Sandakerveien 130 (map)
1st and 2nd floor
The problem is enormous and growing. The evidence is compelling. Human activity, and our increased consumption of fossil fuels, has resulted in higher temperatures on earth. The best case scenarios of preventing a huge increase in global emissions of CO2 is already looking unrealistic.
Mega-quarantines, large hospitals built within a week, and sharing information with the global scientific community! The outbreak of the coronavirus (nCov2019) in China that has infected thousands of people and killed over 100, provides an illustrative example of the challenges facing the powerful Chinese state as it strives to contain the epidemic within its borders while limiting the effects of “stagflation” and further damage to its reputation abroad.
The growing environmental risks posed by worsening air pollution has generated considerable media attention and resulting citizen anger in recent years, particularly in some of the world’s biggest economies. It is estimated that polluted air contributes to 7 million premature deaths every year.
Large parts of the African continent continue to face an acute shortage of energy. Hundreds of millions of people do not have any access to electricity. And the few that do enjoy access to the grid, are often not guaranteed continued power supply throughout the day. As governments struggle to boost power generation, they are increasingly being forced to make hard decisions and address numerous tradeoffs.
During the past couple of weeks, I have been giving a series of talks on sustainable development at various Chinese universities in Beijing as well as interacting with UN agencies, think tanks and civil society organizations. A common theme that has emerged in these interactions is that China has strongly endorsed the 2030 Agenda, and that the sustainable development discourse is growing in popularity within the country. The interesting question is why.
I was teaching in Malawi a few weeks ago when I accepted an invitation to participate in a debate on the environmental footprint of population growth hosted by The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Although I had not explicitly worked on population policy, I was intrigued by the prospect of better understanding why population is often a neglected area in the mainstream climate change discourse. And the thought of engaging with an Earth Systems scientist and a philosopher was much too good to pass. I was also intrigued by the fact that population control is not explicitly mentioned in the SDGs.
A persistent complaint among many developing country leaders is the poor state of their roads and how the international community appears reluctant to invest in infrastructure development. China has the solution, or so it claims. Launched in 2013, the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, estimated to cost over $5 trillion, aims at global investments in transportation, infrastructure, telecommunications, logistics, energy, and oil and gas. But will it help promote the SDGs? And is it all win-win?