Modern human civilisation has been built upon energy from carbon-intensive fossil fuels. We are now on the cusp of a once-in-a-civilisation transition to a net zero carbon society. The outcome of this transition could be a world that is cleaner, safer, smarter, more technologically advanced, and more prosperous. Getting there will necessarily involve structural transformation in many economic sectors. But progress to a zero carbon society is far slower than what is required to eliminate even the worst climate risks.
In this talk, Professor Doyne Farmer and Professor Cameron Hepburn, Directors of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Post-Carbon Transition, discuss new research drawing on multiple disciplines to identify the sensitive intervention points where actions can deliver impact at scale and accelerate the achievement of global net-zero emissions. They will consider those with interests in resisting or delaying the transition, including nations, capital and labour at risk of being ‘stranded’. They will discuss a suite of simulation models that could enable richer explorations of the various possible routes to the post-carbon society, and to help identify the sensitive intervention points.
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About the speakers
J. Doyne Farmer is Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Post-Carbon Transition; Director of the Complexity Economics programme at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School; Professor in the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford, and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute.
His current research is in economics, including agent-based modelling, financial instability and technological progress. He was a founder of Prediction Company, a quantitative automated trading firm that was sold to the United Bank of Switzerland in 2006. His past research includes complex systems, dynamical systems theory, time series analysis and theoretical biology. During the eighties he was an Oppenheimer Fellow and the founder of the Complex Systems Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. While a graduate student in the 1970’s he built the first wearable digital computer, which was successfully used to predict the game of roulette.
Cameron Hepburn is Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Post-Carbon Transition; Director of the Economics of Sustainability Programme, based at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School. He is also Professor of Environmental Economics at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, a Fellow at New College, Oxford, and a Professorial Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics.
He has published widely on energy, resources and environmental challenges across a range of disciplines, including engineering, biology, philosophy, economics, public policy and law, drawing on his degrees in law, engineering and doctorate in economics. He is on the editorial board of Environmental Research Letters and is the managing editor of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy. Cameron’s research is often referred to in the printed press, and he has been interviewed on television and radio in many countries.
Cameron provides advice on energy and climate policy to government ministers (e.g. China, India, UK and Australia) and international institutions (e.g. OECD, UN organisations) around the world. Cameron began his professional life with McKinsey, and has since had an entrepreneurial career, co-founding three successful businesses – Aurora Energy Research, Climate Bridge and Vivid Economics – and investing in several other social enterprises, such as Purpose and Apolitical. He also serves as a trustee for Schola Cantorum of Oxford.