Fixing the Climate: Strategies for an Uncertain World

Wed May 1st 2024, 5:00 - 6:30pm
Event Sponsor
McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society
Humanities Center
424 Santa Teresa Street, Stanford, CA 94305
Levinthal Hall
Experience Type

Stopping climate change will require reinventing today’s energy and industrial systems without falling victim to the same technocratic hubris that caused it. In their book, Fixing the Climate, Charles F. Sabel and David G. Victor propose an experimentalist system of governance and incentives for the incremental but cumulatively transformative redirection of the economy and democracy that allows us to construct a sustainable alternative. Experimentalism uses the very uncertainty that frustrates standard forms of rational decision-making through plans and markets to uncover new possibilities, allowing for the emergence of new coalitions to challenge entrenched interests.  

Experimentalism is thus suited to the long and fraught transition from a world that has become unworkable to a more sustainable one. Evidence is mounting that deliberate redirection of the trajectory of development is achievable. Whether this redirection can be made consensual by subjecting it to widely inclusive and democratic control is an open question that will be addressed in this talk. 

Charles F. Sabel, Maurice T. Moore Professor of Law, Columbia University, and David G. Victor, Professor of Innovation and Public Policy, School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego, will be in conversation with Inês M.L. Azevedo, Associate Professor in the Department of Energy Science & Engineering, Stanford University (moderator) for the 2023-24 Wesson Lecture on Problems of Democracy.

This event is sponsored by the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University. 

Please note that this event is in-person only, and RSVPs are requested to attend. Walk-ins are welcome. There will be a book signing after the event, and books will be available to purchase.

The first 20 undergraduates who check in at the event will receive a free copy of Fixing the Climate at the book signing!

Speaker Bios:

Charles F. Sabel is a professor of law and social science at Columbia Law School. Previously, he was Ford International Professor of Social Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His recent work develops pragmatist ideas into a general conception of democratic experimentalism, with particular attention to regulation, the provision of complex social services, and contracting under uncertainty.

David G. Victor is a professor of innovation and public policy at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego, where he co-directs the campus-wide Deep Decarbonization Initiative (D2I). Victor is an adjunct professor in Climate, Atmospheric Science & Physical Oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and is affiliated with the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department in the School of Engineering. Prior to joining the faculty at UC San Diego, Victor was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he taught energy and environmental law. His research focuses on regulated industries and how regulation affects the operation of major energy markets. Much of his research is at the intersection of climate change science and policy.

Inês M.L. Azevedo (moderator) is an associate professor in the Department of Energy Science & Engineering at Stanford University. She also serves as faculty in the Global Environmental Policy Social Science Division and is an associate professor, by courtesy, in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. She serves as Senior Fellow for the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University and Fellow for the Precourt Institute for Energy (PIE) at Stanford University. She is the co-director of the Bits&Watts Initiative from PIE at Stanford University. She is also Invited Professor with the Nova Business School (Portugal). Azevedo’s research interests focus on how to transition to a sustainable, low-carbon, affordable, and equitable energy system. 

This event will have a videographer and photographer present to document the event. By RSVPing, you consent for your image to be used for Center-related promotions and platforms. If you have any questions, please contact ethics-center [at] (ethics-center[at]stanford[dot]edu)

If you require disability-related accommodation, please contact disability.access [at] (disability[dot]access[at]stanford[dot]edu) as soon as possible or at least 7 business days in advance of the event.

Learn more about the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society.