Climate Change Debate Needs Revolution
Mike Neuman, Madison
No political affiliations.
�It's beginning to dawn on people that we are talking about such a major
change in society people are saying this is tougher than what we thought.
How do you change society in a radical way in a democracy so the people
you want to vote for you are also going to suffer the consequences of the
policies that you put in place.�
- Bjorn Stigson, President of World Business Council for Sustainable
Climate Change Debate Needs Revolution
Financial Times, 5 September 2007 - A revolution of society on a scale
never witnessed in peacetime is needed if climate change is to be tackled
successfully, the head of a major business grouping has warned.
Bjorn Stigson, the head of the Geneva-based World Business Council for
Sustainable Development (WBCSD), predicted governments would be unable to
reach agreement on a framework for reducing carbon emissions at either a
US-sponsored meeting in Washington later this month or at a United
Nations climate summit in Indonesia in December.
Climate change is also expected to be high on the agenda at this week's
annual summit of Pacific leaders in Sydney.
�It will probably get worse before it gets better before governments feel
they've got the political mandate to act,� he told the Financial Times
during a visit to Jakarta. �We're going to have to go into some sort of
crisis before it's going to be resolved. I don't think people have
realised the challenge. This is more serious than what people think.�
The �challenge�, Mr Stigson said, is for developed nations to cut carbon
emission levels by 60 to 80 per cent from current levels by 2050 if
global emissions are to be kept below 550 parts per million. Global
emissions at that level would keep average permanent global temperature
increase below 3 degrees by 2050, a level beyond which most scientists
say climate change would be significantly worse.
The WBCSD reached this conclusion after studying the Stern review on
climate change, the International Energy Association's world energy
outlook, and a recent International Plant Protection Convention review.
�I think it's beginning to dawn on people that we are talking about such
a major change in society people are saying this is tougher than what we
thought,� he said. �How do you change society in a radical way in a
democracy so the people you want to vote for you are also going to suffer
the consequences of the policies that you put in place.�
�I don't think we've seen that kind of a challenge in societal change
happening peacefully. It's [only] happened in revolutions.�
The 200 members of the WBCSD, which have a combined market cap of
$6,000bn, are dismayed by politicians' lack of political will to address
the issues, Mr Stigson said.
�We're very concerned by what we see and the lack of response from
governments in grasping the responsibility they have in dealing with this
issue,� he said. �Our problem right now is that we�don't know what the
policies are going to be beyond 2012. How do you take these issues into
consideration when you build a new plant that's going to live for 30, 40
The WBCSD want rich countries to agree on global targets for themselves
while committing to developing nations $80-$100bn a year and technology
to help them grow more sustainably.
�If that deal is not there, you'll be in a situation where India, China
and Brazil will say, we're not going to get into any agreement,� he said.
�If I were betting my money now, I would bet that by 2012 the world will
not have a global framework. We will have a patchwork of regional and
national regulations that we have to make as compatible as possible.�
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"We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size
of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and
relationship to humanity."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.