The relationship between science and society is of growing importance. The science says, for example, that we must reduce carbon emissions in order to meet the challenge of climate change. But how societies can do this is another matter.
Richard Green is a social scientist, an economist to be precise. Now the Alan and Sabine Howard Professor of Sustainable Energy Business at Imperial College, London, he was Professor of Energy Economics at the University of Birmingham when he wrote his contribution to The New Optimists.
In it, he reminds us that, if there is one thing that unites economists, it is that people and organisations respond to incentives. Thus if governments can create the right incentives, people and companies will reduce their carbon emissions.
His main research interests are still in the economics and regulation of the electricity industry and energy policy.