Jeffrey Sachs, 20th February 2017, 19:45, Great Hall, Durham Castle.
The world is on a dangerous and unsustainable path regarding climate change, other environmental threats, and sociopolitical instability. In response, governments have adopted several high-level goals and objectives, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the commitment to keep global warming to “well below 2-degree C.” Yet we are aware that our social and political systems are profoundly difficult to reorient. While we call for “rational” responses to global challenges, we too often face paralysis or even open conflict. I will discuss the challenges, and possible solutions, to create a global response commensurate with our declared objectives. My focus will be on fostering a “world consciousness” that at a global scale can effectively recognize challenges, adopt goals and targets, identify and test potential solutions, and choose collectively on actions to achieve the agreed goals. I will draw on my 16 years experience as senior UN advisor, and on analogies from the neuroscience of rationality at the level of the individual to develop concepts of collective rationality at the global scale.
Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He is the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership. He has twice been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. He was called by the New York Times, “probably the most important economist in the world,” and by Time Magazine “the world’s best known economist.” A recent survey by The Economist Magazine ranked Professor Sachs as among the world’s three most influential living economists of the past decade.