Consultant news editor, SciDev.Net
It was refreshing to hear a talk from Anthony Giddens, emeritus professor at the London School of Economics, in the UK. After the railings of scientists, someone who can throw some light on why their prophecies fall on deaf ears is always welcome.
Giddens invoked the film, The Matrix, to illustrate what he sees as two parallel and unrelated worlds: there’s the world of international conferences and then there’s real life, which continues, unabated, on its disastrous paths.
“When you look at those negotiations as they unfold,” he said, referring to events such as the climate change negotiations in Durban in November 2011, “to me they exist in a sort of simulated world where success is determined in terms of how far you keep the negotiations going.
“Then there’s the real world where things look very bleak.
For example, he said, “for all the talk of the green economy and green growth, there is not a single green economy in the world”.
Giddens is pinning any remaining hopes he has on other fora — “states, groups of states, regional agreements”.
“I hope that developing countries might play a bigger role as leadership countries.
And he is also hopeful for networks — of cities, of youth, of ‘transition towns’.
These, to adapt a saying of the Beatles star John Lennon, are where life is happening while the conferences are busy making other plans.
This blog post is part of our Planet Under Pressure 2012 coverage — which takes place 26–29 March 2012. To read news and analysis from the conference please visit our website.