Achievable Energy Sustainability

An important event is occurring this week in Athens, Greece. Senior Euro-Mediterranean government officials, international civil servants, corporate leaders, financiers, academics, and energy and environmental market analysts are meeting to forge understanding of climate change and energy security and to develop a plan for achievable sustainability targets for the region. The summit culminates in officials from 61 countries signing a letter that fosters closer, deeper, and more effective cooperation on attaining energy security and combating climate change.

Joseph Stanislaw is the lead organizer and chairman of the Athens Summit 2008. His work as the founder of the advisory firm JAStanislaw group and as an independent advisor to Deloitte has involved him with the stark realities of energy security throughout the world. “We are now,” Stanislaw says, “collectively acknowledging the qualitative limitations of hydrocarbons and the challenges these pose –especially in light of mounting global energy demand.” The threat in terms of climate change and international social unrest requires that actions be taken that both deal with carbon emissions and provide continued access to energy.

Stanislaw believes that individuals, corporations, and government must work together in furthering this agenda. While grassroots activism has brought awareness to the growing problem, it will ultimately be government policies fully accounting for the cost of fossil fuels and the resulting movement of corporations to alternatives that will turn the tide. “If government creates a level playing field that transparently accounts for costs, then businesses will be able to make sustainable decisions to create products and services.”

When someone with the international energy credentials of Joseph Stanislaw tells us to change direction and quickly, we are best to listen. He is not saying that it is too late, but “if we do not vigorously tackle climate change and energy security, the world will face limited growth–or worse.” Positively meeting this dire message requires that we imagine what the world will look like after oil. “We can envision living in a world of dramatically changed consumption patterns,” where “being strong locally means being less dependent externally [and] creates the potential for true mutual interdependence.”

As an energy industry leader, advisor, strategist, and commentator, Dr. Stanislaw advises on future trends in the global energy market. With Good Energies Inc. he assisted in creating solar entrepreneurship in Africa. Through the gift of solar panels and directed business advice they were able to establish businesses capable of providing solar panels to local markets.

Among many commendations, he is an adjunct professor in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University, a former Research Fellow of Clare Hall and lecturer in Economics at Cambridge University, and senior economist at the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s International Energy Agency in Paris. Dr. Stanislaw is a member of the Schumacher Center board of directors. The book, Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy, which Stanislaw co-authored, has been translated into 13 languages and made into a six-hour PBS documentary.

The Schumacher Center will be hosting Joseph Stanislaw for a talk entitled “Energy: Global is Local”. The event will be held at 7:30 on May 22, 2008 at the First Congregational Church in Great Barrington, MA.