The Century of Change: How to manage and profit from the low-carbon transition

LSE masterclass in social science

The third Masterclass for 2017, The Century of Change – How to manage and profit from the low-carbon transition, took place in Madrid from Monday 16 – Wednesday 18 October at the Fundación Ramón Areces.

This Masterclass outlined the key challenges underpinning the likely energy, transport and production revolution which will touch everything from policies, behaviours, institutions and urban settlement patterns.


Monday 16 October 2017
The climate imperative and the challenges of change
Professor Cameron Hepburn, Economics of Sustainability Programme, Oxford Martin School 

Further details

The first day focused on the climate imperative and looked at the urgency and magnitude of the challenge. The session introduced the notion of carbon budgets and highlighted issues associated with potential asset stranding and the need to induce technological innovation, as well as outlined some of the technological options already available. 

It assessed the need for a broader assessment of wealth which better encompasses sustainability in the form not just of physical, human and financial capital, but also intellectual, social and natural capital.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Managing the transition through steering innovation: where to from Paris?
Mr Dimitri Zenghelis, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE

Further details

The second day expanded on some of the tools available to policymakers to manage this transition, exploit co-benefits of action, while avoiding locking in to the wrong infrastructure, institutions and behaviour. 

It focused on the need to align expectations to channel broad innovation into sustainable practices, utilising scale economies and positive feedbacks from technologies, to policies, institutions and behaviours. This can be thought of in terms of natural complementarities between the forms of capital outlined in the first day. 

It noted the challenges associated with changing comparative advantages, shifting competitiveness and barriers within the political economy.  It looked at cities and urban innovation by way of example and used this to form insights into the shift from burden-sharing to opportunity, which paved the road to the successful Paris Climate Change Accord (COP 21). 

Wednesday 18 October 2017
Pricing emissions: putting a price tag on carbon
Dr Luca Taschini, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE

Certificate ceremony and programme close 

Closing Reception

Further details

The final day examined international emissions trading, beginning with a look at market failures, environment externalities and market based instruments. This was followed by a more comparative approach assessing the European Emissions Trading System and carbon pricing around the globe.