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GLOBAL FORUM The Global Forum section of Making It is a space for interaction and discussion, and we welcome reactions and responses from readers about any of the issues raised in the magazine. Letters for publication in Making It should be marked ‘For publication’, and sent either by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to: The Editor, Making It, Room D2142, UNIDO, PO Box 300, 1400 Vienna, Austria. (Letters/emails may be edited for reasons of space).
LETTERS Policy matters In Anna Pegels’ thoughtful article (Making It, number 18) on the need for a transition of values if we are to implement ‘green industrial policy’, she writes “the incentive to abide by new environmental standards is simply too low”. Although she concludes that “the market should remain the key instrument for policy”, she also acknowledges that “left to the market alone, the renewable energy revolution – with its rapidly decreasing costs and global investments in the billions – would never have occurred”. That’s why the ‘market’ needs a push (and not just a nudge)! Mariana Mazzucato already (in her article ‘Who will lead the green revolution?’ in Making It number 17) explained that governments need to take the lead. Renewable energy technologies will not develop ‘naturally’ through market forces, she explains, “in part because of embedded energy infrastructure, but also because of a failure of markets to value sustainability or to punish waste and pollution”. Businesses will only join in once the riskiest and most capital intensive investments have been made.
So, let’s be clear where the ‘policy’ has to come from. As Mazzucato concluded: “The state is the iron horse of the green revolution: the speed and direction of change will crucially depend on it.”
● Findlay Weir, by email
Tapped resource In response to the issue of Making It about water, can I raise the fact that the world now drinks as much packaged and bottled water as we do milk? Global sales are to hit over 230 billion litres this year, with a surprisingly high amount (usually brands like Evian) imported from other countries, even where there’s a plentiful supply in the
“In the US 45% of bottled water comes from the municipal water supply.”
home nation. Here in the US, about 55% of bottled water comes from springs but the other 45% comes from the municipal water supply – that’s companies bottling what comes out of the tap and selling it to us!
●Will Jacques, by email
The century of cities I saw this fact in a UN tweet somewhere: “The world’s cities occupy just 2% of the Earth’s land, but account for 60 to 80% of energy consumption and 75% of carbon emissions.” Take the first part – when you hear some people talk of
overcrowding, you would think there was no room left on this planet! Half of our population takes up just one fiftieth of the space. The second part – the very fact that cities have high density, means it’s possible to use smart governance and technological innovation to reduce resource and energy consumption.
● Lena Duquemin, website comment Parag Khanna’s keynote feature in Making It number 18 (“In the century of cities”) touches on a number of the challenges facing the world’s cities in the 21st century. One phrase particularly stands out for me: “I strongly believe that governments should devote most of their attention to the issue of inequality between the slums and the glamorous side of the city.” A good example comes from Latin America and the Caribbean region in the way the Inter-American Development Bank has launched the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative. The idea is to support sustainable development in medium-sized cities in the region which have expanded at a rapid rate. Already the second-most urbanized region on the planet, the region has gone from a 62% urbanization rate in 1980 to 81% in 2011, and is expected to reach 89% by 2050.