In C&EN's lead essay, editor-in-chief Rudy M. Baum chronicles what he argues to be a recent tipping point by which the world has shifted from talking about sustainability to gearing up to achieve it. Three other major essays examine sustainability's impact on the chemical industry, governmental activities that encourage sustainable development, and how the science of chemistry must contribute to the field in thousands of specific ways.
Baum emphasizes in the lead article that the power of chemistry, including environmentally friendly chemicals and processes, has the ability to help society exist on Earth in a sustainable way. But he cautions that this transformation won't be smooth and easy. "This is where the government enters the picture," Baum says. "People, industries, and society itself must be given incentives to change their behavior and patterns of consumption. Some of the most successful incentives are and will be economic. Others will have to take the form of regulations."
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