Michael Mehling is president of the Ecologic Institute in Washington, DC, an environmental policy think tank with partner offices in Berlin, Brussels, and Vienna, and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. He has taught and published widely on issues of climate and energy policy, and has led advisory projects for government agencies in North America, Europe, and the developing world.

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How does one “green” an economy? For governments seeking a cleaner, more efficient, and ultimately more sustainable pathway to economic prosperity, this question entails both promise and great challenges. For one, the scale of transformation it requires is exceptionally daunting: in his 2011 State of the Union speech, for instance, President …

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