by Andrew Genskow 2014-11-20
DEMAND Centre Travels to NCCU
This past Thursday the DEMAND Centre, a collaborative research project based out of Lancaster University in England, traveled to NCCU to offer students a chance to engage in a seminar concerning climate change, social practices, and how the two phenomena have closer ties than one might expect.
Professor Gordon Walker, co-director of DEMAND, began with his presentation “Climate Change and the Dynamics of Energy Demand: Why It Matters What Energy Is For.” His speech touched on a number of subjects related to the project’s goals. Namely, how the media’s attention to climate change has drastically increased over the years, how our daily lives can collectively affect the environment, what are considered essential and non-essential uses for energy, and how energy may be used in the future.
The centre has taken an innovate stance in confronting the problems of energy usage. They propose taking a multidisciplinary approach to tackling social norms that not only shape our lives, but the environment around us. One significant instance Professor Walker touched upon was lighting in the UK, noting that the number of lights in a UK home has doubled in the last decade. Another was the recent surge of air-conditioning units in offices in the UK, which used to be virtually nonexistent. The numbers speak volumes and provide a good example of how curbing social norms can seriously improve our response to climate change.
After the presentation, Professor Walker invited questions from students and faculty. He also encouraged participants to offer insight from their own contact with climate change policy and implementation in their home countries. He included his colleagues in the forum, Dr. Rosie Day, based out of the University of Birmingham, Dr. Neil Simcock and Dr. Allison Hui, also hailing from Lancaster University. The professors aided in the back-and-forth and provided some perspective from their own
erresearch and experience with DEMAND.
With five years of funding on hand (2013-2018) the project still has much ground to cover. The centre is currently funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), with support from ECLEER (Energy de France Research & Development), Transport for London and the International Energy Agency. After gathering a bit of international perspective it will be exciting to see what future research ideas the seminar spurred in NCCU students, and what strides DEMAND makes in the coming years.