Despite Global Pleas, the U.S. Abstains from Leading on Climate Change

Global leaders met last week in New Delhi to discuss climate change mitigation through sustainable development measures. For those on the front lines of climate change, the intransigence of the U.S. has sparked concern, reports Joanna Zelman.

2 minute read

February 6, 2013, 8:00 AM PST

By boramici

Political and thought leaders from all over the world met in New Delhi, India from January 31 - February 2, 2013 to discuss the impacts of climate change on the environment and world economy. Discussions at the 2013 Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) focused on adaptive and mitigating measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions, boost employment in green economies, promote sustainable and equitable development in a knowledge economy and forge a vision for the future of the planet.

Leaders from nations most impacted by climate change, including Kiribati, the Seychelles, the Maldives and Canada spoke of the unique problems they face: coastal erosion, flooding, extreme weather patterns and the opening of new maritime routes in the Arctic. As Guyana's President Donald Ramotar voiced the "disproportionate burden" developing countries carry when it comes to climate change, most participants of the TERI-India-organized conference agreed that the United States should take a leadership role.

The World is Flat author Thomas Friedman and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist lamented the relative timidity of the U.S. in acknowledging climate change.

But not all was doom and gloom. TERI Director General R.K. Pachauri cited a cautionary Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI) paper [PDF], which compares material consumption and resource productivity in 19 Asian countries, representing more than 90% of GDP in Asia, over 20 years.

The paper, which looks at resource extraction, material trade, consumption, GDP, productivity and CO2 emissions concludes: "Asian countries need to alter current development trends and help avoid a situation of severe global resource scarcities and (potentially armed) conflicts about access to limited natural resources. Increasing resource productivity, erasing poverty in the developing countries and reducing resource use in the high‐consuming countries are key priorities in a joint Asian policy agenda towards 'Green Industries'."

According to the paper's policy conclusions, in order to successfully implement a joint agenda like the "Manila Declaration on Green Industry in Asia," which contains a Framework of Action for the transition to low-carbon economies, nations need to balance resource efficiency and consumption patterns, improve infrastructure and materials energy efficiency and transfer material affluence to poor nations in an ecologically sound way.   


Friday, February 1, 2013 in The Huffington Post

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

View of 110 freeway with downtown Los Angeles buildings in background.

LA Freeway Ramp ‘Quietly Canceled’

A 2018 lawsuit forced Metro and Caltrans to do full environmental reviews of the project, leading to its cancellation.

February 29, 2024 - Streetsblog LA

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Blue and white Pittsburgh bike share bikes lined up at a station with a red city bus on street in background.

Micromobility Operators Call for Better Links to Transit

For shared mobility to succeed, systems must tap into the connectivity and funding potential offered by closer collaboration with public transit.

March 4 - GovTech

New York MTA Bus

Retaining Transit Workers Is About More Than Wages

An analysis of California transit employees found a high rate of burnout among operators who face unpredictable work schedules, high housing costs, and occasional violence.

March 4 - Streetsblog California

View of Hollywood Reservoir with palm trees in foreground and Los Angeles neighobrhoods in background.

California's Stormwater Potential

A new study reveals that if California could collect and treat more stormwater in cities, it could provide enough water to supply a quarter of the state’s urban population.

March 4 - Cal Matters

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.