UN chief: economic model an environmental threat

Associated Press Modified: January 28, 2011 at 5:29 am •  Published: January 28, 2011

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The world's current economic model is an environmental "global suicide pact" that will result in disaster if it isn't reformed, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon warned Friday.

Ban said that political and business leaders need to embrace economic innovation in order to save the planet.

"We need a revolution," the secretary-general of the U.N. told a panel at the World Economic Forum on how best to make the global economy sustainable. "Climate change is also showing us that the old model is more than obsolete."

He called the current economic model a recipe for "national disaster" and said: "We are running out of time. Time to tackle climate change, time to ensure sustainable ... growth."

His words received a mixed reception from fellow panelists including Mexico's President Felipe Calderon, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Walmart CEO Mike Duke and Microsoft's Bill Gates.

Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, said technology alone wouldn't solve the problem of how to sustain economic growth while reducing its impact on the environment.

"We have to fundamentally rethink economics," he said, suggesting a new model needed to be found to hold business to account for its impact on the planet.

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