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Institute of Advanced Study

Life After Oil?

Public Debate

16 March 2011, 5.45-7.15pm

The Calman Learning Centre, Science Site, South Road, DH1 3LE

The UK currently requires 212 million tonnes of oil and equivalents per year to sustain its manufacturing industry, agriculture, transport networks, schools, homes and businesses.  In the context of recent news stories focusing on the environmental damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and pronouncements that the world should be preparing itself for 'Peak Oil' - not so much an issue of oil running out but of global demand for oil to sustain our economies exceeding available supply - should the UK be preparing for a life without oil? 

The Institute of Advanced Study and the Durham Energy Institute have joined forces to address this important issue by bringing together an expert panel of speakers to discuss and debate whether the UK and elsewhere should be moving away from its reliance on fossil fuels for energy production and if so what a future without oil look would like.   What will be the geo-political impact of life after oil? What adaptations are required to reduce our dependency on oil but also continue to meet demand for transport and domestic energy?  What are the alternatives?  But also are we being mis-led - will new technologies be developed in time to allow our dependence on oil to continue but without the negative impact of CO2 emissions?

These questions and many more will be addressed by a panel that includes:

  • Environmentalist and Founding Director of Forum for the Future, Jonathon Porritt;
  • Chief Executive of Scottish and Southern Energy, Ian Marchant;
  • Chief Executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Michael Izza. 

The debate will be chaired by Alistair Buchanan CBE, Chairman of the UK energy regulator, Ofgem.

This public event is free and open to all but registration is essential.  For further information and to register please contact the Institute of Advanced Study

About the Panel

Alistair Buchanan CBE

Alistair Buchanan has been Chief Executive of Ofgem since 2003.  He is also a member of the Business Energy Forum and the UK Energy Research Partnership (UKERP) and previously a Non Executive Director for the state-owned company Scottish Water.  He was appointed CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in December 2008.  In 2010 he joined the Council of Durham University.

He began his career as a Chartered Accountant at KPMG and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.  Since then his working career has been in the financial sector with leading investment banks, as both an award winning analyst and as Head of Research, in London and New York.

Michael Izza

Michael Izza was appointed Chief Executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 2006. Under his leadership the Institute has embarked on an international strategy to promote the role of the profession as a key driver of business and economic confidence across the major capital markets as well as developing economies. 

Michael is a regular media commentator and is responsible for spearheading ICAEW engagement with political and regulatory stakeholders.  Between 2008 - 2009 he was appointed by the UK Treasury to Chair three working groups tasked with identifying valuers for state owned financial services companies.  He was also Chair of a Leading Nations Group which was set up to examine the relative merits of an international financial transactions tax.   

Michael joined the Institute in 2002 as Executive Director of Finance and Operations, becoming Chief Operating Officer in 2004.  Prior to that he worked at Spring Group Plc from 1997 to 2001 where he was Managing Director of several businesses and Group Finance Director.  From 1989 to 1996 he worked for Canadian Company John Labatt Ltd., latterly as Managing Director of the retail arm of the business with responsibility for public houses in the UK. 

He qualified as a chartered accountant in 1986 with Coopers & Lybrand after graduating in law from Durham University where he was also President of the student union. Michael has been a school governor for nine years and is a trustee of a charity.

Ian Marchant

Ian was appointed Chief Executive of Scottish & Southern Energy in 2002, having been Finance Director since 1998. He has worked in the energy industry since 1992, when he joined Southern Electric. He is also: a member of the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy; Chairman of the Scottish Climate Change Business Delivery Group; Chairman of the 2020 Delivery Group; a member of Ofgem's Environmental Advisory Group; a member of the Energy Research Partnership; a non-Executive Director of John Wood plc and Maggie's Cancer Centres; and became Chairman of the Engineering Construction Forum in 2009. Ian is a member of the Nomination Committee, Risk and Trading Committee and is Lead Director for the Environment and Corporate Responsibility.

Jonathan Porritt CBE

Jonathon Porritt, co-founder of Forum for the Future, is an eminent writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development.  Established in 1996, Forum for the Future is now the UK's leading sustainable development charity, with 70 staff and over 100 partner organisations, including some of the world's leading companies. 

In addition, he is co-director of The Prince of Wales's Business and Environment Programme which runs Seminars for senior executives around the world.  He is a non-executive director of Wessex Water, and of Willmott Dixon Holdings.  He is a trustee of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, and is involved in the work of many NGOs and charities as patron, chair or special adviser. 

He was formerly director of Friends of the Earth (1984-90); co-chair of the Green Party (1980-83) of which he is still a member; chairman of UNED-UK (1993-96); chairman of Sustainability South West, the South West Round Table for Sustainable Development (1999-2001); a trustee of WWF UK (1991-2005), a member of the Board of the South West Regional Development Agency (1999-2008). 

He stood down as chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission in July 2009 after nine years providing high-level advice to government ministers. 

His latest books are Capitalism As If The World Matters (Earthscan, revised 2007), Globalism & Regionalism (Black Dog 2008) and Living Within Our Means (Forum for the Future 2009). 

Jonathon received a CBE in January 2000 for services to environmental protection.