Leadership for sustainable futures

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Organizational Change, Leadership and Ethics, 2013, 1, pp. 195 - 215
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The UN's successive International Panel on Climate Change Reports show the immediacy of the ecological crisis facing the planet (Flannery, 2010). Global climate change is not something that will affect future generations; it is already affecting our own generation as Arctic ice and permafrost melt, seas become more acidic, desertification intensifies and extreme weather conditions increase in number and intensity. In addition, the limitations of known oil reserves (peak oil) combined with increasing demand for oil from India, China and South-East Asia will increasingly threaten established oil-based patterns of human interaction such as cheap land and air transport as well as oil-based food production. These problems will be further exacerbated by a growing global population. The developed economies therefore need to move from their current extreme dependence on fossil fuels (the carbon economy) and substitute energy produced from alternative energy sources (the carbon-neutral economy). How are we doing on achieving this goal? We have recently seen at the UN's Copenhagen Climate summit that political leaders were high on rhetoric before the summit but failed to achieve effective international collaboration on actions to halt and/or reverse climate change. As a result, emissions in all nations are increasing and we face a growing world food crisis.
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