sábado, 26 de marzo de 2011

Driving Questions

As I was preparing myself for a meeting with a very important academic, I came with a list of questions that I would really like answered. This set of questions are part of the reasons that drove me to my new life in New York City. The process of answering them will probably take me into unknown terrain, into Terra Ignota.

I would like to talk about the future of Sustainable Development and Rio+20; also about the future of climate change negotiation and policies:.
  • The future of climate change negotiations, if a international agreement will not be achieved, then what mechanisms should we use to curb emissions.
  • Rio+20 stresses the need of global environmental governance, increasing the importance of the UNEP to a full fledged agency. What does he think about this.
  • We are only talking about climate change, but there are 9 planetary boundaries that awe need to take care of according to Johan Rockström, how should we handle ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity and water stresses in dry regions?
  • The second main subject of Rio+20 is defining the green economy, what would be the economy of the future, is unlimited growth feasible by switching to sustainable technology? Does he believe in the limits of growth? Is degrowth the only possible way to achieve sustainability?
  • The UN stresses that sustainable development needs to focus on both environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation, how can this be achieved in a realistic way? 
  • A recent blog post by worldbank economist Wolfgang Fengler mentions that population growth is actually not a problem in africa and could help development in the area. Could this be true? 
  • What does he think of the concept of poverty traps, is there any empirical evidence?
  • On the topic of externalities, how is the best way to internalize environmental service prices into the economy? There are different approaches to the management of common goods, in which cases can community management, private rights, zoning or government regulation work? How can we work on a bottom-up approach by sector and country to achieve global goals of reduction of emissions. How does game theory fits into all of this.
  • In the topic about infectious diseases, can the global fund truly fight malaria? Is the polio eradication effort a futile effort?
  • On geoengineering, does he really think that we should do it in the short run? Wouldn't that be just a band aid, what are the dangers?
  • On carbon sequestration, is it truly feasible to do it at a global scale? Will it become a business opprtuntity for entrepreneurs?
  • After the new nuclear incident in Japan, is nuclear energy according to him a way to truly achieve sustainable development?
  • On the subject of future generations, there is a strong debate between Nordhaus and Stern about the discount rate of future generations. What does he think the discount rate for future generations be?
  • Does he think that remote perception could help us in the enforcement of environmental law at the global level, would remote perception help us to quantify the environmental services values provided by the environment?
  • Does he think vertical farming could be an approach to alleviate the environmental degradation and emissions of agriculuture? Is there any economic analysis literature on the subject?
Some of the questions that keep me awake at night.

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