The two-week COP26 climate change summit starts this weekend, with 100,000 expected on a protest march in Glasgow. And tomorrow, we at The Spectator will hold our own (virtual) summit looking at what lies ahead — and asking if history is about to be made, and how much of this is likely to be political theatre. The morning will open at 9.30am GMT with a keynote speech from Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at New College, Oxford: I’ll be in discussion with him afterwards. His book, Net Zero, is perhaps the best primer you’ll read on the topic: he supports the objective but is sceptical about the “jaw-jaw” of climate summits as a means of pushing through meaningful change.
Then Kate Andrews will discuss the elephant in the room: nuclear power. The nuclear industry is disliked by the green lobby and has been banned from exhibiting at COP26, but is our real choice between nuclear, fossil fuel or energy crisis? At 10am, Kate will be joined by Stephen Pollock, Emma Pinchbeck and Rachael Glaving to consider the benefits and drawbacks of nuclear energy.
What was made clear last week is that the government is banking on (or praying for) technology and industry coming to the rescue. So, it needs to work out what can motivate businesses and people to go green. Kate Andrews will be joined by Fagan MacNeil, Rory Sutherland and Bridget Williams at 11.15am to consider the various incentives the government can use, from moral nudges to financial investment.
It’s also the case that people have a role to play in their everyday lives. Amid all the noise, it’s hard to know what’s most important to go green. Is it flying less? Is it going vegan? Buy an electric car? Have fewer children? Cindy Yu will be joined by Tim Loughton MP, Anne-Charlotte Mornington, Lindsay Miles and Dr Alan Whitehead at 12.30pm to discuss daily tips for greener living.
Tickets are open to all, and can be secured for free here. You are warmly invited to join us for the debate.
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