Archive for the ‘Express 149’ Category

PR Power of Good: Create Consumer Citizens & Sustainable Businesses?

Posted by admin on August 7, 2011
Posted under Express 149

PR Power of Good: Create Consumer Citizens & Sustainable Businesses?

As companies are now facing major challenges,
such as resource scarcity and climate change, radically changing the way we do
business, we need a fresh business revolution, says Stephanie Draper of the
Forum of the Future. As companies seek to shape their world for the better, and
profit from it, we need to engage the masses – in creating closed-loop
products, in changing consumption patterns and the like. We could follow the
example of Edward Bernays, who instigated the birth of Public Relations and created
consumerism. We now have to use his techniques to produce “consumer
citizens” and reward sustainable businesses involved in creating a better

Stephanie Draper for the Guardian
Professional Network (5 August 2011):

One of the major changes in the last century
has been the rise of the consumer. But this isn’t something that just happened
– the consumer was created, and the way it happened is an important lesson in
engaging people on sustainable business.

The key figure in this story is Edward
Bernays. Not someone I was particularly familiar with until Adam Curtis’s
brilliant Century of Self on BBC4 a few years ago. Bernays was the nephew of
Sigmund Freud. He combined his uncle’s work on unconscious desires with
thinking on crowd psychology to influence the masses. His basic idea was that
human behaviour is driven more by emotion than by logic and that by harnessing
that emotion at a group level you could get people to do what you wanted them
to do. In his book, Propaganda, he said: “If we understand the mechanism
and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the
masses according to our will without their knowing about it?”

He developed his approach during the first
world war when he was helping the American propaganda effort. In peacetime he
saw the opportunity to convert this expertise in mass persuasion to the

Having understandably renamed his approach
Public Relations (PR), one of his first major campaigns was getting women to
smoke. At the time it was socially unacceptable for women to be seen with a
cigarette. That meant half the number of potential customers for The American
Tobacco Company. So Bernays arranged for a group of rich debutants to light up
simultaneously during the 1929 Easter Day Parade. He saw that it was news, not
advertising, that would get the message to the people and told the press that
there was going to be a protest that day on “lighting the torch of
freedom”. It was this phrase that hit the headlines – squarely positioning
smoking with female independence and liberty. From that moment on, smoking was
seen as a sign of freedom for women, and grew as a result. This was a classic
appeal to the emotional rather than the rational. It is quite clear that
smoking does not make you free (probably a more appropriate slogan for the
washing machine or the pill), but the association made women feel powerful, and
it stuck.

Today we are well-versed in buying things
because they say something about us, or make us feel a certain way, but it was
a complete transformation in the 1920s when most selling was done on the basis
of information and function. Bernays spent a lifetime helping companies connect
with the “irrational emotion” of their customer. Many of Bernays’s
techniques, such as press releases, product placement and tie-ins are still
prevalent today. He pioneered a whole new way of doing business.

There are all sorts of questions around this
sort of mass persuasion – the act of converting active citizens into passive
consumers (and aiming to control them in the process) doesn’t support a more
sustainable approach and some of the methods are opaque and manipulative.
Bernays is far from a sustainability hero given his contribution to the
consumption challenges that we now face. But we can certainly learn from him.
Taking ideas and products from niche to mainstream is a key step on Forum’s Six
Steps to Significant Change. It helps to create the tipping point and is often
where sustainable business initiatives stumble. That is essentially what Bernays

Companies are now facing major challenges,
such as resource scarcity and climate change that are radically changing the
way we do business. We need a fresh business revolution – one where companies
seek to shape their world for the better, and profit from it. To do this we
need to engage the masses – in creating closed-loop products, in changing
consumption patterns and the like. And we need to do that in a way that
connects with people as people, as Bernays did. A good example of this is
Nike’s Better World video, which creates an emotional attachment and inspires
you to do something different through sport. This is a change at least as big
as the one that Bernays instigated with the birth of PR. He created
consumerism, we now have to use his techniques to translate that into
“consumer citizens” that reward sustainable businesses and are
involved in creating a better future.

Stephanie Draper is director of change
strategies at Forum for the Future


Designing for light, air, water, heat & energy through wall & skin

Posted by admin on August 7, 2011
Posted under Express 149

Designing for light, air, water, heat & energy through wall & skin

Singapore has achieved many accolades as a
liveable city, recognized for its excellent infrastructure and use of
technology, but there is a critical need to emphasize social and community
aspects, panellists pointed out at the Philips Seminar on “Future Living Spaces
in Singapore”. Philips has plenty of innovative plans for lighting and living,
as does the Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (Lava) with plans to cover
‘ugly’ buildings with a woven fabric mesh, or ‘skin’, to add more than
aesthetic appeal.  More on Sustainable
Cities 2011 coming up.

Report from Philips (3 August 2011):

Make Singapore a more sustainable, liveable
city by increasing community interaction

Singapore has achieved many accolades as a
liveable city, and is recognized for its excellent infrastructure and use of
technology, but there is a critical need to emphasize the community aspect,
panellists pointed out at the Philips Seminar on “Future Living Spaces in
Singapore”. Held on 30 July, the public seminar, organized by Philips as part
of its 60th anniversary celebrations in Singapore, attracted close to 200
participants, including tertiary students from arts and design colleges,
institutes, polytechnics, universities as well as members of green and
sustainability societies.

Panel members, comprising representatives
from Economic Development Board (EDB), Philips Design, Singapore Environment
Council (SEC), Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) and Tsao Foundation,
discussed the macro trends of aging, climate change, sustainability and
urbanization, and their impact on future living spaces in Singapore.

Re-establishing kampong spirit, increasing
social bonding and inclusivity

A key conclusion drawn was the lack of
community interaction and social bonding in today‟s Singapore society. “With
today‟s urban flats, we boxed people up in their home, resulting in a loss of
interactivity and sense of community. We think of living spaces as only our
living room. But for future living spaces, we need to think beyond our homes.
Initiatives, such as Vertical Kampong by the National Volunteer &
Philanthropy Center, look at reviving the kampong spirit in the community we
live in by promoting the spirit of trust, helping and sharing with one
another,” said Howard Shaw, former Executive Director of SEC and Senior Vice
President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Halycon Group.

“It is time to re-establish that sense of
kampong spirit and for Singaporeans to look beyond our four walls. We have done
a lot in hardware in Singapore, but we need to do a lot more in „heartware‟,”
he continued.

Tai Lee Siang, President of Singapore
Institute of Architects (2007-2009) and Group Managing Director of Ong &
Ong Pte Ltd, elaborated further, “We used to spend a lot of time at the dining
table with parents and grandparents, but now we can‟t even fit in a proper
table at home as space is getting smaller. We need to make spaces more
innovative. Singapore is known for its excellence in embracing hardware and
technology, but the key challenge is to develop our city with a soul. We still
have a lot of work to do to build up the social and cultural aspects of our
city, while leveraging technology to help create solutions or build facilities
that can increase social bonding and inclusivity.”

Technology not the only answer

The panellists also highlighted that while
technology plays an important role, it is also about a cultural and mindset
shift. “Technology is not the answer to everything. It is but a means to a
goal, which is to improve quality of life, and hence, must be human-centered.
At Philips Design, when we conduct design probes, we always begin by looking at
people and thinking about their needs. We also take a multi-disciplinary
approach to consider different viewpoints and work creatively with people from
various fields to overcome constraints,” said Jack Mama, Creative Director of
Probes program, Philips Design.

“In envisioning future living spaces, I believe
there are many opportunities and possibilities. Our attitudes towards waste and
energy consumption have to change drastically. How can we solve the challenge
to urbanization? How can we make 40 square meters perform like 80 square
meters? Thinking and rethinking the space and how we live in that space is
critical,” Mama further elaborated. “Within the design probe projects we have
set out to address some of these issues within different future contexts and
suggest new possibilities. These projects serve as a catalyst to stimulate
debate and feedback around selected themes and in turn generate what we call
contextual insights.”

Challenge of climate change

Climate change is also a challenge for any
city that strives to be sustainable and liveable. The threat of climate change
will continue to have significant impact on the physical, biological and human
systems around the world. According to the World Meteorological Organization,
the 1990s was the warmest decade, and the 1900s was the warmest century during
the last 1,000 years.

“Over the last forty years, the government
has been dealing with challenges relating to limitations on land, water and
other resources. We have developed innovative urban solutions which we can
offer to the world. Today, we need to design our buildings to be much more
energy efficient, as dealing with climate change and environmental
sustainability will be the key challenge this century. In Singapore as well as
globally, we need to accept that at some point, there are physical limits to
growth. The Earth has a finite carrying capacity. We need to look at how we can
create prosperity without necessarily having high growth rates. Prosperity
without growth doesn‟t imply stagnation or lack of progress. It just means we
channel more efforts towards achieving outcomes that may be difficult to
measure, but which are increasingly important, e.g. creating more liveable
spaces, improving the quality of human relationships and improving income
equality,” said Toh Wee Khiang, Executive Director of Human Capital and
Building & Infrastructure Solutions Divisions, Singapore EDB.

A city for all ages

At the same time, Singapore is also grappling
with the challenges of a rapidly aging population. By 2030, one in five
residents will be 65 years or older. By 2050, Singapore‟s median age will be
54, similar to Japan and Italy, making it one of the demographically oldest
countries in the world.

Dr. Mary Ann Tsao, President and Founding
Director of the Tsao Foundation, added her perspective in relation to the
elderly population. “Singapore is a remarkable city, but I am not sure if we
are a city of all ages, especially for the elderly. People are living longer
now, and thus a liveable city has to be a city for all ages, to be inclusive,
to allow and invite participation from all citizens in all aspects of life.
Technology can play a role in enabling connectivity between people, and with
nature. We need to re-look at how we plan public spaces, make them accessible,
and at the same time, improve the flow of information, amongst people in the
community, young and old, be it within or outside of homes.”

Building a sustainable, liveable city and
forging a new identity

The panellists also pointed out unique
challenges faced by Singapore in building a sustainable, liveable city. An
interesting point raised by Howard Shaw was that Singapore would need to look
at food security, beyond water and energy security. “Currently, only 1% of land
in Singapore is used for food production. There is an opportunity to look into
vertical farming and food producing units, such as using our HDB flats, near
our living spaces within our city,” added Shaw.

Tai also highlighted how Singapore is unique
when compared to other bigger countries. “The issue of identity for Singapore
needs to be approached differently from bigger countries where the ratio
distribution of demographics is very different. Singapore has a population that
is made up of both citizens and foreigners – how do we forge a new identity
that is not purely based on citizenship, but instead create a community to make
everyone feel that they belong here? We need to re-look at Singapore as a new
kind of city-state, as an economic and technology hub with global citizens
housed within a small island of less than 700 square kilometres sharing a
common goal.”

Making cities liveable or making liveable
cities cannot be achieved without the help and the support of the communities
and the inhabitants of the cities.

“Through this seminar, we hope to raise
awareness and inspire the public, in particular the students, to think about
future living spaces in Singapore – rethinking how we plan physical space, as
well as social spaces, whether it‟s through design, technology or a
multi-disciplinary approach to build community and make Singapore a more
livable city for people of all ages, said Wong Lup Wai, Country Manager of
Philips Singapore. “Innovation centred around human needs is the key to improve
people‟s health and well-being and to help secure the long-term future of our
city. And we hope to see some inspiring and creative ideas from our students
through Philips Singapore‟s „Future Living Spaces‟ contest.”

The contest is open to all tertiary students
from 29 July to 19 September, and the video contest entries will be made
available for public voting online till 23 September. The top 20 entries will
be identified by the highest number of votes. The judges will then pick the
best idea as well as the most inspiring and most innovative ideas, from this
list. The top 3 winners and the top entries, will win $10,000 worth of cash and
products in prizes.

For more information about the contest,
please visit http://

About Royal Philips Electronics

Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands
(NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused
on improving people‟s lives through timely innovations. As a world leader in
healthcare, lifestyle and lighting, Philips integrates technologies and design
into people-centric solutions, based on fundamental customer insights and the
brand promise of “sense and simplicity.” Headquartered in the Netherlands,
Philips employs about 117,000 employees with sales and services in more than
100 countries worldwide. With sales of EUR 22.3 billion in 2010, the company is
a market leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy
efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as
lifestyle products for personal well-being and pleasure with strong leadership
positions in male shaving and grooming, portable entertainment and oral



Architect proposes eco-friendly, lightweight
mesh to modify facade

By Jonathan Pearlman for The Straits Times (1
August 2011):

On a busy Sydney street just outside the central
business district stands a lone, dark-brown 27-storey tower that almost seems
to defiantly welcome its reputation as the city’s ugliest building.

The main building of the University of
Technology, Sydney (UTS), has repeatedly been named as the city’s worst by
experts and in online polls, partly because it is so conspicuous. If it had
been built a little to the east, it might have gone unnoticed in the city’s
cluster of skyscrapers.

Instead, the stark, Brutalist-style 120m-tall
tower stands out at the beginning of Broadway, just as the skyline flattens

The building, or ‘slat-stack’, is so
notorious that it has spawned lapel pins and T-shirts. Former UTS
vice-chancellor Gus Guthrie characterised it with a quip: ‘We have a tower, but
no one could claim it was an ivory one.’

It has even been criticised by one of the
world’s best-known architects, Mr Frank Gehry, who was hired recently by the
university to build a new business school. He could not conceal his distaste
for its infamous central tower.

Adding to the insults, the building was
completed in 1979, making it one of the city’s first big projects after the
completion of the iconic Sydney Opera House, an architectural wonder that has
been honoured with a spot on the Unesco World Heritage List.

The question, then, is what to do with such a
celebrated eyesore. The multinational firm Laboratory for Visionary
Architecture (Lava) believes it has the answer: cover it up.

Mr Chris Bosse, a director of the firm, which
has branches in Sydney, Shanghai and Stuttgart, has proposed applying his
pioneering, environmentally friendly concept of lightweight architecture.

The plan would involve covering the tower in
a woven fabric mesh, or ‘skin’ – and it could even have ramifications for
Singapore in the future.

The skin would not only replace the infamous
stark brown slats with a glowing, soft facade of composite textile mesh, but
would also include a range of environmental functions, such as collecting
rainwater at the base and trapping air to reduce the energy use of the tower.

The tinted windows of the building are now
sealed. But the skin would allow the windows to be opened to let in light and
air, reducing the need for electric lighting and air-conditioning.

It could also function as a screen at night -
an effect created by implanting solar cells into the fabric that can generate
enough power to beam images or messages.

‘Every city in the world has these buildings
that were built in the 1960s and 1970s and are coming to the end of their
aesthetic and technological lifespan,’ Mr Bosse said. ‘The buildings are
outdated and are not changing. The question is what to do with them. We want to
wrap the tower in a skin and turn it into something new.’

Mr Bosse, who studied at the Institute for
Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design in Stuttgart, said this would not
only update the building aesthetically but also enable the tower to be
naturally inducted and lit.

‘Energy collected during the day can be
converted to light and electricity,’ he said. ‘We want to build with less
materials, less cost and less of a carbon footprint.’

He was a designer of Beijing’s Water Cube -
the award-winning aquatics centre built for the 2008 Olympics. He said Lava’s
aim is to learn from nature and apply it to engineering and architecture.

‘We look to the structures of leaves and
spider webs and coral reefs and we always see lightweight structures which are
very beautiful,’ he said. ‘We are trying to make architecture more lightweight
and more beautiful.’

Mr Bosse noted that traditionally, the facade
of buildings do not react to the environment. ‘They are built to shut out the
environment, for the worst case scenario – rain or the cold,’ he said. ‘We want
to create concepts in which buildings breathe naturally and let sunlight in.’

He said the cost of installing a skin on a
building would be about 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the cost of rebuilding it
from scratch.

In the case of the UTS Tower, a skin would
take about three months to install and would cost about A$15 million (S$20 million).
It could be fitted to the tower without affecting the functioning of the

UTS vice-chancellor Ross Milbourne believes
the skin proposal is probably the best way to modify the tower. But the refit
would be several years away, as the university is already spending A$1 billion
on refurbishments to buildings including the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, the
first building in Australia designed by Mr Gehry.

Meanwhile, Mr Bosse has spotted other
potential sites for his skin. He is in discussions with Sydney about covering
the city’s ugliest carpark, a 1961 concrete block in Goulburn Street, near

He also believes the skin could fit in
‘beautifully’ in Singapore. He recently returned from a research visit and last
year exhibited a work titled Digital Origami Tigers at i Light Marina Bay, a
sustainable light art festival in the Republic.

‘Singapore is a new city but the first
generation of buildings were built in a simple fashion,’ he said.

‘In Asia, they tend to pull buildings down
and rebuild them. It comes at a cost… Singapore really values the arts and
invention. It is also a city of lights. The skin concept could blend in


Let’s not talk about the war – or climate change!

Posted by admin on August 7, 2011
Posted under Express 149

Let’s not talk about the war – or climate

Climate change advocates haven’t had much to
celebrate recently, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s announcement
last week that he was giving $50 million to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal
campaign marked a real win. So writes Bryan Walsh in Time Science.

Yet when he (Walsh) spoke to Bloomberg before
his donation became public, climate change wasn’t foremost on his mind. He saw
coal pollution first and foremost as a public health issue, one that is
directly hurting Americans through higher rates of asthma and heart disease.

If we’re smart, this approach might be the
new way to attack climate change: by identifying actions that can provide a
wealth of benefits — including on carbon emissions — rather than simply
focusing on global warming alone. That’s the message of a new paper called
“Climate Pragmatism” that’s being published today by a bipartisan range
of thinkers on energy and climate issues. Read More

Fighting Climate Change by Not Focusing on
Climate Change

By Bryan Walsh in Time Science (26 July

Climate change advocates haven’t had much to
celebrate recently, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s announcement
last week that he was giving $50 million to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal
campaign marked a real win. The Sierra Club — the nation’s largest
environmental group — has successfully stopped more than 150 proposed coal
plants from being built over the past decade through the campaign. Bloomberg’s
money — and perhaps more importantly, the imprimatur of one of the richest and
most influential people in the country — will enable the Sierra Club to bring
its war on coal to a new level, preventing untold millions of tons of
greenhouse gas emissions from warming the planet.

Yet when I spoke to Bloomberg before his
donation became public, climate change wasn’t foremost on his mind. He saw coal
pollution first and foremost as a public health issue, one that is directly
hurting Americans through higher rates of asthma and heart disease. He was
certainly worried about the greenhouse gases those coal plants were spewing —
coal is responsible for about 20% of global carbon emissions — but what really
motivated him were the mercury emissions, the particulates, the arsenic and all
the other conventional poisons created by burning coal. “Coal kills every
day,” Bloomberg told me. “It’s a dirty fuel.” So it is with the
Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, which has succeeded more by motivating
individual communities over the local health effects of coal pollution than by
appealing to the broader risks of global warming.(See why Bloomberg pledged $50
million to fight the coal industry.)

If we’re smart, this approach might be the
new way to attack climate change: by identifying actions that can provide a
wealth of benefits — including on carbon emissions — rather than simply
focusing on global warming alone. That’s the message of a new paper called
“Climate Pragmatism” that’s being published today by a bipartisan
range of thinkers on energy and climate issues. The best way to deal with
climate change, as it turns out, is not to deal directly with climate change.
As the authors write: “Policymakers today are likely to make the most
progress to the degree that they refrain from centrally justifying energy
innovation, resilience to extreme weather and pollution reduction as ‘climate

It sounds a bit confusing — if we’re going to
deal with climate change, why not just directly deal with climate change? The
answer is simple: we can’t, or at least, we refuse to. Over the past several
years, even as the scientific case on manmade climate change has gotten
stronger, the international system has failed again and again to reduce carbon
emissions. The effort to produce a global carbon deal failed decisively in
Copenhagen in 2009. In the U.S., a carbon cap-and-trade bill died in the Senate
a year ago, and there’s little chance it will be revived. Even Europe — home to
the governments and citizens that seem to care about climate change the most —
has gradually scaled back its ambitions on reducing carbon as the cost and
complexity of those policies has become clearer.

The failure of the global deal is an
inevitable consequence of what Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental
science at the University of Colorado and one of the authors of the
“Climate Pragmatism” paper, calls “the iron law of climate
policy.” Any climate policy that is viewed as obstructing economic
progress will fail — especially in large developing countries that are counting
on rapid economic growth to lift citizens out of poverty. Take China, for
example — while the country has emerged as a world leader in terms of clean
energy investment, its leaders remain reluctant to sign onto any kind of
meaningful carbon reductions. The economy comes first, with renewables
supplying just a tiny portion of China’s overall energy mix. Coal is and will
be far more important, with coal imports in China and India slated to grow 78%
in 2011.

This means any global carbon cap that would
raise the price of fossil fuels significantly simply won’t fly, in China or for
that matter, in the U.S. But that doesn’t mean there’s zero willingness to
consider the environmental or health perspectives of the energy we use. The
developed world has vastly reduced air pollution over the past several decades
through ever-tougher regulations on conventional pollutants like soot and acid
rain causing sulfur dioxide. These are rules that, despite constant industry
opposition, remain broadly popular among the public — much more popular than
carbon regulations — because the benefit is visible, immediate and personal.

Developing countries will be no different.
Conventional air pollution is a tremendous threat to Chinese growth and public
health, as anyone who watched the Beijing Olympics in 2008 knows. Air and water
pollution costs China an estimated 4.3% of its GDP each year, and globally, air
pollution contributes to an estimated 3 million deaths a year. Any policies or
efforts that divert investment from the dirtiest sources — as the Sierra Club
is doing with its Beyond Coal campaign — towards cleaner alternatives like
natural gas and renewables will benefit public health, while helping the
climate as well.

One target should be black carbon — a fancy
word for soot — which not only causes serious respiratory problems but also
contributes disproportionately to the warming of the atmosphere and especially
high-altitude snow cover. (Black carbon can actually settle on white ice,
darkening it and causing it to absorb more sunlight and melt faster.) Unlike
carbon dioxide, black carbon is relatively easy to control with better engines
and cleaner fuels, and tackling the pollutant pays off immediately for health
and the climate as well. It’s even bipartisan: in 2009 the staunchly Democratic
senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer joined with the Republican climate change
skeptic James Inhofe to co-sponsor an effort to investigate ways to reduce
black carbon.

At the same time — especially for developing
countries — those alternatives need to be economically viable. The
“Climate Pragmatism” paper explodes a myth that’s held by many
greens: that energy is too cheap. For most of the world, the opposite is true,
which is why more than 1.4 billion people lack virtually any access to
electricity. That’s an astounding figure, but one that rarely gets the
attention it deserves. Lack of electricity impacts public health — try running
a modern hospital without any power — and retards economic growth. If we want
developing nations to be better prepared to deal with the effects of climate
change — or just about any other threat — we need to get them wired.(See the
effects that climate chnage will have on Thailand.)

The challenge will to develop low-carbon
alternatives that can compete with fossil fuels on price. (Subsidies are
limited — already, even ultra-green countries like Germany are cutting back aid
for renewable power because of the rising price tag.) In some places and some
conditions, renewables are already winning — for example, in rural areas of
Cameroon, where I’m currently traveling, it’s often cheaper to support off the
grid solar than run power lines to remote villages. But if alternatives are
going to win they need to get a lot cheaper and a lot more efficient, and
that’s going to require vast increases in the amount of basic R&D spent on
energy. The American Energy Innovation Council — a heavyweight lobbying group
that includes Bill Gates — has suggested that the U.S. should increase funding
for energy research around $3 billion a year to at least $15 billion annually.
Some of that money could come from a small price on carbon, just as the federal
gasoline tax raises money for highway construction and maintenance.

Lastly there’s the pressing need to adapt to
climate change. It seems like a no-brainer, but we need to think a little
harder about what adaptation actually means. Thanks in part to years of UN
negotiations, there’s an assumption that we can actually separate adapting to
climate change from preparing for any natural disaster or extreme weather. In
reality, though, separating the two is nearly impossible — we still can’t
assign blame for specific weather events — and absolutely pointless. The
climate adaptation assistance that rich nations are sending to the developing
world is almost totally drawn from the existing budget for foreign aid.(See how
climate change is whittling down the world’s species.)

A hurricane will create havoc for an
unprepared population whether the storm has been strengthened by carbon
emissions or not. Countries need to be prepared for all the stresses the future
will bring — from extreme weather to higher energy prices to infectious
disease. The watchword should be resilience — creating societies that can
bounce back from anything — and the best way to do that is through continued
economic development. A rich country will be better prepared for climate change
than a poor country just about every time.

Most of the proposals put forth in the
“Climate Pragmatism” paper aren’t new — which in some ways is their
virtue. Nationally and internationally, climate politics are deadlocked, even
as carbon emissions keep rising and the most of the U.S. sweats through a
summer that feels like a trailer for global warming to come. What’s needed in
this long hot season is an oblique approach to climate change, one that
sidesteps the roadblocks by taking advantage of popular, no-regrets actions
that are worth doing even if global warming wasn’t real. It’s not as simple or
as elegant as one global deal — but it might actually work.

Has “China Sky” helped slow global