Scientists must work with decision-makers to develop policies that ensure people's sustainable welfare, says the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
R.K. Pachauri argues that sustainable human welfare is threatened by widespread poverty and disruptions to the earth's natural environment. But science and technology (S&T) can help develop solutions.
Poverty has typically been alleviated through aid programmes, says Pachauri. Yet S&T could provide a more sustainable solution by developing local skills and capacity.
The Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi, India is making steps in this direction, working with local entrepreneurs in Africa and Asia to develop sustainable S&T solutions in natural resource management and information technology.
But more is needed. Scientists and policymakers must urgently help poor communities apply S&T to their problems, says Pachauri.
S&T also has a role to play in addressing environmental problems such as climate change. Technological innovations will be essential in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and scientific solutions will be needed to adapt to climate change.
Governments, informed by scientists, will need to design regulatory and financial measures to help develop and apply appropriate advances.