Transition Now (part I)

Recovering from Covid-19, will responsible science and technology be tools of rapid change?

Part I: Responsible science and the climate emergency

SGR webinar

How should the roles of scientific institutions and advisory committees change to respond to the climate emergency? What lessons are there from the Covid-19 pandemic for how scientific advice was produced and used to respond rapidly to a crisis that could be applied more broadly?

Speakers:

  • Prof Alice Larkin, University of Manchester
    What would it look like if we treated the climate emergency as seriously as Covid-19?
  • Prof Julia Steinberger, University of Leeds
    Overconsumption, the climate emergency and the scientific community - why is it so hard to talk about?
  • Prof Bill McGuire, University College London
    Hacking the Earth - what could possibly go wrong with geoengineering?
  • Jess Worth, Culture Unstained
    Kicking out Big Oil: lessons from the campaign to remove fossil fuel interests from cultural institutions and science museums

Some presentations can be downloaded as listed below

 

Part II focused on Responsible technology and the climate emergency

 

Part I contributors: Responsible science and the climate emergency
 

What would it look like if we treated the climate emergency as seriously as Covid-19?

The speed and scale of responses to the covid-19 pandemic demonstrate how individual behaviour and systems can respond very quickly to a life-threatening challenge. Why has this been so much harder with regard to the climate emergency and what lessons are there to be learned? The pandemic has also shone a light on the pressures and tensions of scientists, researchers and scientific advisors being in the public eye and speaking publicly on issues where there are differing opinions and choices to be made. Does this experience help people understand the difficult situation many climate scientists have found themselves in? Finally, if we were to respond to the climate emergency with the same significance as the pandemic what should be doing now, and what should we not be doing?
 

Overconsumption, the climate emergency and the scientific community - why is it so hard to talk about?

Averting climate and ecological breakdown requires drastic changes to contemporary human society and the global economy embedded within it. What kind of energy consumption is required to provide decent material living to the entire global population? A massive rollout of advanced technologies, as well as radical demand-side changes to reduce consumption could still provide for everyone’s sufficiency levels of energy use, reducing global energy consumption by 2050 to the levels of the 1960s, despite a much larger population. And, sufficiency is far more materially generous than what those opposed to strong reductions in consumption often assume. Yet, advocating or even debating consumption reduction in institutions still seems taboo. Why is this so hard and what can we do?

View presentation
 

Hacking the Earth - what could possibly go wrong with geoengineering?

The belief that ‘fixing’ global heating through the application of geoenginering technologies is possible, even desirable, is yet to register fully with most people outside of the professional climate research and policy arena. Nonetheless, under the radar, the approach is continuing to gain ground and, in some circles at least, a degree of respectability. But for others the whole notion of trying to engineer the climate to sort out the unwitting mess of global heating is the thin end of a very dangerous wedge. What can be done to raise awareness of the dilemmas and dangers facing us?
 

Kicking out Big Oil: lessons from the campaign to remove fossil fuel interests from cultural institutions and science museums

Fossil fuel companies have long targeted leading British cultural institutions to market themselves through sponsorship and maintain their social licence to operate. But concerted campaigns, highlighting the contradiction between the purpose of such institutions and the role played by oil and gas companies in driving the climate emergency, has led to significant change. Jess Worth of Culture Unstained shares some of the lessons learned.

 

[Image credit: iStockphoto]

 

Scorched desert (iStock)
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