Gus Speth

James Gustave Speth is author of America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy (Yale Press) and, most recently, They Knew: The U.S. Federal Government’s Role in Causing the Climate Crisis (MIT Press). He has served as Dean of the Yale School of the Environment, as President of the World Resources Institute, and as Administrator of the UN Development Programme. He was Chair of the US Council on Environmental Quality during the Carter Administration.


Is there a way forward?

The threat to democracy is recognized, and the fight for a democratic future is joined. All is not lost, but it is already a close call.

June 2, 2023

Through a Glass, Darkly

Perhaps sooner than most think, there should come a point when public demand in the United States for corrective action to free us from fossil fuels is sufficiently intense that, if Congress and a  unified NGO community are prepared, then at that point decisive, major legislative action could finally be possible. 

March 10, 2023

United States Capitol

Can Transformative Change Come to America?

Perhaps sooner than most think, major legislative action regulating greenhouse gas emissions will finally be possible. But that moment will not arrive without deep struggle, organizing, and collective persistence.

August 17, 2022

People's State of the Nation

A People’s State of the Nation

These measures of our current situation—this “People’s State of the Nation” as it were—point to where American efforts must be. Even a few minutes with your head bowed over this material—which shows the U.S. woefully behind our peer countries—should convince you that we have let our national situation deteriorate for far too long. 

April 2, 2019

White House solar panels

After 40 Years of Government Inaction on Climate, Have We Finally Turned a Corner?

We’re up against the huge power of the fossil fuel industry; the extraordinary ideological opposition to the federal government doing anything important; money going into disinformation campaigns that people readily bought into. And it’s still going on.

March 5, 2019

Climate action

Introduction: The Green Transition and the Next System

American governments thus face a challenge on the scale of mobilizing to win World War II—perhaps bigger. Unprecedented measures must be put in place both to move completely out of fossil fuels well before mid-century and also to pursue far-reaching and costly adaptation.

September 7, 2018

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