Digital pebbles

Clarke Mulder Purdie on PR, media and other random topics

Posts Tagged ‘spiked debate’

What will be the impact of the current downturn on business psyche?

Posted by Chris Clarke on June 11, 2009

Green shoots?

Green shoots?

Join the ‘What future for business?’ debate

With many people desperate to seize on today’s headlines that the infamous green shoots of recovery are here, what will be the lasting impact of the downturn?

To explore this question we have launched an online debate on the impact of the global downturn on the future of business.  However, instead of looking solely at the arithmetic and economic impact, which has and will be explored to death, we are exploring its impact on business psyche.  We are looking at what impact the downturn will have on how business people think and make decisions and what it will mean for the way that business is likely to be conducted in the future.

The project launches with a series of online debates where, each week for six weeks, two contributors provide alternative views on different facets of the subject.  Contributors are prominent business executives, media figures and politicians, including David Kern from the British Chamber of Commerce, Paul Mason from BBC Newsnight, Jenny Davey from The Sunday Times, Chris Francis from IBM and more.  Everyone will also be able to have their say by joining the ‘What future for business?’ debate here.

Topics to be discussed include: How gloomy or hopeful should we be?  The role of business psyche?  What can we learn from past experiences?  What do today’s CEOs think?  What do the business leaders of tomorrow think?  What are the implications for tomorrow?

We will also be hosting a live debate at 7pm on 7 July at The Commonwealth Club, where the contributors and audience will continue the discussion face-to-face.

This project is part of our Hothouse Foresight initiative, which is a series of research, debates and events exploring how changes in the economic, social, political, business and media landscape – both locally and globally – are impacting organisations and their stakeholders.

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Nuclear power: what’s the alternative?

Posted by markpratt on July 14, 2008

Nuclear power station

A couple of weeks ago the second seminar in the 2008 Clarke Mulder Purdie Hothouse series, hosted by spiked, took place at RIBA. The subject discussed was ‘Nuclear Power: What’s The Alternative?’

The debate focused on energy options as we seek to overcome reliance on fossil fuels. Offshore turbines and wind farms are often cited as options, but can they really provide more than a fraction of the UK’s energy needs? Video excerpts of the speakers can be viewed by clicking here.

In outlining his implacable opposition to nuclear power Neil Crumpton from Friends of the Earth evoked a recent statement from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which declared that about 1,000 new nuclear stations will be needed around the world to fight climate change and end our global addiction to oil. Crumpton compared this to the conflict in Iraq, claiming the move to nuclear is similarly rushed and would have damaging long-term consequences.

James Woudhuysen, Professor of Forecasting and Innovation at De Montfort University began by visualising the 450,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste which has been produced by nuclear power. This mass is roughly the volume of the RIBA building and Wouhuysen suggested that human ingenuity is a great thing which is surely able to deal with this problem. He labeled Brown’s statements about nuclear power as much to an attempt to satisfy a Green agenda as any firmly held commitment to nuclear power.

Keith Barnham, Emeritus Professor of Physics at Imperial College, London and co-founder of the solar cell manufacturing company, QuantaSol spoke to deflate any nuclear enthusiasm. In response to James Woudhuysen he emphasised the danger of radioactive waste and also suggested there isn’t enough easily extractable uranium in the world to fuel a programme of building 1,000 new nuclear reactors.

Lord O’Neill, Chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) clearly and vociferously rejected this view as he explained that the NIA remains confident that the UK’s nuclear industry will prove capable of building and maintaining new nuclear power stations without government subsidies. Whilst acknowledging that renewables have a role in the energy matrix, he said that in the short and long-term the extensive use of nuclear power is essential.

The fifth speaker Frank Barnaby, Nuclear Issues consultant to the Oxford Research Group put forward that society needed to recognise that climate change is occurring and the world is heating up because of human activity. There are two possible solutions in approaching this problem; either alter society by encouraging less materialism and less consumerism or seek a technological solution via nuclear energy.

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