Event - Green Economy Initiative
Presenter - Lawrence Bloom, Chairman, UNEP, Green Economy Initiative
Green Cities, Buildings and Transport.
Date - 6:30 pm 3rd September 2009, 43 Lancaster Gate,London W2 3NA
"We are one brief generation in the long march of time; the future is not ours to erase." - David Suzuki Foundation
"I have seen the future, and it won't work" - Paul Krugman, New York Times
The chilling accuracy of Paul Krugman's observation was recently confirmed in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) review of more than 10 different future scenarios, including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Royal Dutch Shell.
Of those, the MIT study concluded that Shell's 'Blueprints' scenario resulted in the lowest realistically achievable CO2 emissions levels, because it was based on the rapid implementation of advanced technologies and energy efficiency initiatives, and involved a highly effective collaboration between government, industry, international institutions, NGOs and academia.
Even then CO2 levels would stabilize at around 650ppm...yet 450ppm is currently accepted as the viable maximum.
We now understand that at this level various serious trigger points and feedback loops start operating. Not least of these is the acidification of the oceans, causing them to become a net emitter of CO2 rather than a sink. These increasing CO2 levels then feed back into higher temperatures, accelerating both ice melt at the poles and the melting of tundra ice with its consequent release of methane.
So the evidence indicates that we cannot rely on technology alone to ensure our survival. 'Business as usual' is not an option – much more needs to be done to raise awareness and change our behaviour. The Blueprints scenario gives us a five-year window. We must act now!
Arguably the biggest obstacle to this critical change is the absence of public engagement toward the urgency of our predicament, resulting in a lack of any real commitment to carbon reduction.
In line with Einstein's observation that 'No problem can be resolved at the same level of thinking that created it', I believe that only a world-class lifestyle behaviour change programme could take us through this next challenging period with a realistic prospect of minimizing its impacts on human survival and well-being.
For more of this presentation by Lawrence Bloom - click here
World Economic Forum
Global Agenda Council on Urban Development,