Our Future World: CSIRO research of megatrends, megashocks & future scenarios

3 thoughts on “Our Future World: CSIRO research of megatrends, megashocks & future scenarios”

  1. Stefan wondered during his presentation into the climate change thicket when discussing the rapidly rising middle-class in India and said “we must fix poverty before we fix climate change.”

    To me that sounded a lot like Bjørn Lomborg’s misguided argument that climate change should be given a low priority because increasing the world’s riches will solve climate change in the future without costly interventions or unpopular behavioural change now. Understandably Lomborg is thin on the details of how this magic transition will occur.

    I suggest that you read Michael Schellenberger’s Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility. He spends quite a bit of time on this subject, using the American environmental movement as his prime example. Schellenberger details the emergence of the movement and offers an interesting observation: it is only when a community is well developed that environmental issues can get mainstream attention.

    Should we fix poverty before we fix climate change? This is not a question. In reality, we can’t>/i> fix climate change without fixing poverty. Until the latter has been accomplished there will be no political will to lower carbon emissions.

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  2. Also interesting that biodiversity loss gets a brief mention (a few points down from “Growth in biodiversity markets”).
    To me it seems that most of these trends and shocks can be attributed to the quest for infinite economic growth. I’d be interested to know how poverty and the rising disparity between rich and poor created by ongoing, disproportionate growth is expected to be fixed. Presumably the answer would be “more growth”. Strange that the very clear link between climate change and poverty was not addressed. Thanks for the review, Chris.

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  3. T.Greer, I disagree – without addressing climate change we will fail to successfully address poverty with solutions that can be sustained. With so much warming already in the pipeline the idea that delay is our friend looks extremely dubious and if the alleviation of poverty is predicated on using more fossil fuels it looks even more dubious. Of course Australia looks like it’s leading from example on this – lock in the maximum future sales of coal and gas to the world, continue growing it’s own electricity grid by building more coal fired plants, pretend Carbon Capture and Sequestration will one day save the day. It looks like it’s not just the developing world that acting like they’re in a race to come last on emissions.

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