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UN Sec Gen Calls for ‘Revolution’: World Economic System Is ‘Global Suicide Pact’

"The old model is more than obsolete."

He doesn't indict "capitalism" by name, but it's clear that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is no fan of the Western approach to economic developement. Here's The Guardian:

The world's current economic model is an environmental "global suicide pact" that will result in disaster if it isn't reformed, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, warned today.

Ban said that political and business leaders need to embrace economic innovation in order to save the planet.

"We need a revolution," he told a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on how best to make the global economy sustainable. "Climate change is also showing us that the old model is more than obsolete."

He called the current economic model a recipe for "national disaster" and said: "We are running out of time. Time to tackle climate change, time to ensure sustainable … growth." The Guardian revealed yesterday that Ban is ending his hands-on efforts to reach a global climate deal through UN negotiations, and move to focus on a broader sustainability agenda.

(h/t The SPPI Blog)

At least some of the other panelists expressed some reservations:

His words received a mixed reception from other panelists, including Felipe Calderón, Mexico's president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia's president, Walmart chief executive, Mike Duke, and Microsoft's Bill Gates.

Jim Balsillie, co-chief executive of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, said technology alone wouldn't solve the problem of how to sustain economic growth while reducing its impact on the environment. "We have to fundamentally rethink economics," he said, suggesting that a new model was needed to hold businesses to account for their impact on the planet.

Yudhoyono, whose country is often labeled a keeper of one of the world's last major rainforests, said Indonesia was trying to plant 1bn trees a year. But he pushed back against the suggestion that developing countries should give up on their aspiration to achieve the same level of wealth as the rich world.

This view was partly shared by Gates, who said that "you cannot have a just world by telling people to use less energy than the average European".

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