Critics say sustainable development upholds a model

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- critics say sustainable development upholds a model of development that priori- tizes economic growth at the expense of other important priorities, such as envi- ronmental sustainability, social equity and respect for human rights - critics have argued that the concept ignores the structural-historical factors that drive environmentally destructive practices, including especially the relationship between industrialization and economic growth - can argue it is a reformist agenda that legitimates the stats quo while ignoring the needs of the poor - contradictions say that the agenda of sustainable development is aimed at ad- dressing the root causes of global poverty; much stronger emphasis on the ability of the poor and politically marginalized groups in society to secure and sustain ac- cess to resources and a healthy environment Geopolitical Dimensions of Sustainable Development - issue has been the need to incorporate low income countries into a global consen- sus on the environment (biodiversity conservation and climate change)
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- countries argue that global environmental agreements impose serious con- straints on their ability to develop - idea that wealthy countries were able to industrialize on the basis on environmen- tally destructive practices and therefore have the responsibility to clean up the mess - global development agreements are inherently dependent upon the international transfer of knowledge and finances in the form of foreign aid and technical assis- tance - ex. 2015 Paris Agreement: pledge by industrialized countries to provide an ad- ditional $100 billion per year by 2020 to help low income countries reduce their carbon footprint and vulnerability to climate change Governance Capacity - now very strong recognition that the ability to implement the norms and princi- ples of sustainable development rests with subnational governments and non- state actors, like cities, businesses and NGOs - separation of powers between provincial and federal governments, including es- pecially the power that provinces have to regulate and collect royalties from the sale of primary resources - different electoral systems (ex. proportional representation vs. first-past-the-post) create opportunities for smaller environmental parties and social movements to influence environmental policy at the local, provincial and national levels - Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system, federal-provincial tensions over en- ergy resources, and the Canadian constitution act as constraints on the govern- ments ability to institutionalize sustainable development Readings: Chapter 7 (VanN) Chapter 7 (Dryzek) “Sustainable development goals for people and planet” Nature by Griggs et al. - UN Rio+20 summit in Brazil 2012 committed governments to create a set of SDGs that would be integrated into the Millennium Development Goals - new definition of sustainable development in the Anthropocene: development that meets the needs of the present while safeguarding Earth’s life-support sys-
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