Year 2018 in Review (The Long Read) :
As we lay “our eyes and ears” to the various events and reports- “signs and signposts”- along our way, and over year 2018, we may observe that seemingly we may “feel and sense” that our world has been moving one step forwards and two steps backwards:
Stretched, Stuck, New Extremes and Power Play
I guess that you may have noticed this, too.
Geo-politically, our world seems to fall into factions, into nationalism, and into some rivalries.
For sure – we have our Big Brothers (of Nations)- openly or ever more subtly- compete and aim to out-voice and out-perform each other: between USA and China, and if you wish- Russia, India and EU. The effect of this rivalry on the (best) political system, economies, leadership and worldviews- or world domination or spheres of interest-, obviously- is further felt around the globe, in proxy or direct: by and in countries around.
Economically, and so far- the world could report another year of global growth well over 4%. However, and that is a fact, this growth in wealth is and has not been to the advantage of the poor emerging nations or the poor and deprived in nations.
Generally speaking, and world over, the UN reported a new growth in income inequality- all over. Full stop. In the developed world, the erosion of the middle-class has been the cause of much anger and popular vote, and the working class feel themselves not valued- as their income and buying power of their monthly wages and income have been stalled for now – and in their rightful eyes- a very long time, indeed.
Global debt (public and private) has never been so large, and ever since the financial crisis analysts and pundits have a mixed and rather uncertain view on the next (financial) crisis to come. Some say that the banking system has just become even more bigger and more riskier as they were before the crisis, and thus to the health of our economies.
Many in the West believe that the existing liberal democracies, free capital market system has been stretched into its extreme, and that countries, companies and societies need urgently to find an alternative and a better balanced approach. Similarly, and in the East,many question the durability of the Chinese miracle, and whether countries like India, and as it continues to double its economy, will stay out of trouble.
Over the last year, President Trump has torn – and with some success- at the status quo of the international world order: at the UN, the WTO, the EU, in international trade and peace keeping treaties, Global Leadership Conferences. No longer believing in the benefits of a multi-lateral world system, but preferring, and as the world turns ever more complex, and in some rivalries (re China, Russia, etc.)- to aim to out-perform, elect to govern national interests only, retreat or simply be the best.
Europe and the European Commission has wavered a full year with internal and self-inflicted, and home made crises: From the Brexit, to the Euro, to its defense role in Nato, its relationship with Trump, to the position and views on Migration, to the changes in democracies in Poland, Hongary- to the unrest at its international borders- in Africa, in Middle-East, in Ukraine. to the popular vote unsettling establishment and political elite.
The Middle-East and North Africa seems to have been in constant unrest and turmoil. in Jemen, Syria, Lybia, etc. warring proxy conflicts continued to take their toll. The brutal killing of Kashoggi in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul – a new low- has send some shock waves into our world: we maybe entering a new or forgotten era and form of leadership, not seen for long in the Gulf. With uncertainties now also on the rise in the Gulf and with ever more complex relations between Iran, Saudi , Turkey – and the Big Brothers of Nations- we can and may hold our breath for the years to come.
Let us not forget that Oil, Power and Politics have been long intertwined, and the Gulf and Middle-East still holding here the biggest Prize.
Without going into the details of each and every corner of this Globe- one could defend the view that our present realities in our world gives signs that we are living in an Age of more and modern forms of New Extremes – and with seemingly less calm and peace
Between Hope and Fear,
Between the individual human rights and the State
between Nationalism, Macrons Patrionism, Trumps Bilateralism and Global Multi-lateralism,
Between Collaboration, Peace-Building and Power Play, Strive
Between Real and Honest and Corruption and Fake,
Between Care for the Commons, and Lobby and Care for the Self
Between Wealth and Poverty, War and Peace
Almost just like we prognose that our Climate is to go into ever more extremes.:- so well may be our present geo-politics of emotions, our leadership, our economies (re jobs, companies) and our societies, at large.
Less calm. More unsettled and with more unrest.- and making people and the elite to retreat towards their own home-made islands of peace and tranquility.
My Paradise. My peace and My piece of Land.
At the start of this year, and in Davos, leadership gathered were entertained around the theme of the 4th industrial revolution: the new world order of AI, robotics, drones, big-data, cloud, block-chain and some more, if you take space, bio-tech, military and security into account.
Key question here is, obviously: will these new technologies been used to the advantage of the global good and common man, or will they be used to profit and domineer.
If history and year 2018 teaches us a lesson: you may bet on both.
With a world population estimated to near 10 billion at the turn of the century, another big puzzle on our horizon is: how to provide meaningful jobs and lives to all of these people, as we see ourselves creating – and in a rapid force – modern jobless or dense corporate offices and industries.
Add to this the quest how 10 billion people are to live, feed, work, breath and move in harmony with each other and Nature, and you see the mega-trends of where we are today.
As our economies are in rapidization, and modernity, cities, infrastructure, companies and industries are taken and spread around the globe- “as in no time before”, we are running on untested territory – and as the aggregate of our human development, unfortunately, is seemingly running itself outwith our planetary boundaries, and into some new trouble.
In the words of SG Guterres of the UN; we have failed, and are failing.
End November some new borders were crossed: Nasa landed a new mission on Mars, and in China, a scientist confirmed that he had succeeded in genetically modifying the human embryo:
Lula and Nana are born.
The signs and signposts, and the reports over the year- tell us:
This is rather urgent and real.
On UN Sustainable Development
Let us listen to some first words- by “the Father of the UN SDGs”:
Most G20 countries have started SDGs implementation, but important gaps remain.
Results from the novel survey on national SDG implementation mechanisms conducted by the SDSN and the Bertelsmann Stiftung show large variations among G20 countries in how the SDGs are embraced by the political leadership and translated into institutional mechanisms. Some countries have established dedicated coordination units, strategies and action plans, and accountability systems, while others lag behind on some or all of these dimensions. More data and analyses are needed to gauge the level of ambition and effectiveness of SDG strategies, tools, and processes.
No country is on track towards achieving all SDGs.
For the first time, we are able to show that no country is on track to achieve all the goals by 2030. For example, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland top the 2018 SDG Index, but they need to significantly accelerate progress towards achieving some goals, including Goal 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and Goal 13 (Climate Action).
Conflicts are leading to reversals in SDG progress.
Most developing countries have experienced significant progress towards ending extreme poverty in all its forms, including income poverty, undernourishment, access to health and education services, and access to basic infrastructure.
Achievement gaps are greatest towards universal completion of secondary education. Countries experiencing conflict have experienced some of the sharpest reversals, particularly towards achieving Goal 1 (No Poverty) and Goal 2 (NoHunger).
Progress towards sustainable consumption and production patterns is too slow.
High-income countries obtain their lowest scores on Goal 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and Goal 14 (Life Below Water). While no trend data are available for Goal 12, the data for Goal 14 suggest that most of high-income countries have made no progress in recent years towards achieving the Goal. Trends on Goal 15 (Life on Land) are also
insufficient. They show that further efforts are needed to protect the biodiversity and support sustainable production and consumption
High-income countries generate negative SDG spillover effects.
High-income countries generate significant environmental, economic, and security spillover effects that undermine other countries’ efforts to achieve the SDGs. Yet, there is high variation in spillovers among countries with a similar per capita income. This suggests that countries can reduce their negative spillover effects without reducing their per capita incomes.
Inequalities in economic and social outcomes require better data.
Newly added indicators for OECD countries focusing on inequalities in economic, health, and education outcomes lower the SDG Index scores for some countries. This suggests significant shortfalls in ensuring that no one is left behind, which are hidden by aggregate data. Such disaggregated data are unavailable for most non-OECD countries, so greater
investments are needed to fill these data gaps.
And in some of my words:
– Both the UN, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International report that the Human Rights in our world seemingly- “looks and feels”- not to have progressed over the years 2017/2018. Instead they report ever more countries, with ever more governments, taking it not so narrow with the (individual) human rights, the amount of human right violations on the rise, and that the international dialogues on these issues stalled, politicized, and the works of the human rights organisations have become more difficult, forbidden- and in the worst case killed..
– Angela Merkel observed: there are presently 220 armed conflicts on our Planet, with 65 million refugees, with half of them children.
– The WWF reports a rapid deterioration and loss of our biodiversity,with a 6th mass extinction – bigger, worse and more alarming as ever believed before.
– Our Oceans are heating-up, our corals are disappearing, we are over-fishing, and the plastic soup is ever so great , and barely stoppable as emerging and rapid developing nations install new petrochemical complexes.
– Our food chains are unsustainable and broken, we see and prognose fresh water shortages, and our global health organisations and medics warn us for the air we breath in our dense cities and industries.
– Our soils are eroding, and our natural forests are depleting at an alarming rate- using Trump-speech: “not so good for us”.
– The club of Rome held its 50th anniversary– and well – concluded, we are running exactly on their curves of 1968.:
In the words of Weiszacker:
We are in (desperate) need of a new form of Enlightenment, and where Balance would become a new notion between Humans and Nature, Short-term and Long-term, Public and Private, Religion and State, Feminine and Masculine, Equity and Rewards, Speed and Stability.
– Our political theaters, nationally and internationally- seem ever more polarized, with more and more extreme views, lack of cohesion, willingness to collaborate on issues in a multi-lateral and ever so much wanting “to win”- Archim Steiner of the UNDP sees that the international willingness to collaborate on the UN SDGs is stalling at best, backtracking most likely, and that we are hardly re-engineering our approaches in our trade and trade relations.
– We are already crossing some 24 planetary boundaries, and the rapidization of our (global) societies and liberal free markets- are still destroying social fabric on the go, and in the views of Germany Kathrin Hartmann: we are presently living in “the Green Lie”
– In the more sobering words of the French SocioGraph Christophe Guilluy: we are presently creating “No Societies”, and the world income equality all to rise: Go to World Inequality Report
– or in the words of Pope Francis : the wealthy few feast on what belongs to all
-A new rush to modernization of military and military war-fare is well on-going
and we live in an age where new rules of the game, and how and what constitutes governance, society and economy are being re-defined- world-round- a fact that will effect our human development, the human rights and dignity to all,
On Climate Change
Very much simplified, and in some of my own words:
– The IPCC reports that the impacts of a 1.5 Degrees world is worse then expected. Our present best estimate, and with current trends and rate of fossil fuels consumption, is that our world is galloping towards a 3.6 Degrees Celsius world, over this century (and even higher if we not manage to bend the present trend in the oil and gas sector)
– The UNEP report in its latest Emission Gap Report 2018 is that the gap between that the world needs to up three-fold its present effort in cleaning-up its act, if we are to have any chance at all to stay within the 2 Degrees.
In the words of the scientific director John Christensen of this report:
This year’s report shows—among other findings—that there is a need for three to five times higher reductions in greenhouse gas emissions than the goals agreed by the world’s countries in the Paris Agreement.
The distance has increased between climate commitments and the reduction of greenhouse gases needed if we are to meet the goals in the Paris Agreement.
“There’s thus both a large gap between what the world’s countries have promised to do and what is needed, and another gap between the commitments made and what’s actually being done.”
– The IEA reports that fossil fuel production and consumption, and thus also carbon emissions, are on the rise, our carbon budget for a 1.5-2 Degrees Celsius scenario already consumed. A feat James Hansen (of NASA) and the Oil Industry itself forsaw early 2000. So- where is the news?
-(and let us please not forget that the same Fatih Birol of IEA earlier pro-claimed the abundance and “the New Age of Gas”, and the promotion of Oil well into our century,earlier this year, and at IHC CeraWeek (with Khalid-Al Falih and Daniel Yergin on stage).
On Energy and Energy architecture Development
or read a brief opinion on the present believes “on the abundance of oil and gas” recently published by ex-Shell colleagues (of me) reported that the world has run out of “easy oil and easy gas”, and that we need to think differently about energy, wealth and wealth creation.:
The fact today is:
The oil and gas industry is putting (again) its feet on the pedal, and we are even accelerating investments into heavy industrialized modern consumption ways, and bluntly negating scarcity of (quality) resources, sustainable development and climate change. in the East and the West, the North and the South.
For sure- we may opt to solve this the Trumpian way, ignore some basic facts, and just realize our own empires with our own energy., and not so much caring for the whole, or tomorrow.
A great example to all those country leadership that feel themselves rich on fossil fuel resources.
If you wish to read a latest thinking from the Club of Rome on all of this:
We do not have to agree with the full actions list of the Club of Rome, nor with the recommendations for resolve. We may have some complementary and some additional creative ways to bend our curves- in the (energy) sector, in our trade relations (incorporating UN SDGs) , and in our economies and better choices of happy lifestyles,. But alas- in essence – the message of the COR is clear: we are in a state of emergency, or in over-time.
We concur with the Club of Rome- we have crossed the limits of a possible 2 degrees, if our science holds and our present outlook is not good, not good at all!
It is up to us, our Leadership, if we get this message- and see our operating system (in government, in corporates, in the energy sector, in our economies) to change: for real Based on some 10 years practice experience, and despite the so many years of global inabilities to do so – my practice believe is: yes- we still can. But for that: we need to see and prepare our present government administration and business leadership on their skills, competencies and capabilities to lead this, as so far- they proofed to have done a rather poor job at this.. So we all know: it is easier to lead and manage status quo, then to truly govern system change. Just look at Macron France and the Yellow Vests. Well the good news is: we are at it, learning!
We seemingly don’t focus on the few and urgent things that can and may makes some common sense .
We seemingly don’t yet have developed the meaningful integrated ways, (policy) instruments or (leadership over organisation change) ways to actually steer, organize and lead into transformation and our energy architecture (mix/ transition) development, – main stream., and towards sustainable development- in our own countries or overseas.
Let me make this clear:
The present approach towards Climate Change is One-dimensional- and the approach to steer Energy Architecture Change (developments) on Carbon Price, ETS and CCS ( in the West) may proof illusory and bound to fail, as are the- at times- very complex mechanisms in the Paris Agreement hard to see to effectively come to work. (measuring, reporting, verifying: Climate Finance, Compliance, Transparancy, Loss and Damage, National Reporting, Technology transfer and mechanism, etc.)
Our Oil Company executives knew this , and as they lobbied for this to be.
For as it stands:
Are you to ask the Turkey to prepare for the Christmas meal?
CO2 pricing, etc is a derivative and indirect working method- does not solve the root-cause, and is an accountancy and transparency nightmare (or heaven!), and is not likely to work well under changing energy market pricings, popular vote or industry lobby.
Its a solution of the “Rich men world”.
Just ask the Yellow Vests in France, today!
(again- this is based on our extensive dialogues and conversations with Senior Executive Energy Leadership- from within the industry)
My practice believe is: Function (Delivery) follows Form (Organization)
In other words: Our organisations, our leadership and “our tone of voices”- first to change in order to see the needed transformative outcomes and results.
We better Reform.
If our wish is to see energy architecture-economies develop- that are – available, affordable, sustainable- free of concerns.
We better Change
If we wish to see ourselves in Peace, Harmony and Dignity – in and between ourselves and nature.
We better are to Re-organize
We are better to change our organisational ways- across the mainstream energy-economy corporations, stakeholders and government organisations.
Of course- we can applaud, and be content with the many distributed initiatives, the avalanche of innovations and raising of awareness, impact and actions.- small and big,- a true movement-
But the essence is:
In all their aggregate: the present approach does “not look and feel” good enough, and – to our minds- will not solve the present problems.
We may see and run ourselves in unnecessary trouble.
We have over-complicated and over-bureaucratized our present working approaches towards Energy, Climate and UN SDGs, and in many governments, ministries and corporates the lack of leadership awareness, competencies and capabilities is at times stunning- both at the OECD, as with the rest.
Not good enough to reach the Sustainable Societies- here and there, now and tomorrow- we desperately seek and need.
Funny enough- the Silesia declaration of the Polish Presidency of the COP24 can become here an instrument- that can help us to step-up in our change!
(Note on the Age of Gas):
1. When we speak about the (reserve) abundance of gas for decades to come, the industry speaks about unconventional resources of gas. The present best estimate of conventional gas reserve (“easy to extract”) is only 60 years. When we double our gas consumption, these “easy to get” gas reserves are quickly evaporating. Not a good thing for future generations.
2. Methane leakages from LNG shipping, transportation and “dirty and intensive” unconventional gas extraction most probably outweighs or exceeds the global warming impact “the dirty” coal industry is presently making. So- where is the change?
As a born optimist, can-do and happy person (“I am born that way”)- its easy to be grateful and to see the many many small and great wonders, achievements and gifts in our world.
And it is relative easy to believe:
Yes- we can.
Yes- the system, our resilience and someone in the system will take care.
Yes- future generations and technologies will able and manage.
But the simple reality may be:
Maybe there will be “not some-one” and maybe “the complexities we pass-on towards the next generations will not be so alright”.
Our ecological crisis is also a psychological or human crisis: in our trust and in our real availability, relationships and presence between each other.
On the moment we recognize that “its no longer about the self or our self-importance”, but it is much more to do with serving the other and the whole, we may start to become a little less important and create with more Peace.
It is “our style”, the “way we look” and “our tone of voice” that can move mountains.
Not fast, but actually slowing down- and walking in more beauty.
As another thing we may see:
If we cannot see eye-to-eye or we do not have peace, trust and goodwill between each other- no solution will hold.
Add to this the Geo-politics of emotions, the rivalries and wants, and a Pandora box put over our global village by the virtues of Climate Change (and our present rate of carbon emissions)- and you may be with me that (our chance for) Peace and (our chance for) Sustainable Development, are two sides of the same coin.
So- “our quest” today is a little meaningful and a little different in its invitation: to seek new forms and formats – and lesser formalized approach in our present organized ways.
Our present leadership learning is very much “within”, as with ” the other” “in our international relationships” as with “the Whole”.
As our Leadership challenge and learning is also to better integrate and create system and organisational change on Energy, Economy, Sustainable Development, Climate and Societal needs- locally, regionally and in an international context.
Earlier I wrote :
We need some new freshness in our leadership approach, some new freshness in our tone of voice, and some new freshness in our working approaches (and how and what root-causes and problems we solve) and the ways we progress and connect some dots into our governments, policy making, economies, corporates and societies.
You are most Welcome!
Adriaan Kamp- Founder Energy For One World
WE KINDLY ASK YOU TO SUPPORT AND DONATE TO OUR WORKING PRACTICE- FOR OUR YEAR PROGRAM 2019.