This year we reach another milestone in global population growth, 7 billion inhabitants of Earth. It has only taken us 12 years to add an additional 1 billion people to the planet. This kind of rapid population growth puts strains on environmental, political, and financial resources. The goal of this event is to highlight key issues related to rapid population growth and offer a look at current solutions.
Watch: The 7 Billion Challenge
Keynote Presentation: 7 billion: Good news and bad news (no joke)
Joel E. Cohen, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of Populations, Rockefeller University; Professor of Populations, Columbia University
Joel E. Cohen is a professor of populations in the School of International and Public Affairs as well as the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University. He is also the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of Populations at the Rockefeller University, New York, and he heads the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller and Columbia Universities. Cohen's research deals with the demography, ecology, epidemiology, and social organization of human and nonhuman populations and with mathematical concepts useful in these fields. In March 1997, Cohen was the first winner of the Olivia Schieffelin Nordberg Prize for excellence in writing in the population sciences for his book "How Many People Can the Earth Support?" This work outlines the key components of our event today and we are honored to have him as our Keynote speaker.
Mattew Bishop, The Economist
Matthew Bishop is the US Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief of The Economist. Bishop was previously the magazine's London-based Business Editor. Bishop is well known for his work, "Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World," which brings together business and social sectors to solve the world's most pressing problems. His new book, "The Road from Ruin: How to Renew Capitalism and Put America Back on Top," with Michael Green, was published by Crown in February 2010. Mr. Bishop is the author of several of The Economist's special report supplements, including most recently "The Future of Jobs, A Bigger World," which examines the opportunities and challenges of the rise of emerging economies and firms; "The Business of Giving," which looks at the industrial revolution taking place in philanthropy; "Kings of Capitalism," which anticipated and analyzed the recent boom in private equity; and "Capitalism and its Troubles," an examination of the impact of problems such as the collapse of Enron.
Columbia University Panelists
Ruth S. DeFries—Population and Biodiversity
Ruth S. DeFries is Denning Professor of Sustainable Development and Chair for the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology. Her research examines human transformation of the landscape and its consequences for climate, biogeochemical cycling, biodiversity, and other ecosystem services that make our planet habitable. A particular focus is tropical deforestation and its impacts on atmospheric carbon emissions and conservation. She is actively involved in linking scientific information into policy decisions.
Jean-Marie Guéhenno—Population and Conflict
Jean-Marie Guéhenno is the Arnold Saltzman Professor of Professional Practice in International and Pu blic Affairs and Director of the Center of International Conflict Resolution. He also serves as Associate Director of the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies at the S chool of International and Public Affairs where he directs the School's International Conflict Resolution specialization. Mr. Guéhenno is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institu tion. He previously served as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations from 2000-2008. In that role, he led the largest expansion of peacekeeping in the histor y of the UN, overseeing approximately 130,000 staff on eighteen missions. Before joining the United Nations, Guéhenno served as director of policy planning in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ambassador to the Western European Union, and chairman of the French Institute of Higher Defense Studies.
Upmanu Lall—Population and Water Stress
Upmanu Lall is the Albert & Carol Silberstein Professor of Engineering and Director of the Columbia Water Center. He is a leading expert on hydroclimatology, climate change adaptation, risk analysis and mitigation. His research has emphasized hydrology, water resource systems analysis, operations research and stochastic processes with applications to flood/drought risk and uncertainty assessment and the design and operation of water systems. Recently, he has become concerned with the issue of global and regional water sustainability and the more general issue of modeling and managing planetary change due to coupled human and natural dynamics. He is developing technical and policy tools for the projection and management of environmental change as part of a quantitative approach to sustainability of earth systems.
Klaus Lackner—Population and Energy
Klaus Lackner is Ewing and J. Lamar Worzel Professor of Geophysics and Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering. He is also Director of Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy. His scientific career started in the phenomenology of weakly interacting particles. Later searching for quarks, he and George Zweig developed the chemistry of atoms with fractional nuclear charge. His interest in self-replicating machine systems has been recognized by Discover Magazine as one of seven ideas that could change the world. Presently, he is developing innovative approaches to energy issues of the future. He has been instrumental in forming ZECA, the Zero Emission Coal Alliance, which is an industry-led effort to develop coal power with zero emissions to the atmosphere. His recent work is on environmentally acceptable technologies for the use of fossil fuels.
Jeffrey D. Sachs—Population and Poverty Traps
Jeffrey D. Sachs is Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, Professor of Health Policy and Management, and Director of The Earth Institute, Columbia University. He is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. For more than 20 years Professor Sachs has been in the forefront of the challenges of economic development, poverty alleviation and enlightened globalization by promoting policies to help all parts of the world benefit from expanding economic opportunities and wellbeing. He is also one of the leading voices for combining economic development with environmental sustainability, and as Director of the Earth Institute leads large-scale efforts to promote the mitigation of human-induced climate change.