Thursday, May 17, 2012

Why a blog on Asian Footprint?

Penang beach

During the past 40 years I have been a participant to the tremendous rising in the world output resulting from globalization. But I have been also a witness of its collateral costs on the environment with an increasing negative footprint imposed on the planet. 

I have been working all my life as civil servant, engineer, CEO of industrial companies, consultant, mostly in the field of energy, mining, high-tech, electricity, bio-fuel and environmental issues. I was mostly located in Europe (France) and during 4 years in the Middle East (UAE). Now I am living with my family in Penang Malaysia in the heart of the booming Asia Pacific area.

The Asia Pacific area has been extremely successful during this past period with an export oriented business model, huge production investments and an increased share in the worldwide output: as a result its population registered a 2,000 mil increased (almost a doubling) and began to improve its standards of living with a more urban population and a burgeoning middle income class.

During the next 40 years the Asian development model would be much more internally oriented with a wealthier population and a more quality oriented economy: as a result the additional increase in the Asian population would be limited -around 1,100mil (+25%) -, but its standard of living would increase a lot. I think one of the most daring issues for now and the next years in Asia would be to be able to address the limitations from an increased ecological footprint and the tensions resulting on a limited planet.

As expressed in the WWF last report (2012), in 2008 the Planet total biocapacity was 12.0 bil of gha or 1.8 gha per person while the humanity ecological footprint was 18.2 bil gha or 2.7 gha per person. This discrepancy means that the Planet needs now 1.5 year to regenerate the renewable resources that people use in one year.

In addition we should also look at non renewable mineral resources such as oil, or rare earths and the prospects are very bleak with the peak oil curve looming on the horizon and  the new restrictions on rare earths output introduced by China.

So it is clear that there would be limitations in the worldwide growth and increase tensions in the next years from limitations of the resources available on our planet. This blog is intended to address the awareness concerning all these questions inside the Asian Pacific area and maybe also outside and to share the experience of the various stakeholders.