T. V. Padma
South Asia regional coordinator, SciDev.Net
Day Two of the Planet under Pressure conference and I am beginning to feel that all environment/climate change/development/green economy/green growth conferences sound the same, and seem to lead nowhere. Why?
Nigel Cameron, president of Centre for Policy on Emerging Technologies (C-PET) in the United States, and research professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, called a spade a spade during the plenary discussion this morning.
The conversation between scientists and other academics, business honchos, policymakers and policy implementers and civil society — is “moving backwards”, “week by week, conference by conference,” he claimed.
The sectors don’t seem to talk to each other in a common language. Take, for example, the word ‘risk’: it may be described differently by a climate change scientist, a politician and a venture capitalist.
Yvo de Boer, former executive secretary of UNFCCC and special global advisor for the professional services firm KPMG, suggested collaboration between governments, civil society and business as a way forward. He sees the biggest single opportunity that could break the logjam is a “different kind of dialogue and creating an understanding” among the various actors.
But what is happening, said Cameron, is that each sector is building up a wish list of what kind of technologies or policies they would like to have in place – “a wish list with no capacity to be enacted”
Scientists, he said, were living in a bubble. “Life in the bubble is pleasant but life in the bubble is problematic.”
There are groups out there who do have an interest in long-term change, he told the meeting: Venture capitalists, who have to think far ahead; industrial R&D departments.
“These people are not around the table [at Planet Under Pressure] and the reason for that is that the people around the table don’t want them.”
So, what’s your bet – will Rio + 20 sound the same or different?
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.