As the world gears up for the next round of United Nations climate-change negotiations in Durban, South Africa, in November, evidence has emerged that a cornerstone of the existing global climate agreement, the international greenhouse-gas emissions-trading system, is seriously flawed. Critics have long questioned the usefulness of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which was established under the Kyoto Protocol.


As an intellectual contribution to the preparations for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, a.k.a. Rio +20), Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future convened a task force of experts to discuss the role of institutions in the actualization of a green economy in the context of sustainable development.

Globalization means that Earth's life-support system can no longer be treated as separate from the socio

The future of the world's biodiversity hangs in the balance as countries convene for crucial negotiations in Nagoya, Japan. The 193 signatory nations to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) pledged eight years ago to cut species loss "significantly" by this year. But studies show that the health of global biodiversity is reaching a crisis point, with extinctions of mammal and amphibian species continuing to rise.

This issue of Sustainable Development Insights argues that accountability-or lack thereof-is a fundamental challenge in confronting improved global environmental governance (GEG) and that success must be measured not simply by the vitality of the negotiation process but by the robustness of implementation.

VIEW FINDER NOT A USUAL EXERCISE Soldiers smell the ground to detect bodies of flash flood victims in Taiwan after Typhoon Morakot battered the island"s southern region in the second week of August. The typhoon, which Met officials call the deadliest in 50 years, also triggered mudslides; one such mudslide

The problem of desertification sits at the interface of environmental and developmental concerns. In this article, we examine the institutional relationship between desertification science and policy through focus on the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and its subsidiary body, the Committee on Science and Technology.

When nations made plans to save the ozone layer, they didn't factor in global warming. Quirin Schiermeier reports on how two environmental problems complicate each other.

Twenty years on, the success of the Montreal Protocol can help inform plans to mitigate climate change. (Editorial)