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Campaigner against global warming in Auckland

24 March 2006

Eminent campaigner against global warming lecturing in Auckland

Eminent geophysicist Professor Lord Ron Oxburgh, a passionate advocate on the dangers of global warming and former oil company head, will give a free public lecture at The University of Auckland next Friday (March 31).

Lord Oxburgh, chairman of Shell in 2004-05, will argue it is imperative that the world begins the “slow and painful process” of reducing its reliance on fossil fuels.

He acknowledges it will not be easy reducing fossil fuel usage because the world’s infrastructure is optimised to cheap energy, but he says it is inevitable as oil and gas become more expensive with fewer and smaller discoveries.

His lecture will also focus on future energy sources like biomaterial-based fuel liquids, dynamic renewable sources enhanced by efficient short-term energy storage techniques, and “clean nuclear” fusion.

Whatever the future holds, he says, it is essential that change begins now as part of the cycle of infrastructure renewal to minimise disruption and cost, beginning with today’s technology and incorporating new technologies as they emerge.

Lord Oxburgh was made a life member of the House of Lords in 1999 for his contribution to science and university administration in Britain. He is credited with Shell Oil becoming one of the first oil companies to acknowledge the threat of climate change and pledge to cut its emissions.

A former Rector of Imperial College London from 1993 to 2001, he has also taught at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and Princeton in the United States. He has been a visiting Professor at Cornell, Stanford and the California Institute of Technology.

At Cambridge, he was head of the Department of Earth Sciences and President of Queen’s College. From 1987 to 1993, he served as Chief Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence, and from 1995-2005 was non-executive director of Shell Transport and Trading PLC. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Foreign Member of the US Academy of Sciences. He has published widely in the areas of plate tectonics, mantle convection, energy and the environment.

His public lecture, 'Energy and Climate Time to Act', will be held on Friday, March 31 at 6pm in Room 1-439 at the Faculty of Engineering, 20 Symonds St, Auckland.


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