Options Winter 2021: Kian Mintz-Woo participated in the IIASA Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) in 2018 and is currently a guest researcher in the Equity and Justice Research Group of the Population and Just Societies Program. He is also a permanent lecturer at University College Cork in Ireland.

Portrait of Kian Mintz-Woo © M.Silveri | IIASA

Mintz-Woo researches how to think about policies for just transitions. Mitigating climate change involves large changes in society, but it is important to think through how these changes can occur while respecting both procedural and distributive justice.

“We have to respect the views of different groups in society, including marginalized people, as well as consider the outcomes for those who have most to lose. This builds on work I did on pricing in the benefits
and burdens of climate change. Although the costs of climate change are large, some regions and professions may benefit,” he explains.

Mintz-Woo has been engaging with the public through interviews for newspapers on the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He has also co-authored an opinion about carbon taxes, and written short essays for the Irish national broadcaster RTÉ (including a video interview).

He states, “I think public engagement is important for two reasons. First, many people are concerned about climate change, but few people talk about climate change. By bringing it more into the public domain, we can recognize that we care about it. Second, I think it is important that we communicate science to the public to demonstrate the relevance and value of science.”

By Monika Bauer