9 9
Mar Mar
2022 2022
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Green Feast Seminar 2022

17:30 to 19:00

We are delighted to welcome back to St Hilda’s our alumnus, Rupert Stuart-Smith (Geography, 2016) to give the keynote speech at our 2022 Green Feast Seminar. His talk will focus on the importance of scientific evidence in climate litigation.

Rupert’s keynote will be preceded by presentations by two of our current MCR members:

Marisol Luna Aguero, who is reading for the MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management, will speak on ‘Understanding the role of stakeholders' values for future allocation planning in the Colorado River Delta’

Jalileh Garcia, MSc candidate in Nature, Society, and Environmental Governance, will speak on ‘Understanding Extractive Mining in Honduras and its Implications on Local Communities’.

The seminar promises to give us important impulses to thinking about environmental challenges in relation to policy and policy failures in different local contexts as well as how concepts of justice and processes of litigation can be mobilised in response to questions of sustainability, climate change, and community preservation.

All are welcome. Registration is free but places at this in person event are limited. Register here.

The St Hilda's 'Green Feast' is an annual event to raise awareness of environmental concerns and share ideas about how food consumption can be made more environmentally friendly. We are this year reviving a tradition of holding a Green Feast seminar which precedes the dinner for College members.

Rupert Stuart-Smith
‘How does a glacier end up in court? Climate litigation and the role of scientific evidence’

In 2021, a Dutch court held that Shell must reduce the emissions from its operations worldwide – including those from the oil and gas it sells – by 45% by 2030. Judgements like these could keep the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels alive. This is just one example of the growing number of climate lawsuits filed in recent years as the courts have become an increasingly prominent venue for action on climate change. Lawsuits have challenged inadequate government and corporate climate policies and sought to hold high-emitting companies responsible for their contribution to harms resulting from climate change.

If climate lawsuits are to have the greatest chance of success, they must be grounded in robust scientific evidence. I will discuss the main types of scientific arguments used in climate lawsuits and how recent developments in climate science can improve plaintiffs’ chances in court.

Rupert Stuart-Smith is a DPhil candidate at the University of Oxford where his research focuses on climate change litigation and attributing climate change damages to individual emitters of greenhouse gases, supervised by Professors Friederike Otto and Cameron Hepburn. Rupert's current research also spans sustainable finance and climate and glacier modelling. His recent work has provided evidence to a German court on the impact of climate change on glacial retreat in Peru in the context of ongoing litigation (Lliuya v RWE). His research includes evaluation of corporate emission reduction commitments in the energy sector, in collaboration with the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. Rupert has also worked as a consultant to FILE Foundation and Vivid Economics. He holds a BA in Geography from the University of Oxford. During his time as an undergraduate, Rupert developed an investment strategy aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement with St Hilda’s College, Oxford, the Oxford Martin School and Sarasin & Partners.

Marisol Luna Aguero
‘Understanding the role of stakeholders' values for future allocation planning in the Colorado River Delta’

My project aims to understand the values of water stakeholders of the Colorado River Delta to better prepare for future water allocations in the face of climate change. The Colorado River is a river in crisis due to climate change, anthropogenic drivers, and decades of policies that overallocated the water in the river. There is a great need for decisionmakers to involve all stakeholders and to understand their values in order to develop sustainable and equitable policies.

Jalileh Garcia
‘Understanding Extractive Mining in Honduras and its Implications on Local Communities’

In this project, I consider how the continued extraction of natural resources leads to ecological degradation and exacerbation of climate change impacts in Honduras, a country already highly exposed to climate-related hazards. Though extractivism has been lauded to support ‘economic development’ in the Global South, I argue that its effects can be disastrous – environmentally and socially – to the communities which surround extractive projects.

In this presentation, I will use a political ecology lens, understanding how questions of ecology are deeply enmeshed with the social and political. I will present preliminary evidence on the social, environmental, economic, and cultural impacts of the mining industry in Honduras, particularly focused on the case of a mine in Azacualpa, La Union.

The transnational mine prides itself of being “sustainable,” prioritizing the “country and communities it serves.” Likewise, the government of Honduras has welcomed investments from the extractive industry at large, and the mining industry in particular. Yet, a myriad of injustices have occured in the host and surrounding communities of many mines in the country. As such, I will tackle how questions of justice – distributive, procedural, and recognition – are important concepts to ground research on extractivism, and how this can inform larger questions surrounding sustainability, climate change, and community development.