Thursday, January 25, 2007

Non stop morning

Thursday morning:
The morning began at 7 with a breakfast conversation with David Cameron, the Tory leader. He joined me because of a comment I had made at the dinner the evening before. I must say I continued to be surprised by him. He intends to really lead on environmental issues in Britain. He said, “After all shouldn’t a conservative be for conservation.” That was followed by an interview with the Dutch Financial Times on my views of the issues here at Davos. Then ran into Jim Rodgers again along with Tom Stewart the editor of HBR and Jim and I agreed to do an article for HBR on how a CEO addresses anticipatory investments in light of long term issues like climate change. Then along came Paul Saffo to enrich the conversation. That was all before 8:30 AM

Now I am in the great hall in panel on Iraq, chaired by Richard Haas, the President of the Council on foreign Relations with a Sunni and Shiite VP of Iraq. Much to our surprise the panel was modestly positive. They focused on how to get beyond the politics of exclusion. On the other hand they argued they would need peace keepers for a long time, even possibly under a UN mandate, as a last resort. They even agreed that they were not far from reaching agreement on oil revenue sharing. Graham Allison of Harvard rose to ask whether the Iraquis would really come with their own security forces. And the Sunni VP gave a fairly detailed response on how the forces would develop and intervene. And even the Shiite VP agreed strongly that Iraq would remain one country.

On the way to the next session ran into Peter Gabriel who had arrived late last night. He was on his way to an Reuters interview that they were doing in Second Life.

Now in a session on local energy solutions with people like Amory Lovins, Tim Wirth, David Victor, Angela Belcher from MIT, Bunker Roy from India and Bill McDonough. At the session with me are Bill Gross and Marcia Goodstein from Idea Labs, and sitting next to me is Orville Schell. Amory is now speaking and reminding everyone on how much is actually already underway all over the world. Angela Belcher spoke on the major leaps now underway in advanced materials that will enable new solar technologies. A Chinese delegate, CS Kiang argued that China can do a great deal because they are so inefficient… a lot of low hanging ‘grapes” as he said. He’ll be in Berkeley in a few weeks and we will meet. An Ecuadorian Rose grower just spoke about how they are becoming carbon neutral. The Chief Investment Officer of Citibank and interested in how energy investing can represent a major new opportunity…..well a bit more later.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Very interesting range of conversations there. Thanks for the updates. I met Kishore Mahbubani at Salzburg last June and thought he was extremely thoughtful -- the kind of perspective that would be great to have in the GBN network. One of the elements of his talk was a comparison about the current worldviews he experiences in the west as compared to Asia. It was very similar to the essay that Dominique Moisi published in the January 07 "Foreign Affairs" -- that in Asia today there is a spirit of optimism that used to be associated with the West but is no longer. Your note reminds me that I'd like to encourage more interaction between Kishore and GBN. What do you think?