May 31, 2008
“(P)eople everywhere are increasingly confronted with a series of intractable problems, almost impossible to deal with: environmental disturbance, a crisis in norms and customs, bureaucratisation, the uncontrollable expansion of the cities, uncertainty concerning employment, alienation on the part of young people, economic disruptions and the rejection by a growing number of people of our society’s value system.”
Familiar-sounding? Yes, but written in 1972 by the Club of Rome. The report predicted that after 2000, it would be impossible to turn the tide. “The world system simply no longer has the space and the abundance to tolerate such egocentric behaviour on the part of its inhabitants.” If the world did not impose “limits on growth”, there would be scarcity, catastrophe and wealthy states which would increasingly withdraw into themselves.
36 years later and 10 years after Kyoto, what has been achieved in sustainable development in general and climate change in particular? A global solution is necessary and this is one policy area in which the European Union can demonstrate that it is a world leader. But to achieve this, the 27 Member States must first agree among themselves – we are still at the talking stage. And agreement is not an end but a beginning because success depends on implementation.Author : Stanley Crossick