend lines, some deteriorated over the 2000-2010 period. Estonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Russia all showed serious fall off in their pollution control and natural resource management results. Russia, at the very bottom of the Trend EPI ranking, has suffered a severe breakdown in environmental public health as well as performance declines related to over-fishing and forest loss.

    For countries near the top of the EPI rankings, the Trend EPI results will not be particularly meaningful as the longtime leaders have limited room for improvement. Iceland, for example, ranks 13th in the EPI but 64th in the Trend EPI – reflecting its high ranking in the EPI over the past decade, which makes further gains hard to achieve. But some top-tier performers on this year’s EPI have strong Trend EPI ranks as well indicating improved performance over the past 10 years. The United Kingdom, for example, ranks 9th on the 2012 EPI list and 20th on the Trend EPI, which demonstrates that significant progress has been made over the last decade on a number of environmental issues.

    “As leaders gather for the Rio +20 Summit in June, they need to know who is leading and who is lagging on energy and environmental challenges,” said Daniel C. Esty, Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Hillhouse Professor at Yale University (currently on leave serving as Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in Connecticut). Esty further observed: “Like so many other areas of decisionmaking, environmental policy has become more datadriven and experience-based. The EPI provides a proven tool for assessing performance on an absolute basis, and the new Trend EPI offers a way to track progress over time – as well as a mechanism for gauging the efficacy of government programs and indentifying best policy practices.”

    The United States places 49th in the 2012 EPI, with strong results on some issues, such as water and air pollution management, but weak performance on others, including greenhouse gas emissions and renewable electricity generation. This ranking puts the United States significantly behind other industrialized nations, including France (6th), the United Kingdom (9th), Germany (11th), and Japan (23rd). In addition, the US places 77th in the Trend EPI rankings, suggesting that little progress has been made on environmental challenges over the last ten years.

    Of the emerging economies, China and India rank 116th and 125th respectively, reflecting the strain rapid economic growth imposes on the environment. Brazil ranks 30th, however, suggesting that a concerted focus on sustainability as a policy priority will pay dividends – and that the level and pace of development is just one of many factors affecting environmental performance.

    Analysis of the policy drivers underlying the 2012 rankings makes it clear that income is a major determinant of environmental success. Investments in safe drinking water and modern sanitation, in particular, translate quickly into improved environmental health results. At every level of development, however, some countries achieve results that exceed other countries with similar economic circumstances, demonstrating that good governance and careful policy choices also affect performance. “It is wonderful to see the impact that the EPI has begun to have across the policy world,” said Kim Samuel-Johnson, Chair of the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy Board of Directors and cocreator of the project, “many countries are realizing the value of using these indicators to benchmark performance over time.”

    The EPI and Trend EPI build on the best available global datasets from international organizations, such as the World Bank and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, as well as research entities such as the Battelle Memorial Institute, University of Maryland, University of Frankfurt, and the “Sea Around Us” Project at the University of British Columbia. Serious data gaps limit the ability to measure results – and particularly changes in performance – on a number of important issues.

    "Our findings are only as solid as the underlying data, and we have a long way to go in some areas," said John W. Emerson, Associate Professor of Statistics at Yale and Principal Investigator of the 2012 EPI. “Particularly distressing is the lack of global, accurate, and comparative data on waste management, toxic exposures, agricultural sustainability, and water resources.”

    Marc Levy, Deputy Director of Columbia’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network and one of the EPI project leaders, added, “Although there was an effort at the 1992 Earth Summit to launch the world on a path toward environmental sustainability, we have witnessed the opposite – stagnation on many critical issues. The meager data we have available clearly demonstrates this fact. It makes no sense to enter a period of heightened pressure on the environment with such inadequate monitoring of those pressures.”

    8. Sustainable Development Modeling and Simulation

    Simulating Energy Transitions, Emile Chappin, Delft University, 16 June 2011

    Energy infrastructures as socio-technical systems
    Simulating Energy Transitions, Emile Chappin, Delft University, 16 June 2011, Figure 1.2, page 3

    Electricity and CO2 prices and CO2 emission levels for three carbon policies
    Simulating Energy Transitions, Emile Chappin, Delft University, 16 June 2011, Figures 4.13a and 4.13b, page 110

    9. Sustainable Development and the International Community

    Click on the image to visit the web site
    Keeping Track of Our Changing Environment: From Rio to Rio+20 (1992-2012), UNEP, November 2011
    UN Conference on Sustainable Development
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 4-6 June 2012

    Objectives & Themes of the Conference
    History of Sustainable Development
    UN System, IGOs, and NGOs
    Links to Documents, Publications, and Databases
    Earth Summit 2012 Stakeholder Forum
    Towards the Rio+20 Conference

    For more information about the December 2011 Durban meeting:

    Durban Update, Durban Report, Snapshot of a Warming World, Climate Tracker
    Durban Climate Change Conference - COP17/CMP7, IISD Bulletin
    Analysis of the UN Climate Conference in Durban, Wuppertal Institute
    Going Deeper On What Happened In Durban, Climate Ethics
    Salvaging Durban with Clean Energy Innovation, ITIF

    For an analysis of lessons learned since the 1992 UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol:

    Kyoto and the COPs: Lessons Learned and Looking Ahead
    Rafael Leal-Arcas, Hague Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 23, pp. 17-90, 2011

    Sustainable Energy for All

    Three broad objectives to be achieved by 2030:

  • Ensuring universal access to modern energy services
  • Doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency
  • Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

  • UNSEFA2030
    Sustainable Energy for All

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    "The profit from the Earth is for all."

    Ecclesiastes 5:9


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