In the Pipeline

by | Oct 12, 2009

Just a quickie to say that we’re still here, and to flag up the Battle of Ideas festival at the Royal College of Art, London, 31 Oct/1 Nov.

Ben will be speaking at the session Solving the Energy Crisis: all about lightbulbs and lifestyle? where he’ll share the mic with Brenda Boardman (Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford; author of Home Truths: a low-carbon strategy to reduce UK housing emissions by 80%); Jacquie Burgess (professor of environmental risk, University of East Anglia); Martin Haigh (energy consultant, Shell); Peter Sammonds (professor of geophysics, UCL).

There’s lots more on the programme that might be of interest. Such as:

Bookshop Barnie at the Battle: ‘Why We Disagree about Climate Change’

The Fight over Flight: what’s the problem with air travel?

Abundant, Cheap, Clean… Contentious? Why is energy a battlefield today?

A Green New Deal: can environmentalism save the economy?

A New Nuclear Age?

See you there maybe.


  1. Robert Wood

    OK I’ll bite.

    Environmental Change Institute

    Are these folks proponents or opponents of enviromental change? Is it, in their view, a good or bad thing?

    Hey, bear in mind that the very existance of an entity affects it’s environment. Have these people really thought their positions through or, as I am maliciously bound to observe, are they fools who don’t even understand their words, let alone their thoughts?

  2. geoffchambers

    Robert Wood asks about the position of the Environment Change Institute . A good question. While we AGW sceptics worry about tediously abstruse technical subjects like the Yamal controversy (is it a good idea to base the world’s energy policies on the shape of five Siberian trees?) the real action is elsewhere, at well financed (Microsoft, Powergen) organisations such as this.
    Based at Oxford University, “training exceptional students for new professions in the 21st century”, the ECI is working on “media coverage of climate issues, outreach to Oxfordshire community groups through ClimateXchange, regular engagement with artists through the annual TippingPoint conference and frequent interviews with the media”.
    While the boring work of determining what is actually happening to the climate is left to a couple of what Guardian readers refer to as “dodgy websites”, the serious business of engaging with the media and reorganising the politics of the planet is going forward at organisations like the Environment Change Institute. Do visit their website. Rejoice at the photos of geraniums and men building eco-friendly walls. Read what passes for academic research at one of the world’s leading universities, and weep for the intellectual life of our country.

  3. Ian Wilson

    On the precarious grounds of ensuring a fair and balanced debate, I do hope the Editors find time to attend the Cafe Controversy section.

    Of specific interest is the “Chav Bashing: demonising the white working class?”.

    Aside from the obvious fact that the title implies all white working class are “chavs”, I’d love to know what on earth that has to do with ‘climate change’.

    Perhaps the Editors will be good enough to report back on that one.

  4. Editors

    Ian, on your point that the title of the debate implies that all white working class people are ‘chavs’, a look at the session’s description – – proves otherwise.

    But do the discussions about ‘chavs’ or the ‘white working class’ describe real problems or are they symptomatic of less tangible cultural anxieties? Who exactly are these fluid terms meant to describe? Is there really a majority working class culture threatened by political correctness? Is the celebration of ‘chav-culture’, from the Dianafication of Jade Goody to artistic depictions of happy-slapping and graffiti, an antidote to snobbery, or does it risks turning its supposed objects into another pitied minority?

    On the question about what it has to do with climate change… Nothing as far as we can tell. The Battle of Ideas is a weekend of debates on a number of different issues, the ones relating to climate change were listed in our post.

  5. Jessie

    Slam dunkin like Shaquille O’Neal, if he wrote inrtomafive articles.


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