Monday, February 27, 2012

Inside Power, Inc.

The sales revenues of the world's largest company, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., are higher than the GDPs of all but 25 countries.

At 2.1 million, its employees outnumber the populations of almost 100 nations. The world's largest investment manager, a low-profile New York company named BlackRock, manages $3.5 trillion in assets -- greater than the national reserves of any country on the planet. In 2010, a private philanthropic organization, the $33.5 billion-endowed Gates Foundation, distributed more money for causes worldwide than the World Health Organization had in its annual budget.

The statistics are eye-popping, but this is no parlor game. Over the last century, the world's biggest private-sector organizations have come to dwarf all but the largest governments in resources, global reach, and influence. At the same time, even wealthy countries are now struggling with overwhelmed bureaucracies, budget crises, and plummeting confidence in government. And governments everywhere are compromised by the limitations of their own borders in an era when the issues that affect their people are increasingly transnational.

Striking the right balance between private and public power is the fundamental challenge of our age. Find the sweet spot -- prudent regulation, empowering citizens to compete, fostering economic dynamism, and fairness for all -- and your society will thrive in the 21st century. Get the equation wrong, and the results will be measured in social instability, diminishing prosperity, and declining ability to shape your destiny. Choices that seem entirely domestic in nature will have massive geopolitical consequences.

In the United States, it is the defining political issue of the moment. Is government too big, a burden to society, and a threat to individual liberties? Or is it too ineffective a protector of average people, co-opted by big business and moneyed interests? Is it contributing to the general welfare, or is it institutionalizing inequality, serving the few -- the 1 percent -- rather than the many?

In Europe, such controversies also roil furiously but are joined by an intense argument over how much power individual countries should pass on to a collective European Union, and about whose interests are best served by such collaborative governance -- a departure from the traditional idea and role of the nation-state. Ask a German and a Greek this question, and you'll get vastly different answers. More


Roubini for World Bank President

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — I believe Bob Zoellick’s resignation as head of the World Bank would liberate a bit of Wall Street’s grip on the World Bank and other similar institutions. As you know, Zoellick was vice chairman of the international unit of the Goldman Sachs Group and managing director and chairman of Goldman Sachs’ Board of International Advisors from 2006-07.

New blood at the helm of the World Bank, if it’s the right person, would change the policies set by both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama regarding Eastern Europe and Central Asia, along with the European sovereign debt crisis.

The bad news is Obama is considering former economic adviser Lawrence Summers and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the position after Zoellick’s term ends and that I think is a serious mistake because none of these individuals is really equipped in dealing with such issues and none of them has the track record.

In fact, there couldn’t be a poorer choice for the post than Larry Summers. He, Robert Run Rubin and Alan Greenspan together completely deregulated Wall Street and shut down solid citizens such as Elizabeth Warren and Brooksley Born when they blew the whistle on the shady derivatives that eventually brought down the market and as extensively mentioned in my book “Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics.”More


Europe’s Fairness Crisis

BRUSSELS – Slowly– far too slowly – politicians in Europe are beginning to understand that the deep crisis gripping the European Union is a game changer. Even an eventual resolution of the eurozone crisis will not bring a return to the established political order. Europe’s crisis is about fairness, with widespread and growing discontent over wealth disparities now being highlighted by cases of real hardship. The pay and privilege gap between Europe’s rich and poor has been widening since the 1980’s. Most EU countries have targets aplenty on which the public can vent its rage – whether bankers’ bonuses in the United Kingdom, or multinational corporations’ tax rate of less than 6% in Belgium, whose citizens are the most highly taxed in the OECD.

These grievances are exacerbated by austerity policies, and the political consequences are set to be far-reaching. First, the EU itself risks being scapegoated by public opinion as a source of peoples’ economic woes. Second, voters are likely to accept tough spending cuts only from newly elected governments, rather than from incumbent leaders who can be held responsible for the crisis.

For many years, Europeans viewed the EU as a catalyst for economic growth and greater “cohesion” through policies that primarily benefited Europe’s poorer countries and more backward regions. That seems less and less true of public opinion today: it is doubtful that EU institutions are still widely regarded as champions of the underdog.

The perception that the EU somehow brought about the eurozone crisis is unfair, but the eurocrats in Brussels have been doing little to dispel it. The Commission’s low profile on tackling the near-meltdown of the banks and the sovereign-debt crisis largely reflects the limits of its political mandate, but it also creates the impression that Europe’s executive hasn’t been championing the interests of the under-privileged.

More than 25 years have passed since Jacques Delors, the Commission president at the time, introduced the idea of a “Social Europe,” which the Union’s array of policies today has made into much more than a slogan. But its image has become faded, and it seems to lack any connection to the idea that the EU could somehow be softening the impact of its member states’ austerity measures. More


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why We Must Occupy Our Food Supply

Our food is under threat. It is felt by every family farmer who has lost their land and livelihood, every parent who can't find affordable or healthy ingredients in their neighborhood, every person worried about foodborne illnesses thanks to lobbyist-weakened food safety laws, every farmworker who faces toxic pesticides in the fields as part of a day's work.

When our food is at risk we are all at risk.

Over the last thirty years, we have witnessed a massive consolidation of our food system. Never have so few corporations been responsible for more of our food chain. Of the 40,000 food items in a typical U.S. grocery store, more than half are now brought to us by just 10 corporations. Today, three companies process more than 70 percent of all U.S. beef, Tyson, Cargill and JBS. More than 90 percent of soybean seeds and 80 percent of corn seeds used in the United States are sold by just one company: Monsanto. Four companies are responsible for up to 90 percent of the global trade in grain. And one in four food dollars is spent atWalmart.

What does this matter for those of us who eat? Corporate control of our food system has led to the loss of millions of family farmers, the destruction of soil fertility, the pollution of our water, and health epidemics including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even certain forms of cancer. More and more, the choices that determine the food on our shelves are made by corporations concerned less with protecting our health, our environment, or our jobs than with profit margins and executive bonuses.

This consolidation also fuels the influence of concentrated economic power in politics: Last year alone, the biggest food companies spent tens of millions lobbying on Capitol Hill with more than $37 million used in the fight against junk food marketing guidelines for kids. More



Is protecting the environment incompatible with social justice?

It is the stick with which the greens are beaten daily: if we spend money on protecting the environment, the poor will starve, or freeze to death, or will go without shoes and education. Most of those making this argument do so disingenuously: they support the conservative or libertarian politics that keep the poor in their place and ensure that the 1% harvest the lion's share of the world's resources.

Journalists writing for the corporate press, with views somewhere to the right of Vlad the Impaler and no prior record of concern for the poor, suddenly become their doughty champions when the interests of the proprietorial class are threatened. If tar sands cannot be extracted in Canada, they maintain, subsistence farmers in Africa will starve. If Tesco's profits are threatened, children will die of malaria. When it is done cleverly, promoting the interests of corporations and the ultra-rich under the guise of concern for the poor is an effective public relations strategy.

Even so, it is true that there is sometimes a clash between environmental policies and social justice, especially when the policies have been poorly designed, as I argued on this blog last month.

But while individual policies can be bad for the poor, is the protection of the environment inherently incompatible with social justice? This is the question addressed in a discussion paper published by Oxfam on Monday.

Oxfam, remember, exists to defend the world's poorest people and help them to escape from poverty. Unlike the rightwing bloggers, it is motivated by genuine concern for social justice. So when it investigates the question of whether concern for the environment conflicts with development, we should take notice. Kate Raworth, who wrote the report, has created an essential template for deciding whether economic activity will help or harm humanity and the biosphere.

She points out that in rough terms we already know how to identify the social justice line below which no one should fall, and the destruction line above which human impacts should not rise.

The social justice line is set by the eleven priorities listed by the governments preparing for this year's Rio summit. These are:

• food security

• adequate income

• clean water and good sanitation

• effective healthcare

• access to education

• decent work

• modern energy services

• resilience to shocks

• gender equality

• social equity

• a voice in democratic politics.



First Earth - Uncompromising Ecological Architecture

FIRST EARTH is a documentary about the movement towards a massive paradigm shift for shelter -- building healthy houses in the old ways, out of the very earth itself, and living together like in the old days, by recreating villages. An audiovisual manifesto filmed over the course of 4 years and 4 continents, FIRST EARTH makes the case that earthen homes are the healthiest housing in the world; and that since it still takes a village to raise a healthy child, it is incumbent upon us to transform our suburban sprawl into eco-villages, a new North American dream.

FIRST EARTH official website


End Corporate Exploitation Of Our Food Systems

Occupy Our Food Supply is bringing together the Occupy, sustainable farming, food justice, buy local, slow food, and environmental movements for a global day of action on February 27, 2012. Inspired by the theme of CREATE/RESIST, thousands will come together to creatively confront corporate control of our food supply and take action to build healthy, accessible food systems for all.

Industrial agribusiness corporations like Cargill, Monsanto, ADM and Dupont have gained runaway control of our food systems and to take them back, we'll need all the collective power we can manifest around the world. There are few things more personal than the food we put into our bodies every day. Let's ensure that we can stand by the food we eat from farm to fork. Sign up to take action on February 27 to Occupy Our Food Supply!

From the global to the local, nothing is more personal than this threat to our food. And nothing more inspiring than the movement that is fighting back. On Monday February 27, tens of thousands of people -- including farmers and food workers, parents and students, urban gardeners and chefs -- will participate in a Global Day of Action to Occupy our Food Supply.

Occupy our Food Supply is a day to both resist Big Food and highlight sustainable solutions that work for all of us. On February 27, more than 60Occupy groups as well as environmental and corporate accountability organizations are joining together. From Brazil, Hungary, Ireland, Argentina, the United States and beyond, people will be reclaiming unused bank-owned lots to create community gardens; hosting seed exchanges in front of stock exchanges; labeling products on grocery store shelves that contain genetically engineered ingredients; building community alliances to support locally owned grocery stores and resist Walmart megastores; and fighting back against industrial giants Monsanto and Cargill.

The call to Occupy our Food Supply, facilitated by Rainforest Action Network, is being echoed by prominent thought leaders, authors, farmers and activists including the Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva, Food Inc.'s Robert Kenner, and authors Michael Pollan, Raj Patel, Gary Paul Nabhan, and Marion Nestle, among others.

As Michael Ableman, farmer, author, and founder of the Center for Urban Agriculture puts it: "We need to focus on what we are for as much as what we are against; occupying our land, our soils with life and fertility, our communities with good food. We need to work to rebuild the real economy, the one based on seeds and sunlight and individuals and communities growing together." More


Friday, February 24, 2012

A World Bank for a New World

NEW YORK – The world is at a crossroads. Either the global community will join together to fight poverty, resource depletion, and climate change, or it will face a generation of resource wars, political instability, and environmental ruin.

This illustration is by Paul Lachine and comes from <a href=""></a>, and is the property of the NewsArt organization and of its artist. Reproducing this image is a violation of copyright law.

The World Bank, if properly led, can play a key role in averting these threats and the risks that they imply. The global stakes are thus very high this spring as the Bank’s 187 member countries choose a new president to succeed Robert Zoellick, whose term ends in July.

The World Bank was established in 1944 to promote economic development, and virtually every country is now a member. Its central mission is to reduce global poverty and ensure that global development is environmentally sound and socially inclusive. Achieving these goals would not only improve the lives of billions of people, but would also forestall violent conflicts that are stoked by poverty, famine, and struggles over scarce resources.

American officials have traditionally viewed the World Bank as an extension of United States foreign policy and commercial interests. With the Bank just two blocks away from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, it has been all too easy for the US to dominate the institution. Now many members, including Brazil, China, India, and several African countries, are raising their voices in support of more collegial leadership and an improved strategy that works for all. More


Thursday, February 23, 2012

IntelliGlass: A new way to insulate windows with water

Large windows have become one of the most characteristic elements of 21st century architecture. Without a doubt, their ability to brighten interiors is much greater than just simple windows, but not more beneficial, as large windows are energy wasters.

In order to eliminate this problem, which necessitates the need of air conditioners, a group of engineers decided a few years ago to found IntelliGlass, a Spanish start-up that has developed an air conditioning system installed in the glazing of large buildings.

The origins of IntelliGlass go back to 2005, when the Neotec program at the Spanish Center for Industrial Technological Development provided the opportunity for a group of aeronautical engineers from the Complutense University of Madrid to start developing their project. The first goal was to simply obtain a patent. Two years later, they incorporated and in 2009 delivered their first product consisting of a new type of glazing with water sandwiched in the middle that, powered by a water pump, moves the liquid through a closed circuit. The water is able to absorb heat from the sun’s rays that would normally pass through a window — energy that can be dedicated to other functions, such as to heat a swimming pool. This system can save up to 70% on air conditioning costs.

So far, the only method to prevent overheating in buildings with large windows was to use sunscreens for windows, ie, adhesive films that reflect heat to some extent but not completely. IntelliGlass’ windows are designed as an HVAC system. In other words, it is possible to cool or heat the water circulating inside the panes for climatization during summer and winter while avoiding the use of air conditioning.

In the private sector, the company is focusing on the luxury home market, as the system can be quite expensive for small installations. As of now, only one private home in Valencia has seen the system installed. Other installations have taken place in classrooms at the University of Cuenca’ School of Journalism, in the School of Aeronautical Engineering at the University Complutense in a civic center in the Sierra de Madrid and in another building in Albacete. More


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Say No To War



The Vetiver System (Vetiver Grass) Ground Water Recharge System


This movie shows how the management of Ano Farm (Western Ethiopia) has used The Vetiver System to reduce erosion and improve groundwater recharge. The results are higher crop yields and increased groundwater and regenerated water flow from springs. This technology has great potential for offsetting some of the problems associated with climate change?

'Perpetual Growth Myth' Leading World to Meltdown: Experts

UN-Sponsored Papers Predict Sustained Ecological and Social Meltdown.

The current system is broken," says Bob Watson, the UK’s chief scientific advisor on environmental issues and a winner of the prestigious Blue Planet prize in 2010. "It is driving humanity to a future that is 3-5°C warmer than our species has ever known, and is eliminating the ecology that we depend on for our health, wealth and senses of self."

Smoke billows from burned trees. A collective of scientists and development thinkers have warned that civilisation faces an 'unprecedented emergency'. (Photograph: CRISTINA QUICKLER/AFP/Getty Images)"We cannot assume that technological fixes will come fast enough. Instead we need human solutions. The good news is that they exist but decision makers must be bold and forward thinking to seize them."

Watson's comments accompanied a new paper released today by 20 past winners of the Blue Planet Prize - often called the Nobel Prize for the environment, and comes ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Rio+20 conference – which takes place in June this year – where world leaders will (it is hoped) seize the opportunity to set human development on a new, more sustainable path.

Civilization Faces 'Perfect Storm of Ecological and Social Problems'

The Guardian's John Vidal reports:

In the face of an "absolutely unprecedented emergency", say the [...] past winners of the Blue Planet prize – the unofficial Nobel for the environment – society has "no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilization. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us".

The stark assessment of the current global outlook by the group, who include [Watson]... US climate scientist James Hansen, Prof José Goldemberg, Brazil's secretary of environment during the Rio Earth summit in 1992, and Stanford University Prof Paul Ehrlich. [...] More



Sunday, February 19, 2012

NASA Map Sees Earth's Trees in a New Light

ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2012) — A NASA-led science team has created an accurate, high-resolution map of the height of Earth's forests. The map will help scientists better understand the role forests play in climate change and how their heights influence wildlife habitats within them, while also helping them quantify the carbon stored in Earth's vegetation.

Scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; the University of Maryland, College Park; and Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Mass., created the map using 2.5 million carefully screened, globally distributed laser pulse measurements from space. The light detection and ranging (lidar) data were collected in 2005 by the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System instrument on NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat).

"Knowing the height of Earth's forests is critical to estimating their biomass, or the amount of carbon they contain," said lead researcher Marc Simard of JPL. "Our map can be used to improve global efforts to monitor carbon. In addition, forest height is an integral characteristic of Earth's habitats, yet is poorly measured globally, so our results will also benefit studies of the varieties of life that are found in particular parts of the forest or habitats." More


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Heartland Institute Caught With Its Pants Down on Global Warming


A number of internal documents were apparently leaked this week from conservative think tank, The Heartland Institute, revealing its funding sources, strategy and a 2012 action plan to deliberately cast doubt on the subject of global warming despite the clear evidence and overwhelming scientific consensus.

Some sources are describing the leak as a counterpoint to “Climategate” and at least as potentially damaging, though this time to the “skeptics” side.

In a quickly prepared press release, the Heartland Institute claims both that the documents were fake and that they were stolen, which is a bit puzzling.

On the one hand they say that, “the stolen documents were obtained by an unknown person who fraudulently assumed the identity of a Heartland board member and persuaded a staff member here to ‘re-send’ board materials to a new email address.” And at the same time, they are “respectfully” asking that these materials not be disseminated since, “the authenticity of those documents has not been confirmed.”

They go on to appeal for civility, stating that, “As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.” This is, of course, exactly what they did when the East Anglia e-mails were leaked, suggesting data tampering on the part of climate scientists. Not.

A list of the leaked documents can be found here. The Heartland Institute, claims that one of the documents, the 2012 Climate Strategy document is a fake. However, independent investigation has verified that each of the five strategic elements contained in the two-page overview are also contained in other documents whose validity has been confirmed.

The “allegedly fake” strategy document opens with the following statement. More

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Fight Of The Century

As economies contract, a global popular uprising confronts power elites over access to the essentials of human existence. What are the underlying dynamics of the conflict, and how is it likely to play out?

1. Prologue

As the world economy crashes against debt and resource limits, more and more countries are responding by attempting to salvage what are actually their most expendable features—corrupt, insolvent banks and bloated militaries—while leaving the majority of their people to languish in “austerity.” The result, predictably, is a global uprising. This current set of conditions and responses will lead, sooner or later, to social as well as economic upheaval—and a collapse of the support infrastructure on which billions depend for their very survival.

Nations could, in principle, forestall social collapse by providing the basics of existence (food, water, housing, medical care, family planning, education, employment for those able to work, and public safety) universally and in a way that could be sustained for some time, while paying for this by deliberately shrinking other features of society—starting with military and financial sectors—and by taxing the wealthy. The cost of covering the basics for everyone is within the means of most nations. Providing human necessities would not remove all fundamental problems now converging (climate change, resource depletion, and the need for fundamental economic reforms), but it would provide a platform of social stability and equity to give the world time to grapple with deeper, existential challenges.

Unfortunately, many governments are averse to this course of action. In fact, they will most likely continue to do what they are doing now—cannibalizing the resources of society at large in order to prop up megabanks and military establishments.

Even if they do provide universal safety nets, ongoing economic contraction may still likely result in conflict, though in this instance it would arise from groups opposed to the perceived failures of “big government.”

In either instance, it will increasingly be up to households and communities to provide the basics for themselves while reducing their dependence upon, and vulnerability to, centralized systems of financial and governmental power. This is a strategy that will require sustained effort and one that will in many cases be discouraged and even criminalized by national authorities.

The decentralization of food, finance, education, and other basic societal support systems has been advocated for decades by theorists on the far left and far right of the political spectrum. Some efforts toward decentralization (such as the local food movement) have resulted in the development of niche markets. However, here we are describing not just the incremental growth of social movements or marginal industries, but what may become the signal economic and social trend for the remainder of the 21st century—a trend that is currently ignored and resisted by governmental, economic, and media elites who can’t imagine an alternative beyond the dichotomies of free enterprise versus planned economy, or Keynesian stimulus versus austerity.

The decentralized provision of basic necessities is not likely to flow from a utopian vision of a perfect or even improved society (as have some social movements of the past). It will emerge instead from iterative human responses to a daunting and worsening set of environmental and economic problems, and it will in many instances be impeded and opposed by politicians, bankers, and industrialists. It is this contest between traditional power elites on one hand, and growing masses of disenfranchised poor and formerly middle-class people attempting to provide the necessities of life for themselves in the context of a shrinking economy, that is shaping up to be the fight of the century. More


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Global Economy

 Global Economy Expanded More Slowly than Expected in 2011
The global economy grew 3.8 percent in 2011, a drop from 5.2 percent in 2010. Economists had anticipated a slowdown, but this was even less growth than expected, thanks to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, unrest in oil-producing countries, the debt crisis in Europe, and a stagnating recovery in the United States. As richer economies struggle to recover from the financial crisis of 2008–09, poorer countries are facing high food prices and rising youth unemployment. Meanwhile, growing income inequality and environmental disruption are challenging conventional notions of economic health. 
Gross World Product, 1950-2011
The total value of goods and services produced worldwide in 2011 was $77.2 trillion, twice as much as 20 years ago. The global economy expanded by an average of 4 percent each year in the decade leading up to the 2008 slowdown and the 2009 contraction. Industrial economies typically grew by about 3 percent annually in the 10 years before the recession but only 1.6 percent in 2011. Developing economies, which grew by an average of roughly 6 percent annually in the decade before the recession, grew by 6.2 percent last year. 
Developing Asia was responsible for 25 percent of global economic output in 2011. China’s economy, the world’s second largest, grew 9.2 percent in 2011, producing $11.1 trillion in goods and services. Yet this was a much slower expansion than its pre-recession rate of 14 percent in 2007. India, whose gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.4 percent to $4.4 trillion in 2011, surpassed Japan to become the world’s third largest economy.  (See data.)
The 2011 growth in developing Asian economies was dampened somewhat by the disaster in Japan, which disrupted global supply chains in automotives, electronics, and other sectors. Japan’s economy also took a hit, contracting by 0.9 percent to $4.3 trillion in 2011.  More

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The foreign policy of Ron Paul

 Is the US a fixer or a troublemaker? Would a less interventionist US make the treatment of international conflicts easier or harder? Ron Paul has been accused of isolationism. But it is worth taking his foreign policy more seriously.

In 2008, Democrats were voted to the White House with a clear mandate: end wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; restore the commitment of American authorities to the rule of law – stained, internationally, by Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and internally by challenges to civil liberties contained in the Patriotic Act; as well as to reverse the severe economic downturn caused by the explosion of the real estate bubble.
In the third year of his term, President Obama has finally accepted to withdraw American troops from Iraq, leaving behind a time-bomb, fuelled by sectarian tensions and geopolitical disputes. US involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the meanwhile, has increased, along with the risk of civil war in both countries. In Libya, a new model for regime-change intervention was tested, setting the stage for war against Syria and Iran, under the cover of dubious UN resolutions, through the use of ‘opposition leaders’ created out of thin air or taken way out of proportion  [1]. Considered unworthy of greater efforts, Yemen and Somalia have witnessed the proliferation of drone attacks. Troops have been sent to Uganda. Bahrain, in the other hand, received a blank check to act against its own people, with military support from Saudi Arabia, in the interest of stability in the Persian Gulf. Guantanamo, in the backdrop, remains a legal black hole, either from the viewpoint of international law or against the framework of the US Constitution.
Internally, stimulus policies have proved far less effective than it was assumed. The debt ceiling discussion, in this context, is not trivial: there is a limit, indeed, to what governments can do to artificially pump up business cycles. As one rating agency correctly observed, this limit has more to do with politics than with economics, in a sense, however, not so clearly understood: the problem is not partisan or electoral politics; the real issue has to do with the ability of the US government to forcibly extract higher amounts of money from the American population to sustain long-term interventionist economic policies through over-taxation and increased inflation. More

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Blue planet prize winners call for transformational change to achieve sustainable development

 A group of the world's leading scientists and experts in sustainable development today called for urgent changes to policies and institutions to enable humanity to tackle environmental crises and improve human wellbeing.

The group - all past winners of the Blue Planet Prize have gathered in London to finalise a paper that will be launched at the UN Environment Programme's Governing Council meeting in Nairobi on 20-22 February.
In a press briefing today at the International Institute for Environment and Development, co- author Bob Watson unveiled the paper's main conclusions and recommendations.
The paper will emphasise transformational solutions to key environment and development challenges. It highlights the policies, technologies and behaviour changes required to protect the local, regional and global environment, stimulate the economy and enhance the livelihoods of the poor.
The paper Environmental and Development Challenges: The imperative to act comes ahead of the Rio+20 conference in Brazil in June, which marks the 20th anniversary of the historic UN Conference on Environment and Development (Rio Earth Summit).
"The challenges facing the world today need to be addressed immediately if we are to solve the problem of climate change, loss of biodiversity and poverty," says Bob Watson, who is the Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), a Blue Planet Prize winner in 2010 and a co-author of the new paper.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said:
"The paper by the Blue Planet laureates will challenge governments and society as a whole to act to limit human-induced climate change, the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in order to ensure food, water energy and human security. I would like to thank Professor Watson and colleagues for eloquently articulating their vision on how key development challenges can be addressed, emphasizing solutions; the policies, technologies and behaviour changes required to grow green economies, generate jobs and lift people out of poverty without pushing the world through planetary boundaries." More