In 2009 we asked Chris Goodall – expert on climate change solutions – to comment on his current work and ideas that have influenced him…

Which of your own ideas have you been thinking about most recently?
Most of us accept the dangerous reality of climate change but find it difficult to do much about it. I’m trying to read more about evolutionary biology and game theory to try to understand better why most societies are completely failing to act.

What idea of someone else has made most impact on you recently?
I suppose I shouldn’t advertise our joint event too strongly, but listening to Mark Lynas talk on ‘global boundaries’ a few weeks ago affected me very strongly. I work mostly on energy and climate change but Mark points out that human society is pushing many other important boundaries as well – water supply, phosphorus availability, loss of biodiversity. Very sobering stuff.

What is the most important book/article of ideas that everyone shouldread and why?
Blair Worden’s The English Civil Wars is a masterly piece of popular history. We should all read it because it shows how preconceptions about past events build up layer by layer in a society until the real truth is completely obscured. It shows the need for continuous reappraisal of what we think is true and why we believe it.

Further information/

Chris Goodall is a world-leading expert on climate change solutions. He writes an environment column in the Independent on Sunday and regularly features onNewsnight and other television shows. His book, How to Live a Low-carbon Life, won the 2007 Clarion award for non-fiction, and he publishes Carbon Commentary, a website providing incisive appraisal of climate issues. His new book is Ten Technologies to Save the Planet. Chris appears at the Bristol Festival of Ideas on 15th May in a panel debate about ‘What Technologies Will Save Us?’. He will be in discussion with environmental experts Jeremy Leggett, Gerry Swarbrick and Mark Lynas.