Activities > WWWforEurope Activities 2013 > Ugo Bardi: Plundering the Planet

Introducing Ugo Bardi at the presentation of his book "Plundering the Planet"(click to enlarge)

Ugo Bardi presenting his book "Plundering the Planet"(click to enlarge)

Ugo Bardi: Plundering the Planet Must Not Go On

On an invitation from “Growth in Transition”, an initiative coordinated by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (Ministry of Life), Ugo Bardi, Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Florence, presented his new book "Plundering the Planet" at the Impact Hub Vienna on November 11th, 2013. The event was facilitated by Dr Martina Schuster (head of the Environmental Economics and Energy department at the Ministry).

In his book, which is the 33rd Report to the Club of Rome, Bardi argued that we are reaching the limits of economically feasible extraction of a number of mineral commodities, including metals and fossil fuels. His concern is very much an economic one with biophysical implications, especially an acceleration of climate change. According to Bardi, the world will never run out of its minerals but extracting them will prove far more expensive. Our current economies are built on cheap fossil fuels and high grade mineral ores which can be economically exploited. However, if we continue with a ‘business as usual’ approach, we will soon reach the limits to which fossil fuels and other vital resources can be exploited. The increasing exploitation of non-conventional fuels, such as shale gas and tar sands could prolong the fossil fuel age by a few years. But this would accelerate the advent of uncontrollable climate change.

Following the book presentation Bardi, and two WWWforEurope experts, Sigrid Stagl of the Vienna University of Economics and Business and Kurt Bayer, economist, Former Member of the EBRD Board of Directors and consultant at WIFO, discussed who the key actors are in the socio-ecological transition process. They concluded that the economic power relations that were created over the last few years made the process an uphill struggle and that it would require significant effort on all levels to change structure and practices.