Climate change and the economy: what COP26 needs to know

14 October 2021


Climate change and the economy: what COP26 needs to know

Event hosted by University of Cambridge Alumni Festival 2021 on 28 September 2021

With the climate clock ticking, two of Cambridge’s leading economists, Dr Matthew Agarwala and Dr Cristina Peñasco, spoke to CSaP's Executive Director Rob Doubleday, about what leaders at COP26 need to know and do to deliver a clean, green recovery.

Dr Matthew Agarwala and Dr Cristina Peñasco, discussed some of the challenges and opportunities leaders should know, to ensure a sustainable and economic future following the COVID-19 pandemic. Will climate policy increase inequality? Can the public finances support pandemic recovery and climate action simultaneously?

The Alumni Festival brings people together from around the world, to discover the latest fascinating research and reconnect with fellow alumni from the University of Cambridge.

This year’s Alumni Festival took place online with an array of fascinating talks, tours and discussions. The Festival featured over 80 sessions across five days, from Friday 24 September to Tuesday 28 September.


Dr Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala is an economist interested in wealth-based approaches to measuring and delivering sustainability, wellbeing, and productivity. His research is motivated by the belief that 20th century statistics can't capture 21st century progress. Matthew leads the Bennett Institute’s Wealth Economy project, which seeks to transform economic measurement to better reflect sustainability, inequality, and human wellbeing.

Matthew regularly consults for governments and scientific organisations on topics of natural capital, ecosystem services, wellbeing, and sustainability. Beyond Cambridge, Matthew maintains active research networks in Canada, Hong Kong, Germany, USA, Japan, and throughout the UK.

Dr Cristina Peñasco

Cristina Peñasco

Dr Cristina Peñasco is a University Lecturer in Public Policy at the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at the University of Cambridge and the Programme Director of the MPhil in Public Policy. She is an associate researcher at the Bennet Institute and at Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG). Her research lines bring together multidisciplinary research in environmental economics, innovation policy and energy economics in green and energy efficiency technologies, with a focus on the policy instruments enabling the transition to low-carbon economies. She has published prolifically in world-class journals such as Nature Climate Change, The Journal of Cleaner Production, Energy Policy or Business Strategy and the Environment.