Webinar: Green Swan: The Existential Cost Of The Plastic Pandemic

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, ICMA Australia has continued its commitment to bring world-class seminars to its members. On December 2 2021 Prof Janek Ratnatunga delivered a webinar titled “Green Swan: The Existential Cost of the Plastic Pandemic.”

Professor Ratnatunga said that ‘Green swans’ are the consequences of the risks we humans create for ourselves by pumping contaminants into our air and water, destroying our ecosystems, and destabilizing our climate. Some causes of an impending green swan event, like global warming are well studied, and were discussed at length at COP 26. However other causes remain ‘hidden’ – such as the looming plastic pollution pandemic that can have equally devastating consequences of triggering a green swan event as green-house gas emissions – which in hindsight will be seen as being obvious.

Prof Ratnatunga recommended that we go ‘Back to the Future’ of the 1950s and ban all plastic single-use consumption products. If such a drastic move is not politically feasible, then he argued that the only workable solution to curb excessive plastic pollution is for governments to impose a cap-and-trade system with ‘plastic-credits’; i.e., one similar to a carbon credit system.