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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
The Parisian 2015 Climate Change discussions are near – scientists are clear about their warnings, but politicians seem unaware. Meanwhile, the weather is becoming more extreme.
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Business Times, May 15, 2014
 

Rain stops play! These are dreaded words across the world during the summer months – rain has stopped the great game of cricket. For some people it is the world’s best game, for others it is incomprehensible . . . especially the Test Matches of five-day duration.

It is not just cricket that is affected by the weather, but all outdoor events can suffer –´horse racing has to be cancelled if “the going” is too hard or muddy; open-air music festivals protect the performers somewhat but the audiences can churn the grass into mud baths; and some boat races are notoriously dangerous causing health and safety authorities to fret and governments put their air/sea rescue systems on high alert.

Adverse weather causes losses to sponsors as well as deaths, and we are unable to manage it. Yet I can write with confidence “. . . climate is what we expect, and weather is what we get”.

We are becoming better at forecasting short-term weather events which are often driven by predictions derived from long-term knowledge of climatic conditions.

But the science is young and the data complex, if not chaotic. We know some coastal areas have huge tides – northern France may have over eight metres range whereas its southern coastline lapped by the Mediterranean has only a third of a metre.

Imagine being in the middle of the ocean within the calm of a depression caused by local atmospheric pressure being lower than surrounding regions where there may be huge gales whipping the sea into 10-metre high waves. Oddly, in the centre of the depression the sea rises, drawn upwards by the low pressure. Strong depressions regularly advance on northern Europe from the Atlantic in wintertime, and when they coincide with the spring high tides (when the sun and moon align their gravity) they cause really high tides: if these coincide with high winds and the extra draw of low pressure devastating storms can occur.

In the Great Storm of December 1703 the UK suffered its worst storm – between 8,000 and 15,000 lives were lost, 700 ships were piled up on the London docks and one navy ship was blown to Gothenburg, Sweden before it could make its way back to England. There was no forecasting at the time so the UK government began to collect and analyse weather data.

Short-term forecasts
Today, most developed nations have good short-term forecasts aided by global data sharing from terrestrial measurements as well as satellite observations. Yet, through the winter of 2013 into 2014, there were many severe and damaging storms along the western coasts of Europe, renewing fears of climatic change. All the storms were forecast reasonably accurately (so there were few deaths) but now some predict that by the end of the century our anthropogenic involvement in climate change will be more important than nature’s own.

We have developed this mess through our own ingeniousness. First we found out how to get horses, mules and even elephants to augment our own weak muscle power. But the breakthrough came when we invented the steam engine.

By heating its water to drive pistons, turbines and, more recently, electricity generators, we increased our capabilities well beyond the inconstant wind and waterpower.

The steam engine could run 24/7 any day of the year – all it needed was fuel: first wood, then coal, oil and gas, and now nuclear fuel.

This apparently unlimited energy led to a rapid increase in global population (now falling and predicted to be stable by 2100 at about 11 billion); and to rapidly increasing emissions of air-borne pollutants, many of which are climate warming chemicals.

Carbon dioxide is the most commonly discussed pollutant. Scientists say that humans have sent a total of 305 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere since 1751; half of these emissions have occurred since the mid-1970s, and while the oceans and soils still act as “sinks” their beneficial activity may be swamped by our incessant emissions.

We, as individuals, seem not to care about this – in part because its outcome is unsure and it will be well into the future. We procrastinate, and so do our lawmakers who should legislate more strongly to control pollution.

We will see more frequent references to “climate change” as we approach December 2015 when, in Paris, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will hope to get global ratification of ambitious new plans to reduce our outputs of CO2 and other pollutants.

The last breakthrough was in Kyoto (in 1997) but its legislation action has ceased. Many scientists and government officials have been negotiating their way to the Paris meeting hoping for a new global accord to continue where Kyoto left off. I think the scientific community’s conclusions are clear though worrisome – and they bound their remarks with statistical error limits.

Being open
The politicians, however, are in a tizzy. Often they don’t understand the science, and may not believe it. In the US there are “creationists” who believe the world is less than 10,000 years old, and many are in high office.

Of course, politicians are charged by their voters to “do their best for their people” which often leaves no room for compromise.

Further, I think the brief high-level negotiations are flawed as the local host has to deal both with the influx of 15,000 people (diplomats, negotiators, scientist and lobbyists) as well as be responsible for engineering the final accord.

The IPCC two-week discussion process is too fast and too contrived – scientific evidence is discussed openly and at length, but politics are subject to ill-formed short-term coalitions created to extract concessions at the last minute.

I suggest we all lobby our national representatives to be open about their aims and their negotiating stance so that others may engage with them well before the stressful two weeks in Paris. Of course some conclusion will be signed-off in Paris – but will they be meaningful?

 

The writer is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community.


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