Two Climate Change Presentations – Brian Davey and Professor Mark Maslin

Date and Time: 7.15 pm, Friday, February 27th ’09
Venue: Friday: McClelland Room, Central Hotel, Exchequer St, Dublin 2

Mobilising for the Climate Emergency

Brian Davey, Feasta

Climate scientists are now saying that targets for greenhouse gas stabilisation should be lower than 350ppm CO2, perhaps even below 300ppm. To achieve these very low greenhouse gas concentrations would involve re-allocations of economic resources on a scale not previously achieved in anything other than war or revolution. So, how can the necessary massive changes, not just in what we consume, but to how we work and live our lives, be motivated? How can we achieve the common commitment to go for the scale of change that would make this at all possible?

Brian Davey is a writer and economist with a special interest in human psychology. He lives in Nottingham and has been an active member of Feasta for many years.

Stopping the way we use the land from warming the planet

Professor Mark Maslin, University College, London

Roughly 27% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come, not from the burning of fossil fuels, but from agricultural practices and changes in land use, such as the clearing of forests and the draining of bogs. These emissions have to stop. The level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is already above a safe level so, not only does the use of fossil fuels have to be reduced to virtually zero, but the land has to become a sink, absorbing the gases already in the air, rather than a source.

How can this be made to happen? Could a way be found to reward countries that increase the amount of carbon locked up in their soils and the plants growing on them and penalise countries that persist in clearing their forests and draining their land? Prof. Maslin thinks that satellite data could be used to calculate whether a country’s land is part of the solution or part of the problem. Moreover, he says that the accuracy is sufficiently good to provide the basis for a global system of penalties and rewards. He will explain the implications of his work for a possible international climate agreement in Copenhagen in December this year.

Professor Maslin is Director of the Environment Institute and head of the Department of Geography at UCL. He is also Executive Director of Carbon Auditors Ltd, which is commercialising the satellite technology.