Arquivo de etiquetas: fronteiras

Towards a New Climate Change Agreement I

The Challenge of Human Induced Climate Change

I want to talk about the challenge of human-induced climate change. Why do we care? Why are you going to spend a semester reading treaties? Reading about technologies of low carbon energy systems? Studying all of the barriers that have come up to an effective negotiation? What is the problem?111

A good place to start in understanding this problem is with the concept of planetary boundaries. Because in a way the climate change problem is part of a more general problem.

The general problem, I often say, is the problem of living in a crowded and productive world. Here we are. 7.2 billion people. That’s a lot of human beings. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution a little over two centuries ago, we’ve had roughly an eightfold growth of the human population. But per person we’re also using a lot of resources and per person the world is now so productive that average output for each of those 7.2 billion people is about 12 thousand dollars US measured.  So we have 7.2 billion people. We have about 12 thousand dollars per person of output. That’s about a ninety trillion-dollar world economy. That’s the level of annual production. Well that is pressing hard on the planet. We’ve reached the point where in this crowded world, this juggernaut of a world economy, using so many primary resources, using so much land, so much water, burning so much fossil fuel – that is the coal, oil, and gas that power so much of the world economy – that we are now pressing against physical boundaries of Earth.112

The systems that keep life, sustain, that enable us to grow food, ensure we have safe water for our daily survival. The ecologists have realized that we’re in a unique situation. Never before has a single species, and that would be us human beings, pressed so hard against the physical boundaries of the world.  They’ve given it it a title – “Planetary Boundaries,” shown by this well-known graphic in the scientific community. It’s like a clock. Indeed the clock is ticking. If you go around the circles of this clock, starting at 12 noon, high noon, is climate change and then at roughly 1 o’clock is ocean acidification. The fact that human beings are making the oceans – the vast oceans – more acidic. We’re doing that as a species.

113The next round, between two and three o’clock, is ozone depletion, a phenomenon that many of you will be familiar with, that some of our industrial chemicals are threatening the ozone layer in the stratosphere and if we destroy the ozone that could lead to calamitous health affects on all living species including us. And as you go around the circle you see one after another of these planetary boundaries: pollution coming from nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers, taking groundwater faster than it can be recharged, destroying the habitat of other species leading to massive loss of biodiversity.

Well, of all of these planetary boundaries that are being threatened and trespassed climate change is perhaps the most pervasive of all because if we fundamentally change the Earth’s climate, as humanity is on a course to do, we threaten every other part of the biosphere, about the web of life on the planet itself. Now we’ve already had a huge effect.  This is a graph which shows, year by year, the changing temperature in the month of May. I take this because, as I speak to you now, May 2014 was the most recent month of data available worldwide to look into climate temperature and what’s shown here is the temperature on average in the month of May 2014 compared to an average May temperature for the years 1981 to 2010.

The areas in red, the months in red, signify the fact that the May in those years was warmer than the average of 1981 to 2010. What you can see is we are on a steady, not quite steady because it bounces year to year, but we are on upward path that is absolutely unmistakable. And if you look closely, May of 2014 is the highest point on that entire graph. May of 2014 was the warmest month of May in measurement history of the planet Earth. Oops. That’s a problem. We are on a path of global warming, but that’s not all there is to human-induced climate change. We’re changing all aspects of the climate. The patterns of rainfall, precipitation, and evaporation of water. The nature of storms and other ancillary effects. Well, I travel around the world I as part of my work as director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and as a special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. I can tell you from personal experience just in this year of 2014, just about every place that I have been, and that is a couple of dozen countries during 2014 so far, there’s an ecological crisis. There’s climate change that is already bearing down on the well-being of societies.114

Even the physical survival of people. Take an example of the chronic droughts and heat waves that have hit the  Thar desert of Pakistan. A country that has a considerable portion of the country in very dry almost desert-like conditions when the rainfall fails when the  heat rises, you can have a calamitous famine, drought, lack of access to life saving water. Consider a different circumstance high up in the Himalayan mountains of that wondrous Kingdom of Bhutan, where communities live near glaciers in the Himalayan mountains and those glaciers are retreating.

They’re melting. They’re forming so-called glacier lakes, and those lakes have threatened or on occasion burst out of their banks and flooded villages below, killing many people. This is a sight of workers high up in the Himalayas trying to relieve the pressures of these glacial lakes that are coming from the retreating melting glaciers. Or floods. We now kow from climate change – we’ll be discussing it – that because of the warming of the planet and the more intense convection that occurs alongside a warmer planet, that rainfall events are more intense; there’s more likelihood of flooding; and indeed we’re seeing disastrous floods in many places in the world. This is just one of many many floods that have been experienced, often one in a century or worse floods. This one shown here in Sri Lanka. But the flip side is that many dry parts of the world are getting drier and that is also to be expected from human-induced climate change. In country after country that I visited in 2014, I’ve come into circumstances of intense drought.

When I was visiting Sao Paulo, Brazil, in the spring of 2014, the water reservoirs with deeply depleted. Here is an engineer inspecting what’s supposed to be a water reservoir but you can see that it is a completely dry because of the failure of the rains this year. If you look to halfway around the world, we see drought and attendant forest fires in the island of Sumatra in the country of Indonesia. If you look in my own hometown back to the floods and extreme storms, we had a superstorm that were still trying to recover from. We called it Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Sandy. It slammed the east coast of the United States. It led to tens of billions of dollars of property loss. Here is a sight of New York’s police cars floating down Tenth Street in lower Manhattan. Just a shocking visitation to a city which prides itself on on being in the cutting edge but found that it was very very hard to overcome such a natural devastation. And what you see here  is a shock that also still reverberates. Typhoon Haiyan, which swept over the Philippines, is, on some measurements, the most powerful land falling tropical cyclone – that means a typhoon or hurricane – in recorded history. And of course there was vast, tragic loss of life in the Philippines, massive property destruction, and it will take years and years and years to overcome  this. But these are the kinds  of devastations that are coming with increasing frequency.

They are being felt all over the world. They remind us that human-induced climate change is a global phenomenon. It is a phenomenon that is immediately within our  sights. It is a phenomenon that is being experienced in different ways in different parts of the world but in all parts of the world. As the governments of the United Nations deliberate on how to overcome this challenge, and I had the chance to meet with the ambassadors in the General Assembly of the United Nations, I see across the chamber, in every country in the world, a realization of the dangers that Earth faces and determination to do something about it. And that of course is what brings us all together in this course. What shall we do? Let’s understand the science. Let’s understand the options and let’s head towards a successful global agreement.


Growth within Planetary Boundaries I

The nine planetary boundaries


Stratospheric ozone depletion

The stratospheric ozone layer in the atmosphere filters out ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. If this layer decreases, increasing amounts of UV radiation will reach ground level. This can cause a higher incidence of skin cancer in humans as well as damage to terrestrial and marine biological systems. The appearance of the Antarctic ozone hole was proof that increased concentrations of anthropogenic ozone-depleting chemical substances, interacting with polar stratospheric clouds, had passed a threshold and moved the Antarctic stratosphere into a new regime. Fortunately, because of the actions taken as a result of the Montreal Protocol, we appear to be on the path that will allow us to stay within this boundary.

Loss of biosphere integrity (biodiversity loss and extinctions)

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment of 2005 concluded that changes to ecosystems due to human activities were more rapid in the past 50 years than at any time in human history, increasing the risks of abrupt and irreversible changes. The main drivers of change are the demand for food, water, and natural resources, causing severe biodiversity loss and leading to changes in ecosystem services. These drivers are either steady, showing no evidence of declining over time, or are increasing in intensity. The current high rates of ecosystem damage and extinction can be slowed by efforts to protect the integrity of living systems (the biosphere), enhancing habitat, and improving connectivity between ecosystems while maintaining the high agricultural productivity that humanity needs. Further research is underway to improve the availability of reliable data for use as the ‘control variables’ for this boundary.

Chemical pollution and the release of novel entities

Emissions of toxic and long-lived substances such as synthetic organic pollutants, heavy metal compounds and radioactive materials represent some of the key human-driven changes to the planetary environment. These compounds can have potentially irreversible effects on living organisms and on the physical environment (by affecting atmospheric processes and climate). Even when the uptake and bioaccumulation of chemical pollution is at sub-lethal levels for organisms, the effects of reduced fertility and the potential of permanent genetic damage can have severe effects on ecosystems far removed from the source of the pollution. For example, persistent organic compounds have caused dramatic reductions in bird populations and impaired reproduction and development in marine mammals. There are many examples of additive and synergic effects from these compounds, but these are still poorly understood scientifically.  At present, we are unable to quantify a single chemical pollution boundary, although the risk of crossing Earth system thresholds is considered sufficiently well-defined for it to be included in the list as a priority for precautionary action and for further research.

Climate Change

Recent evidence suggests that the Earth, now passing 390 ppmv CO2 in the atmosphere, has already transgressed the planetary boundary and is approaching several Earth system thresholds. We have reached a point at which the loss of summer polar sea-ice is almost certainly irreversible. This is one example of a well-defined threshold above which rapid physical feedback mechanisms can drive the Earth system into a much warmer state with sea levels metres higher than present. The weakening or reversal of terrestrial carbon sinks, for example through the on-going destruction of the world’s rainforests, is another potential tipping point, where climate-carbon cycle feedbacks accelerate Earth’s warming and intensify the climate impacts. A major question is how long we can remain over this boundary before large, irreversible changes become unavoidable.

Ocean acidification

Around a quarter of the CO2 that humanity emits into the atmosphere is ultimately dissolved in the oceans. Here it forms carbonic acid, altering ocean chemistry and decreasing the pH of the surface water. This increased acidity reduces the amount of available carbonate ions, an essential ‘building block’ used by many marine species for shell and skeleton formation. Beyond a threshold concentration, this rising acidity makes it hard for organisms such as corals and some shellfish and plankton species to grow and survive. Losses of these species would change the structure and dynamics of ocean ecosystems and could potentially lead to drastic reductions in fish stocks. Compared to pre-industrial times, surface ocean acidity has already increased by 30 percent.  Unlike most other human impacts on the marine environment, which are often local in scale, the ocean acidification boundary has ramifications for the whole planet. It is also an example of how tightly interconnected the boundaries are, since atmospheric CO2 concentration is the underlying controlling variable for both the climate and the ocean acidification boundaries, although they are defined in terms of different Earth system thresholds.

Freshwater consumption and the global hydrological cycle

The freshwater cycle is strongly affected by climate change and its boundary is closely linked to the climate boundary, yet human pressure is now the dominant driving force determining the functioning and distribution of global freshwater systems. The consequences of human modification of water bodies include both global-scale river flow changes and shifts in vapour flows arising from land use change. These shifts in the hydrological system can be abrupt and irreversible. Water is becoming increasingly scarce – by 2050 about half a billion people are likely to be subject to water-stress, increasing the pressure to intervene in water systems.  A water boundary related to consumptive freshwater use and environmental flow requirements has been proposed to maintain the overall resilience of the Earth system and to avoid the risk of ‘cascading’ local and regional thresholds.

Land system change

Land is converted to human use all over the planet. Forests, grasslands, wetlands and other vegetation types have primarily been converted to agricultural land. This land-use change is one driving force behind the serious reductions in biodiversity, and it has impacts on water flows and on the biogeochemical cycling of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus and other important elements. While each incident of land cover change occurs on a local scale, the aggregated impacts can have consequences for Earth system processes on a global scale. A boundary for human changes to land systems needs to reflect not just the absolute quantity of land, but also its function, quality and spatial distribution. Forests play a particularly important role in controlling the linked dynamics of land use and climate, and is the focus of the boundary for land system change.

Nitrogen and phosphorus flows to the biosphere and oceans

The biogeochemical cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus have been radically changed by humans as a result of many industrial and agricultural processes. Nitrogen and phosphorus are both essential elements for plant growth, so fertilizer production and application is the main concern. Human activities now convert more atmospheric nitrogen into reactive forms than all of the Earth’s terrestrial processes combined. Much of this new reactive nitrogen is emitted to the atmosphere in various forms rather than taken up by crops. When it is rained out, it pollutes waterways and coastal zones or accumulates in the terrestrial biosphere. Similarly, a relatively small proportion of phosphorus fertilizers applied to food production systems is taken up by plants; much of the phosphorus mobilized by humans also ends up in aquatic systems. These can become oxygen-starved as bacteria consume the blooms of algae that grow in response to the high nutrient supply. A significant fraction of the applied nitrogen and phosphorus makes its way to the sea, and can push marine and aquatic systems across ecological thresholds of their own. One regional-scale example of this effect is the decline in the shrimp catch in the Gulf of Mexico’s ‘dead zone’ caused by fertilizer transported in rivers from the US Midwest.

Atmospheric aerosol loading

An atmospheric aerosol planetary boundary was proposed primarily because of the influence of aerosols on Earth’s climate system. Through their interaction with water vapour, aerosols play a critically important role in the hydrological cycle affecting cloud formation and global-scale and regional patterns of atmospheric circulation, such as the monsoon systems in tropical regions. They also have a direct effect on climate, by changing how much solar radiation is reflected or absorbed in the atmosphere. Humans change the aerosol loading by emitting atmospheric pollution (many pollutant gases condense into droplets and particles), and also through land-use change that increases the release of dust and smoke into the air. Shifts in climate regimes and monsoon systems have already been seen in highly polluted environments, giving a quantifiable regional measure for an aerosol boundary. A further reason for an aerosol boundary is that aerosols have adverse effects on many living organisms. Inhaling highly polluted air causes roughly 800,000 people to die prematurely each year. The toxicological and ecological effects of aerosols may thus relate to other Earth system thresholds. However, the behaviour of aerosols in the atmosphere is extremely complex, depending on their chemical composition and their geographical location and height in the atmosphere. While many relationships between aerosols, climate and ecosystems are well established, many causal links are yet to be determined.


Growth within Planetary Boundaries II

Growth Dynamics

Now that we’ve emphasized the planetary boundaries, let’s see how hard the challenge is from the point of view of the economic growth.

We have a world now of 80 to 90 trillion dollars a year, 7.2 billion people. Approximately $12,000 per person per year on average around the planet. But the rich countries are roughly three times that average level, say $36,000 per person per year. Suppose that the poor countries, the developing world, successfully caught up with the rich world, closed the gap. That by itself would imply a three time increase of the world output, just the catching up process. Even putting aside the fact that the rich countries are still hoping to achieve some more economic growth of their own. Taking into account that in addition to the increase of total output that would come from catching up, the world population itself is also rising, from 7.2 billion people now to more than 9 billion by mid-century. To almost 11 billion at the end of the century according to the medium fertility forecast of the United Nations.


Well that means that the three time increase at our given population might amount to a four time increase taking into account the population increase as well. So imagine our situation. Our situation is one in which humanity is already causing big dislocations on the planet. But here’s a world where six-sevenths of humanity lives in developing countries. They’re looking at the high income world, they’re saying we want to live like that. In fact, they’ve deciphered a lot of the key to that, how to mobilize technology, markets, education in order to be able to have that catching up growth. And that would imply a four time increase of world output. How could it be? Could we withstand four times the human impact on the planet? Of course not. We can not even withstand what we’re doing right now. So the key, the central point of sustainable development is, that in order to reconcile economic growth and planetary boundaries we have to grow in a different way. We have to have different approaches to using energy, different approaches to transportation, different approaches to growing food in a safer and ecologically more sustainable manner.

Right now I want to look at that total increase though a little bit more carefully. A little bit more analytically. To ask, what could we expect? If we are able to solve the problem of the environmental crisis, what could catching up growth deliver in terms of aggregate output in the world in the coming decades? To do that we start with the concept of convergence.

Remember that economic convergence means that poor countries have a tendency to grow faster in output per capita, or gross domestic product per capita than do the rich countries. The reason poor countries have that chance to grow faster is not that they’re better, but because we all share similar technologies, access, knowledge and so forth. The reason they’re able to grow faster is that they have a gap to catch up. They are not yet fully using the technologies and the know-how that are already more deployed in the high income world. So a poor country has a kind of backlog that it can quickly take on of more advanced technologies to narrow the gap with the countries in the lead that we say are at the technology frontier. To understand this is, sometimes economists draw a downward sloping curve of the kind shown in this picture. You see that on the horizontal axis is a country’s level of development as a fraction of the US, the frontier country, the country at the high end of the income curve. And on the vertical axis is the growth rate of the country.


Now what’s graphed here in the solid line is the theoretical curve that says that for countries that start poor at the left hand side of the graph, their potential growth is high. And countries all the way on the right-hand side, where their income is close to the U.S. level per person, are at a lower point on that downward-sloping curve, meaning that their potential growth is lower because they have less catching-up space. And then what’s shown on this graph is the actual growth rates of a number of selected countries between the years 1990 and 2005. Lo and behold, the actual experience of countries, for instance the rapid growth of China which started quite poor, and the slow growth of Finland which started quite rich, basically fits this downward sloping line. So convergence is not only an idea, it is a practical implication of growth that we observe in, in recent years. Now, based on the experience and based on statistical analyses that have been done of this tendency towards convergence, again meaning faster growth in the poorer countries, there’s a kind of rule of thumb. The rule of thumb goes something like this. A country that is at half the income level of the country in the lead can grow about 1.4 percentage points per year faster than the leading country.

Let me give me an example. Say the United States is at $50,000 per person per year. A country at $25,000 dollars per person per year having some head room for fast growth would grow about 1.4 percentage points per year faster in GNP per capita, GDP per capita than the United States. So if the US has a growth rate per person of 1%, then the country at $25,000 would have a growth rate of 2.4% per year. Now consider a country half of that level. $12,500, so that’s one fourth of the US. Add another 1.4% per year, so that makes 2.8 percentage points per year faster than the US. So if the US is growing at 1% per annum in per person terms, a country that starts out at $12,500 per capita would be growing at 3.8% per year, 2.8 percentage points faster than the US growth rate. Well each time you cut by half the starting point of income. You raise the expected growth rate, or the average convergent growth rate by another 1.4 percentage points per year. So that a country that is 132nd say, of the United States that would be a country at about $1,562 per year just dividing 50,000 by 32. Country at 1,500, pretty poor country, maybe a country in Sub-Saharan Africa would have so much headroom that it could grow seven percentage points faster than the United States. So if the US is growing 1% per year per capita, that very poor country could be growing at 8% per capita. You get the idea. The idea is the poorer the starting point, assuming no poverty trap or other fundamental barriers to the growth of that country The headroom for rapid catching up is bigger, and one can calculate based on the statistical evidence the extent to which the growth rate will tend to be faster than the high-income country.

Now what happens over time? The poor country narrows the gap with the richer country by growing faster if it started 132nd of the income of the US, maybe some decades later it would be at a quarter of the income of the US. Then, later still, half of the income of the US. As the gap narrows, so too does the growth of that lagging country slow down. So there’s a convergence of living standards gradually over several decades, and also a convergence of growth rates. The poor country starts out very fast growing and then as it becomes richer and richer and richer, and closer and closer to the technological leader, its growth rate too therefore slows down and eventually, gradually converges with that of the technological leader. And I keep using the United States as the example of that. Let’s take a practical example of this quantitative rule. In the year 2000 the high income world had an estimated GDP per person, or gross world product per person, I can say averaging over the whole world, of about $35,000. And the developing countries had a GDP per capita on average of about 6,900 ,or let’s say $7,000 per capita. In this example if the high income countries grow at 1% per year in per capita terms, then we can calculate that given that initial gap from 35,000 down to 7,000, rounding these numbers, the poorer region should be able to grow about 3.2 percentage points per year faster than the richer region. So the convergence ideas predict that developing countries on a whole would grow at about 4.2% per year, developed countries would grow at about 1% per year. Add in a population growth rate of say, 1% for each, just being very rough. That says that the developing countries would be growing at a little over 5% per year, the developed countries at around 2% per year, because population growth is even faster in the developing countries. Maybe that would push the growth rate up closer to 6% per year compared to 2% per year for the high income countries. That’s more or less what we have been observing in recent years.

The convergence theory helps us to understand why the developing countries are achieving, enjoying faster economic growth than the high income countries. Now, if we trace this out for the next 40 years after 2010 to mid-century, and assume, that’s just an assumption, that the high income world averages 1% per year. And that the poorer regions catch up gradually with the high income region along the lines of that convergence formula that I just described. You get a kind of a graph shown here, and it’s shown with a logarithmic scale for the vertical axis. The countries start out quite far apart basically a 5-time advantage of the high income countries. But they narrow to the point where the high income countries are only 2-times, not 5-times, larger than the developing world by the middle of the century. Well what does this imply for total world production? Because remember we want to understand this to see what kind of pressures are being implied by this kind of total world growth.


To do that we now have to add back in population dynamics. And for that, we can use the United Nations forecasts of the world population. And the UN taking note of our starting point and fertility patterns, estimates that from 7.2 billion today we will reach 8 billion people sometime early in the 2020s. And we’ll reach 9 billion people somewhere around 2040. And we will exceed 10 billion people in the second half of the 21st century, and by the end of the 21st century in the medium fertility scenario of the United Nations the world will reach about 10.8, almost 11 billion people. That’s shown in this graph here. Again, it’s shown with a logarithmic scale for the vertical axis. Why? Because with that scale the slope of this curve tells us the proportionate rate of growth of the population, so that when we see the curve leveling off by the end of the century it also means that the growth rate of the world population is slowing to a low number. Today the world is growing at about 1.1%. For 7.2 billion people, 1.1% means an additional 75 million people or so added to the world population each year. By the end of the century the growth is much closer to zero to stabilizing the world population, and that’s what’s signified by this flattening of this curve in this logarithmic scale for the vertical axis.

Well we can use the population forecast combined with the convergence idea to give us a sense of what the size of the world economy might be by mid-century. If things go smoothly without disasters, and heaven knows how many disasters are possible and how many we need to fight to avoid. But assuming we don’t have the disasters and assuming that the scale of the planetary boundary challenge can be met so that this kind of convergent growth can continue, then the world economy would rise from around 82 trillion dollars in 2010, rounding a bit because these are all approximations, to around 272 trillion dollars by the middle of the century. In other words, more than a three time increase by the middle of the century. Now that’s a reasonable measure of the huge magnitude of our challenge.

We start with the world already bursting at the seams, with humanity pushing against planetary boundaries. Then we take into account the powers of economic convergence and the desires of poor countries to narrow and eventually close the income gap with the rich world. And that implies a more than threefold increase of world output by the middle of the century.

That’s why we have to think very, very hard about how our economies function because we know there is no way that on a business as usual path we could achieve sustainable development. Business as usual will burst through the planetary boundaries, will create havoc with the climate system, havoc with the water supplies, havoc with the ocean acidity, havoc with the survival of other species. In order to reconcile the growth that we want with the ecological realities, we are going to need our economies to take a fundamentally different course. That’s what we’re going to look at next.

Growth within Planetary Boundaries I

The Planetary Boundaries 

We’ve been talking about economic growth, how it started, how it diffuses, what the big problems are, how countries still trapped in poverty can spring free of the poverty trap. But the problem, we know, is more complicated than that. What if the world achieves economic growth? What if the poor countries, as they hope and rightly deserve, catch up with the high income countries? What then for the planetary boundaries? What then for an environment already under tremendous stress? Remember that sustainable development makes a key point, that economic, social and environmental systems are interlinked.

So, I want to focus now more deeply on how we might even conceive of bridging this terrible problem of global economic growth, the good that we want, the progress for poor countries, with a worsening environmental crisis. We have to understand the environmental systems and how humanity is effecting them. Then we have to look for practical approaches. How we can reduce the pressures that humanity is placing on the climate, on the oceans, on the land, or other species. So that we can reconcile these two objectives and indeed, make it possible to achieve all three of the basic goals of sustainable development. Economic growth, fairness and social inclusion and environmental sustainability.

Remember the concept of planetary boundaries or the fact that we’re living in as new geologic era, the anthropocene. Both these concepts, planetary boundaries and anthropocene, signify that humanity has become so numerous, our 7.2 billion people and rising, and so effective one could say, so productive in the capacity to mine and extract resources. To transform resources for production in industry, to consume, that we have suddenly, unprecedentedly as a species, hit these planetary risks and even dead ends if we’re not careful. The concept of planetary boundaries, I think it’s an extremely useful one, because when world leading ecologist Johan Rockström and many, many other leading ecologists got together, they asked the question in specificity. What are the major challenges coming from humanity’s impact on the physical environment? Can we identify those challenges? Can we quantify them? Can we identify what would be safe limits for human activity so that we can begin rather urgently because we’re late to this.

611To redesign our technologies and our economic growth dynamics so that we can have economic improvement while staying within the planetary boundaries. You’ll recall the picture that we looked at of the planetary boundaries around this circle. And I want to say a few words about each of these so that we can begin to look deeply at the question of how to reconcile growth and these various environmental threats. The first of the challenges and the biggest is climate change.


This is being caused by humanity’s use of particular technologies. Especially fossil fuels and the way we use land and grow animals and food that produces atmospheric change in the form of rising concentrations of a few particular gasses. Carbon dioxide is the most important of these. Nitrous oxide, methane and a few more industrial chemicals are the greenhouse gasses that have the property that they allow the sunlight in as ultraviolet radiation. But then, when the earth would re-radiate its heat to space, they trap energy in the form of the outgoing infrared radiation and thereby warm the planet. So these greenhouse gases are very particular molecules that have the property that they absorb infrared radiation.


And so when their concentration in the atmosphere increases, that warms the planet. It’s because of these greenhouse gases that life is possible in the way we know it, because that envelope of the atmosphere has made the earth warmer than say, the moon, which lacks an atmosphere. And is very, very cold as a result. But at the same time, if we perturb the greenhouse gas concentrations, raise them by raising the CO2 or the methane or the nitrous oxide in the atmosphere, then we endanger ourselves and other species. The second of the planetary boundaries is related, ocean acidification. This also comes from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which is increasing because of human use of coal, oil, and gas. The oceans are being acidified, made more acid, by the fact that the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dissolves in the ocean producing carbonic acid. And because of this acidity, various kinds of animal life, corals and shellfish and lobsters and very small plankton that also have these external shells made of calcium are threatened by the increasing acidity which makes it hard for the species to make their protective shells. Now, the pH of the ocean has already decreased by 0.1 unit on the pH scale from zero all the way to 14, the least acidic or basic end of the pH spectrum. A change of 0.1 in the pH oceans doesn’t seem like all that much. But this is a logarithmic scale. So, what a decline of 0.1 signifies is an increase of protons in the ocean of 10 to the 0.1. Or about 0.3, 30% increase of acidity in the ocean already with a lot more to come. If you look at this map of the ocean, you can see the changes that are already being noticed on average in different parts of the world.The oceans are not uniformly becoming more acidic. That depends on ocean dynamics. But the shading of this colored map shows that we’re already in an environment on a trajectory of dangerously rising ocean acidity. The third of these planetary boundaries is ozone depletion.

We learned a while ago accidentally, but thank God, we learned it, that certain industrial chemicals, those that were used at the time for refrigeration, mainly. Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, when put into the air, would rise into the upper atmosphere, dissociate, and the chlorine in those CFCs would then cause the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere to dissociate. And a famous, horrifying finding was that there developed a big hole in the ozone over Antarctica. And when that was discovered by satellite of course people were rightly terrified. Because the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere protects us from too much ultraviolet radiation, saves us from skin cancer and many other harms. And humanity realized that this planetary boundary was already being crossed, the ozone was already being depleted unwittingly by us. This is what’s so frightening, we didn’t even know it until some brilliant atmospheric chemists unveiled the mechanisms by which these chlorofluorocarbons deranged and destroyed the ozone level.

614The next of the planetary boundaries is the heavy human caused loading of nitrogen and phosphorus. When farmers grow more food, you’ll recall that they put soil nutrients into the soil as organic fertilizers and as chemical fertilizers. Either way, incidentally, the nitrogen goes into the soil, some of it gets taken up by the crops. But a lot of it runs off the farm into the water, into the groundwater, and it collects in the rivers, and especially collects in the estuaries, the point where rivers meet the ocean. And that heavy pollution of nitrogen and phosphorus coming mainly from fertilizer use is creating a tremendous amount of ecological destruction.

We’ll have a look at that shortly. The next big challenge of planetary boundaries comes from our overuse of fresh water resources. We need fresh water every day to stay alive. Our crops need fresh water.


Of the total amount of fresh water that humanity uses, about 70% is used for agriculture, to grow our food. About 20% is for industry. And about 10% only, interesting enough, is for our household use, for hygiene and sewerage and, and and the rest. We use so much water, especially for our food production, that we are depleting very, very important sources of fresh water. For example, in the United States, in India, in China and in other parts of the world, we’re drilling for water in, in ground water aquifers, we are taking the water out, using it for irrigation. But taking the water out at a much faster rate than the water is being replenished by rainfall, and then by the water percolating back into the groundwater.

We’re depleting the groundwater. When it runs out, disaster. And that’s happening in many places in the world and will happen in many other places in the coming decades unless we are much more efficient in our water use. To grow food to feed our animals of course, humanity uses a massive amount of land. We also use land for our cities, for our parking lots, for our streets. But actually the urban areas, even though they seem to dominate, are only a few percent of the total land area on the planet. The farmland and the pastureland and the timberland that we use for forest products is a much, much larger proportion of the total land area. And humanity has been grasping over history for more and more land, more and more pasture land, more and more crop land. After all, the human population as we know has increased roughly ten times since the Industrial Revolution. That requires a lot more farmland to feed the 7.2 billion of us. The problem with that is that we share this planet with other species and as we grasp this land for our farmland, for our pasture land, for our timber land for our palm oil plantations and many many other uses.


We are literally chasing the other species away and off the planet into extinction in many cases. Our land use is having devastating consequences on biodiversity. The next category identified is aerosol loading. Small particles put up into the air because of industrial processes, or households that are burning coal into keep warm. And creating tremendous amount of air pollution, very damaging for the lungs. Claiming many, many lives per year. And with a heavy impact also on changing climate dynamics. Then there’s a very broad category of chemical pollution. Our petrol chemical industries, our steel industries, mining industries, not only demand a tremendous amount of land and water for their processing, but they add a tremendous amount of pollutants back into the environment. Many of these pollutants are persistent, they, they last in the environment, they accumulate, they can be very deadly for humans, for other species. And the range of chemical pollutants is so vast and the human and animal and plant health consequence is so large that it’s absolutely impossible to summarize, except to say that the problems are horrific in many places. China, the world champion of economic growth over the past 30 years, has also become the champion of polluted waterways of major cities, because of the extent of the heavy industrial processing.

And this all sums up to a final category of biodiversity loss. The death, the extinction of other species. We’re killing more animals and plants than we even know, than we’ve even met and catalogued scientifically, because we’re chopping down rain forest, poisoning environments, acidifying the oceans. Creating so much pollution and poisoning. That species are disappearing even before we’re able to identify and catalogue the millions of other species that share the planet with us and that we share with them. We are not stewards of global biodiversity right now. We are posing absolutely profound challenges. And when it comes to biodiversity loss, one could say that all of these planetary boundary threats, the acidification, the climate change, the land use patterns, the pollution, they’re all contributing to the loss of species, probably by the millions. It’s actually hypothesized, shocking as it may seem, that humanity is now causing the sixth great extinction wave of the planet earth. The other five, the first, for example, 440 million years ago. The next one, the second, 365 million years ago and so forth, weren’t caused by any species, weren’t caused by human beings, since we weren’t there. These were natural dynamics, whether it was, asteroid hits or whether it was the internal dynamics of the earth itself. These were natural processes. This sixth mega-extinction is not natural. It is the result of one species, that would be us, causing so much damage on the planet that we are putting millions and millions of other species at risk. And, since we depend on those other species, of course we are putting ourselves at profound risk. We are also creating a hugely unstable environment.


My colleague, professor James Hanson, recorded the extreme heat events on the planet from the 1950s till now shown in this series of maps. If you look at the map for 1955 and look at the dark red areas, you see a few places on the planet where there were heat waves in the June, July, August months of the year. And when you see those, you see that they were very particular places such as in, in Canada. Because of climate change, the number of those red splotches on the map which signify extreme heat, in that location, unusual to a massive extent for that locale, has been increasing in frequency very dramatically. You look at the map of 1955, just a couple of red regions. Have a look at the map of 1975, 20 years later, now there are a few more dark red regions of the map signifying places where extreme heat waves gripped those places. But, now jump ahead another 30 years or so to 2006 or 2007, suddenly the map is all red, it seems. The planet has been in engulfed by what was an extraordinary shock 30 years ago becoming common place now. We all know it, we’re feeling our own heat waves wherever we are. And being amazed year after year as new and very uncomfortable and often very dangerous records are set in very high temperatures gripping different parts of the planet each year. But what these maps are showing is that the frequency of these extreme events is absolutely shocking. Well, these are the planetary boundaries that have been identified. We know that we are already pushing against the limits. A

nd our question, in the coming analysis, is how can we think that that growth that we’ve been trying to decipher and promote can be reconciled with environmental sustainability and staying within these planetary boundaries when we already have so much challenge. That is our question, as we now delve more deeply into the intersection of economic growth and planetary boundaries.

Papeis suplementares e sociodrama

Simultaneidade dos papeis em volta: papeis suplementares em volta – proposta de Pablo Valcare

Aquecimento em imprevisão. Dois personagens improvisação no palco. Procura-se a interação. A interação estimula a zona de contato entre os participantes. A percepção complenta o outro. A proposta trabalha com os protagonistas que emergem da improvisão por cantato.

Trabalha-se na proposta o conceito de zona de Moreno. Trabalham-se todos os elementos da relação. Os presentes e as suas diferentes sombras. Procura-se a corrente sociométrica que une os diferentes elementos de relação. Procuram-se todos os elementos que influenciam os papeis sociais. Estes papeis, permitem a criação de vínculos. Os vínculos são atuantes e  presentes. Os vínculos atuantes, correspondem aos motivadores da ação, os presentes, correspondem aos que influencias, ainda que indiretamente a ação. O psicodramatista tem que trabalhar os elementos atuantes e presentes (que de certa forma correspondem a silêncios). Os papeis estão em relação. Os papeis complementares indluenciam a ação.

A teoria dos papeis.

Na Teoria dos papeis um papel desenvolvido tem que:

  • ter espaço (há um espaço intrusivo e não intrusivo)
  • cada tipo de papel tem um espaço. em cada cultura hà um espaço para cada papel.
  • O papel da fronteira. Do limite.
    • um papel transformador tem que ultrapassar o limite. Tem que superar as suas delimitações. No emprego, na família.Cada cultura conserva um papel

Um papel super imposto leva a patologias vinculadoras. Eu jogo o meu papel e influencio os outros como eu quero. É a patologia do manipulador.  A ausência de papeis complementares denuncia a patologia.

A mutualidade é a capacidade de assumir durante algum tempo um papel auxiliar. Complementar. As mutualidades constituem papeis circunstanciais. São paeis que existem para facilitar o desenvolvimento de papeis.

Os papeis complementares e a auto-tele

Na configuração de papeis, o papel congruente é o papel que integra a pessoa, o seu sentir e a sua percepção. A formação da congruencia no papel determina a identidade. Na configuração dos papeis, a identidade não constitui uma afirmação duma singularidade, mas a sus realção com um grupo.

O movimento sociométrico é um movimento de aproximação e encantamento. A sociometria permite entender o processo vincular. O estabelecimento do vinculo operativo.  O vinculo operativo é estabelecido pela memória. A ancestralidade entra naa formaçao da cadei de formação de vínculos.

Os papeis suplementares:  Exercícios de papeis

Aquecimento.  jogos dramáticos espontâneos.

Aquecimento específico: escolha dos protagonistas. Ativar o inconsciente.

Entram em cena os diferentes papeis. a criança, o esposo, o amante. São todos papeis suplementares. procura-se a complementaridade, a ausência de complementaridade (pseudo-mutualidade). A questão dos papeis suplementares no estabelecimento de coalisações.

Ver Leon Gringberg e a Teoria da Indentificações Coletivas (trabalha a partir da proposta de Bion)

A relevância dos papeis suplementares. A chave da leitura dos papeis está na leitura das formas. O diretor tem que colocar os papesi em relação.Procurar no protagonista o material para colocar em relação (presenças/ausências) e construir uma multiplicidade de cenas.

O processe de desmontagem dos papeis complementares favorece a emergência das situações conflituais. A procura dos desafios leva à sua resolução. A resolução de conflitos é feita pelo estabelecimento de sistema vincular nas mesmas cenas. É necessaário comprender o conceito teórico para aplicar a tecncica.

“Não há uma coisa mais prática do que uma boa teoria”

Biblografia sobre papeis.

Margens e Fronteiras

Na conferência de Encerramento do XII Congresso da Sociedade Portuguesa de Psicodrama, num interessante debate entre Olga Pombo, Joaquim Carreira das Neves, e Manuel Eduardo dos Santos, sobre Filosofia, Religião e Ciência no auditório da Pousada da Juventude de Almada, em cima do Rio Tejo com vista para aponte 25 de Abril e a magnifica cidade de Lisboa, as metáforas sobre as margens e as pontes foram frequentes.


A certa altura do debate, Olga Pombo defende: “Se queremos conhecer os fenómenos não podemos ficar no leito. Temos que procurar nas margens. é aí que as coisas se transformam.

As ciências duras, são ciências do leito. Explicam a força da corrente. As ciências moles, são ciências das margens. Procuram explicar porque é que as margens contém o leito e como e quando é que esse leito se transforma.


Entre a Galé e Pêra

Em tempo de férias há que caminhar pela praia. Pé na borda d’agua, sentir a brisa na cara, o sol pelas costas, lá fui percorrendo o areal entre a Galé e Armação de Pêra.

São terras de fronteira. Vários nomes. Gale, Salgados, Praia Grande de Pêra, Praia de Armação. São também diferentes os seus habitantes no verão. Na galé, mais sofisticados. Nos salgados, encontramos os novos ricos. Quase todos gordos, com fatos de banhos às riscas. Na praia grandes, um misto a anunciar a praia mais popular de Armação de Pêra, onde os gordos são verdadeiramente gordos.

E assim vão as inutilidades do tempo. Escrever sobre coisas inúteis num tempo inútil.

O Anticiganismo e o racismo

Homo Sacer e os Ciganos
O Anticiganismo – Reflexões sobre uma variante moderna e por isso esquecida do racismo moderno


  • omo Sacer und Die Zigeuner (2014), Porto Antígonaroswithascholtz


Este livro destaca o real significado do anticiganismo, como variante específica do racismo no seio do capitalismo. A tese central que a autora expõe neste ensaio consiste na ideia de que o cigano se situa desde sempre no exterior da lei e, por isso, representa a sua matriz inadmitida, não sendo a exclusão e a idealização romântica senão as duas faces da mesma moeda racista. «O desprezo peloccigano é testemunha de uma forma, nada despicienda, do medo da despromoção na escala social, como estado de espírito fundamental e ubíquo no capitalismo», assevera a autora.