Skip to main content

Climate Change and preparing for the Sustinable Development Goals in the southern US States

As many of you will know the Tea Party in particular has focused attacks on Agenda 21 which was agreed by the Earth Summit in 1992. as reported in 2010 in Mother Jones:

"Virginia activist Donna Holt is among those who believe that Agenda 21—unveiled during the UN's "Earth Summit" in 1992—is really a plot to curtail private property rights and deprive Americans of precious constitutional freedoms. In reality, the document will do nothing of the sort, but it has nevertheless been the target of conspiracy-minded UN haters for years. Holt and other tea partiers are taking their cues from people like Henry Lamb, a WorldNetDaily columnist and founder of Sovereignty International and Freedom21, groups designed to fight Agenda 21 and its ilk. He has been arguing for decades that the UN is secretly plotting to herd humans into crowded cities so that the rest of the world can be devoted to wildlife preservation. (Lamb declined to comment for this story because back Mother Jones once included him in a story called Wingnuts in Sheep's Clothing, and another article that described his role in Astroturf lobbying against the Kyoto treaty.)"

Holt a Ron Paul coordinator said:

"If sustainable development is fully implemented, she says, "This basically will turn us into a Soviet state."

For those of us engaged in sustainable development we do not recognize this at all. Infact int he rest of the world the conservative parties have been at the front of the promotion of sustainable development.The Pope is about to make his first climate change speech (June 18th) which is causing some concern on the right in the US with Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum warnign the Pope:

"The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think that we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we're really good at, which is theology and morality,” Santorum said. "When we get involved with political and controversial scientific theories, I think the church is not as forceful and credible."

Well of course the Ope is listening to scientific evidence the overwelming 97% of climate scientists believe the evidence is there to say man has and is creating climatic changes and according to the UN IPCC it is accelerating. Even republican votes agree Among Republicans, 48 percent say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fighting climate change, in a recent Sanford University poll. Worrying for Republicans is that 72 percent of independents, said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who said that human-caused climate change is a hoax.

It looks like the Republican leadership is again on the wrong side of public opinion as they were on gay rights, drugs, immigration. In the recent Senate vote on climate change only Lindsey Graham of the present Senate Presidential candidates supported the Democratic amendment that "climate change is  real and human activity significantly contributes to climate change.”

Disinvestment on climate change 

Well there has been some very interesting developments on this front over the last few weeks.Norway’s parliament has formally endorsed the move to sell off coal investments from its $900bn sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest. This will impact on 122 companies and the question that is in many minds is this the end of coal?  My good friend  Mark Campanale from Carbon tracker said:

"The significance of the Norway decision is that, because of their size and reach, this will act as a major signal for other investors to follow. This will certainly create a wave,” 

The former chairman of  Shell Sir Mark Moody-Stuart said that the lack of progress the world has made on climate change is, “distressing,” and that it was “rational” for investors to start divesting their money from companies that extract fossil fuel.Just a reminder the Governor of the bank of England announces that the “vast majority of reserves are unburnable” 

The Guardian is running a campaign to seek the Gates and Welcome Foundations to follow the lead of last years Rockefeller Brothers Fund in dis-investing their portfolio...this si a campaign that has captured the moment and will keep on impacting on Foundations, Councils, Universities and other Sovereign Wealth Funds.  

These are hardly socialists leading the way in this campaign but in many cases hard nose capitalists.

Sustainable Development Goals

That brings me to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will be agreed in September and will be UNIVERSAL and so apply the 17 goals and 169 targets to ALL countries. As of yet the Tea party and the right in the US have not focused much on the SDGs. This will change and NGOs int he US need to start to develop their responses before this happens. It is important to remember that the SDGs and targets are soft law and  so it is up to each country how they take it forward. It is a transformational agenda which will have been backed by right of center parties in Europe and the rest of the world...though that often means nothing to the small number of tea party activities who hold the Republican party hostage.

Those on the side of this transformational change will be all governments, many spiritual leaders - the Ope will speak at the SDG Summit in September and citizens who want a better world for their children.

We face critical challenges in the next fifteen years - the time span of the SDGs. We are already seeing some of the impact in the US with the droughts in California and the floods in Texas. Those of you who have read my blog before will know that i have been highlighting the Nexus of water-energy-food and climate change.

It is clear that the issue of water will be critical in the US over the next 15 years. Just on the link between water and energy the move from fossil fuel to renewable energy makes sense. One of the targets in the SDGs deals with this:
6.4 by 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity, and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

In the US as in other countries there needs to be local application of the goals and targets into planning and management systems so that we can prepare for the future in a coherent and sensible way. Our children will ask "what did you do to ensure these goals and targets were implemented?" 

I hope our answer will be that we took the predictions serious and acted accordingly.


  1. Ariise has altered the way design industry professionals get their news. By being an online publication, we are able to be the first source to feature new products and projects by contemporary designers from around the world


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

New Executive Director of UNEP announced

Erik Solheim according to Norwegian newspapers is to be announced today as the new Executive Director of UNEP. And later today Monday the 2nd of May ABC News confirm too.

He faced stiff competition for the number one job on the environment in the UN system. In the 6 Executive Directors of UNEP it will mean that developed countries will have had 5 of them with two Canadians (Strong and Dowdeswell) and Germany (Toepfer and Steiner). The only Executive Director to come from a developing country was Dr. Mostafa Kamal Tolba who died recently.

Erik brings considerable experience to the position having held been from 2007 to 2012  the combined portfolio of Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development; he also served as Minister of International Development from 2005 to 2007. During his time as minister Norwegian aid reached 1%, the highest in the world.

Since January 2013 he has been the Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). In the DAC he has emphasi…

Guest Blog Mike Barry: 5 things we learnt on Marks and Spencer Plan A journey over last 12 months

Guest Blog by Mike Barry:  Director of Sustainable Business (Plan A) at Marks and Spencer

It’s that time of year, publication of our annual sustainability (Plan A) report. After the harum scarum dash to gather, collate, assure, sign-off and publish a wealth of data we can breathe (for a moment!) and reflect on what it all means.
Here are some quick insights into what we’ve learnt at M&S in the last 12 months on our Plan A journey.
1. Succession – Nine years is a long time in the world of sustainable business. How many corporate plans have come and gone since we launched Plan A in 2007? Too many! The continuity offered by having a single multi-year plan has been incredibly important. It’s allowed us to take long term decisions in a very short term turbulent retail marketplace. It’s allowed us to build the skills and capabilities in our business units to integrate Plan A into their ways of working. It’s allowed us to pick our battles, knowing that occasionally we’ve just got to let a …

Bokova out? Georgieva in for next UN Secretary General

The rumors that have been circulating for the last month have now proven to be true. The Bulgarian government has withdrawn support from Irina Bokova as their candidate for UN Secretary General and replaced her with Kristalina Georgieva, the European commissioner for budget and human resources.
There is some evidence that the right of center parties in European capitals have been behind this with some articles appearing in the last few weeks against Bokova. The Guardian reported on the 26th: “one of her (Kristalina’s) staff members was hacked and emails purporting to be from one of her top aides were sent out to the rest of her office, instructing them to attack Bokova”There is no question that Kristalina has the cv and record to be a very good UN Secretary General. She is a strong supporter of sustainable development issues she will pick up the SDGs and climate agendas with ease. She is dynamic and very personable and was very active around last week’s UN General Assembly High Level se…