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Climate Change Policy: A Focus on Demand Reduction?

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This seminar will explore the proposition that efforts to plan a response to climate change are largely stuck, having been driven by conventional economic thinking and over-stated engineering optimism about innovation. We have no evidence that we will be able to deliver today’s global energy demand by low-carbon means, and as yet all attempts to improve energy efficiency have been eclipsed by rebounds in demand, so that total energy requirements have increased. Reducing our demand for energy is essential to any serious efforts at mitigation, but is currently below the political and public horizon. It challenges widely held assumptions about economic growth and can be considered only if we activate the humanities and wider social sciences as a complement to engineering and economic thinking. Speakers from politics (David Runciman), economics (Hamish Low), health (Theresa Marteau), diet (Pablo Monsivais), history (Paul Warde), philosophy (Richard Holton) and theology (Andrew Davison) will contribute. Lord Richard Wilson chairs the discussion.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Public Policy series.

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