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RETHINKING GOVERNANCE

Third, we need to stop arguing and start listening—really listening, that is, and acting as if our lives depended on it. The stories of real people being affected by climate change are being told with increased urgency. These are stories of flooding and famine, of drought and fire. They are heartbreaking and frightening, and too often we succumb to the natural human tendency of pretending that such things won’t happen to us. Until they do. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev became convinced of the need to address climate change by the terrible heat wave and devastating wildfires in the summer of 2010. In a speech delivered on 4 August that year, he said, “We need to learn our lessons from what has happened…Everyone is talking about climate change now. Unfortunately, what is happening now in our central regions is evidence of this global climate change, because we have never in our history faced such weather conditions in the past. This means that we need to change the way we work, change the methods that we used in the past.” But have we really learned those lessons yet? Some have, but others are lagging behind.

© Philippe Laurenson/Reuters

In 2050, when the world looks back on the legacy of our generation, how will you be remembered? Recommended link Global Campaign for Climate Action: http://gc-ca.org/

move until you move first” must be countered head-on; we simply don’t have the time to procrastinate.

6.0 5.5

Baseline

5.0

Uncertainty range

4.5 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5 2oC

2.0 1.5 0.5

2100

2090

2080

2070

2060

2050

2040

2030

2020

2010

2000

1990

0.0 1980

The benefits of clean, low carbon development are becoming increasingly obvious. HSBC projected that the low carbon energy market will triple in size by 2020, to US$2.2 trillion. And a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Carbon Disclosure Project found that low carbon leaders amongst the world’s major corporations substantially outperformed the Global 500 average in terms of shareholder value.

Projections of temperature increase, 1970-2100

1970

Second, all countries must embark on rapid and clean low carbon development pathways. This is a win-win situation. Take the Maldives, for example. President Nasheed made headlines in 2010 with his announcement to become the first country in the world to go carbon neutral and has developed a Carbon Neutral Plan to make it a reality. This is not only environmentally friendly but makes good economic sense as well. The Maldives spends around 14% of its GDP on imported oil, more than on education and health care combined. And as they can store relatively little of it at any one time, they are extremely vulnerable to changes in the price per barrel.

Looming threat of climate change

OECD Yearbook 2012 © OECD 2012

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2012 OECD Yearbook