Actions and Detail Panel
Prof Scott Barrett: How to (and How Not to) ‘Save the Planet’
Wed 12 October 2016, 17:15 – 19:00 BST
On 12 October, the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) and Department of Economics will welcome Lenfest-Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics and eminent political scientist Scott Barrett to speak about his particular area of expertise: international cooperation. The public lecture, which is open to all with free registration in advance, will be followed by Professor Barrett’s receipt of an honorary degree from the University of Bath. This honour celebrates both his outstanding work in the field and the University’s 50th Anniversary year.
Major conferences on climate change are often heralded as humanity’s ‘last chance to save the planet’, and yet these conferences seem to achieve very little. In this lecture Professor Barrett will explain why these unprecedented diplomatic efforts have failed – and why other projects requiring international cooperation, like protecting the ozone layer and eradicating smallpox, succeeded.
He will argue that when our efforts to ‘save the planet’ fail, the reason isn’t that we haven’t tried hard enough, but rather that we’ve gone about it the wrong way; we’ve asked countries to do what they are not good at, when we should have asked them to do what they are good at. Once this difference is recognised, he will contend, it becomes obvious that a change of approach is required if stronger, better and more effective international agreements are to be negotiated.
Scott Barrett is the Lenfest-Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics at Columbia University in New York City, with appointments in the School of International and Public Affairs and the Earth Institute. He taught previously at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC and, before that, at the London Business School. He has also been a visiting scholar at Princeton, Yale, and Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. In 2016-2017, he will be a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study) in Berlin.
His research focusses on transboundary and global problems, especially strategies for designing and negotiating international environmental agreements, for which he was awarded the Erik Kempe Award by the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and the Publication of Enduring Quality Award by the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. He is the author of Environment and Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty-Making and Why Cooperate? The Incentive to Supply Global Public Goods, both published by Oxford University Press. He received his PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics.