Davos calls for managing world resources in sustainable way

January 29th, 2009 - 2:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Davos, Jan 29 (Xinhua) Participants at the World Economic Forum here called for managing world resources in a sustainable way in view of the increasing demand of natural resources by the mankind. “We are all aware of the growing stress that our natural resources are under,” said Jamshyd N. Godrej, chairman and managing director of Godrej & Boyce, India, at a session Wednesday.

The huge increase in food prices in 2008 was symptomatic of that stress, he said.

“If resources are not used in a sustainable and responsible way, there will be a point of no going back, a tipping point,” he added.

Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute, US, said “If the world’s ecosystems were a company, you would be dumping its stock.”

“Some resources are priced as commodities, while others have no price; we only notice them when they are no longer available… Nature does not do bailouts, but today’s retooling of economies creates an opportunity to incorporate green technologies, energy efficiency and resource management into global systems,” he said.

Some participants suggested creating a coherent standard to measure carbon emissions and footprints as a crucial step in sustainability.

“You can’t manage what you cannot measure,” said Lawrence Bloom, deputy chairman of Noble Cities, a consortium of the world’s renowned companies and organisations.

Focusing on reducing the carbon footprint of buildings, Bloom pointed out that there are many carbon reduction initiatives that are adding value to the equation, but there is no one standard.

There is an opportunity for the IT industry to develop technologies to monitor carbon emissions in cities, discover where breakthroughs in reducing emissions are being made and share this information among cities, he said.

Energy efficiency was repeated stressed by delegates attending discussions at the forum in the Swiss resort.

“Energy efficiency is mission critical,” said Rhonda I. Zygocki, vice president of Policy, Government and Public Affairs for Chevron Corporation.

In the US, a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency would save 10 million barrels of oil a day, she said.

There is no shortage of fossil fuels to supply energy needs for many decades to come, but there are accumulating risks if the world continues to use energy as it does today, she warned.

Efficient management of resources will sustain global economic development and deliver social, economic and environmental benefits, but only if tough choices are made and new approaches are taken by governments, argued Kuseni Douglas Dlamini, head of Anglo American South Africa, a mining company.

“We need to act now to prevent wars over scarce natural resources such as water, food or fuel,” he said.

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