Seeing as ten students will be going to Chennai for the WBCSD, I thought I’d answer ten questions to introduce myself.
Who are you?
Hi everybody! I’m Callum Hudson, 21 years of age and I will be returning to Lancaster University to complete my fourth year of my Business Studies degree. I have spent the last year living in the lovely city of Leeds, working for KPMG’s Cyber Security team.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve ever done?
Two things spring to mind when I am asked this question. The first and most recent, is when I went sky diving for my 21st birthday. The second, I took part in a two week expedition to Borneo, Malaysia. Whilst I was in Borneo I spent one week living in the jungle with a native family and the second earning my PADI Open Water Diving qualification.
Do you have a favourite food?
I love sushi. I’m not the biggest fan of spicy foods and when it comes to Indian cuisine, I’m the person that always orders a korma!
Dead or alive, who would you most like to meet?
Elon Musk. He is the founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX; co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors and co-founder of Solar City. Musk’s vision to change the world and humanity, is the reason for him being my choice. Shakira wouldn’t be a bad shout either.
What made you enter the WBCSD Chennai Competition?
I have always been captivated by the subject of sustainability and I am particularly interested in how technology can be used to shape the landscapes of cities for a more sustainable and prosperous future. Additionally, I thought it would be a brilliant opportunity to network with like minded people.
Have you ever been to India?
Unfortunately no, which is what makes this opportunity extra exciting.
What are you most looking forward to in Chennai?
I am most looking forward to experiencing the culture of India and learning about the future of sustainable development from global leaders.
What did you write your essay on?
I decided to critically evaluate how sustainable mobility addresses climate change, because I believe mobility is at the heart of everything we do. There is an immense need to transition to a low-carbon economy and sustainable mobility is a top contender in the arena for combating the world’s climate system. (My winning essay entry is posted below)
What is one cause you feel passionately about?
People without access to clean drinking water.
Do you have a favourite quote that relates to sustainability?
“A tree that is unbending is easily broken” – Lao Tzu.
In Action2020 nine priority areas are outlined to address environmental and social issues; a growing set of business solutions has been developed to combat these. Pick one business solution and critically evaluate how this solution contributes to addressing climate change.
We must decommission our minds from its usual thinking perimeters. In the pursuit of profit and economic growth, there has been an insufficient and unjust degree of climate consideration, thus triggering the warming of our atmosphere at an unprecedented rate. Today the notion of climate change is globally established, taking centre stage at the opening ceremony for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, signifying the need to transition to a low-carbon economy, to secure sustainability and prosperity for all. Sustainable mobility is a top contender in the arena for combating the world’s climate system. Demand for connectivity has propelled transportation into becoming a substantial contributor of global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, representing a staggering 23% (Climate Action 2016, 2016). The global phenomenon of rapid urbanisation places mobility at the heart of everything we do. In the pursuit of education, employment and an overall enhanced quality of life, by the year 2050 it is estimated that 75% of humanity will be urbanised (ACOLA: Australian Council of Learned Academies, 2015), solidifying the need for a structural transformation with innovation at its core. An oversight on this solution would deprive cities of the capacity to withstand the estimated influx of people and must therefore deploy a tripartite approach: reducing the need to travel via connected cities, diverging to cleaner modes of mobility that are economically dynamic and improving both vehicular technology and energy efficiency. The validity of sustainable mobility as a solution to address climate change, is dependent on the collaborative efforts of business, government and society.
Mobility is on the front line of climate action for tackling the negative externalities of a warming planet. Alongside the growing population pressures on urban areas, today’s car fleet of over one billion could double by 2030 (Dargay et al., 2007, cited in Bouton et al., 2015). The way in which our infrastructure is transformed and managed will shape our future economic, social and environmental costs. Existing urban infrastructure already suffers from immense congestion and contributes to lost time, wasted fuel and substantial emissions of greenhouse gases. To accommodate society’s needs for sustainable mobility, there is great potential for the private sector to unlock the resources needed for low-carbon forms of infrastructure. Prioritising investments into safe and efficient mass transit systems, could attribute to greenhouse gas emissions being reduced by up to 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030 (World Resources Institute, 2014). Amalgamating renewable energy with reduced reliance on fossil fuels, more compact cities, and the availability and frequency of multi-modal transport choices, a low-carbon infrastructure approach could be achieved for a 4.5% rise in current investment; higher capital costs have the potential to be compensated by greater efficiencies (World Resources Institute, 2014). By reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and developing sustainable approaches to connectivity, we can drastically reduce the level of CO2 absorption by the world’s oceans, addressing the negative externality of ocean acidification (NASA Global Climate Change, 2016).
Transportation is a key contributor to the relationship between diminishing resources and climate change. Inadequate political leadership and policy failures have tainted the efficiency of resource allocation, subsequently increasing emissions. The diffusion of clean technologies and application of big data will play an integral role in achieving sustainable transportation, addressing the destructive by-products of a high-carbon system (OECD: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2016). The creation and integration of sustainable transport modes is heavily reliant on the removal of barriers to both market and creativity, well targeted public expenditure and substantial investment in research and development of clean energy. The current trajectory of global emissions is set to double by 2050 and only by investing in technological innovation for all, can we lower the cost of greenhouse gas limitation (Grubb, 2004). In many countries around the world, battery price reductions (MacDonald, 2016) and more efficient mobility solutions being made available to the consumer, have acted as a catalyst for the adoption of low-carbon travel modes. Achieving economic growth whilst reducing transport emissions, is made possible by incorporating data production into structural planning and urban management; innovative technologies will reduce travel times and traffic accidents, facilitating the mitigation of the greenhouse effect. However, a remarkable number of the world’s largest cities lack the basic analytics required for low-carbon planning (Jetpissova, 2013) and there are legitimate concerns being raised around the vulnerability of digital transport systems, which could be subject to malicious or accidental incidents, resulting in the complete shutdown of transportation. Resilience is a necessity when developing sustainable mobility, preventing digital disruption and ensuring a sustainable future is achieved.
Government intervention in the form of tighter fuel standards and carbon pricing (Climate Action 2016, 2016) has the potential to eradicate our reliance on and misuse of fossil fuels; transportation is expected to account for over 65% of China’s oil consumption by 2030 (ACOLA, 2015). Deploying essential regulatory measures to minimise the volume of greenhouse gases being emitted from transportation, will power a response from businesses in the form of innovative technological solutions, transforming our urban landscapes. Michael Grubb (Grubb, 2004) expects that global emissions are set to double by mid-century, therefore an approach combining the efforts of a public-private partnership with the support of society, is vital. Change in the form of climate policies is likely to present challenges in terms of employment in high-carbon sectors (World Resources Institute, 2014), but by engaging communities in the development of sustainable mobility, displaying transparency throughout the planning process, societal trust will be gained as citizens become more climate conscious.
The world we live in is shaped by the transport options open to us. This business solution is an innovation-based, multi-stakeholder approach, accelerating growth towards multimodal and low-environmental impact mobility in cities. It requires collaborative efforts from political leadership, the expertise of the private sector and the active participation of society (World Resources Institute, 2014). Transforming our urban infrastructure to become more compact and connected, will tackle the issues of congestion in our cities and high-carbon resource consumption. The fusion of clean technologies with transportation can limit greenhouse gas production and the application of data will facilitate greater urban management. As more cities, countries and sectors boldly take accountability for their contribution to our changing climate, others will begin to replicate the positively impactful development of sustainable mobility on a range of scales. The quality of our growth matters and can yield an improved quality of life, less traffic congestion and a resilience to climate change.
ACOLA: Australian Council of Learned Academies (2015) Delivering Sustainable Urban Mobility [online]. Melbourne: Australian Council of Learned Academies. Available from: http://www.acola.org.au/PDF/SAF08/SAF08_FullReport_web.pdf [accessed 2nd August 2016].
Climate Action 2016 (2016) Catalyzing a sustainable future [online]. Washington D.C. Available from: http://www.climateaction2016.org/assets/summaryreportclimateaction2016.pdf [accessed 3rd August 2016].
Dargay, J., Gately, D. and Sommer, M. (2007) Vehicle ownership and income growth, worldwide: 1960-2030. Energy Journal, 28 (4), pp.143-170. Cited in: Bouton, S., Knupfer, S., Mihov, I. and Swartz, S. (2015) Urban mobility at a tipping point [online]. McKinsey & Company. Available from: http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability-and-resource-productivity/our-insights/urban-mobility-at-a-tipping-point [accessed 1st August 2016].
Grubb, M. (2004) Technology Innovation and Climate Change Policy: An Overview of Issues and Options [online]. Keio Journal of Economics. Available from: http://seg.fsu.edu/Library/Technology%20Innovation%20and%20Climate%20Policy_%20An%20Overview%20of%20Issues%20and%20Options.pdf [accessed 4th August 2016].
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MacDonald, J. (2016) Electric vehicles to be 35% of global new car sales by 2040 [online]. Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Available from: http://about.bnef.com/press-releases/electric-vehicles-to-be-35-of-global-new-car-sales-by-2040/ [accessed 1st August 2016].
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