The study of human history suggests that the sources of the energy used to sustain production and consumption are the defining determinants of the productive structure, and by implication of the social structure. This article assesses the economic and sociopolitical changes that one can expect because of the major changes in energy sources required to tackle the threat of global warming. It spells out what we know at present about the risks of climate change arising from global warming, how they are being addressed at present and how the measures that are contemplated at present to cope with the threat of climate change will transform the global energy economy and why this makes possible a substantially more decentralised economy. But it also qualifies this vision and deals with the hurdles that will be faced in the structural transition.


A brief history of the diplomatic dynamics of the climate negotiations


This address was about how the clash of environment and development concerns played out in the Brundtland Commission and the 1992 Rio Conference.The author was personally involved with this quite intimately as the Senior Economic Adviser to the Brundtland Commission, as the Deputy Secretary General of the Rio Summit of 1992, as the UN Under Secretary General in charge of the Commission on Sustainable Development and as the Secretary General of the World Summit on Sustainable Development of 2002.


This paper explores the geopolitics of climate change by examining the current state of climate diplomacy, the geopolitical;itics of mitigation actions that may be undertaken and the consequences of the climate change that is inevitable.


Ecological interdependence involves uncertainty, long-range cause and effect relationships, thresholds and discontinuities, a scale of impact that is reaching limits in some areas, a close connection with the processes of economic globalisation, a geography of impact that cuts across national jurisdictions and an incidence of impact that reflects power relations. For all of these reasons it requires a qualitatively different form of global response.This paper looks at the challenge of environmental governance from four distinct but related perspectives-the ecological, the economic, the ethical and the decision making challenges that need to be addressed by the governance mechanism


What is the principal challenge facing humanity in the twenty-first century? Is it the challenge of lifting billions out of poverty into a life of dignity? Or is it one of ensuring that we do not transgress the boundaries beyond which the risks of cata- strophic environmental change are unacceptably large? In my view the word β€˜or’ in the previous question is misleading. The two challenges are now so connected that coping with one requires that we cope also with the other. That is what sustainable development is all about – how poverty eradication and environmental protection can be mutually supportive.