Global Environment & Society Academy

Prof. Michael Grubb - Planetary Economics

This January GESA Deputy Director Dr Elizabeth Bomberg and ECCI Director Dr Andy Kerr were delighted to join Dr Simon Shackley from the School of Geosciences to co-host Professor Michael Grubb, author of Planetary Economics.


Planetary Economics: Energy, climate change and the three domains of sustainable development

Planetary Economics has received widespread accolade as a seminal contribution, comprehensive and profoundly important for its presentation of a new approach to both the theoretical underpinnings and the practical policies for tackling energy and climate change challenges.

Prof Grubb captured exceptionally well the 'wicked' nature of climate change problem and the need for more integrated, interdisciplinary solutions combining knowledge of economics, politics, technology and society. The perfect talk for a GESA crowd. We were struck by Prof Grubb's generosity of spirit. He was open to - and actively encouraged - ideas and questions from the students, academics, practitioners and engaged citizens that made up the sell-out audience

Dr Elizabeth BombergGESA Deputy Director

Michael Grubb's talk gave a refreshing and, on balance, optimistic, perspective on our capacity to decarbonise society during the next century, provided that we understand properly the nature of the challenge. Michael's key insight comes from recognising that to change behaviours is not the same as changing carbon prices in markets; meanwhile to change infrastructure and effect long-term innovation requires a different mindset that is more akin to security and focuses on avoiding systemic long-term risks.

Dr Simon ShackleyLecturer in Carbon Policy
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Awareness of the importance of reducing CO2 emissions is rising, but the transition towards a low carbon society is slow and complex. The much needed fundamental change involves many stakeholders, each with vested interests that are often not aligned.

The R&Dialogue project is founded on the belief that an inclusive and transparent dialogue between all stakeholders is essential in the move towards sustainable low-carbon energy production. Consequently, the project partners are currently working across 10 European countries to promote a low-carbon dialogue between research and civil society.

The work presented by Prof. Michael Grubb in this lecture is a prime example of the kind of research which is so vital in helping us to better understand the social, technological, ecological and economic challenges of climate change, and find more effective, integrated solutions. This event provided an excellent platform to spark discussion and debate around these pressing issues.

More information on the R&Dialogue project can be found on the website: