Julian Darley reviews the non-economic factors that influence decisions making. He explains how a knowledge of them can be used to get new systems introduced. The factors include culture, social and individual psychology, business and political fashions, perceptions of what will be publicly acceptable, and what other opinion leaders and decision-makers are thinking and doing.
Alex Evans' report on climate change and global institutional reform was published by the Center on International Co-operation earlier this year. He presented the case for basing a framework for dealing with the climate crisis on a scientifically derived stabilisation target. Such a framework should also share the global carbon budget out between the world's nations according to a transparent, equitable formula.
Bruce Darrell gave a talk on food systems in which he surveyed the effects of strategic global influences on the future of our food supply. (His talk replaced that of Kate Bailey, who was unable to travel to attend the conference).
Chris Vernon surveyed the prospects for oil, gas and coal supplies over the next 50 years. He argued that, because the energy cost of producing these fuels is rising as more difficult sources have to be used, the actual amount of energy that will be available for other purposes will fall off more quickly than has been recognised so far.
Richard Douthwaite looked at the problems created by the availability of cheap energy. He believes it shaped capitalism and our monetary systems, led manufacturers and farmers to adopt unsustainable technologies, and permitted a six-fold increase in the human population while creating a concentration of power and wealth in very few hands.