Beeld bij programma Tipping Points
Beeld bij programma Tipping Points

Tipping Points. Useful or Disturbing?

Monday 16 September 2024, 8 pm - 9:30 pm
Lecture and conversation | Radboud Reflects and Nijmegen School of Management

A global warming of a one and a half degrees and then it's too late. We all know this ecological tipping point or turning point. But scientists have identified more than twenty tipping points, and they all interact. Think for example of water shortages, food security and impacts on the economy. But it's not all doom and gloom: there are also positive tipping points. How are these critical thresholds intertwined? And how should we relate to these tipping points? Do tipping points offer hope and support, or mostly a lot of fear and uncertainty? Come hear systems scientist Sibel Eker and environmental philosopher Marc Davidson explore the tensions and interplay between dozens of tipping points.

1.5 degrees of global warming

If the earth warms by more than 1.5 degrees, irreversible changes for the climate and the world population will result. Once past one and a half degrees, a momentum is set in motion, with multiple processes negatively affecting each other. Consider the melting of the ice caps, the decay of coral reefs in the oceans, and changing oceanic warm water currents. How do we ensure that we make good use of tipping point science? 


One of the biggest challenges in studying tipping points is model uncertainty. Predicting the exact moment when a system reaches a tipping point is difficult, and the consequences of crossing a tipping point are even more difficult to predict. What happens when we pass a tipping point? Does a tipping point imply that there is a moment when control is completely lost? How precise are these tipping points? 

Negative as well as positive tipping points

Not all tipping points are negative. In addition to ecological tipping points on the one side, there are social tipping points on the other. Consider climate protests and social justice campaigns, which can lead to significant changes in legislation, cultural norms and economic systems. How do ecological and social tipping points affect each other? Can these positive changes come quickly enough to prevent ecological disasters? And why is there more focus on negative tipping points than positive ones? 

After their lectures, systems scientist Sibel Eker and environmental philosopher Marc Davidson will discuss the tensions and interplay between the dozens of tipping points. Philosopher Cees Leijenhorst moderates the conversation. Join and ask your own questions as well. 

This programme is held in English. 

About the speakers

Sibel Eker is a systems scientist at Radboud University. She combines systems analysis and engineering, decision sciences and social sciences in her research. She uses systems thinking and uncertainty focus in model-based approaches to problems of climate change and sustainability. 

Marc Davidson is an environmental philosopher at Radboud University. In particular, his research focuses on the moral question of how we should act in light of sustainability and environmental issues. He approaches these questions in a multi- and interdisciplinary way by connecting the field of ethics with knowledge about economics, ecology, psychology and other fields.


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  • € 7,50 for other participants

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Monday 16 September 2024, 8 pm - 9:30 pm
LUX, Nijmegen