The Unstable Sustainability of the Planet

In the panel about the PLANET, the unsustainability of the current global development model became clear, as we still are obsessed with continuous and exponential economic growth, despite scientific evidence about the need for an urgent paradigm shift. While the European Union has developed considerable efforts in diminishing greenhouse gas emissions, emissions are rising in the largest developing countries, such as in China and India. Emerging economies are expected to continue to grow, even as growth slows in industrialized countries, are therefore they have a key role in global responses to climate change, in the available options on economic growth models and the energy mix.

While China and India are among the major investors in renewables and less polluting energy sources, the energy transition is not happening at the necessary pace to avoid serious consequences. We need to globally change mentalities, business models, consumption patterns and also the way cities are organized, has an increasing share of the world population lives in urban centers. Hopefully this change will be accelerated by economic reasons, namely by the fact that less polluting energies are an increasingly cost-effective and economically wise investment, which generates profit, jobs and development. Public policies and intervention are crucial in this context – and policies only change if climate change and pollution are serious threats to the economy.