Climate Futures

Climate Futures

What Role Should Democracy And Technological Development Play In Preventing Global Climate Destabilisation?

  Speaker: Dr Adam Lucas
When: Tuesday 23rd July 2013, 1.00pm-2.00pm
Location: Building E6A Room 102
 Time: 1.00pm-2.00pm

For more than four decades, debate has raged within the international environmental movement about the best strategies for minimising the negative social and environmental consequences of industrialisation. Throughout this debate, the relationship between democratic forms of governance and technological development in contributing to, exacerbating or ameliorating the social inequalities and environmental destruction wrought by modern industrial activities has been a focus of controversy. While it is widely recognised within the environmental movement that the growing appetite for ever-improving standards of material abundance in both developed and developing countries would not have been possible without the exponential growth in the exploitation of fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources, there is still no consensus about the role that should be played by democracy and technology in reversing these trends. The controversy has become more intense over the last two decades in response to the growing awareness that human activities are destabilising the earth’s climate, and that fossil-fuel-based industrialisation is primarily to blame. In this paper, which is a work in progress, I explore the proposition that democratic forms of governance and technological transformation are necessary preconditions for averting dangerous anthropogenic interference (DAI) with the earth’s climate. In exploring this issue, I discuss the speed and extent to which our societies should decarbonise, which countries and economic sectors should be carrying the main burden, and how these changes can be achieved in a democratic fashion.

Bio: Adam Lucas is a lecturer in the Science and Technology Studies Program at the University of Wollongong.  Adam has previously taught STS and environmental sociology at UNSW, UTS, and the University of Sydney.  Prior to taking up his current position at UoW in 2008, Adam worked as a policy analyst for the NSW Government in The Cabinet Office under former Premier Bob Carr, and in the Departments of Aboriginal Affairs, Housing and State and Regional Development. 

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