Author page for James Goldstein


James Goldstein
James Goldstein is a Senior Fellow at Tellus Institute, where he directs the Sustainable Communities Program. His research centers on the development of analytic methods and stakeholder processes for community-based initiatives to integrate environmental protection, economic development, and social well-being. He has over thirty years of experience in the assessment of environmental problems and policies, with a particular emphasis on integrated approaches for water resource planning, solid waste/materials management, and long-range scenario analysis. His current focus is incorporating a global perspective in the design of local and regional sustainability efforts. He has developed sustainability scenarios for the Boston metropolitan area, advised on integrated resource planning for provision of regional water management, and advanced sustainable urbanization as a key component of the future UN Development Agenda.

Mr. Goldstein received a BA in Geography from Clark University in 1978.


Tellus Publications (Selected)


From Waste to Jobs: What Achieving 75 Percent Recycling Means for California

James Goldstein

In October 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 34, modifying the California Integrated Waste Management Act and establishing a policy goal that "75 percent of solid waste generated be source reduced, recycled, or composted by the year 2020." Recognizing the significant benefits that an effectively implemented AB 341 holds for waste diversion, ecosystem protection, materials management practices, and economic growth in California, NRDC commissioned Tellus Institute to assess the job creation potential of meeting the 75 percent recycling goal by 2020.

Metro Boston Regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Report

James Goldstein

Given the magnitude of climate change impacts on the natural environment, development and infrastructure, economy, and public health in the region, it is imperative that climate change adaptation is adequately addressed at the Regional Level. The primary goal of this Strategy is to prepare recommendations for local, regional, and state action to reduce vulnerability to future hazards and impacts of climate change within Eastern Massachusetts. This Strategy builds upon findings of the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report, September 2011 and other pertinent publications developed to date.

Resilience Through Risk Prevention and Management and Environmental Sustainability

James Goldstein

Prepared as input to the United Nations process to develop Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to guide the post-2015 global development agenda, this paper discusses the importance of building community resilience, including minimizing climate change impacts, and the challenges cities face while trying to effectively manage rapid population growth and alleviate poverty. It then moves on to identify potential urban resilience targets within an urban SDG. This paper is part of a set of issues papers developed for the Communitas Coalition to address the critical role of cities and regions in advancing sustainable development.

More Jobs, Less Pollution: Growing the Recycling Economy in the U.S.

James Goldstein, Christi Electris

This study provides strong evidence that an enhanced national recycling and composting strategy in the United States can significantly and sustainably address critical national priorities including climate change, lasting job creation, and improved health. Achieving a 75 percent diversion rate for municipal solid waste (MSW) and construction and demolition debris (C&D) by 2030 would result in a total of 2.3 million jobs, lower greenhouse gas emissions, less pollution overall, and unquantified benefits of reducing ecological pressures associated with the use of non-renewable resources.

Contours of the Future: Alternative Scenarios for the Boston Region

James Goldstein, Paul Raskin, Chella Rajan

The Boston Scenarios Project explored long-range futures for the region within a larger global perspective. The scenarios span a spectrum of possible futures for the Boston region to the year 2050. The Project analyzed conventional scenarios that gradually unfold from current trends under the influence of various policy adjustments as well as a normative scenario of “deep change” in which sustainability, social solidarity, and global responsibility become major organizing principles for the cultural, economic, and social development of the region.

Technical documentation available here.

Assessment of Materials Management Options for the Massachusetts Solid Waste Master Plan Review

James Goldstein

In the context of mounting environmental challenges, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is currently reviewing the Solid Waste Master Plan: 2006 Revision, the key document summarizing the Commonwealth’s waste reduction and management strategy. This report provides the Department with background information that will inform the development of a new Master Plan, one that lays the groundwork for shifting to a "materials management" framework. In particular, it focuses on the life-cycle impacts of various approaches for materials and solid waste management, including recycling, composting, landfilling, and waste-to-energy incineration, plus the emerging technologies of gasification, pyrolysis, and anaerobic digestion.

Bringing Global Thinking to Local Sustainability Efforts: A Collaborative Project for the Boston Metropolitan Region—Technical Report on Quantitative Scenarios

James Goldstein, Paul Raskin, Chella Rajan, A. Fleder

This report provides technical documentation for the quantification of scenarios developed by the Tellus Institute for the Boston Scenarios Project ("BSP"). It serves as a supplement to the BSP final report: Alternative Long-Range Scenarios for the Boston Region: Contours of the Future. The report analyzes three long-range scenarios for the Boston region (Business-As-Usual (BAU), Policy Reform, and Deep Change), presenting the quantitative inputs and assumptions used in developing the scenarios and projecting them out to the year 2050.

Sustainable Communities and the Great Transition

James Goldstein

James Goldstein describes how the forces of globalization and urbanization have strengthened place-based identities while fostering broad recognition of the need for sustainable development. He identifies the key actors in efforts to ensure community sustainability and examines the limitations of such activities. He outlines the design of a sustainable city under the Great Transition and offers lessons from the Boston Scenarios Project to move us forward toward such a goal.

Essay #12 in the GTI Paper Series: Frontiers of a Great Transition

Waste Reduction Program Assessment and Analysis for Massachusetts

James Goldstein

This report focuses on what the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) needs to do between now and 2010 to reach the waste reduction goals articulated in Beyond 2000 Solid Waste Master Plan — A Policy Framework, its plan and vision for managing solid waste over the coming decade. The project includes an assessment of the best strategies to reduce waste at its source and increase participation in existing programs. It also identifies the most critical areas to expand recycling and composting access and infrastructure to move toward the 70% waste reduction goal. As such, this report is intended to provide a recommended roadmap for reaching this goal, identifying the sectors of the waste stream to target, the additional quantities of waste reduction that can be achieved in each sector, the strategies necessary to achieve these reductions, and the resource allocations required.