On April 12, 2023, Sirpa Pietikäinen and Ville Niinistö welcomed former GLOBE EU President and honorary member Anders Wijkman and former EU Commissioner and co-chair of the International Resource Panel Janez Potočnik.
The Club of Rome presented its landmark “Limits to Growth“ report 50 years ago, warning of the potential resource depletion caused by population growth and the unlimited quest for material goods on a finite planet.
Anders and Janez have since released a follow–up report exploring how to provide the majority of the world population with a decent standard of living while staying within planetary boundaries. Anders explained the five major turnarounds identified by the report, including addressing poverty and inequality, empowering women, transforming food and energy systems, and reducing material consumption, particularly in industrialized countries.
Janez mentioned that the International Resource Panel had identified resource use as the root of the triple planetary crisis, driving 90% of land–related biodiversity loss, 50% of greenhouse gas emissions, and one-third of health–related pollution impacts. He also mentioned the three major blind spots identified by The Club of Rome, Systemiq, and Open Sciences Foundations in the EU’s efforts to implement the European Green Deal: lack of holistic system change approach, lack of focus on natural resource use, and market signals, and lack of demand–side focus in policy attention.
He explained that to address these issues, we must prioritize human needs over economic growth, create an economy that acknowledges our embeddedness in nature, and reform our governance structures. Economically, we must change market signals to incentivize sustainable resource use and reward innovative and responsible ways of meeting human needs. This transition can be achieved by changing tax structures and using public money and subsidies to support it, as well as service provisioning, technology, and financial assistance.
Janez concluded by emphasizing that a green future is necessary for there to be any future at all.