Advanced Water Management Centre

Webinar: Affluence and equity in the context of climate change

Abstract – Because of its uncertainty, complexity, global scope, irreversibility, long-term effect and regional variability, climate change is posing considerable problems for decision and policy making. Technological improvements and policy instruments have not achieved sustainable and internationally equitable emissions. This is reflected in the difficulties, which Annex I signatory countries are facing in meeting reduction targets set under the Paris Agreement. It is in this context that the important role of changes in individual consumption in industrialised countries must be emphasised. Especially in Australia, the general public has so far been insufficiently addressed about this issue. As a consequence, even though awareness and concern about climate change as well as perceived responsibility are relatively widespread, these are rarely translated into consistent, adequate action and significant emission reductions. In addition, only a limited sphere of responsibility is generally identified, in which reducing the usage of household energy and cars, and the recycling of some materials are recognised as pro-environmental behaviour. Changing the pattern, or even reducing the consumption of goods and services is, however, always almost ignored.

In this talk, I will ask: What is a level of personal consumption which, in both globally equitable and environmentally sustainable terms, is compliant with a 1.5-degree target? This equitable and sustainable level is then compared with the present average consumption across the world’s countries. Based on this comparison, conclusions will be drawn.

Presenter Biography

Manfred Lenzen is Professor of Sustainability Research at Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney. Manfred has a PhD in Nuclear Physics and 15 years of experience in renewable energy technologies. He has undertaken extensive experimental research on passive solar architecture. He is an international leader in economic Input-Output Analysis and Life-Cycle Assessment, is Associate Editor for the Journal of Industrial Ecology, and is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Economic Systems Research. He has contributed major methodological advances as well as numerous applications, in particular on embodied energy and greenhouse gas emissions.

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Event Details
Date & Time: 
Friday, 28 August 2020
9:30-10:30
Venue: Zoom
Speaker(s): 
  • Professor Manfred Lenzen, USyd

Event Contact: AWMC Seminar Team