The Index has broadened its scope in recent editions to offer a retrospective on the major environmental issues of the previous year. The biggest story of 2002 was undoubtedly the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August and September. The Index notes that the summit took a different course than anticipated and may represent a turning point for environmental policy. The emphasis on economic growth as a prerequisite for environmental progress represented a dramatic repudiation of the Malthusian mindset that characterized past UN environmental conclaves--a fact that was not lost on some left leaning environmental organizations that were furious about the outcome.
Steven F. Hayward is the F. K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at AEI.