Saturday, October 13, 2007

A convenient Nobel Peace Prize: challenges ahead remain

Thrilled is probably the best way to describe how I feel at the news that the Nobel Peace Price is to be shared between the scientific community represented by the IPCC and Al Gore. At a time when Exxon is going out of its way to influence public opinions and governments against taking radical action about climate change and when Fox is doing everything it possibly can (serving which masters, I wonder?) to exploit imperfections in An Inconvenient Truth, the Nobel Prize is exactly what is needed to further tip the balance in favor of immediate action. I suspect it is also a great moment for a very special production company called Participate, which I covered on this blog over a year ago.
The challenge is huge especially when one factors into what needs to be done about climate change the following:

  1. China's explosive growth that is by no means environmentally friendly (see excerpt from Gore's documentary below)

  2. the fact that the growth of the other BRIC countries is not necessariy more sustainable than China's

  3. US indifference to Kyoto and hostility to accepting limitations and binding measures to curb emissions and move towards a cleaner and more sustainable economic model, which presumably cannot continue to be based on unchecked mass consumption of goods engineered for a limited useful life (programmed obsolescence is the technical word for it)

  4. the ethical conundrum that we all find ourselves trapped into in the sense that the developed world reached its current level of welfare by using natural resources without consideration for their limited nature and therefore is not in a moral position to force less-developed nations to subject their growth to an overarching goal of durable development

  5. the dynamics that are currently in place worldwide and which were very well described in a recent article of The Economist (covered here) arguing that game theory could be used to actually bring the world out of the current deadlock

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