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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Energy Leapfrogging or Carbon Imperialism?

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Session Description

Wealthy nations have benefitted from access to cheap energy, which fueled the industrial revolution and lifted populations into the middle class and beyond. That development has come at an environmental cost, and now the world’s emerging economies are facing a difficult question: can they lift their own people out of poverty quickly, without relying heavily on fossil fuels? The West must face another question: is it ethical to ask these countries to leapfrog to clean energy, if it means slowing life-saving economic growth? This debate will highlight the trade-offs—or false choices—between fostering economic growth in emerging economies, with the imperative to transition to a cleaner-energy future.

When | Where

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM Thursday, April 6 Edmond Safra Lecture Theatre


Panel Discussion

Session leaders

  • Former President, Republic of the Maldives, Individual
    Mohamed Nasheed was the Maldives’ first democratically elected president. A former journalist, Nasheed led a campaign of non-violent, civil disobedience to win against Asia’s longest serving dictator in historic democratic polls in 2008. In February 2012, Nasheed was forced to resign as a result of a security forces led coup backed by the former government. Nasheed missed out on re-election for president in late 2013, in an election marred by repeated interventions by the Supreme Court, which was accused of conspiring with Nasheed’s political rivals. On March 13, 2015, the Criminal Court on charges of ‘terrorism’ sentenced Nasheed to 13 years in jail. The trial, which was blatantly politicised lasted less than 3 weeks and has been widely condemned in the Maldives and abroad. Arrested, imprisoned and tortured in the Maldives on numerous occasions for his political beliefs, Nasheed was named an Amnesty International “Prisoner of Conscience. During his time in office and thereafter, Nasheed has played a prominent global role advocating for action on climate change. In 2009, to highlight Maldives’ vulnerability to rising sea levels, Nasheed held a meeting of his cabinet underwater. He also implemented policies to turn Maldives into the world’s first carbon neutral country by 2020. Nasheed won the 2009 Anna Lindh Prize, in recognition of his work promoting human rights, democracy and environmental protection. In September 2009, Time Magazine declared Nasheed a ‘Hero of the Environment’. In April 2010, the United Nations presented Nasheed with its ‘Champions of the Earth’ environment award. In August 2010, Newsweek named Nasheed in its list of ‘World’s Ten Best Leaders’. In 2012, The Island President, a documentary feature film about Nasheed was released worldwide. In 2012, Nasheed was presented with the James Lawson Award for the practice of non-violent action. In 2014, Nasheed was presented the Mission Blue Award, by Dr. Sylvia Earle for his climate advocacy.
  • Emily Wilson Moderator
    Assistant Editor, Guardian, The
    I've been a journalist at the Guardian for 16 years, working across news and features. I'm now assistant editor of the Guardian, responsible for global stories such as the environment, science and health, as well as our philanthropically funded work. Recently I returned from two years running our Australian operation, which is based in Sydney.
  • A practitioner from the very beginning, Jagdeesh began his professional life in 1986 working with rural communities in Andhra Pradesh in South India with a strong leaning towards the interrelated issues of poverty and environmental degradation and the need for ‘systems thinking’ to work on issues at the interface of ecology, society and economy. Jagdeesh took on his currently held role as Chief Executive of the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) in 2001. By embedding three fundamental tenets – nature’s potential, secure tenure and community institutions matched by strategic action on building local capacities and leveraging public funds, Jagdeesh helped FES open up, embrace institutional diversity, capitalize on the changes in the external environment, reinforce the mission and evolve a wide range of strategies to improve scale, scope and influence. At a larger level, Jagdeesh is working with national and international organizations to locate community lands and governance in the discourse on land rights, which is mostly steered towards individual ownership. He advocates for a 'Commons' paradigm for ecological governance instead of relying excessively on centralized and individualized approaches to managing shared natural resources. He also believes that 'Commons need Commons' as a mutually reinforcing system. H and that it is only in the coming together of ‘Commons’ from different domains such as knowledge systems, property laws, urban governance, digital technology and so on, that those who are currently most disenfranchised, socially, economically and politically, are empowered as equal members of society. And that human society lives in harmony with Nature. His current areas of interest include conservation planning (of forests and water), small holder agriculture decentralized governance, biodiversity informatics, history of science and law, and systems thinking.
  • Samir Saran Speaker
    Vice President, Observer Research Foundation
    Samir Saran is Vice President of the Observer Research Foundation. Samir spearheads ORF's outreach and business development activities. He is a frequent commentator on issues of global governance, including climate change and energy policy, global development, architecture, cyber security and internet governance, and India's foreign policy. Apart from his academic publications, Samir features regularly in Indian and international print and broadcast media. His latest published work include, "India’s Contemporary Plurilateralism" in the Oxford University Press Handbook on India’s Foreign Policy; New Room to Manoeuvre: An Indian Approach to Climate Change, a Global Policy–ORF publication; Attitudes to Water in South Asia, a joint ORF–Chatham House Report; A Long Term Vision for BRICS, a comprehensive vision document submitted to the BRICS Think Tanks Council; The ITU and Unbundling Internet Governance: An Indian Perspective, for the Council on Foreign Relations; a joint research project between ORF and the Heritage Foundation, Indo–US Cooperation on Internet Governance and Cyber Security; and a paper on “The Shifting Digital Pivot: Time for Smart Multilateralism” for Digital Debates. Samir is member at the Inception Group, The Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace and Global Future Council on Cybersecurity of the World Economic Forum.