Saturday, November 24, 2012

Economy, Climate and the Future Sum-up

The focus on the conference yesterday organized by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) was on solutions: what do we need to do to avoid a 4 degrees warmer world? Do we need to change the current economic system?

I think there were examples of solutions (e.g. investments, incentives and indicators, often political decisions that need to take place), however not so much concrete examples of different economic systems. It's perhaps quite a difficult subject to discuss in one day with a broad audience where not everybody has an economic background from the start. The conference all in all was nonetheless interesting and gave me a lot more, once again, to think about.

One of the problems in today's world, as I'm sure we all know, is inequalities. Poor people are often the ones with least environmental impact. SSNC's chairman, Mikael Karlsson, mentioned that two children in USA has the same environmental impact as twelve children in Bangladesh. I think this was a recurring subject throughout the afternoon seminar I attended with the title: "Do we need a new economic system?". We want to help more people out of poverty but not all of us are willing or realize that then we have to cut down on our own lifestyle and share the resources to have a sustainable world.

I think it was interesting to hear in this debate different persons' opinions and to see how some are really convinced that technology will save us and that we will find an alternative to oil, whether it is through the current market economy and competition or another system, while others say that we need to control our resources and share them equally and prepare for a low carbon future. I saw someone tweeting that it was perhaps not so great to invite Per Langer from Fortum (an energy company) to talk in this debate, but I disagree: it's healthy to hear other opinions in order to learn how to argue for your own standpoint. Per Langer argued that there is nothing wrong with the current economic system and that it only reflects our own values. I could probably write a whole different post on that subject; reflecting on what needs are created by the market, whether it is the obsession with growth that is the problem and if our current system would work without growth. The debate can be seen here (in Swedish though) and more videos from the conference here.

I thought I would share with you this video and talk on Climate and the Global Economy with Chee Yoke Ling, director of the Third World Network, as one of the English speaking presenters during the conference and a good sum up of what the conference was all about.

Thanks to SSNC for a great day! It was very nice to meet so many bloggers and tweeters face to face, most of us met up for the yammi vegetarian lunch. I also got to meet other interesting people with the same interests like Emelie Adamsson.


I was additonally happy to get my hands on a copy of the book "What Next-Climate, Development and Equity" from What Next forum for free. The book has a chapter on real and false solutions that I might just jump straight into when I get the chance to sit down with it.

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