State of the World 1991

January 1991
ISBN: 0-393-30733-6
254 pages

As the dust from the cold war settles, the battle to save the planet will replace the battle over ideology as the organizing theme of the new world order. During the twenty years since the first Earth Day in 1970, the earth lost tree cover over an area nearly as large as the United States east of the Mississippi River. Deserts claimed more land than is devoted to crops in China. Thousands of plant and animal species with which we shared the planet in 1970 no longer exist. The world's farmers lost as much topsoil as covers India's cropland. And more people joined the world's population than inhabited the planet in 1900.

How can we design a vibrant world economy that does not destroy the natural resources and environmental systems on which it depends? That is the question of the 1990s, and the question that State of the World 1991 sets out to answer.

State of the World 1991 lucidly examines the options for restoring our planet's health. From energy production to urban transportation, and from forest management to the reuse of common materials like glass and paper, State of the World 1991 details how we can provide the energy and goods the world needs in a way that is sustainable ”that does not consume the resource base of future generations.

The authors of State of the World 1991 conclude that partially replacing income taxes with environmental taxes is the key to quickly transforming our environmentally unsustainable global economy into one that is sustainable. Such “green“ taxes would add charges to the burning of fossil fuels, the use of non-recyclable materials, and the discharge of toxic wastes while generating income for environmentally sound development.