Episode 1 / Cameron Hepburn

Building Back Better

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About our Guest /

What makes a green stimulus? What might a better metric for economic performance than GDP look like? Who is the faster cyclist, Michael Liebreich or Cameron Hepburn, Dean of the Smith School at Oxford? Here's the very first episode of Cleaning Up!


Cameron Hepburn is Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Oxford, and Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. He also serves as the Director of the Economics of Sustainability Programme at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, and he chairs Aurora Energy Research. Cameron has degrees in law and engineering from Melbourne University (yes, he’s originally from Australia) as well as a masters and doctorate in economics from Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar (yes, he’s really smart). He has co-founded three businesses and has provided advice on energy and environmental policy to numerous governments around the world, as well as to international institutions including the OECD and the UN.


Cameron’s academic output is so prodigious, it is hard to single any of it out for special mention. However, Michael particularly values his work on National Wealth, an asset-based metric taking into account financial, natural, human and social capital as well as infrastructure and intellectual property, which would be a far better economic proxy for human wellbeing than GDP. Recently, he published a provocative piece on the economics and climate value of potential post-Covid stimulus initiatives, based on interviews with 231 experts, which raised important questions as the world grapples with the question of how to deal simultaneously with the economic wreckage of the Covid-19 pandemic and the slow-burning crisis of climate change.


Finally, for those cyclists among you, Cameron is an avid rider. Last year, Michael challenged him to take on a few Swiss cols. Who was faster? What role did technology play? And when is the rematch?


Watch or listen to Episode 1 of Cleaning Up and find out! During the development of Cleaning Up its working title was Coming Clean. Unfortunately the working title crept into this first episode in a couple of places. Apologies!


Premiered / July 22, 2020


Guest Links / 

  • The Institute for New Economic Thinking at Oxford Martin School: Click here 

  • Will COVID-19 fiscal recovery packages accelerate or retard progress on climate change? Hepburn et al, 2020: Click here

  • National Wealth, What is Missing, Why it Matters. Edited by Kirk Hamilton and Cameron Hepburn, 2017: Click here

Show Transcript /