Transition Now (part II)

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

Part II: Responsible technology and the climate emergency

SGR webinar and AGM


Sectors like energy, transport and defence urgently need to be decarbonised to tackle the climate emergency. Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, several industries have engaged in rapid conversion projects to aid health services, build breathing devices and make protective equipment. This has led to a debate around redesigning the economy to be more friendly to people and nature. What are the new opportunities for industrial conversion and how quickly can they be made to happen?

Speakers:

  • Dr Lucy Gilliam, Transport & Environment
    What is the potential for rapid transition of the aviation industry after COVID-19?
  • Prof Nick Robins, Grantham Institute, London School of Economics
    Lessons from finance and place-based dialogue on rapid, just transition
  • Dr Philip Johnstone, University of Sussex
    The hidden military implications of ‘building back’ with civil nuclear and the industrial and environmental opportunities of alternative trajectories
  • Dr Alice Bell, Possible
    Steam solar news presses and other stories in the history of renewable energy
  • Dr Stuart Parkinson, Scientists for Global Responsibility
    From arms, planes and racing cars to ventilators: industrial conversion during the Covid-19 crisis


Some presentations are available to download as listed below


Part I focused on Responsible science and the climate emergency

 

Part II contributors: Responsible technology and the climate emergency
 

What is the potential for rapid transition of the aviation industry after COVID-19?

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic the aviation industry was facing a crisis due to the reality of the climate emergency. In spite of regular hype there was no viable technology available possible of weening the industry at scale of its dependence on fossil fuels. Now the pandemic threatens bankruptcy to large parts of the sector worldwide. The industry faces a major responsibility to develop plans for industrial conversion if workforces are to be saved. There are even the first signs of some in the industry facing the inevitable as SBB, the German rail operator, with too few train drivers, is in conversation with Swissair, which will soon have too many pilots. What is the direction of travel now for aviation?

View presentation slides
 

Lessons from finance and place-based dialogue on rapid, just transition

At the heart of the recovery from COVID-19 at least two national imperatives need to converge: conversion to a successful net-zero-emission economy and ‘levelling up’ economic and social prospects across the UK. This is the challenge of the just transition – delivering climate action that generates positive social outcomes - because the scale and speed of the economic transformation will have immense impacts. The Banking on a Just Transition project was launched in 2019, as a pilot project that aims to identify how banking can support a rapid, just, net-zero emission economic conversion across the UK. The project has included place-based consultation workshops including banks and other financial institutions, as well as policymakers, business, trade unions and civil society in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Cornwall, Edinburgh and Leeds.
 

The hidden military implications of ‘building back’ with civil nuclear - and the industrial and environmental opportunities of alternative trajectories

The UK faces a critical juncture where it must stop precious industrial and financial resources being utilised for the nuclear industry if it is to build back better from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly as the driving force behind this dynamic appears to be to sustain military nuclear activities. Investment and reorientation of these capacities towards renewables would be better for the speed,  number of jobs, and indeed aims of peace as the UK reorients its economy and energy system to be more sustainable both economically, socially and environmentally. Scientific institutions carry a responsibility in objectively assessing and communicating the implications of the  choices in front of us, and have an obligation as 'responsible' scientific bodies or professional organisations to be clear about where support should best go to optimise the impact of climate and energy policy, and also in generating co-benefits such as jobs and well being.

View presentation slides
 

Steam solar news presses and other stories in the history of renewable energy

From early experiments in the 1860s to being promoted by the UN as "unstoppable" today, how accidents in the lab, community energy, the Cold War, the oil industry and the alt tech movement all shaped the techs we have today for decarbonisation.
 

From arms, planes and racing cars to ventilators: industrial conversion during the Covid-19 crisis

The speed of onset of the Covid-19 pandemic left numerous countries reeling in early 2020. One consequence was that governments scrambled to acquire medical ventilators to treat the most seriously ill – and were faced with the prospect of major equipment shortages. To help tackle the problem, crash programmes to rapidly scale up ventilator production were pursued. The presentation will look at the UK experience – where engineering companies in sectors such as military technology, aerospace, and Formula 1 motor racing partnered with the medical technology sector to try to meet the demand. We’ll look at the successes and the failures – and what lessons can be learned for other necessary industrial transitions, such as those aimed at tackling the climate emergency and the serious ethical problems of the arms industry.

 

[images credit: iStockphoto]

 

Solar panels
Event date
Event type