Bringing experts into government does not sound like a news story, until you consider Chile. A country governed for decades by Chicago school economics–a strong invisible hand of market forces combined with a strong visible hand of military rule to keep leftists at bay–Chile’s most recent election led to some new hands in the governance picture.
With the climate crisis, Chile has an opportunity to set a new example for the world. The failure of markets until now to address a human-induced environmental catastrophe will be met with the combined force of expert scientific knowledge and public sector governance:
President Gabriel Boric has brought renowned named climate scientist Maisa Rojas into government to help ensure a greener future
Hidden behind the Andes in a quiet corner of South America, a formidable generation of former student leaders are putting together one of the world’s most exciting progressive movements.
On 11 March, Gabriel Boric, 35, a tattooed leftist with a steely resolve to reform Chile from the bottom up, will become the country’s youngest ever president – and his green agenda is echoing across the world as time ticks away on an impending climate catastrophe.
“It is so exciting to see what these young people have done,” says Maisa Rojas, 49, a renowned Chilean climate scientist who has been named environment minister in a cabinet including several of Boric’s student protest generation.
“These people were university leaders just 10 years ago, but they’ve brought a completely fresh perspective to the challenges of the 21st century, including climate change.”
On 24 January, Boric named a female-majority cabinet for the first time in Chile’s history. Rojas, one of 14 women among the 24 ministers, is a prominent academic at the University of Chile, where she first studied physics in the 1990s, and the director of the country’s interdisciplinary Centre for Climate and Resilience Research.
She holds a PhD in atmospheric physics from Lincoln College, Oxford, and was one of the authors of August 2021’s ominous Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which warned that big climate changes, caused by human activity, were now inevitable and irreversible.
But now, after a distinguished career in academia, Rojas will lead the way on Boric’s ambitious promise to construct a green, sustainable and resilient future for Chile…
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