Monday, January 9, 2012
Can the World Sustain Seven Billion People?
It comes down to this. If we want to build a sustainable world with 7 billion people on the planet --emerging/developing economies will need to stop importing western lifestyles--because if they adopt our high energy (carbon consuming) lifestyle it just wont work. Homi Kharas a Brookings expert says as much in a recent video/podcast interview but what is interesting is that there is no real interest in how to get that message across. Clearly the Indians and Chinese with their explosive growth and need to create huge middle classes in their countries in order to stay politically stable and avoid totalitarian extremes are not listening. We are not going to back away any time soon from our need to "strengthen the middle class" and our desire to build more highways so we can buy more fuel guzzling cars. Where is the discussion about this fact that unless we are serious about becoming a sustainable planet we are going to confront a huge ecological crisis? The politicians and the media seem interested only in catering to short term needs. Where are the world bodies the UN, the World Bank, other organizations to give us a global long term perspective on all this, where are the universities and think tanks?