Recent protests on environmental issues are increasing awareness of the need to urgently change what is produced and consumed. But shifting the direction of the economy will only happen if the vested interests who benefit from business as usual are weakened. Dario Kenner will discuss the role of the polluter elite, the people who run oil and gas multinationals responsible for large-scale greenhouse gas emissions. He will show how they have blocked the transition away from fossil fuels in the UK and the US over the past few decades. At a time of high inequality in both countries it is pertinent to assess the growing power of this polluter elite, and the prospects for it to be countered by public pressure from groups such as the youth climate strikers and Extinction Rebellion. He will argue that there will be no transition away from fossil fuels unless the polluter elite are undermined economically, politically and morally.
Dario Kenner is the author of Carbon Inequality. He created the polluter elite database which quantifies personal investment emissions from shareholdings in multinational companies responsible for large-scale greenhouse gas emissions.
Respondent: Tina Fawcett is a Senior Researcher at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, UK. She leads the policy and governance research at the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions. She is interested in the links between inequality and reducing energy demand.