Nuclear power and genetically modified food have never been popular with traditional environmentalists. But these are necessities of the future, if we as a whole wish to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, according to a leading scientist at the Beyond Kyoto conference
Professor Sir David King, Director of the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, was introduced as “a man who will take science and innovation and lead it towards a sustainable future”. He made clear that if the climate challenges are not taken seriously, it could have dire consequences:
“What is going to happen unless we take hand on the situation is that conflict is going to be a method of solution”.
The world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion people in 2050. King stated, that unless a more unified front in the struggle for securing global resources is made and resource management on a global scale is implemented, invasion of other countries motivated by a desire to secure energy supplies might well be the future.
“Future historians might look back on our recent past and see the Iraq war as the first of the conflicts of this kind – the first ‘resource war’”.
King, 69, a former Chief Scientific Adviser to the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and co-author of the book ‘The Hot Topic’, was one of the key note speakers at the Beyond Kyoto conference in Århus.
According to King, technology is already available to produce “more crop per drop”. The world has had two green revolutions since 1965, but now needs a third one. On a global scale, a 55% increase in current food production needs to occur by 2050. This could only happen with genetically modified crops and food products.
Rice genetically modified to survive up to 4 months completely submerged in water has already been developed and should be on the market next year, but could have been available 10 years ago if the general public were more inclined.
“We have to re-gear our thinking completely to meet the global challenges. All of those processes that helped our industry and economy in the 20th century are no longer valid… let me just say, yes we have to examine climate change, but remember please, [that this must happen] alongside all the other issues resulting from our increasing population.”
by Thorsten Weitling