What will it take for humanity to listen to scientists?
That was the question a panel of Nobel Laureates asked at Hong Kong’s Asia Society Center on April 22nd as they urged quick global action on climate change. “We can” make the transition to a low-carbon future, said Brian Schmidt (2011 Nobel for physics), “but I’m not sure we will.” Schmidt warned that humanity is “poised to do more damage to the Earth in the next 35 years than we have done in the last 1,000.”
The seminar kicked off the fourth Nobel Laureates Symposium on Global Sustainability, organized by the Asia Society Hong Kong Center and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research.
Originally published in Forbes. Can be accessed here.
The city was one vast construction zone. New streets were literally smashed through buildings. Half-demolished buildings dominated the cityscape. Roads were ripped apart and mountains of rubble piled up.
Much of this will sound familiar to anyone living in China today. In the eyes of the Chinese media, a village that stands in the way of lucrative high-rise property development is derided as an “eyesore”, “cancer”, an “ill” that is a “scar” on the city. The residents of these poorer areas are labelled as filthy, as burglars, drug users and even murders.
As in Second Empire Paris, so too in China today: governments exercise their power of eminent domain to seize land. It is a contest, naturally, with the state and its development allies against those who stand to lose their apartments. Importantly, it is also a struggle between the state and private developers over profits. For urban real estate redevelopment can be spectacularly lucrative, whether in Paris or Shenzhen. Money, as much as vision, drives urban change.
This review was originally published in the Asian Review of Books. Can be accessed here.