Past Meetup

The burning question: climate change in context, with Duncan Clark

This Meetup is past

47 people went

Price: £5.00 /per person

Birkbeck College

Torrington Square WC1E 7HX · London

How to find us

Room 541 is on the fifth floor of the main building

Location image of event venue


Tackling global warming will mean persuading the world to abandon oil, coal and gas reserves worth many trillions of dollars - at least until we have the means to put carbon back in the ground. The burning question is whether that can be done. What mix of technology, politics, psychology, and economics might be required? Why aren't clean energy sources slowing the rate of fossil fuel extraction? Are the energy companies massively overvalued, and how will carbon-cuts affect the global economy? Will we wake up to the threat in time? And who can do what to make it all happen?

Duncan Clark, co-author of the recent book "The Burning Question: We can't burn half the world's oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit?" (, will be addressing the above questions, and more, at this London Futurists event.

Note that this event, as an experiment for the new year (2014), is being held on Saturday evening, rather than Saturday afternoon.

Brief reviews of the book "The burning question":

From Amazon (

• 'Climate change is the most difficult problem the world has ever faced. Berners-Lee and Clark have compressed this complex issue into a short and highly readable book that covers science, psychology and sociology. Uncompromisingly rigorous but easy to read, this book is a perfect introduction to the central topic of the twenty-first century.'
-- Chris Goodall, Low-carbon technology expert and author of Sustainability: All That Matters

• 'The image of scientists and academics used to be one of calm, mild-mannered people but today the frustration among many is palpable. This book shows why. The gap between evidence, policy and practice is yawningly wide. This book tries to bridge that gap, offering a reasoned account of the problem and suggesting what we might do about it from global policy to culture change.'
-- Tim Lang, Professor of food policy, City University London

• 'This book hits the climate nail bang on the head: we can only avoid devastating damage if most of the world's coal, oil and gas are left in the ground. In wonderfully clear and readable prose, the authors set out the facts and what we must do about them. It deserves to be widely read: I only hope it will reawaken the climate movement, which has gone into such desperate decline over the last three years. Only public pressure will force governments to close down coal fired power stations and end our oil dependence: this book is a lucid and powerful call to arms.'
--Michael Jacobs, Visiting professor, Grantham Research Institute, LSE and former special adviser on climate change to the UK Prime Minister

• 'The issues explored in The Burning Question are hugely important. Policymakers and the public urgently need to be engaging in this kind of big-picture conversation.'
-- Jim Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

• 'Fossil fuels are so last century. The Burning Question tells us clearly why and how to get off them, but crucially also explores why we aren't doing anything much about it at the moment, and points the finger at the villains of the piece. Terrific.'
-- Sir Tim Smit, Founder of the Eden Project

• 'This is a book that needed to be written: it asks the right question then seeks the most effective ways of answering it. An essential contribution to our thinking about climate change'
-- George Monbiot, writer and campaigner

About Duncan Clark:

Duncan Clark ( is a consultant editor on the Guardian environment desk (, co-founder of digital journalism company Kiln ( and a visiting researcher at the UCL Energy Institute ( He helped set up and run the 10:10 climate campaign (, is the author of The Rough Guide to Green Living ( and has edited many books on climate change and related topics.

Meeting Logistics:

6.15pm-8.30pm, Saturday 18th January 2014.

This includes 15 minutes for registration and informal networking, before the speaker starts his presentation (at 6.30pm).

Venue: Room 541, Birkbeck College (, Torrington Square WC1E 7HX, London.

Room 541 is on the 5th floor in the main Birkbeck College building, in Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations.

Coffee and other light refreshments can be purchased from the Costa Coffee shop in the reception area of the building.

The event will be followed by a chance to continue the discussion in a nearby pub - The Marlborough Arms (, 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ.

Covering meeting costs:

A small fee (£5) is payable to attend this meetup. This fee covers room costs. Please pay in advance, online.

This will be refunded if the meeting is cancelled or rearranged, or if the attendee cancels at least 3 days before the meetup.

Alternatively, if there are still seats available, payment can be made in cash at the door on the day. (Requesting payment in advance assists with accurate planning of the event.)

Journalists are welcome to attend the meeting free-of-charge - please contact the organiser, notifying us in advance of your plans to attend.