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CONFERENCE MATERIAL

Click on the links to download the documents

Papers and presentations by:

  • Professor Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek, President, Factor 10 Institute
    Economy within the Laws of Nature (paper)
  • Mr. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele de Strihou, Institut d'astronomie et de géophysique Georges Lemaître, UCL
    Climate Change - we cannot afford business as usual (presentation)
  • Mr. Pavan Sukhdev, Study Leader – TEEB & Project Leader - Green Economy
    A Global Green New Deal - an Urgent Call from the UN (presentation)
    A Global Green New Deal - Executive Summary - UNEP (paper)

  • Claude Turmes, MEP, Vice-President of the Greens/EFA group
    A Real Green New Deal - From systemic crisis to opportunity (presentation)

  • CVs of the speakers

Summaries:

Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek, President Factor 10 Institute

Professor Schmidt-Bleek made a clear call for a new economy that functions within the laws of nature. For him, the current financial and ecological crises stem from the same roots. The current economic system has caused an overuse of natural resources and destroyed what he calls eco-system services (clean air, water, ozone layer, fertile soils, amongst others). Natural thresholds for ecological security have already been surpassed. If we are ever to reach a sustainable human economy, the foremost requirement is to dematerialise economic activity: radically reduce our use of all materials. To illustrate the limits of our resources, Schmidt-Bleek says we would need at least two planets to provide for all the people living on Earth based on the current western model of resource (ab)use. His paper (Toward a New Economic Deal) proposes several indicators with regards to managing a sustainable system - i.e. new indicators that move away from traditional wealth-measuring indicators such as GDP. Furthermore, he emphasised that a real new economic deal would have to benefit all the people in the world and not just the 20% who enjoy the full benefits of our current economic model. Finally, he pointed out that a vast range of technical possibilities already existed, but were largely unimplemented due to lack of economic incentives. He underlined that only governments could create the conditions and framework for moving towards sustainability.

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, UCL and member of the IPCC

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele illustrated (see presentation) the effects of industrial and human production on the carbon cycle. His presentation clearly showed how we are now emitting more CO2 than nature can absorb. He pointed out that the challenge of reducing emissions has been grossly underestimated by policy-makers. 

Pavan Sukhdev, Study Leader – TEEB & Project Leader, Green Economy, UNEP

Pavan Sukhdev put forward UNEP's vision of a green economy: One that does not consume capital or risk human survival. He illustrated alarming scenarios resulting from inaction (or business as usual) in terms of loss of human welfare and nature capital. UNEP proposes that up to 1% of GDP should be used in "greening" initiatives. Sukhdev stressed the necessity to address both the developed and the developing world's situation. He also provided an estimate of possible "Green jobs" by sector of activity and by country/region. He urged governments not to discriminate against funds used for "green" initiatives.

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