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The Political Economy of Climate Change

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Guest webinar at the Brisbane Graduate School of Business at QUT, Australia. Delivered using Elluminate.

Guest webinar at the Brisbane Graduate School of Business at QUT, Australia. Delivered using Elluminate.


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  • http://www.inkcinct.com.au/Web/Global-Cartoons-List/Social-General-Environment.htm
  • http://www.inkcinct.com.au/Web/Global-Cartoons-List/Social-General-Environment.htm
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  • Transcript

    • 1. The Political Economy of Climate Change Professor Jeremy B Williams www.jeremybwilliams.net 4 October 2009
    • 2. Overview
      • Why some believe there is no need to worry about climate change
      • Why we should worry about climate change
      • What needs to be done
      • Reasons to be cheerful
      • Summary and conclusions
    • 3. 1) WHY SOME BELIEVE THERE IS NO NEED TO WORRY ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE
    • 4. © Jeremy B. Williams 2007 1.Doubts about the science
    • 5. © Jeremy B. Williams 2007
    • 6. Image source: healthandenergy.com/global_warming_cartoons.htm
    • 7. 2.We will invent our way out of trouble
    • 8. © Jeremy B. Williams 2007 3.Think about today not the future
    • 9. A concern for the future “ I conceive that land belongs to a vast family of which many are dead, few are living, and countless members are unborn”. Kwame Nkrumah (1909-72) Ghanaian leader
    • 10. 1.Doubts about the science 3.Think about today not the future 2.We will invent our way out of trouble Bordering on the absurd Ignores precautionary principle Unethical
    • 11. 2) WHY WE SHOULD WORRY ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE
    • 12. © Jeremy B. Williams 2007
    • 13.
    • 14.
    • 15. The Stern Review, October 2006
      • On climate change:
      • “ The greatest market failure the world has ever seen”
      Sir Nicholas Stern
    • 16. IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
      • February, 2007: Evidence of Human-caused Global Warming is ... “Unequivocal”
    • 17.
    • 18. “ Climate change will not be a major issue in my life time.”
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Note sure
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree
      1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 0
    • 19. 2005: CO 2 = 379ppm
    • 20. Source: http://www.21school.ox.ac.uk/news/archive/200702_inaugural_lecture.cfm
    • 21. Source: http://www.21school.ox.ac.uk/news/archive/200702_inaugural_lecture.cfm
    • 22. Upsala Glacier, Argentina 1928 2004
    • 23. Blomstrandbreen Glacier, Norway 1922
    • 24. Blomstrandbreen Glacier, Norway 2002
    • 25. The Imja Glacier, Himalayas
    • 26. The Imja Glacier, Himalayas
    • 27. Why this is a big deal …
      • Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world
      • At the present rate of retreat, they may be gone by 2035
      • More than 2 billion people - a third of the world's population - rely on the Himalayas for their water
      Ref: www.greenpeace.org
    • 28. Guandong, China, July 2006 © Jeremy B. Williams 2007
    • 29. Anhui Province, China, August 2006 © Jeremy B. Williams 2007
    • 30. Forced migrations
      • 2005: UN study reveals that there could be as many as 50 million environmental refugees around the world by the end of the decade.
      • Same study estimates that as many as 100 million people live in areas that are below sea level or liable to storm surge
    • 31.
    • 32.
      • 1 metre sea level rise will inundate more than 15 percent of Bangladesh, displacing more than 13 million people
    • 33. Annual carbon dioxide emissions
      • Bangladesh: 172kg per capita
      • United States: 21 tonnes per capita
    • 34. The ecological footprint concept
      • How many planets would we need if everyone lived like you?
      • http://www.myfootprint.org
    • 35.
    • 36. Calculating the ecological footprint
      • Official statistics on consumption are used to calculate the amount of biologically productive land and water area required to produce the resources consumed and to absorb the wastes generated using prevailing technology
      Image source: http://www.ew.govt.nz
    • 37. Image source: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/
    • 38. Worldwide, there exists about 1.9 biologically productive global hectares per person Image source: www.adbusters.org
    • 39. At what stage do you think humankind will outstrip its supply of biologically productive hectares?
      • 2010
      • 2020
      • 2050
      • 2100
      • No answer
    • 40. Image source: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/
    • 41. Image source: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/
    • 42. Image source: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/ China
    • 43. 3) WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE
    • 44. “ The Virgin Earth Challenge” … USD25 million prize if you can develop “a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth’s climate”.
    • 45. This design does not qualify apparently …
    • 46. Marine cloud whitening?
    • 47.
    • 48. The world’s largest per capita carbon emitter …
    • 49. … needs an emissions trading scheme
    • 50. Cap and trade
    • 51.
    • 52. Creating the next industrial revolution?
      • Radical resource productivity
      • Biomimicry
      • Service and flow economy
      • Investing in natural capital
      See, also by Paul Hawken, (1994) The Ecology of Commerce www.naturalcapitalism.org Paul Hawken, Amory and L. Hunter Lovins propose 4 central strategies of natural capitalism:
    • 53. Radical resource productivity
      • Using resources more efficiently in ways that can already be achieved; e.g. process redesign (disembodied technical change) or energy efficient buildings, passive solar heating.
    • 54. Research biomimicry Spider silk Abalone shell Stenocara beetle
    • 55. Reorient to a service and flow economy
      • Focuses more on selling and purchasing services rather than products
      • Makes manufacturers more ecologically responsible
    • 56. Invest in natural capital
    • 57. 4) REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
    • 58.
    • 59.
    • 60.
    • 61.
    • 62.
    • 63. The process of creative destruction
      • Describes the process of industrial transformation that accompanies radical innovation
      • Innovation sustains long-term economic prosperity, even as it destroys the value of established companies
      Professor Joseph Schumpeter 1883-1950
    • 64. 5) SUMMARY & CONCLUSIONS
    • 65.
      • "The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing, and baffling expedience of delays is coming to a close. In its place, we are coming to a period of consequences ".
      • Winston Churchill
      • (cited in An Inconvenient Truth )
    • 66. The role of government
      • Unfortunately, governments are often motivated by the political cycle
      • For this reason, command-and-control solutions are not expedient
      • At the very least , governments need to provide the legislative framework to change behaviour ; e.g. ecological tax reform
    • 67. The role of business
      • Business is more dynamic than government
      • There is a competitive advantage to be gained from developing a business strategy based on sustainable development
      • Supply-side: reduce costs
      • Demand-side: attract environmentally-conscious customers
    • 68. The role of the individual Time to have a rethink
    • 69. Questions and comments please ... jeremybwilliams.wordpress.com jeremybwilliams sdca.wordpress.com