Urge-Vorsatz Speaks on Economics of Climate Change at OECD Conference

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Forum has emerged as a major international conference where policies and ideas are shared between governments, business, civil society and academia. Leaders and influencers from all sectors of civil society: former and current heads of state and government, top CEOs, leaders of key NGOs and trade unions, as well as prominent members of academia and media gather to debate the most pressing social and economic challenges confronting society The Forum’s key points are discussed further at the Ministerial meeting.

This year’s Forum was dedicated to the theme “Towards a more productive, inclusive world”. It was a standout with its over 2,400 participants from over 60 countries, including several heads of state and dozens of ministers.

Professor Diana Urge-Vorsatz of CEU’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy was invited to contribute to two panels. The Circular Economy panel focused on the serious need for and front-running governments’ efforts towards implementing a zero-waste future, in which the core economic processes need to be revisited. Among the five panelists was Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank and author of the seminal “Stern Report on the Economics of Climate Change”. In the panel Urge-Vorsatz warned that while the concept of the circular economy represents a major breakthrough in making the economies more sustainable, it is not sufficient because recycling is not a real solution to our waste problem, but consumption as the fundamental driver of the economy needs to be rethought. She also participated in the “Uneven Careers” panel, which discussed the emerging life course models of both women and men who wish to both devote more time to their families and make a difference through their professions. Together with eight other societal and business leaders, she was asked to share her own experiences with a successful academic career combined with the raising of seven children.