How Climate Change Correlates with Democracy

Peter Burnell attended last weeks Transformation Thinker Conference hosted by GTZ and Bertelsmann Foundation. He is a Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick. He is one of the first scientist bringing together an agenda including issues iof climate change, political regime and leadership. Just in time for the present summit in Cancun.

Here are the 3 key questions Burnell focused on during his impulse statement:

  1.  How do different leadership styles affect climate politics on the national level (and vice versa?)
  2. When dealing with the specific challenges of climate change, how does the political regime of a country influence policy-making?
  3. Is democracy more “climate-proof” when it comes to multisectoral collaboration or collective leadership?

In this specific interview we (Jocelyne Sambira form United Nations and me) talked about the correlations between democracy and climate change. Do "developed" democracies perform better in responding to climate change challenges than non-democrcies?

Parts of the interview are also published on UNRadio. Thanks to Jocelyne!


About Peter Burnell:

He was educated at the University of Bristol and University of Warwick. His long established research interests are in democratization and the political economy of foreign aid. He is a founding editor of the international journal Democratization.

A present research focus is a critical examination of how standard conceptions of democracy are being diffused globally through networks of democracy promotion actors based mainly in the West. Another examines the political drivers of international assistance to developing regions against a backdrop of competing, sometimes contradictory policy objectives and theories of economic, social and political change.

Wikis are much more philosophy than tool

Samuel Klein describes himself as a Wikipedian, a one laptop per child director and local community organizer, a mathematics and physics zealot, a clutch proofreader, and a long-time Bostonian. At the drumbeat festival in Barcelona we chatted with him about wikis, education and olpc. It was fun – as you can see!

Apologies for the background noise …

More on drumbeat here:
Roadtrip Nation
Technology moves fast; academia doesn’t!
An Informal Learning Path

China after the Nobel Prize

“People are customized to follow in China!” says Isaac Mao, one of the first Chinese bloggers. He started blogging in 2002 and he soon became one of the young digital leaders in China. Since then he is expressing his views of a modern Chinese Democracy – both: peacefully and wisely.

In the passed years I have done a couple of interviews with him, but I’ve never heard him some relaxed and enthusiastic. The reason: The Nobel Prize for Peace Laureate: Liu Xiaobo. Liu was of course the mayor topic during our conversation, but we also talked about the influence social media has on activism and how big the chances are to overcome censorship in China:“I can see, that censorship in China will be gone within the next 5 years!”The interview was audiotaped via SKYPE, so please excuse that I cannot provide video. But I couldn’t resist the fact, that I am still running an unregistered version of SNAPshot on my new laptop and this is why I provide the still;-))

Twenty-twenty is tomorrow!

This blogpost is part 3 of a series of short videoclips with Hans Rosling, founder of gapminder and TEDster. On behalf of, Ole Wintermann and I went to Stockholm to interview Hans in May 2010. For me it was one of the most funniest and most inspriring interviews I have ever done … and I am truly looking forward to include Hans Rosling again in our next edition of we-magazine which will focus on Africa.
“The main misconception is that the world still is as I went to school.”Rosling was interviewed by the Shaping Ideas 2020 project by Ericsson.

The West really has to integrate into the rest of the world. It will just be about one tenth of the world.”
Asked about the shift in power in the world until 2020 he says that is too short a perspective: “Twenty-twenty is tomorrow!” Some of his grandchildren will live past the year 2100, so for him it does not make sense to only have a vision for the next ten years:“We are not yet serious about solving global issues because we have too short a perspective.”And he offers a compelling vision for Sweden to become a popular tourist destination: “Western Europe has a lot to offer the world for hundred of years to come.”

What would you say are our main future challenges? 1) The remaining poverty among two billion of our fellow human beings, 2) enormous pressure on the environment, and 3) remains the threat of war.“So far it has always resulted in a war when someone catched up with the most powerful nation. […] Let’s see if we can succeed this time without the Pearl Harbor.”

Hans Rosling also makes clear that child mortality has been dramatically decreasing in many countries: “This means that the population issue has been largely solved.”“There will be an additional increase of two billion people until 2050 and then we are done […] This is a minor problem for the environment. The major problem is that four billion people live miserable lives. To increase their standard of living up to what is decent, like Sweden in 1950, when we had washing machines, showers, and relatively good houses. […] That is a ten-fold bigger challenge than the number of people!”

We have to make a huge technological leap to increase standards of living: “We can’t do that with existing coal technology. But we are not investing in that seriously!” The OECD countries are spending 4-5 times more on agricultural subsidies as they are putting into green technologies.“But we are not serious yet! They are just trying to win the next election, they are not trying to solve the problem! […] The Indian and the Chinese scholars, the politicians, the media persons…I met, they are serious. They know how to count. They calculate for 25 or 50 years. Because they know where they want to move their countries, their companies, their societies. Whereas in West Europe and North America the vision is for four years, the next election or corporate quarter.
Part one
Part two
Full interview
All about gapminder

Upgrading Tintin’s worldview

This blogpost is part 2 of a series of short videoclips with Hans Rosling, founder of gapminder and TEDster. On behalf of, Ole Wintermann and I went to Stockholm to interview Hans in May 2010. For me it was one of the most funniest and most inspriring interviews I have ever done … and I am truly looking forward to include Hans Rosling again in our next edition of we-magazine which will focus on Africa.

“Tintin thought that it was the Western world and the rest.”
What is the core idea behind Gapminder? “Basically it’s a new map”, Hans Rosling says. “Instead of north and south we have healthy and sick.”

By using a game-like approach Gapminder makes world statistics understandable. And because he describes global trends like a sports commentator Hans Rosling has opened the eyes of a broad public.

But what is Rosling’s approach to attract such a large audience?

He was a medical doctor and teacher to fifty people, now millions listen to him thanks to the TED crew and his short lecture format. In fact he has an entire media strategy as there are stratified user groups:

With the Gapminder software and his funny-serious TED talks, Rosling is trying to reach lean-forward as well as lean-backward users on the web.
The world can never by understood without statistics. And it can never be understood by statistics only.
Part one
Part three
Full interview
All about gapminder

We need more world tastings

This blogpost is the start of a series of short videoclips with Hans Rosling, founder of gapminder and TEDster. On behalf of, Ole Wintermann and I went to Stockholm to interview Hans in May 2010. For me it was one of the most funniest and most inspriring interviews I have ever done … and I am truly looking forward to include Hans Rosling again in our next edition of we-magazine which will focus on Africa.

So have fun!

“The problem in West Europe is that we have too many who know wine and too few who know the world.”

Hans Rosling has become an internet sensation. The Swedish professor of international health and director of the Gapminder Foundation is using engaging data visualization and storytelling to dispel widely held misconceptions about the world we live in.
“The data goes out to the public, it goes into their eyes, it hits their retina. The problem is it doesn’t go into the brain!”

Hans Rosling worked as a medical doctor in Africa and discovered that the concept of ‘developing countries’ as he was taught it in school didn’t make sense anymore.

Rosling describes himself as a curious, humble person and thinks not everyone has to run advocacy. The role he sees for Gapminder is to provide a map of what the world really looks like.

Part two
Part three
Full interview
All about gapminder

Enterprise 2.0: practical and traditional

Last week in Guetersloh Dominik Wind, Simon Wind and myself had a chance to talk wirth Lee Bryant about Enterprise 2.0. Lee will be keynoting the “Petersberger Gespraeche” in September on this topic. He focussed in this interview particularly on the practical and traditional “sides” of E 2.0: Companies adopting social technology to refresh corporate IT systems are finding it to be more practical and more business-focused than expensive legacy systems. But despite the new ideas embodied by E2.0, arguably its greatest benefit is that it plays to the traditional strengths and entrepreneurial values that allowed us to build successful businesses in the first place. This talk will look at some of the emerging use cases for E2.0 and consider its impact of the design of Twenty-First Century organisations.

We’ve had quite some fun during our conversation … so as a “starter” a few seconds of the overall atmosphere:-)

Here is the long and serious version – and as Dominik said at the end of the first video: it is a very balanced view on how social media will emerge … The message for all traditional companies: There is a pretty fair chance to survive:-)

The Power of Pull – Interview with John Hagel III

John Hagel recently published the book: The Power of Pull, which
Hasso Plattner, Founder and Chairman of SAP Supervisory Board reviewed as followed: “This is a seminal work that explores the personal and professional implications of a powerful convergence of technologies, ranging from in memory databases for speed, massive parallel processing in the cloud, access via telephone for anything, anytime, everywhere. We are just beginning to understand what this means for us. The authors help us to understand where and how pull will change our lives and our work given the new digital infrastructures re-shaping our landscape. It offers us a roadmap that we neglect at our peril.”

I’ve had the chance to talk with John at the Aspen Ideas Festival:

See also “What the West Can Learn from the East” in our latest we-magazine.

The Element – Interview with Sir Ken Robinson

The element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the element, they feel most themselves and most inspired and achieve at their highest levels. It celebrates the diversity of intelligence, the power of imagination and creativity, and the importance of commitment to our own capabilities. In a humorous way  Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the element and those that stifle that possibility. He shows that age and occupation are no barrier, and that once we have found our path we can help others to do so as well. The Element shows the vital need to enhance creativity and innovation by thinking differently about human resources and imagination. It is also an essential strategy for transforming education, business, and communities to meet the challenges of living and succeeding in the twenty-first century.

I’ve had the chance to talk to Sir Ken at the The Aspen Ideas Festival. Here are the “snippets” packed in a youtube player:

Some Snippets – As an Intro
Get it! Love it! Do it! Find it! (1 of 5)
What is SKR’s Element? (2 of 5)
What “teaching” is all about (3 of 5)
Education is a personal process (4 of 5)
Example of a “good” school (5 of 5)

Here is the entire interview.

My personal take away from this interview is: I am in my element;-)