In 1972 the Club of Rome commissioned a study on growth trends in world population, industrialisation, pollution, food production, and resource depletion which was eventually published as a book called “The Limits to Growth.” They simulated different scenarios predicting what would happen until 2100 depending on whether humanity takes decisive action on environmental and resource issues. 40 years later the world pretty much matches the worst prediction.
There two interesting things I have seen and read with regard to international UN level conferences.
The first one was a documentary called The Island President. It’s about how the former president of the Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed, tried to make politicians of other states aware of the consequences of global warming, which in the case of the Maldives is quite dramatic. So it follows Mohammed Nasheed and his delegation meeting several foreign country representatives in preparation for and during the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
The second one is about a totally different topic: telecommunications and internet policy. ArsTechnica had an interesting piece about the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) 2012 in Dubai titled Behind closed doors at the UN’s attempted “takeover of the Internet”. It follows recounts of Eli Dourado as part of the US delegation participating in committee discussions drafting documents for regulating international telecommunications (and trying to get hold of the internet 😛 ).
Its interesting to see how politicians interact on the highest level. A common theme is the importance of choosing the right “words” both in negotiations and in drafting treaties/documents. Also interesting were where the front lines are and how the process of aligning interests, building alliances and persuasion works. From two very different standpoints, on two very different issues.
A note on the Maldives:
Being the lowest-lying country (1.5m above sea level, at the moment 😉 ) on the planet, it will be submerged under water within our lifetime with the current goal of limiting global warming to 2° at the end of the century (which looks like we we won’t be able to meet 🙁 ). Making its inhabitants the first nation of ecological refugees. 🙁
Update: ArsTechnica took a look at the IPCC’s climate predictions back from the 1990s … seems like they were mostly right with predicting the temperature rise and a little (too) conservative with the sea level rise.