Dr Megan Clark, Chief Executive and CSIRO Board member.
Growing the green collar economy - presentation by Dr Megan Clark
This presentation 'Growing the green collar economy' was given by CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Megan Clark. Provided here is an adapted transcript of the speech, originally delivered on 4 March 2009.
21 July 2009 | Updated 14 October 2011
Global forces driving change
In this talk I wanted to:
Share with you a perspective on the three global forces that will define our future and provide an up to the minute perspective of what we are seeing in investment of innovation in the current environment
Show where our work in urban design at all levels is creating new opportunities
Highlight where entire new industries are set to emerge from research we’re conducting now
Take you through insights from our modelling work that provides a 50-year outlook for employment.
We are in a maelstrom of three tempests:
- A financial crisis that is now becoming the deepest post-war recession (Morgan, 20091)
- Climate changes that are requiring urgent reduction of our carbon footprint to ensure the integrity and sustainability of our climate, food, fresh water supplies and ecosystems (Hatfield-Dodds, 20082; OECD 20083)
- The greatest human migration since our species emerged on the planet.
The challenge of urban growth
In 2008 the world reached an invisible but momentous milestone. For the first time in history more that half its human population, 3.3 billion people, are now living in urban areas4.
By 2030 this is expected to swell to almost five billion. Many of the new urbanites will be poor. Their future, the future of cities in the developing countries, the future of humanity itself all depend very much on decisions made now in preparation for this growth4.
This growth will be particularly notable in Africa and Asia where the accumulated urban growth of these two regions during the whole span of history will be duplicated in a single generation. By 2030 the towns and cities of the developing world will make up 81 per cent of urban humanity4.
Nothing shows this migration and these pressures better that the images below. This first photo is Shenzhen, China in 1982. It is several small rural villages.
The second photo was taken from exactly the same spot in 2007. In less than 30 years, a small village has grown into a modern city with a population of seven million.
This migration means that for the first time 81 per cent of the populations of developing nations will be completely dependent on urban infrastructure to deliver their daily food, water, air and remove their waste and provide their livelihood. A daunting challenge for planning, design, infrastructure and management!
In this financial environment we might expect that innovation and investment in R&D will be a casualty. And yet it is now becoming evident that something new is emerging:
Countries like the United States, China and Japan – are using their economic stimulus packages to drive green technology and promote sustainable development.
Businesses are first stabilizing their balance sheets and operating positions then very rapidly turning their attention to competitiveness and how to position themselves in the key markets of:
In this new world water and carbon will be commoditised for the first time and reducing our carbon footprint is both a global imperative and a moral responsibility – environmental sustainability is both good business and good sense. We are seeing an increase in investment related to understanding of national water resources and the science behind good decision making in the managing and allocating these resources.
What does this mean for CSIRO?
Our public and private stakeholders are maintaining a very solid investment in R&D with us.
Shortfalls in contract revenue from the mining sector are being made up by increased investment in the areas of water, energy and hybrid engines and locomotives and we are seeing the agricultural sector staying solidly with increased interest in grains from the global players. Even investment in space research is holding very solidly.
1. Morgan D. 2009. Invest09 Conference Sydney Australia, 27 Feb 2009.
2. Hatfield-Dodds S, G Turner, H Schandl and T Doss. 2008. Growing the green collar economy: Skills and labour challenges in reducing our greenhouse emissions and national environment footprint. Report to the Dusseldorp Skills Forum, June 2008. CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Canberra.
3. OCED. 2008. OECD Environmental Outlook to 2030, OCED, Paris.
4. UNFPA State of the World Population 2007. Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth.
5. Department of Climate Change. 2008. National inventory by economic sector 2006.