The Outlook on Peak Oil and Copenhagen
Today marks the second installment of Big Think's new series on business sustainability, sponsored by Logica. For the next eleven Mondays (through June 8, 2010), we will release in-depth discussions with top European experts focusing on how we can better align the interests of business with the greater social good. Today we share clips from our interviews with the Chairman of Nestle, Peter Brabeck, and the Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol.Birol thinks we'll hit peak oil in 2020. What should businesses do to prepare for that day? Two things: invest to find new oil fields, and slow the oil demand growth. Translation: we need to start using more efficient automobiles. If we can do that, we may be able to postpone the peak.
Brabeck talks about the Copenhagen Climate Council, which was widely considered a failure. But to the Chairman of Nestle, it wasn't a failure of ideas; it was a political failure. The issue of climate change has become far too politicized: what was presented at the Council as a primarily carbon issue is so much more than that. Brabeck gives some ideas as to how to remove the politics from the debate.
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons, user Magnus Manske.
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Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?
- "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
- The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
- Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
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