Centre for Decision Research Seminar

13:00 - 14:00
Professor Morgan Granger
University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment, Seminar Room 119a/b
Professor Morgan Granger, Hamerschlag University

Morgan Granger
Professor of Engineering
Hamerschlag University

More than half a century ago political scientist Charles Lindblom argued that a policy of 'muddling through' with incremental steps is frequently superior to attempting to design and implement comprehensive policy solutions. After decades of talk the world is finally showing signs of muddling its way toward serious policies to limit climate change.  

But some incremental muddling, that achieve modest cuts in the short term, runs the risk of locking in technologies that don’t scale up, creating regulatory systems that become almost impossible to change, or creating interest blocks that can successfully lobby against future change.  

Any of these could make it difficult or impossible to achieve the reductions of 90% or more that are needed to stabilize the climate at a safe level. Avoiding serious climate change will require an almost complete restructuring of the world’s energy system.

Morgan will outline the nature and magnitude of that challenge and then discuss four strategies that could help to move beyond muddling in order to achieving deep (and even negative) emissions reductions:

  • Adopting a total-system perspective on energy efficiency;
  • Sustaining and encouraging all sources of energy that do not release carbon dioxide to the atmosphere;
  • Developing ways to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; and
  • Undertaking analysis to identify and avoid pathways that could slow progress on any of the preceding strategies, or lead to future 'dead ends'.

Morgan will conclude by pondering the question “to what extent is fundamental public understanding of the climate problem essential, if major emitting nations or regions, such as the US and EU, are to develop and sustain serious climate policy?”.

Pre-registration is not required

About the speaker

M. Granger Morgan is the Hamerschlag University Professor of Engineering and a Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy (where he served for 38 years as the founding Department Head) and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He also holds an appointment in the H. John Heinz III College of Public Policy and Management. He is a member of the US National Academy of Science, and a Fellow of the IEEE, AAAS and SRA.

His research addresses problems in science, technology, and public policy with a particular focus on energy, environmental systems, climate change, and risk analysis. Much of his work has involved the development and demonstration of methods to characterize and treat uncertainty in quantitative policy analysis. With Prof. Inês Azevedo he co-directs the NSF center for Climate and Energy Decision Making. With Prof. Jay Apt he co-directs Carnegie Mellon’s Electricity Industry Center  He holds a B.A. from Harvard College (1963) where he concentrated in physics, an M.S. in astronomy and space science from Cornell (1965) and a Ph.D. from the Department of Applied Physics and Information Sciences at the University of California at San Diego (1969). 

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