This past June we at SAIFood (Stuart & Savannah) travelled to Italy for the 19th International Consortium for Applied Bioeconomy Research (ICABR) conference. The conference was a great success as a result of an array of attendants, abundant discussion, plus of course the perks of the Amalfi coasts beautiful scenery, not to forget the refreshments and food. In attendance of the conference was Dr. David Zilberman, a Professor and Robinson Chair at the University of Berkeley in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. David plays a strong role in the conference from being a member, chair, and speaker, he is also a strong leader in the discussions which follow afterwards. David has drawn on the keynote speakers of this year’s ICABR conference for his most recent post on The Berkley Blog.
Ravello: Experiencing and contemplating bioeconomy
David Zilberman, UC Berkeley - professor, agriculture and resource economics
The conference focused on the bio-economy, the environment, and development. There were many interesting presentations during our meetings, but I want to concentrate on the remarkable keynote speakers we had: Sir Partha Dasgupta, Dr. Chris Patermann, Professor Guiseppe Novelli and professor Matin Qaim.
Sir Partha Dasgupta is one of the important economists of the post World War II era. He is the leading thinker on environment and development, and started a journal with this title. He is alarmed by current rates of environmental degradation—in particular, we extract 30% more biomass (living matter) than is regenerated by nature. This rate of extraction is not sustainable. He suggests that the excessive depletion is resulting from externalities—the unintended consequences felt by others as a result of the actions taken by individuals and organizations. These externalities may result from over consumption in the developed world and high rate of population growth in developing countries. Sir Partha suggests a mix of remedies including collective action and moral persuasion that will lead to eliminating the excess depletion of biomass.
Technological improvement must also contribute to the immense effort required to eliminate depletion of biomass, especially when we realize that we must also pursue strategies that enable developing countries to grow. We need industries that will increase the rate of biomass regeneration and reduce the rate of its extraction, and bioeconomy can make major contributions to this end. The term bioeconomy has many definitions. My working understanding is that bioeconomy includes the segments of the economy that rely on biological processes to produce industrial products.
….to read the rest of David’s blog, click here.