Previous events – University of Copenhagen

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Previous lectures - 2016

Divestment from fossil fuels and the implications for the Paris Agreement

In this sustainability lecture, Dr. Bob Massie addressed the history of engagement and divestment and how ESG factors are likely to be integrated into investor decisions in the next 20 years. He discussed challenging questions that have gradually altered the landscape of international corporate governance and capital markets over the last 50 years and become urgent in the aftermath of the COP 21 agreements in Paris in 2015.

Bob Massie is a co-founder of the Global Reporting Initiative and one of the world’s leading experts on both South African and fossil fuel divestment. Massie has been working on business, finance, governance, and sustainability for more than thirty years. He is currently the Executive Director of the Sustainable Solutions Lab at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

The event took place on 21 November and was moderated by Katherine Richardson, Professor in Biological Oceanography, Leader of Sustainability Science Centre, University of Copenhagen.

See the slides here

How the most vulnerable countries are leading the world to tackle climate change

A sustainability lecture by Dr. Saleemul Huq, from International Institute for Environment and Development, Bangladesh, on how the most vulnerable countries are leading the world to tackle climate change.

The talk told the story of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC ) and Paris Agreement focusing on the inclusion of the 1.5 Degrees long term temperature goal. It will then show how many of the poorest and most vulnerable countries, such as Bangladesh, are leading the world on both adaptation as well as mitigation to climate change.

Saleemul Huq is the Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) at Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB), a Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London and a past Director of the Climate Change Programme at the institute. He has worked extensively in the inter-linkages between climate change (both mitigation as well as adaptation) and sustainable development, from the perspective of the developing countries, with special emphasis on least developed countries (LDCs).

The event took place on 31 October and was moderated by Katherine Richardson, Professor in Biological Oceanography, Leader of Sustainability Science Centre, University of Copenhagen.

Implementing the Paris Climate Agreement

A sustainability lecture by the world-renowned professor of economics and leader in sustainable development, Jeffrey D. Sachs, on implementing the Paris Climate Agreement.

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, bestselling author and columnist. He is is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on economic development, global macroeconomics, and the fight against poverty. His work has taken him to more than 125 countries with more than 90 percent of the world’s population.

He serves as the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Sustainable Development Goals.

The event took place on 17 June and was moderated by Professor Henrik Hansen, from the Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen, Introduction and welcome by Troels Østergaard Sørensen, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

See the slides here

Anticipatory Governance in Social-Ecological Systems: Researching Community Health and Sustainability in Arctic Alaska

This talk represents the first set of results from two projects from Alaska’s Arctic Slope region. Resident expert participants from the Northwest Arctic and North Slope Boroughs addressed the focal question “What is needed for healthy sustainable communities by 2040?” The results contribute to a truly multi-disciplinary cross-cultural discussion of the importance of innovative Indigenous thinking at the local scale in a rapidly changing Arctic.

Dr. Amy Lauren Lovecraft is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, also affiliated faculty with the International Arctic Research Center. Working to foster interdisciplinary engagement among students and faculty she is active in the Arctic and Northern Studies and the Resilience and Adaptation programs at UAF. In her research she explores power dynamics in social-ecological systems, in particular how problems are defined and policies designed in light of climate change uncertainties.  Her scholarship has been published as book chapters and in journals such as ArcticMarine PolicyThe American Review of Canadian Studies, Polar GeographyPolicy Studies Journal, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Recently she was co-editor of the transdisciplinary volume North by 2020: Perspectives on Alaska’s Changing Social-Ecological Systems (Autumn 2011) that developed from collaboration during the International Polar Year.

The event took place on 24 May in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States in Copenhagen and was moderated by Frank Sejersen, Associate Professor at Eskimology and Arctic Studies Section, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen.

The persistence of climate change denial

Public opinion polls show that a majority of the American people now accept that anthropogenic climate change is underway, yet denial persists in many quarters, including the leadership of the Republican party.  Professor Naomi Oreskes will explain the roots of American climate change denial, why it has been so persistent, and what, if anything, might be done about it.

Naomi Oreskes is a Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. She is the author of numerous books, articles, and opinion pieces. Her most recent books are Merchants of Doubt (Bloomsbury, 2010), which was short-listed for the Los Angeles Times book prize and released as a documentary film by the same name in 2015, and The Collapse of Western Civilization (Columbia University Press, 2014), both co-authored with Erik M. Conway.  She also wrote the Introduction to the Melville House edition of the Papal Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality, and, with John Krige, edited Science and Technology in the Global Cold War (MIT Press, 2014).  She has won numerous prizes and awards, including, most recently, the 2014 American Geophysical Union Presidential Citation for Science and Society and the 2015 Herbert Feis Prize of the American Historical Association for her contributions to public history.

The event took place on 28 April and was moderated by Ole Wæver, Professor of International Relations at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen.

Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene

Humanity is having pervasive and increasingly dominant effects on natural systems worldwide leading many scientists to conclude that we live in the Anthropocene epoch. Environmental trends include large-scale changes to climate, freshwater availability and quality, land use, marine ecosystems and biodiversity loss.

Professor Sir Andy Haines discussed the findings of TheRockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on planetary health, which has documented how these environmental trends pose major challenges to sustaining health advances of recent decades. He outlined how such trends and their drivers can affect a range of health outcomes such as non-communicable diseases, water-related and vector-borne diseases. Furthermore he explored the health effects of increased frequency and intensity of extreme events, such as floods, droughts, and heat waves, and the impacts of environmental change on food security and undernutrition.

The event took place on 8 March and was moderated by Steffen Loft, head of the Department of Public Health at University of Copenhagen, Professor, DMSc.

Previous lectures - 2015

Sharing Cities - A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities

Professor Julian Agyeman and PhD candidate Duncan McLaren spoke on the potential and challenges for cities in the race towards sustainability.

How could sharing shift values and norms, enable civic engagement and political activism, and rebuild a shared urban commons? This question is explored by Agyeman and McLaren in their book 'Sharing Cities' - and it was the focal point at this lecture.

The event took place on 14 December and was moderated by Professor Jens Hoff from the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen.

See the slides here

Arctic Resilience and Humanity's Future on Earth

The Arctic is changing more rapidly than any other biome, and moreover plays a key role in regulating the global climate system. Arctic resilience is therefore a key for world development.

On 23 November, Professor Johan Rockström (Stockholm Resilience Centre) gave a talk on how we become planetary stewards in order to safeguard local development, and the need for sustaining the stability and resilience of all critical biomes on Earth, particularly the Arctic.

Professor of geology Minik Rosing, who is leading the multidisciplinary research initiative Greenland Perspective, responded to the lecture.

The event was moderated by Professor Katherine Richardson, leader of the Sustainability Science Centre.

See Professor Rockströms presentation slides here

Systems Thinking and Sustainability

Thinking in systems is a way of handling our changing and complex world. But what exactly does it mean to think in systems? In this sustainability lecture, Dr. Niki Frantzeskaki from DRIFT, Erasmus University Rotterdam, explored the concepts of systems, agency and sustainability transitions.

The lecture was arranged in cooperation with the student organization TVÆRS and took place on 21 October.

See the slides used by Dr. Frantzeskaki here.

Workshop on Data and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

On 7 October this workshop on the newly adopted UN Sustainable Development Goals was organized jointly by the network for Oresund Early Career Sustainability Researchers (ODYSUS), the Sustainability Science Centre at UCPH, and the Danish UN-Association.

At the workshop, it was debated how to effectively measure the SDGs and how to gather the necessary data.

Before working in smaller groups on these issues, Andreas Poppenbøll (UN-Association Denmark), Maciej Truszczynski (Statistics Denmark) and Henrik Hansen (Professor of Development Economics, UCPH), each gave a talk on the SDGs. You can watch the talks below.

Sustainable Energy for All - an initiative to transform the global energy system

On 26 May Dr. Kandeh Yumkella spoke on the UN initiative Sustainable Energy for All.

Dr. Yumkella is Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Chief Executive for the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4All).

The world faces three great energy challenges in the coming decades:

First, we must end energy poverty - and ensure that every person has access to electricity and modern sustainable energy sources for cooking and heating.
Second, we need to strengthen economic growth in a way that is equitable and addresses growing energy demand.
Third, we need to slow the warming of our planet by reducing global emissions and combatting local environmental destruction from energy.

The Sustainable Energy for All Initiative is working on these challenges facing humankind by facilitating transformations in the global energy system with strong partners in business, civil society, governments and international institutions.

Respondent to the talk was Professor Mogens Brøndsted Nielsen, Center for Exploitation of Solar Energy & Department of Chemistry, UCPH.

See the slides used by Dr. Yumkella here.

See the slides used by Mogens Brøndsted Nielsen here.

Changes in the Gulf Stream System, planetary waves and extreme weather

Global warming does not simply warm up our planet’s surface – rather it has some interesting and complex effects on the circulation of its atmosphere and oceans, which were explored in this lecture on 6 May.

The disproportionate warming of the Arctic has been linked in recent research to changes in the activity of planetary waves and the jet stream in the atmosphere. In the ocean, observations point to an ongoing slow-down of the Gulf Stream System. Both types of circulation change may have profound impacts on us humans.

Professor Stefan Rahmstorf is a physicist and oceanographer, educated at Bangor University and with a phd from Victoria University of Wellington. Since 2000 he teaches Physics of the Oceans as a professor at Potsdam University.

Rahmstorf is a member of the Academia Europaea and served from 2004-2013 in the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). He was also one of the lead authors of the 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC.

See the slides used by Prof. Rahmstorf here.

Sustainable Development Goals - Rethinking Sustainable Development in the Post-2015 Era

In September this year, governments will agree on an unprecedented agenda for how human society should develop to improve social, environmental and economic conditions for all people on the planet. But how do we go from words on paper to implementation of the agenda?

On 25 February, Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UNDP’s Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, adressed this question. With outset in the recent Synthesis Report of the UN Secretary General, this lecture explored the possible paths to implementation of the Post-2015 agenda, the implications for national and regional governments, and the current knowledge gaps that must be addressed by research communities.

See the slide presentation used by Mr. Martínez-Solimán here.

The Synthesis Report of the UN Secretary General can be found here.
The Open Working Group proposal for SDG's can be found here.
And finally the UN's Sustainable Develpoment Knowledge Platform holds many more resources.

Previous lectures - 2014

COSI Launch

The new partnership COSI - COpenhagen Sustainability Initiative - was launched on 28 November. The partnership is comprised of the universities DTU, CBS and UCPH.

Ensuring social, environmental and economic sustainability requires new approaches to resource use, new business management models, deep political engagement and new technological and scientific solutions. This calls on Danish universities to provide applicable, cross disciplinary knowledge platforms upon which to develop green growth and other sustainability initiatives. In this context, the CBS Sustainability Platform, codirected by Professors Mette Morsing and Stefano Ponte have joined forces with the University of Copenhagen Sustainability Science Centre, led by Professor Katherine Richardson and the DTU Global Decision Support Initiative (GDSI), directed by Professor Michael Zwicky Hauschild, to meet this demand. The result of this cooperation is the Copenhagen Sustainability Initiative (COSI), which endeavours to build a regional platform for sustainability in Copenhagen by establishing joint sustainability activities on research, education and engagement with business, civil society and the political system.

Speakers were Michael Hauschild, head of GDSI (DTU), Katherine Richardson, head of SSC (UCPH) and Andreas Rasche, Professor of Business in Society (CBS). You can find their slides here:
Event presentation
Michael Hauschild's presentation
Andreas Rasche's presentation
Katherine Richardson's presentation

How cities can respond to 21st century climate change challenges

Climate change is inextricably linked with the 21st century challenges of water, food and energy resources, and of health and development. Nowhere is this more evident than in the cities of the world. So what solutions are out there to match these great challenges, while also creating a thriving economy and increasing liveability and quality of urban life?

On 26 November, Sir David King, UK Foreign Secretary Special Representative for Climate Change and Laura Storm, Executive Director of the Scandinavian think tank Sustainia highlighted concrete initiatives whereby existing cities can adapt and lower their footprint, and new cities can be designed to be climate-smart and resilient from the start.

Sir David King is the UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change and Chairman of the Board of the UK Future Cities Catapult. Sir David was previously the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor from 2000 – 2007, during which time he raised awareness of the need for governments to act on climate change. He has published over 500 papers on science and policy, for which he has received numerous awards, and holds 23 Honorary Degrees from universities around the world. He was also made an Officier of the French Legion d’Honneur’ in 2009, for work that has contrib­uted to responding to the climate and energy challenge.

See the presentation slides by Sir David King used in this sustainability lecture.

Laura Storm is the Executive Director of Scandinavian think tank Sustainia. Joined by a global alliance of organizations and companies, Sustainia is working to identify and secure deployment of sustainable solutions in communities around the world. Laura has extensive experience in climate and sustainability. In the run up to COP15 in Copenhagen, Laura was the Project Director of the Copenhagen Climate Council. Laura also organized the World Business Summit on Climate Change – the largest gathering of global CEO’s discussing a sustainable economy. In 2013, Greenbiz named Laura Storm WorldChanger for her work with Sustainia.

See the presentation slides by Laura Storm used in this sustainability lecture.

Why Do We Ignore Risk in Power Economics?

Sean Meyn, Director of the Florida Institute for Sustainable Energy, provided an entertaining overview of the origins of U.S. power markets, and how federal agencies are attempting to right the wrongs. Meyn challenged the audience with a quiz on the “value of power” and highlighted exciting possibilities with better public policy for the creation of responsive and reliable resources. This could help manage a grid with significant renewable energy integration. The lecture took place on 25 November.

See the slides used by Sean Meyn in this sustainability lecture.

Professor Peder Andersen, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, responded to the talk

From cocoa to consumer – building beyond sustainable certifications

Cocoa is farmed in some of the world’s most important regions for biodiversity conservation. Today, 13% of the world’s supply of cocoa is Rainforest Alliance certified, based on a Sustainable Agriculture Standard. Nevertheless, many sustainability challenges remain. This lecture took place on 15 September.

Edward Millard, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Rainforest Alliance, drew on his experience to show how standards and certification systems can evolve to become increasingly relevant to sustainability issues. Millard also elaborated on how the combination of consumers and green labels can work as instruments of increasing sustainable development.

Henrik Egelyng, Associate Professor at the Department of Food and Resource Economics, used his research on organic certifications in Africa, Brazil and China to point to important findings, dilemmas and perspectives of the complex landscape of certifications and consumer behaviour.

After the lecture, Anders Carne, from Europe’s largest chocolate producer, Mondelez, joined in a panel discussion.

See the presentation slides by Edward Millard used in this sustainability lecture.

The sovereignty paradox and how to solve it

Inge Kaul, former Director at the United Nations Development Pro­gramme and Adjunct professor at Hertie School of Governance, Germany will give a talk on What makes global climate governance so hard? It took place on 2 June.

Inge Kaul argues that states, notably their governments, are shying away from effective international coop­eration out of fear that it could constrain their sover­eignty. Yet, in policy fields like climate change that are marked by global interdependence, such behavior leaves global challenges unresolved and, thus, actu­ally undermines rather than strengthens states’ poli­cymaking capacity. This sovereignty paradox is a major obstacle in meeting the climate change challenge.

See the presentation slides

Is a Breakthrough in Climate Change Governance on the Horizon?

foto af Maria Figueroa

This question was adressed by Matt Hoffmann, University of Toronto, and Maria Figueroa, Copenhagen Business School. Joining the debate in the subsequent panel debate was Lau Blaxekjær, UCPH, and Simon Bolwig, DTU. It took place on 14 May.

The recently released IPCC report highlighted again the urgency of addressing climate change and the international community has pledged to devise the next international agreement on climate change by 2015. The EU has forged ahead with Scandinavian countries in particular advancing a variety of policies to respond to climate change. Regions, municipalities, and private actors across the world are also contributing to climate governance. Have we reached a tipping point where a breakthrough on climate change governance is near?

See the presentation slides (Matt Hoffmann)

The lecture was hosted by COSI - a new partnership between the CBS Sustainability Platform, Sustainability Science Center at University of Copenhagen, and Denmark's Technical University.

Sustainability, abrupt climate change and you

James White, Director of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and Professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder gave a talk on Sustainability, abrupt climate change and you. It took place on 7 April.

Crafting sustainable societies is the grand challenge of today and the foreseeable future. This talk will explore how we got to where we are today and highlight the coming challenges, particular, that of abrupt climate change. White will conclude with why facing this challenge may be one of the best things humans ever did to benefit ourselves

See the presentation slides

What you can do to change the climate

The new Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Martin Lidegaard gave a talk on the challenges and possibilities for the political work for a European climate framework towards 2030. Martin Lidegaard is former Minister for Climate, Energy and Building. It took place 20 February.

Professor Katherine Richardson gave an introduction lecture on: Environmental management at the global level: the governance challenge  

See the presentation slides from the talk by Prof. Katherine Richardson

The lecture by Martin Lidegaard and the following Q&A is available as webcast below. The end of Professor Katherine Richardson's talk is included:

Previous lectures - 2013

Sustainable partnerships for global food security

Ruben Echeverría is the the Director General of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

As humanity faces developmental challenges as never before (produce 60% more food with less water and land, changing climate and inadequate global public agriculture and environmental research funding) the presentation focused on the need to strengthen global partnerships to tackle such research for development challenges. Strong Universities such as the University of Copenhagen, the CGIAR and global, regional and national public and private partners should join efforts to address such challenges at a global scale.

This lectures is arranged in collaboration with the UCPH Working Group for Development. Niels Elers Koch, chair for the UCPH Working Group for Development, moderated the talk, which took place on 29 October.

See the presentation slides

Prosperity and sustainability “after the crisis”

As the world faces recession, climate change, inequity and more, Tim Jackson challenged the established economic principles and explored a fundamental restructuring of our financial system so that we might stop feeding the crises and start investing in our future.

Tim Jackson is known worldwide for his report 'Prosperity without growth' and he has been called 'the greeen economist'. He is Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey and Director of the ESRC Research Group on Lifestyles, Values and Environment (RESOLVE).

The lecture took place 23 October in the University Ceremonial Hall and was arranged together with Mandag Morgen, Merkur Andelskasse and kindly supported by the VILLUM FOUNDATION. It was followed by a closed seminar of 60 invited guests representing academia, NGO's and private enterprise.

See the presentation slides

Making Sense of the role of media in shaping awareness and engagement with climate change

Mass media serve vital roles in communication processes between science, policy and the public, and often stitch together perceptions and actions regarding climate change. Many complex factors contribute to how media outlets portray climate change science, politics and policy.

Max T. Boykoff has concentrated his research on interactions between state and non-state actors at the interface of environmental science, policy and practice. His most recent book is called Who Speaks for Climate? Making sense of media reporting on climate change.

Editor-in-chief of Politiken Bo Lidegaard gave his response to this lecture which was moderated by the Prorector of Education Lykke Friis. It took place on 22 October.

See the presentation slides

Can market forces rescue global forest governance?

Ben Cashore. professor at Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University gave a talk on the potential pitfalls and strategies for increasing the use of market mechanisms, focusing on the related cases of forest certification systems.

Cashore argued that stakeholders and government officials must place greater attention not only on the “direct” effects of market mechanisms, but on their synergistic potential to interact with government efforts across multiple scales.

See the presentation slides


Late lessons from early warnings

David Gee, Former Senior Advisor of the European Environment Agency presented highlights from the EEA report "Late lessons from early warnings volume II", which features more than 20 case studies of environmental problems and the interplay between science, problem understandings and public policy-making.

The ‘Late Lessons Project’ illustrates how damaging and costly the misuse or neglect of the precautionary principle can be, using case studies and a synthesis of the lessons to be learned and applied to maximising innovations whilst minimising harms. Deputy Director General Claus Torp from the Danish Ministery of the Environment and Professor Peter Pagh, Faculty of Law discussed the topics presented. It took place on 29 May.

See the presentation slides

Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes: Approaches, Tools and Metrics

Tony Simons is the Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya and active in 24 countries in Africa, Asia and South America, the centre is one of the world´s leading research organisations working to reduce rural poverty and increase food security, by promoting the growth and use of trees on farms. He gave a talk on the 23 May. 

See the Presentation slides

Lidia Brito - Science for Global Sustainability: Challenges and opportunities

Lidia Brito, the Director for Science Policies and Capacity Building of UNESCO, argued for more engagement of research and scientific institutions at national, regional and global level in addressing developmental questions. This will require a more integrated and trans-disciplinary approach to science programmes and new models of governance and engagement with society. The lecture took place on 29 April. 

See the presentation slides


Mohamed Nasheed - How can we build a carbon neutral world economy?

Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed outlined the dangers climate change poses to his low-lying island nation, which stands just 1.5 meters above sea level.

Nasheed argued that the world can choose to defeat climate change by building a carbon neutral global economy. He set out the opportunities clean technologies can bring, and discussed how we can overcome the fossil fuel interests trying to prevent progress. It took place on April 16th. There are no available slides from this lecture.


Jon Day - 'Ecosystem based management – is the Great Barrier Reef really the ‘gold standard?'
Jon Day from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority talked about the Great Barrier Reef as an example of ecosystem based management. Jon Day is Director of Planning, Heritage and Sustainable Funding at the Marine Park. It took place on 13 March.

See the presentation slides

Dr. Pavel Kabat - Systems Science for Policy Support

The Director of the International Institute for Applied Systems
Analysis (IIASA), Dr. Pavel Kabat introduced the work carried out by IIASA and argued that narrowly focused, single-disciplinary science alone cannot adequately underpin policies and solutions to resolve major sustainability challenges. It took place on 11 January.

See the presentation slides

Previous lectures - 2012

Dr. Kaushik Basu - The Global Crisis and the Impact on Emerging Economics
The Chief Economist of the World Bank Dr. Kaushik Basu gave a talk on the economic prospects we have to prepare ourselves for, especially those that will have an impact on emerging economies and vulnerable developing countries. It took place on 29 November.

After seeming to weather the initial shock from the Great Recession well, emerging economies faced a sharp slowdown from 2011, raising interesting questions about the nature of coupling and decoupling of economies.

View the webcast
See the presentation slides

Tim Lenton - Early warning of climate tipping points

Professor Tim Lenton examined the prospects for gaining early warning of approaching climate 'tipping points' and presented new results from analysis of recent observational climate data. Tim Lenton is a professor of Climate Change and Earth System Science at University of Exeter.

’Tipping’ of the Earth system implies that a small change, e.g. in greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere, triggers a strong response in the climate system or in an important ecosystem, changing its current state to a radically different one, in some cases irreversibly.

See the presentation slides 

Mike Hulme - What sort of knowledge for what sort of politics?

Professor Mike Hulme, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia gave his talk: "What sort of knowledge for what sort of politics? Science, sustainability and the challenges of democracy" on 21 June 21. Mike Hulme challenged the current forms of governance based on global knowledge-making through panels like IPCC and IPBES, and posed the questions: 

  • Can the newly established IPBES really make a change simply by filling the gaps of knowledge?
  • Is solving the problems of biodiversity loss and climate change solely dependent on providing politicians with more accurate numbers and predictions?
  • Can we truly govern these problems on a global scale or is it ‘illusions of control’
  • Are we missing out on a key discussion of basic human values when we base intergovernmental platforms on scientific facts and numbers?


The Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Christian Friis Bach:
Rio+20 – green economy and global visions.

The lecture focused on the expectations for UN's conference on sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro, which was held 20-22 June  2012 (Rio+20). The minister also talked about how Denmark will follow up on the visions from Rio, and present the government's plans for green growth, energi and development cooperation. The lecture took place 6 June 2012.


Arctic Conference

An Arctic Conference was arranged by WWF and Sustainability Science Center on the 16 March. When the ice melts, new sailing rutes become available in the north, bringing with it new commercial rutes, available resources and possibilities for turism. This also means challenges for the nature and environment.

  • Gitte Seeberg, secretary general of the Danish branch of the WWF
  • Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal (SF)
  • Martin Breum, Journalist and Author of the book ”Når isen forsvinder”
  • Professor Katherine Richardson, University of Copenhagen
  • Professor Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen, Center for Military Studies, University of Copenhagen
  • John Nordbo, WWF
  • Aqqaluk Lynge, chairman of the pan arctic cooperation, Inuit Circumpolar Council


Michael Grubb - Planetary Economics

The first lecture of the year was with Michael Grubb from Cambridge University giving the lecture: "Planetary Economics: The Three Domains of Sustainable Enery Development". The lecture took place at LIFE in auditorium A1-01.01, Bülowsvej 17 on 18 January.

View the webcast

Previous lectures - 2011

The 8th lecture was with Rajendra K. Pachauri and took place the 19th of December in The ceremonial Hall, Frue Plads 4, from 10-11am. The Chair of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning IPPC gave the lecture: "Is Today's Economic Growth Sustainable?"  See his slides here
Photo: Hasse Ferrold

The 7th lecture was with  Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber , and took place on the 18 November 10 am at "Festauditoriet" at the faculty of Life Sciences. The title of the lecture was:" A Social Contract for Sustainabilty. But What If We Fail? ". Prof. Schellnhuber has a background in theoretical physics. He is Founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He actively serves on numerous german and international panels for scientific policy advice on environment & development matters. Unfortunately, slides form the lecture are not available.

The 6th lecture was by Gerhard Dieterle , who is Forest Advisor for Agriculture and Rural Development in the World Bank. The lecture took place at the Faculty of Life Sciences on the 13 September in Auditorium A 1-04.01, 1st floor, Grønnegårdsvej 7, 1870 Frederiksberg C. See his presentation here.

The fifth lecture was by Nobel prize winner Wangari Maathai with the title: "Environment, Democracy & Peace: A critical link". The lecture was held 6 July in the Ceremonial Hall, Frue Plads, København K

The fourth lecture was given by Dr. Stephen Toope , president at University of British Columbia, which is at the forefront in terms of integrating sustainability into research, education and university operations. The lecture was held at Faculty of Law on the 27 June 2011 in "Annex B", Studiegården 6. Read his inspiring speech here .

The third lecture was by member of the European Commision Connie Hedegaard on 11 March the  from 9:30-10:55 am at the ceremonial hall, Frue Plads. More than 360 guests joined the debate on the EU's role in international climate negotiations and the EU's roadmap towards a more sustainable future. The lecture was arranged in collaboration with European Research at the University of Copenhagen, EURECO. See webcasts from the lecture here . Photo: Hasse Ferrold

The second lecture was by Vice President of Sustainable Development in the World Bank Inger Andersen with the lecture "Greening Development: Movingtowards Rio+20 and beyond".    The lecture was followed by interventions by the following panelists: Vice Dean and professor Katherine Richardson , University of Copenhagen,  Deputy Director General Tony Simons , World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Director Bruce Campbell , Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and State Secretary for Development Policy, Ib Petersen , Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You can find the presentations here . Photo: Hasse Ferrold

Inger Andersens lecture was followed by interventions from:

The lecture series started with Finn Tarp  and Per Pinstrup-Andersen , who gave the lecture "Sustainable Development in a Period of Climate Change" at Faculty of Life Sciences on Monday 31 January 2011.