When Bob Dylan penned his iconic song in the early sixties, he could not possibly have known that over forty years later his words would still resonate with the listening public.
Yet, that is precisely what is happening. The relevance of his lyrics is possibly more apt than ever when applied to the current global situation. The sixties was a time of social upheaval: protest coupled with hope, the end of an era and the start of a period of renewed anticipation. So too is the end of the “noughties” as they are fondly dubbed. But the causes of this upheaval are very different. This change and its global implications are the subject of this year’s annual review.
Sustainable development has become the defining challenge of our era. And what a challenge!
The global economy is being bolstered by the rapid emergence of countries such as China, India, Brazil, Russia and South Africa with their large appetites for energy and resources. The world is faced with seemingly competing challenges of meeting ever increasing demands for energy while not adding to the volume of global GHG emissions.
The growing global population, much of it in so-called developing countries, and the attendant imperative of poverty alleviation, is putting added pressure on already seriously stretched natural resources. The need to balance all these seemingly contradictory concerns is both a huge and daunting challenge.