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Editor’s Note: Author Don Tapscott will be blogging guest daily from Davos.
I attended an excellent session this morning entitled “The Road to Copenhagen.” This refers to the meeting of governments from around the world in Copenhagen this December to thrash out details of an agreement to succeed the 2005 Kyoto Protocol.
“What we most need out of Copenhagen is a clear, shared vision of where the world is going in the future,” said former Vice President Al Gore.
Gore told the audience that “President Obama is the greenest person [in the White House]. He is pushing hard for a dramatic and bold move in the right direction. If other governments do the same, then we can make the change to a low-carbon future.” There was a great deal of enthusiasm in the room for the United States government to finally show leadership in tackling the issue of climate change.
Panelists reiterated that dealing with climate change and solving the world’s economic crises are not two separate issues. Governments can address the financial crisis by promoting new technologies that are environmentally helpful. Gore called it “green stimulus.”
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, told the audience that “The essential thing is to agree on clear targets because it is a prerequisite for creating a private market,” said Rasmussen. “The policies we need to overcome financial crises are the same to combat climate change. We need green sustainable growth. Green efficiency is sound economics.”
Mark Twain famously said about the weather that "Everyone's talking about it but no one's doing anything about it." I believe that is now changing, particularly with Obama’s election. We're in the early days of something unprecedented. Thanks to the Web 2.0, the entire world is beginning to collaborate--for the first time ever--around a single idea: changing the weather. For the first time we have one affordable, global, multi-media, many-to-many communications system, and one issue on which there is growing consensus.
Climate change is quickly becoming a nonpartisan issue and citizens, businesses and governments each have a stake in the outcome. Indeed, the global consensus emerging on climate change is that solving the crisis will require leadership from every country and every sector of society. The "killer application" for mass collaboration may be saving planet earth--literally.
Al Gore mentioned to me that he is hosting a major conference on how IT and the Web can be harnessed to tackle climate change. I’m really looking forward to participating.
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