British Academy Debates: Energy and the Environment

3 Sep 2015

The British Academy will discuss energy and the environment during its next series of British Academy Debates, to be held in venues across the UK in Autumn 2015. These free events will bring together the leading minds from across the humanities, social sciences, engineering and sciences to discuss issues ranging from how we can meet the future demands for energy to what could influence people to change their energy behaviour.

Lord Stern, President of the British Academy said: 
“How we respond to the energy demands of a growing world economy undergoing radical economic and demographic transformation will have a vital influence on livelihoods now and in the future. It is a complex challenge and careful analysis is crucial. These events will be an important contribution to critical and continuing discussions around the profound changes that we can and need to make in the way we generate and use energy, allowing the public to hear about the latest research and questions leading academics about the energy challenges we currently face.”

“While there has been much discussion of the scientific and technological advances that are driving the low-carbon transition in the global economy, there is a rising appreciation of the important role that the social sciences and humanities should play in analysing these issues. These events will bring leading figures from the energy world and experts from across the British Academy’s disciplines together to discuss one of the greatest challenges for our time.”

All events are in partnership with the Royal Society, and are supported by The Climate Change Collaboration. The British Academy Debates will take place in London (22 September and 24 November), Swansea (14 October) and Edinburgh (4 November).

Academics, experts and leading figures including Lord Nicholas Stern (President of the British Academy and Chair of the Grantham Institute for Climate change), Dr Jane Davidson (former Minister for Environment and Sustainability in Wales and  Ed Davey (former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change) will explore energy and environment challenges, such as:
• What trade-offs need to be made between the costs and benefits of different methods of addressing the problems? 
• Beyond any engineering solutions, there are economic, political and cultural barriers to changing the way we currently access and use energy; how can these be addressed? 
• How can we meet the great challenge of enabling societies to continue to prosper whilst reducing the economic and environmental costs?

Details of the British Academy’s Energy and the Environment Debates are listed below:

Energy and the environment: What’s the challenge?
The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG
22 September 2015 6.30-8pm
What are the challenges of meeting future demands for energy in a way that is responsible in relation to environment and climate change in the ever-changing world we live in today? How can we combine economic growth, poverty reduction and sustainability?
Chair: Nik Gowing, Broadcaster
Confirmed Speakers: David Newbery FBA, University of Cambridge, Camilla Toulmin, International Institute for Environment & Development and Juliet Davenport OBE, CEO of Good Energy. 

Energy and ethics: What are the costs to future generations in an unequal world?
ALEX Design Centre, Alexandra Road, Swansea, SA1 5DU
14 October 2015 6–7.30pm
How should our duties to future generations and to combat poverty affect choices of energy around the world?  What are the moral and economic decisions around energy that we need to make about the costs of generating energy? What can influence people to change their energy behaviour?  How far can we – or should we – create alternative models of generating energy locally?
Chair: Bronwen Maddox, Editor, Prospect
Confirmed Speakers: Professor Nick Pidgeon, University of Cardiff, Department of Social & Environmental psychology, Kirit Parikh, Founder Director of Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), Dr Jane Davidson, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness (INSPIRE), and former Minister for Environment and Sustainability in Wales and Mark Shorrock, CEO Tidal Lagoon, Swansea Bay.

More liveable, less polluting – how can we change the rapidly growing cities of the world?
Surgeons’ Hall, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH8 9DW
4 November 2015 6-7.30pm
Rapid city growth poses strong design and infrastructure challenges but how can the rapidly changing world cities be more liveable and more dynamic, and less polluting? What urban planning considerations do we need to make in order to meet the needs of a growing, and increasingly urban, population? How can we create energy efficient communities whilst accompanying this with regulation / policies / other infrastructure that need to be in place? 
Confirmed Speakers: Sir Alan Wilson FBA, University Central London, Professor Jan Webb, University of Edinburgh and Peter Madden OBE, Chief Executive of Future Cities, Professor Gordon Walker, Lancaster Environment Centre and co-Director, DEMAND Centre, University of Lancaster/

Future energy provision - who has the power?
The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG
24 November 2015 6.30–8pm
Is the answer to meeting the challenges of energy and climate change structural transformations in the global energy, financial and corporate worlds? Who holds the power to addressing the challenges and how can it be influenced? What are the geopolitical risks of future energy supplies in terms of composition of fuels, location of supplies and associated transportation and what will be the outcome of the Paris Climate Summit?
Confirmed Speakers: Lord Nicholas Stern FBA, FRS, President of the British Academy, Ed Davey, former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent, the Guardian. 


Notes to editors
1. For more information please contact the British Academy press office: [email protected] / 02079695227

2. The British Academy for the humanities and social sciences. Established by Royal Charter in 1902. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence and high achievement in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value. For more information, please visit Follow the British Academy on Twitter @britac_news 

Contact the press office

For further information contact the Press Office on [email protected]  / 07500 010 432.

Sign up to our email newsletters