Events & Media




"Climate Change and Post-Truth Politics"

Lord John Krebs
Oxford University
Member, House of Lords, United Kingdom

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1414

NOTE: This talk will be live-streamed here.

"John Krebs, a stellar British ecologist who was knighted for his scientific achievements, has deep knowledge of the science and politics of climate change policy in the UK. His brilliant yet pragmatic science-based insights into policy issues contributed to his appointment as life-long member of the House of Lords. I anticipate that his talk will stimulate much discussion about the new politics of climate change and its policy implications."

— David Tilman, Bren School Faculty Host

2016 was a good and bad year for efforts to tackle climate change. The good news is that 120 parties have ratified the Paris Convention; the bad news is the emergence of post-truth politics and the associated denial of the evidence that climate change is a threat to our future. The arguments of politicians denying the importance of climate change have become more subtle and nuanced and require careful consideration. In the UK, the most significant political event in 2016 was the referendum vote to leave the European Union. This could have a big impact on action in the UK to tackle climate change, as a substantial proportion of relevant policies have been developed at the EU level. I will discuss these trends and their implications for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

John Krebs studied zoology at Oxford University, where he also completed his PhD in population biology. He was an assistant professor in the Institute of Animal Resource Ecology at the University of British Columbia, and a lecturer in zoology at the University of North Wales, before returning to Oxford as a lecturer in the Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology. In 1988 he became a Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford. Between 1994 and 1999 he served as chief executive of the UK Natural Environment Research Council, and between 2000 and 2005 as the inaugural head of the UK Food Standards Agency. From 2005-2015 he was principal of Jesus College, Oxford University. Professor Krebs has published over 300 scientific articles, commentaries and books in the fields of behavioral ecology and population biology. He has received numerous honours and awards for his contributions to science. He is also a non-political-party member of the Upper House (the House of Lords) in the UK Parliament, where, from 2010-2014, he chaired the Science and Technology Select Committee. He currently sits on the UK Climate Change Committee and chairs its Adaptation Sub-Committee, and on the House of Lords Committee scrutinising the impact of Brexit on Environment and Energy Policy.

The Zurich Financial Services Distinguished Visitors Program on Climate Change allows the Bren School to attract international leaders in environmental policy, law, business, and science to enrich and expand the intellectual life of the Bren School community and share insight on issues critical to climate change. Activities of the visitors, who are in residence for periods ranging from one week to one quarter, include teaching short courses, offering public lectures, conducting seminars, and leading colloquia and symposia planned around their research, professional endeavors, or areas of expertise.

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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