Parallel Session 2.4: Who needs the Anthropocene?

Wednesday, 09:00 - 10:30
04 I Seminarraum I/II

Is the Anthropocene a useful concept in discussions of climate engineering - or of anything else?

The idea that human interactions with the planet are the defining feature of our age is widespread, and widely seen as problematic. We will discuss the usefulness of the idea of the Anthropocene in as interactive a way as possible - people will be strongly encouraged to have something to say.

Convened by: 

Oliver Morton

The Economist
United Kingdom

Oliver Morton writes about scientific and technological change and their effects. He concentrates particularly on the understanding and imagining of planetary processes. 

He is a senior editor at The Economist, responsible for the magazine’s briefings and essays. He was previously Chief News and Features Editor at Nature and editor of Wired UK, and has contributed to a wide range of other publications. He writes on subjects from quantum physics to synthetic biology to moviemaking; his articles have been anthologised and won awards.

He is the author of three books: Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination and the Birth of a World (2002), which was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award; Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet (2007), a book of the year in The Spectator and the Times Literary Supplement; and The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World (2015), longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and shortlisted for the Royal Society Book Prize. In The Sunday Times Bryan Appleyard described it as “ambitious, enthralling and slightly strange”.

He is an honorary professor in Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy at UCL and has a degree in the history and philosophy of science from Cambridge University. He lives with his wife in Greenwich, England, and Asteroid 10716 Olivermorton is named in his honour. 


Mark Lawrence (Advisory Group Chair)

Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam

Prof. Dr. Mark Lawrence is Scientific Director at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS). His primary areas of research are the impacts and mitigation of short-lived, climate-forcing pollutants (SLCPs), and on the potential impacts, uncertainties and risks of climate engineering.

He received his Ph.D. in 1996 in Earth and Atmospheric Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, (USA). His Ph.D. research was mainly conducted at the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry (MPIC) in Mainz.From 2000 until 2005, he led an independent junior research group at the MPIC, and in 2006 he took over the atmospheric modelling group at the MPIC. He received his Habilitation in 2006 at the University of Mainz, where he also served as interim professor for meteorology during 2009-2010, winning the 2010 annual Teaching Award from the State of Rheinland-Pfalz, as well as a University Teaching Award. In 2011 he moved to the IASS, and in 2014 he was appointed as an Honorary Professor at the University of Potsdam.

Prof. Lawrence is author or co-author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications.  He co-coordinated the EU project “MEGAPOLI” (2008-2011) and coordinated the project “EuTRACE” (European Transdisciplinary Assessment of Climate Engineering, 2012-2014). He has served as editor for the journals Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, and Atmospheric Environment, and has served or serves on various international committees, most notably the Scientific Steering Committee of the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry project (IGAC, for which he was co-chair from 2015-2018), the Science Team of the UNEP Atmospheric Brown Clouds project (ABC), and the international Commission on Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Pollution (iCACGP), as well as being a contributing author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report.