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GSI 2015 conference opens with keynote on short-term policy solutions

Published: 27 January 2015 at 10:14

Focusing on short-term solutions offers the best hope of tackling the big long-term issues, according to leading climate change scientist Professor Jorgen Randers.

Speaking at the Global Sustainability Institute's 2015 conference at Anglia Ruskin University on 26 January, the Professor of Climate Strategy at the Norwegian Business School said that concentrating on smaller, more manageable, issues and solutions is the best way of influencing key decision makers.

Professor Randers is one of the authors of the influential 1972 book The Limits to Growth, which warned that society was headed for an eventual global collapse. In 2013 he was awarded an honorary degree by Anglia Ruskin.

As well as the ongoing need to produce better evidence, Professor Randers suggested that in order to influence policy it is 'productive to concentrate on politically feasible solutions - that is, solutions that have a short-term advantage for a majority of voters.'

One example he gave was electric cars. Rather than market them based on their long-term climate change benefits, instead the emphasis should be placed on their short-term improvements to pollution and noise.

The two-day international conference was held at Anglia Ruskin's Cambridge campus and aimed to bring together research with policy making. Other speakers included Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet and former Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Climate Change Minister, and Professor Ugo Bardi of the University of Florence and the Club of Rome.

Dr Aled Jones, Director of the Global Sustainability Institute, said:

"This is a critical time for policy making with decisions due in 2015 on both climate change agreements and a new set of development goals.

"It is great to see so many researchers and experts come together to explore the interface between their work and government. We hope the outcomes of these international negotiations does justice to the wealth of research that highlights the need for a radical change in our political economy."