💬 “The level of expertise about what digitalization means for sustainable economic development is very, very minor. We must close the links on these two mega trends, as right now digital technologies are driving even more consumption. When we link digitalisation and artificial intelligence to the new modernization paradigm, which is about sustainability and climate protection, that’s when change will accelerate.” Professor Dirk Messner
This is a conversation with Professor Dirk Messner
🎙️ Dirk is the President of the German Environment Agency. He is an internationally renowned sustainability scientist, and was the Director of the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University in Bonn and Co-Chairman of the German Advisory Council on Global Change.
🎧 In this episode, Dirk talks about how we connect transformational digital technologies with sustainable development and disconnect gross resource consumption emissions from gross resource efficiency. He explains the complications with trying to use technology, which in itself creates more consumption, to reduce consumption. There is somewhat of a paradoxical nature to pointing technology at environmental sustainability. But Dirk describes a civilisational shift akin to the industrial revolution, even the Neolithic revolution that we are about to become a part of. He provides some ideas and answers to these challenges, including how we need to connect more digitalisation knowledge to climate knowledge and tax companies based on emissions rather than employees.
He is focussed on the integration of currently diverse and separate systems and describes how rapid investment from and into Europe could make our region a global leader for climate action. Dirk dips into history to show that at times like these, we tend to go backwards before we go forward. He references the two world wars to explain this phenomenon and with this in mind, he hopes this won’t be the case now with climate change, and that we can find a way to move directly forward.
It was an honour to speak with Professor Messner, his global expertise and connections are without parallel in terms of combining sustainable development, environment and policy advice on sustainability research.