Just as he prepared to slide into WRI’s president’s seat, Andrew Steer spoke with Eric Roston, Sustainability Editor of Bloomberg News, about the big environment and development issues of the day. He talked about the role of the business, reporting on carbon emissions, Rio+20, and whether environmentalists are “apocaholics” (that is, addicted to an apocalyptic world view, as suggested recently by Wired magazine).
As Steer said in the interview:
“Evidence shows that the world economy actually consumes natural resources at a rate at least as concerning as the size of financial deficits, or as the fragility of the financial sector. The question is not so much, was the Club of Rome right or wrong 40 years ago, but, today, based upon serious, objective, dispassionate, authoritative, professional analysis, does it look as if we run serious risks? The evidence is clear that we have some very serious risks, not on the horizon, but actually much closer than that.”
(Read the entire interview on Bloomberg News.)
Steer brings a wealth of experience grappling with big resource challenges – primarily at the World Bank, where he spent time in Vietnam, Indonesia, and many other developing countries. Steer was known at the Bank for pushing to incorporate environmental solutions into its poverty alleviation mission.
Steer firmly believes that we need to tackle both poverty reduction and resource scarcity to make the planet more sustainable. He recognizes that it’s critical for leaders in business, along with governments and civil society, to be part of the solution. And, in his eyes, there’s no time to waste.
As he explained:
“We are seeing a tightening up--in a very serious, worrying way--of the entire resource situation in the world. It’s high food prices, and high and volatile gasoline prices. It's the fact that in the last 10 years, we have seen the upsetting of an entire century of declining real resource prices … Any smart business leader needs to be aware of that and needs to factor it into his or her decision-making.”
The issues we face as a global society are vast and complex, and it’s clear that we need to continue finding breakthrough solutions to meet these resource challenges. At WRI, we’re excited to welcome a new leader with deep expertise and a bold vision to guide our work and build on the Institute’s 30 years of high-quality analysis and impact. There’s no doubt we have a lot of work to do.