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AMA: Energy expert discusses global energy, nuclear power and biofuels on Reddit


Headshot of Neil Hirst

Neil Hirst, Senior Policy Fellow at the Grantham Institute, hosted an energy-related Ask Me Anything on Reddit last week.

Reddit is a social news and discussion platform that gives users the opportunity to share content and take part in discussions. An 'Ask Me Anything' (AMA) is a thread of questions posed by Reddit users to whoever is hosting the AMA.

Ask Me Anything has been an eye opener for me. It is terrific to have live responses and direct engagement with readers. Neil Hirst Senior Policy Fellow

A unique way to interact with a broad audience, AMAs have been hosted by a huge range of people – from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, to then President of the United States Barack Obama to Imperial’s Professor Richard Reynolds.

Neil Hirst, formerly a Director of the International Energy Agency and author of The Energy Conundrum, Climate Change, Global Prosperity, and the Tough Decisions We Have to Make, hosted a 2-hour AMA on r/Energy, a Subreddit that focuses on energy-related topics. 

The ‘Energy Conundrum’ 

Neil Hirst sat at his computer to do the AMANeil responded to over 18 questions during the session, with topics ranging from what he thinks the percentage of energy coming from different sources will be in future; to the reasons for Germany expecting to miss its greenhouse gas emission targets; and the accuracy data on China’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

One user asked how to solve the 'energy conundrum' (how can we meet our growing need for affordable and secure energy services while also limiting climate change to acceptable levels), and whether the move to low-carbon energy sector would be achieved by ‘top down’ approach.

"Governments around the world – whether they are formally democracies or not – respond to public pressure," Hirst answered.

"People need to understand the changes that are needed in our own behaviour, closely connected with the way we use energy, and that they can make the biggest difference."

Other topical issues covered included the role of nuclear power and fears of a nuclear meltdown; and the challenges for the aviation and shipping industries of reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases.

Visit the AMA page to read the full transcript.

A unique way to interact with readers

"Ask Me Anything has been an eye opener for me," said Hirst. "It is terrific to have live responses and direct engagement with readers. The questions were penetrating and I hope that participants will agree that we had some useful exchanges."

Read more from Neil Hirst on the Grantham Institute blog.

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Lottie Butler

Lottie Butler
The Grantham Institute for Climate Change


Nuclear-energy, Environment, Energy, Climate-change
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