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How can WE be a game changing
force for campus sustainability in
the 21st Century?
Moderator: Walter Leal, Manchester Metropolitan University UK & HAW
Nicholas Ashford, Professor of Technology and Policy, MIT
Wu Jiang, Professor, Tongji University, Global University
Partnership of Education for Sustainability co-chair
Chris Shiel, Professor of Life and Environmental Sciences,
Keynote Panel 4:15-5:30
Are Sustainability Policies Good Indicators of
Commitment of Higher Education Institutions?
What can be done about the Current Crises?
(recovery or transformation?)
• FINANCE (reform the financial system)
– transparency, regulation, oversight, international
– democratize credit
– public or community-based financing of sustainable
• (the B-Corp or Benefit Corporation)
• WEALTH & INCOME CONCENTRATION (redistribution; basic income
• EMPLOYMENT (shorten the workweek, maintaining income; redesign
• CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION (green the economy?)
• ENVIRONMENT (build a circular economy; regulation; economic
• TRADE (fairer trade practices; “re-shoring”; change the trade rules;
disengage from the world trade regimes? (TTIP and TPP?)
• How might the modern industrial or
industrializing state be envisioned? i.e., what is
• How is the concern with sustainability affecting
institutions of higher learning?
– Engendering a focus on environmental sustainability
• What is the role of those institutions in
addressing the sustainability challenges?
– Contribute to greening the economy through S&T
– Broaden research & teaching to other sustainability
What is involved in “greening the econom
• Dematerializing, de-toxifying, and de-energizing production,
products, and services (building a circular economy/moderate
• Moving to less environmentally-damaging energy sources
(moderate supply-side changes)
• Greening manufacturing and energy green jobs? A triple
dividend? (more radical supply-side changes are possible, but jobs
are likely to be redistributed between sectors with no net gain in
employment; a lowering of skills may be demanded, depressing
• Consuming less (serious demand-side changes)
• Travelling less (serious demand-side changes)
• Working less? (with lower wages ~ lowering demand)
• Whatever the developed countries do, there is the overwhelming
pressure for increased growth and consumption in the developing
THE ENERGY CHALLENGE
• In addition to others (Sachs 2015), the Energy
Transition Commission (2016) has also warned th at
meeting COP21 targets will not come close to
achieving a 1.5 degree C rise to stem serious climate
disruption…The COP21 commitments are unbalanced
between the supply and demand levers, and are very
limited in scope outside the power sector.
• In addition into making technology-specific changes,
changes to the international trading system needs to
receive immediate and serious consideration. The EU
ETC (2016, p. 9) observes that: “the shift in countries
offshore a significant percentage of their domestic
emissions (up to 48% according to some estimates).”
• This argues not only that redesigning the WTO (and
TTIP) trade rules needs to be undertaken, but also that
trade policy has to be an integral and important part of
the overall strategy to achieve deep decarbonization.
• There is a need to recognize some myths about
industrial economies (Ashford and Renda 2016)
innovation in products and
services is essential to
decarbonization. Europe is
suffering from an “innovation
• Actually, Europe may be suffering more from a diffusion
and deployment deficit. Consider the wedges approach
of Pacala/Socolow and Blok et al.
• There are many analysts [e.g., Amory Lovins (2011) and
Robert Ayres (2016)] who argue that there are many
technologies already in existence which could be
defused into use, but which suffer by the inadequacies
of appropriate market and regulatory signals, sufficient
market demand, and/or lock-in due to inappropriate
policies -- and influence and agency capture by
incumbent technology providers
• Actually, it is system innovation that is needed,
integrating changes in the activities of previously
unconnected actors, some operating in different
networks. Government Trusteeship for an industrial
transformation is key.
Myth #4: Governments cannot
pick winners. Winners pick
– The US experience with aircraft,
computers, the internet, space
technology, and pharmaceuticals (to
name just a few examples) clearly
demonstrates the power of government
funding of research, e.g., see the U.S.
examples of DARPA and ARPA-E.
– Winners may pick governments if the
incumbents dominate the policy agenda
Myth #6: Regulation inhibits
• The Porter Hypothesis
• The MIT Hypothesis
• Better Regulation is not about
cutting red tape and allowing
incumbents to negotiate targets.
Myth #7: Carbon leakage
presents a practical
disincentive and limits to what
NATIONAL regulation can
achieve in terms of
• Carbon leakage is a BIG
problem which is why multi-
lateral action is needed and
why revision of the world trade
• If we attributed to the developed countries the GHG
emissions associated with producing goods and services
for them by China, emissions now attributed to China would
be much less and those attributed to the developing
countries would be much more. In addition, China is a very
• Since 2005, government subsidies to assist firms in
achieving compliance with environmental/global climate
goals for their exports are considered “actionable – i.e.,
subject to border adjustments by countries receiving those
• India’s “buy national policy” on solar panels declared illegal
by the World Trade Organization, discouraging needed
infrastructure in India.
• All the above contribute to carbon leakage and increases in
• Trade policies and trade rules must be revised.
THIS IS NOT (JUST) A TEXTBOOK: ASHFORD & HALL 2011
YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS