November 18, 2003
Should US Law be Amended to Incorporate Sustainable Development?
Although the World Summit on Sustainable Development ended without any significant legal requirements for the United States, the U.S. is obliged to implement sustainable development by its earlier endorsement of Agenda 21 at the 1992 Earth Summit. Is the U.S. living up to this legal obligation? What are the existing drivers promoting sustainable development in this country? Should sustainable development be made a specific legal objective? It has been argued that a holistic approach would be more effective in facilitating sustainable development than the current system of independent statutes. Others point to a number of companies that have voluntarily adopted sustainable practices and contend that new law could be counter-productive.
On November 18, ELI held an Associate Seminar, co-sponsored by the ABA Section on Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER), to discuss if and how sustainable development should be integrated into U.S. law. Panelists included, E. Donald Elliott (Partner and Head, Worldwide Environmental Department, Willkie Farr & Gallagher), David van Hoogstraten (Senior Negotiator, OES Bureau, State Department), Andrew Savitz (Partner, Environmental and Sustainability Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP), Jacob Scherr (Director of International Program, NRDC) and Marty Spitzer (Professional Staff, Committee on Science, U.S. House). Ira Feldman (Chairman of ABA Committee on Sustainable Development, Ecosystems and Climate Change, Section on Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER), Founder and Principal, Greentrack Strategies) moderated the discussion.