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The Madhouse Effect: What is stopping action on climate change?

Michael E Mann on stage at the Sydney Opera House

Even as evidence of climate change becomes more and more obvious, substantive action in Australia has been stalled for some time. In the US, the Trump government is rolling back climate change initiatives and environmental protections as fast as it can. Why is this happening? What are the factors that push governments to inaction or worse? What role can business and the community play? And what needs to shift if we want effective climate change action?

This panel brings together noted scientists and activists to look at these complex questions from a range of perspectives and to share their suggestions for how to break the stalemate.

Emma Alberici (Chair) is the ABC's chief economics correspondent.  Before that she presented the flagship current affairs program Lateline, spent four years as ABC's Europe Correspondent, and was previously the Finance Editor of 7.30. She has a Bachelor of Arts (journalism) and Economics and is the author of three editions of The Small Business Book published by Penguin.

Stephen Lewandowsky is a cognitive scientist who is interested in unravelling  how memory and decision making work. His recent work looks at how misinformation persists and spreads in societies, and in particular, whether or not people accept scientific evidence about issues like climate change and vaccinations. He is a Professor in the School of experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol.

Michael E. Mann  is one of the authors of a key paper that reconstructed the historical climate record and showed, in the ‘hockey-stick graph’ dramatic temperature increases in the 20th century. His ongoing work, and his willingness to speak out about it has made him the target of campaigns to intimidate and discredit him by the fossil-fuel lobby in the US. He is the Director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University and co-founder of the blog RealClimate.

Anna Rose is an Australian author, speaker and environmentalist who works on a number of strategic initiatives to help Australia make progress on climate change and sustainability. She is currently strategic projects director with Farmers for Climate Action, helping catalyse change within the agricultural sector. She is the co- founder of the Youth Climate Coalition and co-starred in an ABC documentary, I Can Change Your Mind on Climate Change. In 2012 she released her first full-length book, Madlands: A Journey to Change the Mind of a Climate Sceptic.