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FRIDAY SEMINAR SERIES | Dissing Divestment: The Case for Fossil Fuels (and other assorted energy sources)



Start Date

29 Jul 2016 1:00 pm

End Date

29 Jul 2016 2:00 pm

Institute for the Study of Social Change logo

An Institute for the Study of Social Change and School of Social Sciences seminar

presented by

Professor Aynsley Kellow, University of Tasmania

The campaign by the group to persuade universities and other institutions to divest their endowments and portfolios of fossil fuels (especially coal) has had some impact, but is this a wise goal? Professor Kellow will set out the case against divestment, showing that it is a reductionist approach that ignores the realities of sectoral energy competition occurring within the policy domain of climate change mitigation. Were the campaign to succeed in eliminating fossil fuels, the impact of the alternatives to which the world would have to turn would have serious impacts — socially environmentally, and economically. The developing world, in particular, is continuing to turn to energy sources such as coal, and it is likely to continue to do so — but using technology that offers substantially greater reductions in greenhouse gas emissions than non-hydro renewables can provide. At the same time, investment in non-hydro renewables in Europe is declining and policy support is also being reduced, with Denmark reducing its support for wind energy. Rather than providing a realistic policy response to climate change, the Divestment Campaign demonstrates the pitfalls of single issue politics and a failure to consider the consequences of policies seen as a whole.

Aynsley Kellow is Professor of Government at the University of Tasmania. He has published widely on energy and environment issues, including Transforming Power: The Politics of Electricity Planning (Cambridge University Press) and International Environmental Policy: Interests and the Failure of the Kyoto Process (Edward Elgar), as well as articles in leading international journals such as Environmental Politics, International Environmental Agreements, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (Climate Change), and Global Policy. He has also engaged in various policy arenas, including as an Expert Reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and as a consultant on climate change and electricity sector policy. His recent research has centred on the OECD and (with Peter Carroll) has just finished his second book on that organisation, and is researching a paper on Australia's initial decision not to join the International Energy Agency.

Friday 29 July 2016, 1.00pm to 2.00pm

Humanities 346 Seminar Room, Sandy Bay Campus

All welcome.

Event Flyer (PDF 414KB)


Institute for Social Change
University of Tasmania
Private Bag 44


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