Monday, October 26, 2009

Winning the World Climate Game: Brainwork challenge

Let's assume that the world climate negotiations in general-- and all in the run-up to COP15 in December and its aftermath -- need a shot in the arm, a game-changer, in order to begin to break a deadlock that has gone on all too long at huge cost to the planet and future generations. Do you accept this as something worth at least considering? If so . . .

After having observed closely this largely failed process for many years, here is one thing I have concluded about our dilemma:

The challenge (the planet) is clearly a lot bigger than the problem-solving apparatus we have put in place to deal with it. Does that seem about right to you?

So what about this as an analogy to stimulate our thinking? We are trying to play a game, say like tennis. We have a ball, net, court, lines, etc. Should be easy enough, eh?

However, in the climate case the ball (the planetary challenge) is clearly far bigger than the court (the existing problem solving frame) into which we need to hit it. Oops.

So what is the solution? Obviously to turn it into something that is not a travesty, and at least possible, we would have to redraw the court, somehow reshape and redimension the problem solving process.

(Of course if we want to shrink the ball, i.e., do less for the planet, we can do that too. In fact, that looks kind of familiar.)

How might we handle this challenge in the case of the climate process? What could be the game-changer(s) that would allow us to have a shot at winning.

This is to invite your suggestions as to ONE BASIC THING we could do to change the game, the rules, so that our planet has a decent chance.

Something deep and fundamental. Something that upsets the old order that has failed us for so long.

Please send your nominations and ideas to the, and also we invite you to post them directly to the Comment section which you will see just below.

Let's see if we can solve this one by putting our heads together.


The editor

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  1. Win-win situations that walk the talk
    Things that reduce GHG (greenhouse gas ) emissions, while providing several other benefits.

    Replacing car-trips in urban areas by bike-trips is a point in case. In some languages people talk of taking two flies in one swipe. Cycling takes ten or fifteen flies, depending on how you count : Significantly improved public health, resulting in substantial savings in public and private spending, more liveable streets, more human interaction/softer cityscape, reduced local and regional air pollution including particulate matter and noise pollution, reduced materials consumption, much better energy effiency, better road safety, reduced oil dependence, reduced dependence on imported energy, better spatial efficiency/reduced land-use, reduced loss of arable land/habitat loss, more efficient urban transport (in conjunction with public transport), improved accessibility for wider groups, more equity between income brackets, fun and inspiring and a visible symbol of positive change.

    Sketches of other examples :
    * Public transport and walking, share several of the synergies of cycling, but not all ornot as pronounced.
    * Urban planning can also share some of these synergies if well carried out.
    * Energy efficiency in transportation, housing and industry : Savings in energy expenditure, often less pollution and waste
    * Lower meat consumption : Feed more people, less habitat- and biodiversity loss, less cruelty to animals, better health, better energy effiency, reduced risks of potentially serious diseases flowing between animals and man ( bird- and swine flues as an example)
    * Protection of forests that hold stores of carbon and act as carbon sinks : Biodiveristy and habitat protection, respecting the rights indigenous tribes living in the forests (human rights protection, cultural "preservation"), with all that this entails like for medicine, the sciences, and also as a symbolic and spiritual value, protection of watersheds that provide water purification and storage, positive influence on the regional climate etc.


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