The Ostrich or the Phoenix?

The Ostrich or the Phoenix?

– Dissonance or creativity in a changing climate 

February 25th 13.50–14.50, in Háskólatorg (room HT-105), University of Iceland.

Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the University of Manchester and former Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research will lecture on the topic of confronting climate change in Háskólatorg (room HT-105) on February 25 (13.50-14.50).

KevinAnderson (1)

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Anderson’s lecture addresses the problematics of framing climate change in a vague manner. Many scientists and policy-makers continue to claim that to contain the global increase in mean surface temperature at or below “2°C is not only possible but achievable without sacrificing the benefits of economic growth and rising prosperity”, but Anderson argues “it is difficult to envisage anything other than a planned economic contraction being compatible with 2°C, 3°C and increasingly 4°C futures”.

We face a profound paradigm shift, triggered ostensibly by climate change. Such a fundamental transition leaves society with three clear choices. To continue the delusion that climate change can be addressed adequately through rhetoric, financial fine-tuning and piecemeal incrementalism; to interpret such conclusions as a message of despair and futility; or to acknowledge that “at every level the greatest obstacle to transforming the world is that we lack the clarity and imagination to conceive that it could be different”, and that through immediate harnessing of human will and ingenuity we can yet deliver relatively low-carbon, climate-resilient and prosperous communities.

Kevin Anderson has not only been the director of one of the most prestigious climate change institutions in the world, he is also, in the words of philosopher Clive Hamilton, along with Alice Bows, the author of “the most important and confronting paper on climate change”. Hamilton has also named Anderson “the scariest man on the planet”, but at the same time stating that “we must be grateful for his unblinking honesty and compassion.”

Anderson has made the ethical decision to quit using air transport, so he will be travelling to Iceland by sea. It is a great honor for Earth101 to have him come to Iceland in order to present his lecture.