Pressures on the Planet: Major Trends in Climate Change, Food Security, and Population


Moderator: Juliet Eilperin, Environmental Reporter for the Washington Post
The Honorable Mary Robinson, Founder of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative; Former President of Ireland
Eleni Gabre-Madhin, CEO of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange
Paul Collier, Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University
Paul Weisenfeld, Assistant to the Administrator, Bureau for Food Security, USAID

By 2050, the global population is expected to increase to more than nine billion, requiring up to a 70 percent increase in agricultural production and a doubling of water needs for agriculture.  These trends and others will be highlighted in this session that will examine opportunities and tensions related to the intersection of climate change, food security, and population.  What do recent increases in urban populations mean for resource demand and our current global approach to resource management? Specifically, pertaining to sustainable development and long-term economic growth?  Given the importance of the global economy to resource decisions, how might the natural resources (water, clean air, biodiversity, etc.) already tied to essential human services be better valued by our economic system?  How might we better calculate an appropriate cost for their degradation?  What are methods for greening production chains – particularly in developing countries where markets can be more opaque? Can we tackle questions of resource demand without discussing rapidly increasing populations?