Putin offers to share scientific infra to develop nature-inspired technologies

N Madhavan Yekaterinburg (Russia) | Updated on July 10, 2019 Published on July 10, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressing the Global Manufacturing & Industrialisation Summit in Yekaterinburg

Russian President underscores importance of balancing growth and eco-impact

Russia has offered to share its scientific infrastructure and work with other countries/institutions to develop nature-inspired technologies. This was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was speaking at the Global Manufacturing & Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) 2019 on Tuesday at Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city located east of the Ural Mountains.

Even as the pace of technological transformation increases changing the very core of manufacturing, environment and climate degradation continue unabated, Putin said. He cautioned that if nothing is done, as much as 30 per cent of the global energy output will be consumed by billions of communication devices by mid-2030s. He also pointed out that due to global warming, the average temperature in Russia has risen at a pace that is twice that of rest of the planet.

‘Backward looking view’

“How do we increase output and still secure the well being of the nature?” he asked. Taking a dig at US President Donald Trump who denies climate change, Putin said that ignoring the problem amounts to outright populism, a backward looking view and a road to nowhere.

At the same time, he termed the adoption of only renewable energy options rejecting nuclear and thermal sources of power (like Germany) an extreme view. People say wind power is useful but what about the impact it has on birds. “I am not saying wind power should go but we should take into account its ramifications too,” he said.

The need, he said, was to strike a proper balance between developmental needs and the impact on the environment by embracing nature-inspired technologies. This would be possible only if technological development is truly global. “We need to find solution to systematic challenges. This great responsibility lies with us. We need to work together. Russia is ready for this cooperation.” Speaking at the opening ceremony, Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Industry of United Arab Emirates (UAE) and co-chair of the summit, explained that the fourth industrial revolution will transform the world and GMIS, he added, was a platform created to engage on this issue and share valuable lessons.

The UAE, he added, was working with United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and other countries such as Russia to play a critical role in this transformation. UNIDO’s Director-General Li Yong warned that Industry 4.0 could widen the inequality between developed and developing nations. He cited studies which projected as many as 20 million jobs would be lost to the fourth industrial revolution by 2030. Least developed nations will be hit the hardest, he said. They react slowly to change and also account for most labour intensive industries. These countries need support, he said.

Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade, Russian Federation, said that for 200 years industry created challenges for nature. Now is the time to correct itself. Russia, he added, will do its best to promote technology and processes that bring a balance between technology and manufacturing.

The writer was in Yekaterinburg at the invitation of GMIS

Published on July 10, 2019
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