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One part of sustainable development is to

understand the inter-linkages of the economy, of society,
of the environment, and of our politics and government
processes, and the other part of sustainable development to
do something about it. We will examine over, you know the coming
talks, two different scenerios for the future of the world.
One, which I will call business as usual. If we continue more or less on the cou
that we're on right now. What kind of world we could expect in ten,
20, 30, 40 years? It's not all bad. Because, after all, many wonderful things
are happening on the planet. Poverty has been declining. Technologies have been
advancing. But, there are a lot of risks with
business as usual. Especially in the age of the Anthropocene,
especially as we trespass planetary boundaries, especially
as we see growth that is not inclusive, and leaving
large numbers of people behind. So we want to contrast the business as usual, or
BAU path, with a truly sustainable development path for
the planet. What would a business as usual path look
like? It's not all terrible. For many people, especially comfortable
people of, at the top of the income heap, they say business as usual,
looks pretty good to me. The world economy is expanding, life expectancy rising,
infant and child mortality
falling. One could say, not bad. If we get business as usual, no disaster. I thi
nk the problem however, is that
that's a little too optimistic a view of what we really face.
Sure, business as usual offers more economic
growth, but is it fair and inclusive?
How many people will be left behind? What will happen in societies, as we saw
in Rio, where the favelas, the slums, are right up against, the
modern, and wealthy part of Rio.
What happens in those parts of the world really left far behind.
The peasant farmers in dry lands facing more and more
droughts. Places that find themselves vulnerable to
ever more flooding, but are too poor to do something about it.
We know that all too often, the result isn't merely protest, the result can even
be violence, and especially what happens if we just go on our merry way, thinkin
that we can produce more, have more cars, burn
more coal, oil, and gas. Put more carbondioxide into the
atmosphere. Cut down more trees. Acidify the oceans.
And not respect the planentary boundaries. There I think, we are surely going to
our comeuppance in ways that we really are not very clear about right now, certa
inly not in our broad,
public discussions. Because the environmental dangers are
vast. They are so large, they are coming so
fast, they're so threatening that they could upend the very process of
economic development itself. What seems like a pretty safe course of economic gr
owth could turn out to be
evanescent. Swept away in floods, withering in
droughts, in massive heat waves. A loss of quality of life. Even a massive loss
of production, a
growing food insecurity that could threaten the
entire world. So business as usual, that's what you see
in front of you. Pipelines carrying oil or gas, to, power
plants, to factories. Fossils fuels have been a great part of
economic growth ever since the invention of the steam engine powered by
coal in England in the 18th century. But, by using so much of it, by putting so
much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by deranging the
climate system, this kind of business as usual, poses an

enormous threat. Now we've gotten pretty good at finding new sources of natural
gas, hydro
fracking. New sources of oil, new ways to produce
oil such as in Canada's tar sands, a place that you
see in this picture, criss-crossed by roads. Massive use of water and land to di
g out
this heavy oil that needs a special kind of processing and that of course, would
have a market around the world, but at what
cost? At what cost to the environment of Canada, where you see how polluting the
processes are. What cost to the world's environment?
As these tar sands and other fossil fuels are burned in such vast numbers that
they derange the climate. Will we see more massive drought in the
Sahel? A drought that was so severe, covering
Chad and Mali and neighboring countries, that it led to tremendous
amounts of violence, contributed to the outbreak of war in Mali and in continuin
violence in other places. Droughts like this affected many parts of
the poorest countries, will we see more of
that? And of course, if economic growth is not
perceived to be fair, if the rich get richer and the
poor get poorer, if the poor feel left behind and cheated by those at the
top of the heap, will we see more unrest, more
instability. We know it from New York City where we saw
the Occupy Wall Street movement. Protests against what the protesters
called the top 1%, and calling for legality and responsibility on
Wall Street after the devastation of the 2008 financial
crisis. But these street protests weren't just on
Wall Street or in other parts of the United
States. In Tunis in 2011 in Cairo, in Athens, in
Tel Aviv, Chile, Madrid, Istanbul, Rio de
Janeiro. Cities around the world, there have been
growing street protests, protests mostly led by young people.
Protesting high unemployment, high income inequality,
corruption in government, lack of accountability,
lack of transparency, is that the kind of business as usual path
that we want? We study sustainable development because
we can do better, by understanding technology, by
understanding the interconnections of economic, social, environmental and
political systems. What you see here is an example of
innovation in the Netherlands, one of the most
sustainable countries. This innovative building called the whale
is a highly innovative architecture where the
tenants enjoy sunlight, open space and a building has been built in harmony with
the natural
environment. Half of the world's population today lives
in cities. That will rise to perhaps 70% in cities by
the year 2030. Vastly more than half of the world's
economy is in cities, so a great deal of the path to sustainable development
will be through sustainable urbanization.
Smart cities, smart architecture, smart systems of transport, of power, of
water use. Of recycling of wastes that cities can
achieve when they put their mind to it. Paris, perhaps, on everybody's list, amo
ng the
favorite most beautiful cities in the world.
We see the, the new innovation of bicycles in the cities.
People want to be out bicycling in cities. Massive congestion.
Massive pollution not good for our physical health.
So walking and bicycling will necessarily become more important
technologies of the 21st century. And I'm happy that in cities around the

world, that there is a return to bicycling, using clever shirt, the bicycle
systems, new walkways, and places where people can improve their
health, because city is a, can be places where the obesity epidemic and, and
poor health take hold. In Bogota, there were great innovations in
using rapid transit, and bus systems to move
people much more cleanly and effectively than
individual car ownership. And congestion was reduced, pollution was
reduced, carbon dioxide emissions were reduced, another
example of how innovation in transportation can make, a
very big difference for the future. And, look at these two examples of, so
called, self-driving vehicles. Using the revolutions of information
technology, cars themselves, detect other cars, detect
pedestrians. And the cars, are able not only to drive
themselves but to offer a much more efficient mode of
transport. Well, who knows what technology will bring
but we can see that one of the pathways to sustainable development
is through smarter technological systems. Converting automobiles from the intern
combustion engine, which burns petroleum, to electric
vehicles charged by electricity produced by clean
energy, could be one of the most effective ways to reduce
the carbon dioxide emissions in the future.
And to get that clean electricity, we need to move off of our addiction to
fossil fuels, to coal, oil, and gas.
And to move to what technology is now offering, much lower
cost and effective harnessing of nature's own
energy sources, especially solar power and wind power.
In many parts of the world, solar and wind power are already at grid
parity. What does that mean?
It means that they are already, at an economic cost, competitive with more tradi
tional, fossil fuel based energy
systems. This is a picture of a solar thermal
concentrator and collector, where you see large mirrors
set up in a desert region to collect solar power, that turn it into
energy for electricity production. There are many ways to do it. It could be pho
to-voltaic cells, we'll
look at later on, it could be concentrated solar
thermal energy where you use the heat that's produced to boil water, to turn ste
am turbines to
produce electricity. Exciting technologies but what they mean
is ways to rid ourselves of the addiction to fossil fuels which
have brought us a modern economy to be sure. But have now put us in danger becau
se of
the rising CO2 levels. And the advances are, not only in information technology,
better urban
design. Clever architectures, smarter grids, smarter transport systems, renewabl
energy. But breakthroughs in agronomy, in biology. You see here a site testing a
new kind of rice, which is
bred through special breeding processes, to be able to resist flooding, somethin
that obviously will be very important. Afford the farmers, in Bangladesh for
example, where this new kind of rice has been shown to be highly effective when
normal fields are flooded the rice dies. But by breeding rice in ways, that that
have what includes gene patterns that allow the rice
to survive submergence and flooding. You save lives, improve food security, and
find ways to sustainability. So this, at the essence, gives us a hint
of what a sustainable development pathway might
mean. Business as usual, we know a lot about
that. And we see more and more how risky it can

be. A sustainable development pathway, the

core features of that would be societies that ensure that all parts of
the society. Girls as well as boys, women as well as
men, and minorities all of different regions,
all children have access to a healthy start in life, to good nutrition
and healthcare, and especially to the education that they
will need to be productive. And skilled members of their society both
in the labor force and also as citizens.
A good start means inclusion and it means avoiding these mass inequalities of we
and poverty that afflict the planet. Sustainable development will mean a new
kind of urbanization. Smarter cities, new transport systems,
smarter power grids, fed by renewable energy rather than by
traditional fossil fuels. New kinds of vehicles, public
transportation, or bicycles, and walking that can also keep us healthy. New ways
to build buildings that are much
more energy efficient. And much more pleasant and consistent with
the, with nature. At the essence of sustainable development,
is problem solving. We have a lot of problems.
We're going to need a global effort. In a focused and relatively short period
of time. A matter of decades, not centuries. To move from the business as usual
trajectory to the sustainable
development trajectory. And in order to accomplish that, every
part of the world will have to be involved in brain
storming in determining new and creative ways to ensure inclusive
and sustainable growth. That's going to be your job in the coming
years, and that's going to be our task in the coming
sessions, where we investigate what those problems are, what their core
features are and what innovative new design can mean, to enable us to
choose that path of sustainable development.