September 19, 2019: IRES Faculty Seminar with Daniel Steel

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30pm to 1:30pm (every Thursday)

Location: AERL Theatre (room 120), 2202 Main Mall


*** VIEW SEMINAR RECORDING (Audio begins at 8:19min)***

Climate Change and the Collapse of Civilization: How Serious is the Risk?


In his address to the 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2018, renowned nature documentarian Sir David Attenborough warned, “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”  In a similar vein, climate scientist Kevin Anderson, referring to a projection of global mean temperature by 2100 given business as usual, writes, “there is a widespread view that a 4°C future is incompatible with any reasonable characterisation of an organised, equitable and civilised global community.” Yet surprisingly little attention has been devoted to the question of how seriously one should take such warnings. In this lecture, Dr. Steel examines conceptual, epistemic, and moral issues relevant to assessing the risk that climate change might lead to civilization collapse.


Daniel Steel

Associate Professor, School of Population and Public Health


Dr. Steel is Associate Professor in the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics in the School of Population and Public Health. His research focuses on values and science in the context of environmental and public health issues. Dr. Steel is also the author of Philosophy and the Precautionary Principle: Science, Evidence and Environmental Policy (2015 Cambridge University Press). Current research includes SSHRC funded projects on concepts of diversity their relevance to science and public engagement with health policy decisions.