Saturday, 16 April 2011

RiREL presenation scheduled for Sunday May 15 in Taiwan at ASCC 2011

Thanks to Kai-Tai, world leading robot expert, there will be a presentation and official launch of Robot Innovation for Resource Efficiency and Low-carbon development (RiREL) at the 8th Asian Control Conference, ASCC 2011. Please find the agenda for the event here.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Article in China Daily: BASIC, BRICS and a transformative solutions agenda for climate change

These are very interesting times. 2001, after the WTO meeting in Seattle, I developed a BRICS strategy for WWF. (including South Africa as the "S", something that confused a lot of people at that time).

Tom Crompton, who today works as Change Strategist at WWF-UK, and I worked hard and managed to get resources and a team together that over a number of years worked hard to establish a solution perspective and support for the emerging BRICS.

Among other things we published reports about the BRICS and the role of leading companies that started with the report "Chinese companies in the 21st Century", but more than anything else we tried to build bridges and introduce a "transformative change paradigm" to support a move beyond incremental improvements.

As the "BRICS" now is established as a group, that exists and play a key role to play in relation to all global challenges, it would be interesting to study the emergence of this group and the network that exist today to support a truly sustainable development.

Just a reflection after I saw the photo in China Daily from the BRICS meeting in Sanya, Hainan province. It reminded me of the "logo" we used for the project (see the reports).

Below is the article in China Daily, click the link to read it in China Daily :
The countries vowed to support the Durban climate change conference in South Africa this December and another two global conferences on sustainable development and biodiversity to be held in Brazil and India in 2012.

Russia expressed its support at two previous summits, though it holds a different line on climate change than the BASIC countries.

Partly to capitalize on the consensus, top climate envoys of BASIC countries will meet next month to push forward a nearly "deadlocked" global climate change negotiation.

A senior Chinese climate diplomat from the National Development and Reform Commission said the meeting will be held in Durban, South Africa, in May before the UN holds its mid-year negotiations in Bonn, Germany, in mid-June.

"The bloc has already formed a coordination mechanism to meet prior to important global negotiations and conferences on climate change," said the diplomat, who declined to be named.

Dennis Pamlin, director of the Low Carbon Leaders Project, said the BASIC bloc has set an excellent example of a "united line" to push forward global climate negotiations, but it needs to expand to an even more open platform to engage other developing countries.

Pamlin said the leaders at the Sanya summit have not only expressed a desire to put more pressure on developed countries to abide by their binding responsibilities of greenhouse gas reduction, but also offered more ideas to cut carbon density in developing economies.

The ministers of BASIC countries will hold their seventh meeting in South Africa in May. It is expected that one or two meetings of the ministers will be organized before the global Durban climate change conference.

Pamlin said as the global negotiations now move away from the old Kyoto discussions to a discussion about the need to create an almost carbon-free world economy in less than 40 years, there is a need to focus on the countries that will change the most during this time.

"So the BASIC bloc should not be seen as a fixed structure as other countries, such as Mexico, Indonesia and South Korea, Nigeria and Egypt are all likely to play a very important role as we move towards 2050," said Pamlin.

However, the four countries have been faced with an "interesting challenge" to include Russia in the group as Russia has not played a very constructive role in the climate negotiations and has focused more on securing its role as a fossil fuel exporter.

"An innovation-promotion working group would be a good way for BASIC to include countries like Russia," Pamlin has suggested.

He suggested that the BASIC bloc should strengthen links to other G77 countries, especially the most vulnerable and poor, less developing countries.

Meanwhile, the BASIC bloc should invite companies from around the world to form an alliance and help develop a policy framework that can create jobs, improve innovation, reduce poverty, ensure food security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

"Today too much focus is on the big polluters and how they can reduce their emissions on the margin. Now is the time to support the next generation of companies that can provide sustainable solutions for everyone on the planet, not just the rich," Pamlin said.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Guardian Blog: Mobile applications: a window of opportunity

Below is a blog about transformative applications I wrote for the Guardian Sustainable Business blog
This week was launched. It provides a platform for the presentation each quarter of 10 transformative applications that address some of the most pressing challenges in our society, and five initiatives that support their development and uptake.

We are facing a number of global challenges, such as an increase in CO2 emissions, urban poverty, ageing, growing income gaps and the accelerating depletion of natural resources. As these converge we will face unprecedented pressure and the need for rapid change. Mobile IT applications, now among the most powerful tools available, can help to deliver solutions.

Mobile apps enable people to connect to networks, get access to real-time data, understand complex situations through visualisation, and obtain direct feedback. This represents a historic opportunity to deliver solutions to our challenges that are fundamentally different from those we have today. Connected citizens who understand the impact of their actions, and see through propaganda and PR, could become global citizens with wider ethical boundaries and longer time horizons.

The transformative potential of apps includes increasing transparency and the ability to create new networks. These will allow us to do many things, such as:

See the whole value chain of a product
Apps can help us realise that there is a "story chain" behind products and that our choices are not between different labels, but between the different life stories involved in producing goods. Everyone will be able to see the consequences of their choices, and when the history behind products becomes visible it will be possible to connect directly with the people who produce the things we buy.

Support global citizens working together
Apps can help us create new trans-border networks to influence policy makers and business.

See into the future
We can make choices based not only on what companies and policy makers have done, but what they are planning to do. Apps can help us get real-time information about the investment plans of a company and information about their lobbying. We will be able to see different futures illustrated on a mobile screen and make choices based on these.

These are not future dreams, but possibilities that are already in use in applications today.

However, these apps are currently few in number and hard to find, as they are not developed in a vacuum and there is a lack of supporting initiatives. Without this support, mobile technology will only accelerate the current unsustainable trends. There is no middle ground here and we need to focus on the stakeholders who will influence the direction of the development, including:
  • The developers of operating systems such as Apple, Google, RIM, HP and Microsoft. They control the markets and can promote transformative apps in the future.
  • Operators such as Verizon, AT&T, China Mobile, Vodafone and Telenor. They influence the use of smartphones and can provide information to users about the possibilities.
  • ICT companies, especially manufacturers of mobile devices such as Nokia, HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Apple, Motorola and HP, who can encourage the use of and even pre-install transformative apps.
  • Governments, as they decide how to engage with citizens and what they require of the stakeholders on the market.
  • All companies that interact with consumers, in fields including retail, energy, health, design and marketing, which can provide apps that allow users to be part of the solution.
Today, most of the above stakeholders are not doing much to support transformative applications, but some have seen it as a way to support the shifts needed in society, and they need support from new clusters and citizens who understand that "ethical consumption" is not enough. Political action is needed and a new generation of mobile applications can help deliver it.

Finally, and most importantly, the world of mobile apps development is still in its infancy and anyone, any organisation, any company, any network, that dares to think beyond the incremental, and about what is really needed, can make valuable contributions. If we act now we can create the underlying infrastructure and policy framework to support the development of many transformative applications.

Monday, 4 April 2011

New webpage "Transformative Applications" lists top-ten apps that can make the world a better place

New website lists top-ten apps that can make the world a better place

Visit and get a glimpse of a better future


Today is launched. The page presents ten transformative applications that address some of the most pressing challenges in our society, and five initiatives that support the development and uptake of such applications.

- Today we are facing a number of converging trends and global challenges such as CO2 increase, urban poverty, aging, geopolitical shifts, accelerated natural resource depletion, etc. There is a need for one of the most important tools today, mobile applications, to help deliver solutions to address these challenges, said Dennis Pamlin, who is coordinating the initiative.

- I’ve been working with ICT solutions that can help make the world a better place for ten years now. I know that some of the most creative people on the planet are engaged in app-development. This initiative celebrates those who make important contributions with the help of applications and aims to inspire others to use their skills and passion to create apps that make a difference, Pamlin continued.

- This initiative also hopes to inform groups working to address important global challenges on how they can make use of mobile applications in their work, Pamlin added.

The potential role of mobile applications when it comes to help create a better planet can hardly be overestimated. Many of our current challenges can be turned into opportunities with new approaches where mobile devices and connectivity play a key role.

However, today these transformative applications are difficult to find. A study done during the preparation for this webpage indicated that 98.5% of the apps covered by media, and promoted by key stakeholders, were “fun/music/gaming”, “general information”, or “administrative” apps that did nothing in particular to make the world a better place.

- There is nothing wrong with these kinds of apps, but their dominance makes it difficult to identify those that can help solve the major challenges of today. We don’t expect everyone to always highlight transformative applications, but they need to be acknowledged much more than they are today, Pamlin ended.

For more information and the list of transformative applications please visit: Or contact Dennis Pamlin: