BOOKCASE: The Converging World

• John Pontin

• Piatkus/Little, Brown Division, Hachette Livre NZ

• RRP $39.99

If I might be excused little nostalgia, when I wrote an article or two in NZ Management nearly 20 years ago, gingerly canvassing the business world’s responsibilities towards the environment, more kindly colleagues viewed me as well-meaning, if deluded. Today, one is hard-pressed to open magazine – business or consumer – and not find at least one article on sustainability, carbon emissions, waste disposal dilemmas, or ‘green’ food, fashion and everything between. And book publishers have found profitable new niche market.
A great many books about our tenuous hold on planet earth are currently consuming great many trees; one of the more interesting and useful ones is John Pontin’s The Converging World.
Pontin writes: “ … there’s no hiding place. Climate change has already begun and the best we can do now is manage it.” His book explores some innovative ways to do just that.
The Converging World is British-registered charity committed to giving practical meaning to the ‘contraction and convergence’ principle which calls for the reduction of emissions and sees, across the world, an equal per capita right to emit ‘carbon’. The organisation’s first initiative – and the core of Pontin’s book – is now underway.
This ‘twins’ two very diverse communities – the prosperous, technologically advanced southwest of England and section of one of the poorest states of India, Tamil Nedu, with five times the population. “The Converging World twins those diverse communities and spreads the burden of pollution across the population of both,” says Pontin. It is fascinating experiment in carbon offsetting and trading with number of attractive ‘add-ons’.
The Converging World is building 16 wind turbines in Tamil Nedu, more energy-hungry than concerned about landscape aesthetics, but currently dependent on old, carbon-heavy technology with high emission rates. The carbon credits generated will be sold to British businesses, with the proceeds going to community schemes committed to the transition to low-carbon, low-energy society. In the popular vernacular – ‘win-win’ situation.
The Converging World also has useful chapters on the current climate change situation and the complexities of carbon trading.

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