SCIDEV.NET CONFERENCE SERVICE PRODUCTION
This blog article has been produced for Eye on Earth Summit 2011 by SciDev.Net Conference Service, which maintains all editorial independence.
“In the US you cannot win a presidential nomination if you deny the reality of climate change,” former US president Bill Clinton told the Eye on Earth meeting in Abu Dhabi (12–15 December).
Explaining the conservatism behind much of the resistance in the US to admitting the reality of climate change, Clinton said that rich nations that had acquired great wealth were more interested in holding onto power than building a sustainable future. “Developed countries must find a way to reform,” he said.
The meeting is mainly concerned with data — its collection and distribution — so it was a fitting venue for his comment that scientific discoveries are increasingly made by collaboration and yet the global superpowers continue to pursue their own individual interests.
He said it was clear that global business as usual was leading us down the path to an unsustainable future. He pointed out that the financing period for new coal-powered stations in the US is 20 years and for nuclear energy 30 years, and yet no financial investment is allocated for solar energy. “Financing is the central issue for sustainable development,” he said.
Clinton’s statement that “the future does not have the lobby that the present has” reminds us that it is future generations who will pay the price of any decision or indecision by today’s governments.
Perhaps politicians and governments could learn from the successes of scientific cooperation and cooperate for a more sustainable and prosperous future for all.