Averting Climate Catastrophe: Extinction Rebellion, Business & People Power

In 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that we have only 12 years at current global greenhouse gas emissions rates before our chances of limiting global warming to 1.5C are seriously at risk. So we have a brief window in which to act, and to do so with enough force, commitment and ambition to achieve a rapid decarbonisation of the global economy. But how might such a fundamental shift - from business as usual to transformative change - be achieved?

Part of the answer may lie in events in London in April, where, under the banner of the Extinction Rebellion, thousands of people committed acts of civil disobedience, seriously disrupting the capital for 10 days. Media attention to climate change soared and a climate emergency motion was passed by Parliament.

This public lecture examines Extinction Rebellion’s strategy, its emphasis on non-violent civil disobedience and its impact before asking: what, beyond grassroots politics, would a transformational movement built around climate change involve? Must pressure be brought to bear on recalcitrant governments from many quarters: not just from grassroots activist groups but from business, financial markets, scientists, school children, faith groups, cities and multiple others?

Perhaps, as groups like Extinction Rebellion gain momentum, and join with others, a tipping point will be reached, generating rapid and far reaching changes across the economic and social system. If so, then bottom up action driven by civil society, in tandem with its allies and as part of a broader web of influence, may yet be the catalyst for rapid, radical and constructive action by nation states.

This event will consist of a presentation by Professor Neil Gunningham, ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance (REGNET) followed by panel discussion and audience Q&A.

Mr Lachlan James will provide perspectives from the business sector.
Assoc Prof Carolyn Hendriks, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU will discuss other forms of community engagement to address climate change.

About the speakers

Professor Neil Gunningham has degrees in law and criminology from Sheffield University, UK, is a Barrister and Solicitor (ACT) and holds a PhD from ANU. Although initially trained in law, his subsequent post-graduate work was in interdisciplinary social science, and for the last thirty years he has applied that training principally in the areas of safety, health and environment, with a focus on regulation and governance.

Associate Professor Carolyn Hendriks has a background in both political science and environmental engineering. Her work examines democratic aspects of contemporary governance, including participation, deliberation, inclusion and representation.

Lachlan James has a broad-ranging background in venture capital, entrepreneurship, renewable energy, finance and government policy.

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