Student Reporter Andreas Slotte had the privilege of interviewing Secretary Mary Ann Lucille Sering, Vice Chairperson of the Climate Change Commission of the Philippines, during the UNEP Switch-Asia Sustainable Consumption and Production Conference (SCP) in Asia, held in Bangkok, Thailand. A government official in a unique position, Ms Sering is in charge of finding practical, implementable SCP policies that could be enacted in the Philippines. Unlike the comparatively steady states of developed economies, the Philippines present an exciting challenge of a country seeing high-single digit growth rates (the Philippine’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 6.6% in 2012, and has had an annual growth rate of 5% for the past 10 years), yet in pressing need of infrastructure and other macro-scale projects. (more…)
“The economy, stupid,” was the quote hanging at President Bill Clinton’s Little Rock 1992 campaign headquarters. Although the quote has gone through many incarnations in the past decades, it really captured the zeitgeist for the President. Perhaps it has even captured every zeitgeist to ever have existed for every political candidate – this for the simple reason that the economy is something that affects each and every one of us.
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DSGE, IS/LM, OLG. If you are a follower of the dismal science, or have come across any news regarding economic modelling, these terms will be somewhat familiar to you. To the rest, they’re just acronyms.
Economics modelling is a funny thing. Instead of actually having specific laws, an all-encompassing model, or a grand unified theory, it has models which need to describe their specific purpose and characteristics through complicated names (and even weirder acronyms). Although not a natural science, economics could gain much by learning how scientists model the natural world.
As our societies develop and evolve, the question of measuring progress through different metrics has gained a more prominent place. Simple measures, such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), do not perhaps capture all the complexities of development that we want them to and this is where purpose-built replacements such as Gross National Happiness (GNH) come into play. The Student Reporter team at the World Resources Forum 2012 in Beijing, China was reminded of this problem when interviewing the 2007 Nobel peace prize winner Dr. Mohan Munasinghe. Although there were a myriad of topics such as sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and greening the economy, the question of the importance of alternative metrics is one that stuck. During his many talks at the conference, Dr. Munasinghe explored and encouraged the usage of alternative economic indicators in lieu of the ubiquitous GDP; indicators that could capture many other elements of economic, cultural, and societal value.
No longer is waste a muddled, stinking pile of garbage. With evermore refined technology, the waste management industry has finally come of age. The most recent technological hubbub in waste management has been made by a Finnish company called ZenRobotics. Their only marketable product, a robotic recycling arm, purportedly utilises a variety of sensors to distinguish different types of materials in a waste stream and then separates them accordingly. Whilst technological advances are impressive in their own right, increasing technological sophistication does not provide an all-encompassing solution to the global waste problem.