2015 Alan Owen Lecture

2015 Professor Alan Owen Lecture

Climate Change: an enabling truth

What hope an adequate response to the global climate problem?
Adjunct Professor Nick Rowley

20 November 2015
ITAMS Building, Innovation Campus, University of Wollongong


Nick Rowley is an Adjunct Professor at the Sydney Democracy Network at the University of Sydney and continues to work internationally on climate change and sustainability. After arriving from the UK, twenty years ago Nick worked with Alan Owen in the NSW Office on Ageing. Their friendship endured until Alan’s final weekend.

For nine years Nick was an advisor to Premier Bob Carr working primarily on the environment, urban development and medical research. He then worked at 10 Downing Street for two years helping guide Prime Minister Tony Blair’s domestic and international policy interventions on climate change and sustainability. Nick helped initiate the seminal Stern Review into the Economics of Climate Change. For the two years prior to the 2009 UN climate meeting in Copenhagen Nick was Strategic Director of the Copenhagen Climate Council; a powerful affiliation of climate scientists, business CEO and policy practitioners brought together to make the case for a more adequate global climate treaty.

About the lecture

Ten years ago Al Gore released his film 'An Inconvenient Truth'. Along with a number of severe climate events, this played a vital role in raising climate change to the top of the public and political agenda.

Nick’s lecture focused on how, although inconvenient for some, as a humanly induced problem, climate change is also an enabling truth. We have the capacity to take the decisions that will reduce the risks from a warmer, more unstable climate.

With the major 2015 Paris Climate Conference (‘COP 21’) taking place a matter of days after the lecture, Nick’s lecture focused on:

  •    What hope is there that there will be a more adequate human response to the risks of climate change?
  •    How should we think about climate change as a political, policy and societal challenge?
  •    What implications might climate change have for human health?
  •    How can one build a more creative, effective and inclusive climate policy agenda in Australia and elsewhere?    

Nick also reflected on his professional and personal relationship with Alan Owen: what he learnt from Alan and has tried to apply.

Adjunct Professor Nick Rowley


Information about previous Professor Alan Owen Lectures is available here.


Last reviewed: 27 September, 2016


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