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Law and Policy for a New Economy

Sustainable, Just, and Democratic

Edited by Melissa K. Scanlan

This book makes the case for a New Environmentalism, and using a systems change approach, takes the reader through ideas for reorienting the economy. It addresses the laws and policies needed to support the emergence of a new economy across a variety of major areas – from energy to food, across common pool resources, and shifting investments to capitalize locally-connected and mission-driven businesses. The authors take the approach that the challenges are much broader than setting parameters around pollution, and go to the heart of the dominant global political economy. It explores the values needed to transform our current economic system into a new economy supportive of ecological integrity, social justice, and vibrant democracy.
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Foreword

Sustainable, Just, and Democratic

Edited by Melissa K. Scanlan

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Prologue

Sustainable, Just, and Democratic

Edited by Melissa K. Scanlan

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Table of cases

Sustainable, Just, and Democratic

Edited by Melissa K. Scanlan

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Table of constitutions, legislation, and regulations

Sustainable, Just, and Democratic

Edited by Melissa K. Scanlan

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Climate change, system change, and the path forward

Sustainable, Just, and Democratic

Melissa K. Scanlan

The current global economic system, which is fueled by externalizing environmental costs, growing exponentially, consuming more, and a widening wealth gap between rich and poor, is misaligned to meet the climate imperative to rapidly reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs). Amidst this system breakdown as we reach the end of the Industrial Age, the new economy movement has emerged to provide an alternative approach where ecological balance, wealth equity, and vibrant democracy are central to economic activity. Laws are the fundamental infrastructure that undergirds our economic and political system. Environmental law is typically conceived as a set of rules that establish pollutant limits for specific waterbodies, protect an identified species, or direct an industry to use a required technology. Although necessary, these types of law do not address the fundamentals of our political economy, and the most dramatic failure of environmental law is seen in increasing amounts of GHGs and global climate disruption. In order to develop a new economic system that is aligned with a climate and economic justice imperative, we need laws that will facilitate the new system and discourage the old. This chapter discusses systems thinking and systems change, highlighting leverage points to achieve change. It gives an overview of the new economy movement that has emerged to provide a new narrative, and using a systems lens, identifies areas where the law needs to evolve to facilitate building a more sustainable, equitable, and democratic future.

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  • The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series

Melissa K. Scanlan

Urban wastewater treatment is an energy intensive process that is typically powered by fossil fuels. Does cleaning up urban waters necessitate such a large carbon footprint? Some leading wastewater treatment facilities are charting a different course with sewage-based renewable energy and a prospect of becoming net renewable energy exporters. Wastewater contains the potential to be a renewable source of energy that simultaneously reduces carbon and energy costs. The biggest source of potential energy is in biosolids in the wastewater, which can be anaerobically digested to make biogas. This chapter will provide three case studies of best practices in reducing the carbon footprint of municipal wastewater treatment facilities, one from Austria and two from the United States. The chapter will describe the innovations made at these facilities and identify several policy drivers that could accelerate this critical transition from fossil fuels to renewable sewage energy.