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Posts Tagged ‘Copenhagen’

Lester Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of the recently published Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, spoke at the Council last Monday night about climate change and food insecurity. Brown acknowledges many problems with modern society, but is especially concerned with global food security, calling it “the weak link in our system.” He cited falling water tables and the melting of the polar ice caps as primary  challenges to food production, but also named population growth and greater reliance on grain-based foods as other important factors. Brown has studied  past civilizations that have declined and collapsed and has come to the conclusion that food security issues were behind many of these collapses. He worries that our modern global civilization could face the same problem and urged the audience to take action. Brown said that we all know the dangers global warming is having on the planet but that we should be most concerned with saving global civilization.

You can listen to the entire program here at our online audio archive. Learn more about what is being done to combat climate change by visiting the website of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Finally, be sure to attend our program on December 2, “Inside the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations,” with Daniel Kammen and Mark Levine.

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“Game theory is a transparent form of logic that, with data, can predict the future,” according to Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, the Council’s speaker on October 26 and author of the recent book The Predictioneer’s Game. Bueno de Mesquita said his models, which have a 90 percent accuracy rate, require four basic pieces of information to make a prediction about a given group or person’s likely actions: What does it say it wants? How important is that issue? How resolved is it in its opinion? How much clout does it bring to the table?

Responding to an audience member’s question, Bueno de Mesquita spoke about the ways policies can be shaped by a prediction as well as the ways the model itself can use different variables to simulate more positive outcomes. While his computer model may not be 100 percent accurate, Bueno de Mesquita was quick to point out that it performs much better than a team of analysts because of its greatly increased capacity to crunch a large set of numbers.

You can hear the full program at our online archive. If you would like to try Bueno de Mesquita’s model, you can use a trial version on his website at www.PredictioneersGame.com. To learn more about Bueno de Mesquita’s predictions, including those about the upcoming Copenhagen summit, check out his article in the current issue of Foreign Policy. Remember that becoming a member of the Council entitles you to a free subscription to Foreign Policy magazine.

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