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.
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.
Over the past 10 days, I have been traveling across India giving a set of public lectures on sustainable development. During this visit I have had the privilege of interacting with a wide range of individuals – politicians, civil servants, fellow academics and the common man on the street. We have discussed and debated the numerous successes the country has achieved in the past five decades as well as the challenges it currently faces.
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.
An estimated 38 million people in the world today are vulnerable to famine and 815 million suffer from various forms of hunger. No country epitomizes the hunger challenge better than India. The country's much touted success in preventing famine due to democratic political institutions (as famously argued by the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen) has not been replicated in the field of chronic hunger, which remains a major concern and affects large groups in the population.
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?