Climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing the world today. The UN warns that we have less than a dozen years to ‘cut the carbon’ to avoid catastrophic changes to our climate. Even if the warnings are heeded, there will still be serious consequences for civilisation, especially for the poorer communities of the world.
Professor Mike Hulme’s open lecture will explore the question of who controls the world’s climate. Is it an act of God, or of Nature? Or is it, nowadays, the result of our own imperfect interactions with the environment? Who should take responsibility to avoid the potential disaster of climate change?
Over the centuries, the vagaries of weather and climate have been explained by a wide range of cosmologies, religious beliefs, political ideologies and scientific paradigms. Today, as morally-accountable human actors, our weather is, in some way, the consequence of our own actions. This is why the proposed solutions to the “climate crisis” are charged with ethical implications.
Who should decide which solutions and which technologies are appropriate? Is it the responsibility of rich countries or rich people to take the lead? Is it the task of national governments or ordinary citizens, technological engineers or social entrepreneurs, religious leaders or cultural celebrities? Probably, each of these groups has a distinctive role to play.
Mike Hulme is Professor of human geography at the University of Cambridge. From 2000 to 2007, he was Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change at UEA. He has served as a member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is interested in how religious thought and cultural traditions can be reconciled with the implications of climate change. His books include Weathered: Cultures of Climate (SAGE, 2017) and Why We Disagree About Climate Change (Cambridge, 2009).
This talk will be suitable for a non-specialist audience. All are welcome – of all faiths and none. No booking is required. There will be a bookstall and a retiring collection.