Hywel Williams 20th Nov 2013

On Wednesday 20th November, Dr Hywel Williams, University of Exeter, will give a joint CS4 / Sustainability Science Southampton talk “Games, networks, and climate change”

Building 53 Room 4025, Highfield Campus, 4-5pm. All welcome. Refreshments served after the talk.


The physical science basis of anthropogenic climate change is well established, yet effective political action to prevent its worst impacts has been hard to achieve. Policy depends on popular support, so it is important to understand how opinions are formed and when individuals will cooperate with potentially costly policies to tackle climate change. In this talk, I present results from two ongoing projects that explore different aspects of social action on climate change. The first project uses an experimental economics approach to understand when individuals will cooperate with collective action, framing the climate change issue as a “social dilemma” in which the collective benefits of preventative action conflict with the private costs of participation. In particular, we consider whether the existence of multiple possible solutions (e.g. developing geoengineering alongside mitigation) affects the likelihood of successful collective action. The second project uses data from the Twitter micro-blogging platform to map the social network of individuals who discuss climate change online. This analysis reveals a strongly polarised distribution of attitudes in the online climate debate, which has major implications for opinion formation and how consensus policy support might be achieved. The intellectual linkage between these two approaches lies in the grand challenge of understanding how – or if – large structured populations of self-interested individuals might be persuaded to take action on climate change.


2 thoughts on “Hywel Williams 20th Nov 2013

  1. If the physical science basis of anthropogenic climate change is well established, why did the climate models fail so dismally? Why did they fail to predict the current 17 year standstill? Why is the warmist’s response to this question, always to dodge the question by pointing to earlier warming? Why did some scientists try to bury the inconvenient Medieval Warm Period? Why did some media report the record low 2012 Arctic sea ice, but then ignore the record high 2012 Antarctic sea ice? Why are media scandals like BBC ’28Gate’ suppressed? What is ‘Sustainability Science’? Does it have something to do with the politics of UN Agenda 21, rather than science?

  2. Some interesting questions Bill. I would like to reply to just one if I may: “What is ‘Sustainability Science’?

    Sustainability science is very often a meeting point of different approaches, perspective and tools that assemble in response to a particular issue or challenge. I would recommend you take a look at the Sustainability Science Southampton website: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/sustainability_science that has some details on the teaching and research we do in this area.

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