The politics of mitigation, adaptation and suffering

Hear from experts as they unpack how responses to the climate crisis have been organised by business, government and civil society, and what possibilities of transformation lie ahead.
Image of the book cover of Organising Responses to Climate Change which is an orange image of silhouetted figures walking on a beach in a heatwave.

Climate change is the most critical issue now facing humanity. As global temperatures rise, floods, fires and storms are becoming more intense and frequent. People are suffering. Yet, despite over 30 years of international climate negotiations, emissions continue to increase and as the UN Secretary-General António Guterres has bluntly stated, “We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide. It is in our hands.”

In the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), join us for this special panel discussion on the political economy of the climate crisis and the possibilities of new social and economic systems to avert worsening impacts.

Featuring the authors of the new book, Organising Responses to Climate Change: The Politics of Mitigation, Adaptation and Suffering, this panel discussion will explore the possibilities for radical decarbonisation of the global economy and a reimagining of a world beyond fossil energy.

The book Organising Responses to Climate Change: The Politics of Mitigation, Adaptation and Suffering is available for purchase here.

This event was held at the University of Sydney on Wednesday 26 October 2022.

Listen to the podcast


Greg Bourne is a Councillor at The Climate Council and has worked at the nexus of climate change, energy business and policy for over 30 years. With BP he lived and worked in the UK, Middle East, USA, Canada, Ireland, Brazil, China, Venezuela and Australia. For two years he was Special Adviser on Energy and Transport to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He returned to Australia in 1999 as Regional President, BP Australasia and worked with business and governments on the Climate Change agenda. Greg was CEO WWF Australia for six years and later a non-executive director of Carnegie Wave Energy. He is the former Chair of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. A Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to the environment and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Western Australia for services to international business.

Vanessa Bowden is a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Newcastle. Her research explores the social constructions of environmental knowledge, specifically looking at climate adaptation in local communities and the politics of energy transitions. She has published in leading journals including Global Environmental Change, Environmental Sociology, Environmental Politics and the British Journal of Sociology.

Daniel Nyberg is a Professor of Management at the University of Newcastle Business School and an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney. His research explores responses to climate change in projects exploring the transition to a low carbon economy, the politics of adaptation, and how corporate political activities influence public policy. Daniel is also a frequent media commentator on international and national climate change politics.

Kate Smolski is the Program Director at Greenpeace Australia Pacific and has been an environmental advocate for nearly twenty years between Australia and the United States. She has fought for the protection of nature and action on climate change as a grassroots organiser, campaigner and organisational leader. Kate is passionate about harnessing the power of people and movements to win real action on climate change.

Zoe Whitton is Head of Impact at Pollination Group, a specialist climate change investment and advisory firm. Zoe assists companies and investors to navigate the impacts of climate change and to build new businesses and products which are transition aligned. She previously led the award-winning APAC ESG Research team at Citi, advising institutional investors globally on climate change and sustainable development. Earlier in her career Zoe covered ESG and climate change at Credit Suisse and at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and served as a youth delegate to the UNFCCC. She serves on the boards of the Investor Group on Climate Change and the Centre for Policy Development, and on the Steering Committee of the Australian Climate Governance Initiative. She is also member of the Australian Sustainable Finance Institute’s Technical Advisory Group, and the Sydney Environment Institute’s Advisory Group. Zoe has won numerous awards for her research and work on climate finance and risk, and regularly contributes to the wider conversation on sustainable finance by commentating in the Australian and international press along with various publications.

Christopher Wright is Professor of Organisational Studies at the University of Sydney Business School where he teaches and researches on organisational change, sustainability and climate change. His research on climate change and business is internationally recognised and he has developed research collaborations with leading international climate scientists and global environmental organisations. He is a key researcher at the Sydney Environment Institute, where he heads up a group examining corporate climate transition.

Header image: by Jie Min Lu via Unsplash.


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