Episode 3

Creating a future that is not like the past

The future is becoming harder to predict thanks to climate change and a global pandemic. But a large part of what the future will look like is in our own hands. The biggest challenge to creating a better future may be political rather than scientific or technological. 

In this episode, Diane Coyle, professor of public policy, Laura Diaz Anadon, professor of climate change policy, and architectural engineer, Ruchi Choudhary, join us to talk about how we can build a future that might not be anything like the past.

We cover topics like innovation, GDP, and how the uncertainty created by climate change can help propel policy and economic decisions. Plus, we look at some of the benefits that come with building a greener future together. 

In this episode:

0:00 - Intro

03:50 - What a sustainable future could look like

07:15 - What economic, political and institutional changes do we need?

09:45 - Informing behavioural change

11:15 - Recap point

13:05 - How important is innovation in resolving climate change?

17:55 - The importance of measuring wellbeing.

19:50 - What metrics speak to policymakers?

23:17 - International coordination. Distributing the burdens of climate change

27:05 - Recap point

30:39 - What impact will COVID have?

35:35 - What will be the legacy of 2020? What changes are here to stay?

40:00 - Circling back to what a sustainable future might look like

This episode was produced by Nick Saffell, James Dolan, and Naomi Clements-Brod. 

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Guest Bios: 

Professor Diane Coyle (@DianeCoyle1859) (@bennettInst)


Professor Diane Coyle is the inaugural Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. Diane co-directs the Bennett Institute where she heads research under the themes of progress and productivity, and has been a government adviser on economic policy, including throughout the covid-19 pandemic. Her latest book, ‘Markets, State and People – Economics for Public Policy’ examines how societies reach decisions about the use and allocation of economic resources. Research Interests: Economic statistics and the digital economy: lead researcher on the Measuring the Modern Economy programme at the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence. Competition policy and digital markets. Economics of new technologies. Natural capital; infrastructure.

Professor Laura Diaz Anadon (@l_diaz_anadon) (@CEENRG)

Professor of Climate Change Policy and Director, Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG)

Prof. Diaz Anadon has three main areas of research: The first area of research is on understanding on energy and environment-oriented technological innovation, which seeks to: identify and quantify the diverse benefits that derive from policies designed to promote it; map the complex factors—including but not limited to policies—that contribute to it; and create tools for policymakers and analysts to manage the systemic uncertainties that accompany it. Her second area of research focuses on the study of public innovation institutions in the climate and energy space and how to improve their effectiveness in various places across the globe. A third area of focus is the study the coupling between water and energy systems and its implications for policy-making, with a particular emphasis on the United States, China, and the Middle East and North Africa region. 

Dr Ruchi Choudhary  @RuchiChoudhary 

Dr Ruchi Choudhary specializes in building simulation and environmental characteristics of the built environment. At Cambridge, she is leading the multi-disciplinary Energy Efficient Cities initiative (EECi) with colleagues in transport technologies and urban planning. Her current research concerns urban-scale energy simulation of built environments, with specific emphasis on uncertainty analysis and retrofits of existing buildings. The work investigates how simulation science can support pathways towards energy efficient cities, taking into account large variability among buildings, and a highly dynamic context associated with economics, regulations, and the influence of new emerging technologies.


About the Podcast

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Mind Over Chatter
Welcome to Mind Over Chatter, the Cambridge University Podcast! One series at a time, we break down complex issues into simple questions.

About your hosts

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Naomi Clements-Brod

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