University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > St Catharine's College John Ray Society. > Absolute Zero: meeting the UK’s legal commitment to zero emissions in 30 years time

Absolute Zero: meeting the UK’s legal commitment to zero emissions in 30 years time

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Event is open for everyone, snacks, drinks provided.

‘Absolute Zero: meeting the UK’s legal commitment to zero emissions in 30 years time.’ In her last days in office, Theresa May changed the UK’s Climate Change Act in response to thsi years’ social protests, from targeting an 80% cut in emissions from 1990 to 2050, to a 100% cut, or “net zero.” The key question about how we achieve this legal obligation (which is well-founded according to climate scientists) is whether we largely aim to develop new technologies that leave our lifestyles untouched, or whether we start by modifying our lifestyle with today’s technologies, knowing that later we’ll be able to benefit from new technologies. To date, all national and international policy developments have favoured technology first, and as a result global emissions are rising and UK emissions are not falling as fast as predicted. Therefore this talk takes the opposite approach: what does zero emissions look like if we only use technologies that are mature today? How long will we then have to wait for the restraint required to achieve zero emissions by 2050 is relieved by new technologies – and which of them are most likely? This talk walks a tightrope between the arts and the sciences: is climate mitigation fundamentally about innovation or is it about social choice?

This talk is part of the St Catharine's College John Ray Society. series.

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