kuhlow1_STEFANI REYNOLDSAFP via Getty Images_new structrues spring meetings STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

What We Need for Long-Term Peace and Prosperity

Recent crises have exposed the shortcomings of our international institutions and growth-obsessed economic models, pointing to the need for fundamental reforms. The situation demands a new global commission to reorient our systems toward sustainable, “nature-positive” development.

WASHINGTON, DC – Russia’s war in Ukraine is a humanitarian catastrophe that violates the United Nations Charter and international humanitarian law, and has exacerbated socioeconomic and environmental crises around the world. It is also the latest manifestation of a global system that does not improve the human condition. Our imperfect responses to climate change, biodiversity loss, the COVID-19 pandemic, rising energy and food costs, and war reveal international systems in dire need of redesign.

An economic model predicated on the pursuit of indefinite production and consumption has confronted us with climate and ecosystem breakdown. The latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underscore the severity of the climate crisis and the narrowing opportunity for more climate-resilient development.

Governments need to deliver on pledges to align public support behind clean-energy investments and deployment, and to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels. But the war in Ukraine is increasing pressure on fiscal authorities to maintain and even increase support for fossil fuels and intensive, protectionist agriculture. Policymakers therefore must recognize that the current crisis is an opportunity to invest in a faster transition to clean energy and resilient agriculture – all of which will create green jobs in the process.

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