Fairness and Physics

Posted in: Comment, Talks and Presentations

Peter Harper, variously of the Centre for Alternative Technology, Schumacher College, and the University of Bath is presenting a lecture tonight at BRLSI on Energy: Fairness, Physics and Sustainability.  This is the blurb:

The atmosphere is a shared resource.  Therefore the Climate Change problem cannot be solved by any nation on its own.   National programmes have to fit together into a global process, and have to be fair or no global agreement is possible.  Most of the problem is about energy supply, and understandably UK energy policies tend to focus on what is politically realistic, hoping that this will meet the requirements of fairness and physics.   So far, it doesn't even come close.  The lecture proposes an alternative approach, to ask first what kinds of UK policies are both fair and physically adequate, and then what political and economic policies might be needed to deliver them.  This follows a venerable principle explored by Canute the Great a thousand years ago: 

I guess, given the reference to Canute, this must be all about tidal power.

Harper notes that, "In the end, Physics trumps Politics".  This will be so, if we wait long enough; in the meanwhile, however, politics is having a good run for its money.  And what happened to justice in all this?  Consumed by fairness, I guess – not the same thing at all.

Posted in: Comment, Talks and Presentations


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