On 10 May 2017, the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk hosted a public lecture with Professor Hilary Greaves on overpopulation as a driver of climate change.
It is often remarked that the significant drivers of climate change include not only high and rising levels of fossil fuel use per person but also high and rising human population size. The logic behind this remark appears, at first sight, to be simple: climate change is driven by emissions, and total emissions are equal to per-capita emissions multiplied by population, so of course (one might think) higher population will lead to more climate change. Prof Greaves argues that given a proper understanding of the physics of climate change, this simple argument is flawed. A high population may indeed be damaging for reasons related to climate change, but if so, the reasons for this are more subtle; she outlines what they might be.
Prof Greaves' current research focusses on various issues in ethics and includes foundational issues in consequentialism, issues of aggregation, population ethics, effective altruism, the interface between ethics and economics, the analogies between ethics and epistemology, and formal epistemology.