Jeffrey D. Sachs
Stories by the author
Many consider hatred and conflict inevitable, owing to a fundamental clash of values and interests. Fifty years ago, U.S. President J.F. Kennedy showed that peace could be achieved even in the most difficult circumstances. His courage, vision, eloquence, and political skills are an affirmation that the path to peace must always be preferred to the dead end of war.
After a sharp downturn in 1999-2001, Turkey’s economy managed to grow by 5 percent per year on average from 2002 to 2012 – despite global and regional crises. There is however nothing flashy about the country's rise; its success was simply based on getting the fundamentals right, like rebuilding the banking sector, getting the budget under control, and investing heavily where it counts: infrastructure, education, health, and technology.
Children are every country’s most vital resource; yet even high national incomes do not guarantee children’s well-being. According to a new UNICEF study, societies that have a strong commitment to equal opportunity for all of their children – and that are prepared to invest public funds on their behalf – tend to end up with the highest economic returns.
The surest bet on the future of energy is the need for low-carbon energy supplies; And while early movers, such as France & Germany, may pay a slightly higher price today for these strategies, they and the world will reap long-term economic and environmental benefits.
NEW YORK – The surest bet on the future of energy is the need for low-carbon energy supplies. Around 80 percent of the world’s primary energy today is carbon based: coal, oil, and gas. We will need to shift to no- or low-carbon energy by mid-century. The big questions are how and when.
The European Union Emissions Trading System was the world’s first large emissions trading scheme, which required industrial emitters to purchase a permit for each ton of CO2 emissions. However, with permits’ prices plummeting in the midst of Europe’s economic slowdown, a new global strategy is now required to combat climate change. Each region of the world should introduce a tax on CO2 emissions that starts low today and increases gradually and predictably in the future.
At his second inaugural address on January 21, U.S. President Barack Obama promised more progressive politics for America – shifting away from the Reagan-era policies, led by corporate special interests, over the last three decades. And while it is too early to declare the start of a progressive new era for American politics, more government activism may help to address America’s – and the world’s – most urgent challenges, including building the infrastructure for a sustainable future.
America has now suffered around 30 shooting massacres over the past 30 years, including this year’s deadly dozen; each a gut-wrenching tragedy for many families. Today, America’s real freedoms depend on sane public policy and the bloodbath in Newtown is the latest reminder that it is time to stop feeding the US’ gun frenzy.
In a momentous verdict last week, BP was ordered to pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history for its role in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. However, while polluters are increasingly being held accountable for their crimes in the developed world, many global companies continue to enjoy relative impunity for environmental damage caused in poorer countries: as exhibited by the lack of reparation in the Niger Delta.
To break the cycle of poverty, a country needs to invest in its people. Governments have the unique role to play to ensure that all young members of a generation – the poor children as well as rich ones – have a chance. Yet many societies around the world fail to meet the challenge of ensuring basic health and a decent education for each generation of children.
What if you could create an ‘ideal’ or ‘model’ economy simply by copying and adapting the best economic policies from around the world? Although no country in the world is likely to ever come close to achieving this (in the near future at least), emulating policies that have worked elsewhere and then reconfiguring them for local conditions can see greater sustainable growth – and speed the path to national improvement at home.
Our generation urgently needs to spur another era of great social change. This time, we must act to save the planet from a human-induced environmental catastrophe. Sustainable development is a generational challenge, not a short-term task, and governments, civil society, universities and even corporations have the potential to become agents of change.
For many years, the risk of climate change was widely regarded as something far in the future, a risk perhaps facing our children or their children. But recent global events suggest that we have now entered a new and very dangerous era of global climate shifts, one that corporate lobbies and media propagandists are still attempting to deny.