1 Speaker Highlights
Newberry Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Columbia University
extremely concerned that the Earth has a chronic
disease, and that chronic disease is CO2 syndrome,
it's something that's creeping on us. We have
plenty of fossil fuel so it's going to continue
to get worse, and it's going to affect every
aspect of life on the planet, from food production
to drinking water to coastlines to the plight
of the poor in the tropics, and so forth.
"And of course
perhaps the biggest thing it's going to hit
is the Earth's wildlife.
very unfortunate that we're really not addressing
this problem effectively – we have no long-range
plan. There is a cure for this disease,
and we should get with it because the cure
takes a long time.
"Now the solution,
I think, or the cure is that we're going to
have to capture and store CO2. In my estimation
it is the only way right now that we know of
which could solve the problem. Maybe solar
power will come along, other things may happen,
but we can't bank on that, and therefore in
my estimation we must pull out all the stops
to create the wherewithal to capture CO2."
Edward O. Wilson
Pellegrino University Research Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard University
Sawhill, the late president of the Nature Conservancy
and a friend of mine, once said, 'A society
is defined not just by what it creates but
by it refuses to destroy,' and that's true.
the 21st Century is destined to be called the
'Century of the Environment.' It will,
I and many others believe, be seen as a time
that either we put our house in order and settle
down before we wreck the planet, or suffer
we will settle down, because as Abba Eban said
during the 1967 war, 'When all else fails men
turn to reason.'
the natural environments where most of the
biodiversity hangs on can not survive the press
of land-hungry people who have nowhere else
This problem can be solved. Resources to do it exist. There are many
reasons to achieve that goal, not least our own security.
civilization able to envision God and the afterlife, to embark
on the colonization of space, will surely find the way to save
the integrity of this magnificent planet and the life it harbors
because quite simply it's the right
thing to do, and ennobling to our species.
"We will be
judged far into the future, as far I think
as any of us can imagine by what we now choose
Retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher
Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
and NOAA Administrator
healthy economy and a healthy environment are
tied together now and into the future. The
basis of today's talk is about expanding our
knowledge to the point where we begin to step
up to new knowledge in understanding the coupling
of Earth systems, understanding what it means
to have them all together, what it means in
the future for making sound policy decisions
based on sound sciences science
which is available, it is it is verifiable,
it is as accurate as we can make it, and it
is available to the entire world, not just
"The hardest part of this
is not technical it is in fact political and
organizational, getting people to the table
to agree to do things."
|| Dr. William Foege|
Emeritus Presidential Distinguished Professor
of International Health, Emory University, and
when we see nature overwhelming us with new
problems, a thoughtful analysis shows the reason
comes back to indict us, not nature."
slaves today we call the poor. Those of us
in this room are the masters. And we benefit
by having the poor subsidize us. This naked
exploitation is clothed in the marketplace,
national automy and shallow democracy but its
"Roger Bacon, seven
hundred years ago, in a report to the pope
on science, concluded that science lacks a
moral compass. But so does the marketplace,
politics, governments, universities, and the
institutionalized church, which leads to my
sixth, and last point: that is not true of
the individuals in those organizations. It
is the individuals that inspire the moral compass
Ashoka, Marcus Aurelius, Lincoln, Gandhi, Schweitzer, Martin Luther
King, E.O. Wilson. And when institutions get it right, it
is because of individuals."
Chief Scientist, The World Bank
personally don't believe that we should tell
India, China or a poor country in Africa or
Asia that they have to spend more for their
energy than we do in the U.S. Therefore I believe
that if we're going to push renewable energy
technologies, we have to make sure that they
are no more expensive than fossil fuel technologies
we have to pay for the cost differential. Can
I justify ever doing a coal-fired power project
from a World Bank loan or an oil pipeline?
Yes. And that is because some countries like
Chad have absolutely no choices as to how to
get out of poverty but to exploit their very
limited natural resources.
for us is to make sure that that pipeline is
the most viably and socially sustainable it
can be. While would we ever do a coal-fired
power project? The same – to make it the very
best at socially and viably sustainable.
real power of the bank isn't actually in
lending. The real power of the bank is policy
reform, to get rid of perverse subsidies,
to get rid of dysfunctional markets.
going to use its coal whether we like it or
not, and our choice is to make it the most
viably and socially sustainable we can."
Director, Tropical Agriculture Program, The Earth
Institute at Columbia University
main problems are in Africa, and sub-Saharan
Africa is the only part of the world where
per capital food production continues to decline.
of Malawi looks like yellow maize, yellow
corn, because of the nitrogen deficiency.
But interspersed in it, you find islands
of green corn which has a very good yield.
This is because this land was in agroforestry nitrogen-fixing trees
before. Our challenge is to
transform from an ocean of yellow maize, to
an ocean of green maize."
Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University
is an experiment on the earth's
climate, on the earth's atmosphere that
hasn't been done for millions of years,
and the choices we make in next few decades
are really going to determine how far outside
the human experience we're willing to
push our planet. I really hope we don't
end up at 1,000 parts per million of carbon
dioxide, because I think there are going to
be many surprises there that none of us are
going to be able to predict.
importantly, that the uncertainty, the fact
that we don't
know exactly how a planet works at a 1,000
parts per million – that is the problem.
That is not a reason for inaction. That is
the whole reason for doing something about
it because we don't want to just try
this out – we only have one planet
that we can live on.
"The view from
the Rovers on Mars is pretty interesting, but
its no place I'd like to spend any time."
Executive Director of the Ethical Globalization
Initiative, The Earth Institute at Columbia University
thousand million or so individuals living in
absolute poverty not only worry daily about
where the next meal will come from, or medicines
for a dying child. They lack self-respect.
They're even invisible. They don't vote, they're
harassed by police, they have no recourse against
violence, women have no recourse against rape,
and they live in a fragile state of human insecurity.
And when I saw this again and again, I became
truly convinced that this was the greatest
problem in human rights."
Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University
Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development,
I were asked what is the main barrier to effective
approaches for these problems, my one-word
answer would be fear. It would be the
sense that we're in such a dire struggle that
its really 'us' versus 'them,' 'us' versus
our neighbor, 'us' versus a competitor,
or 'us' versus a different culture,
that stops us from understanding what we really
could accomplish on the planet. We really have
bought into this grand vision of Earth as a
struggle, not as a cooperative enterprise."