Andy Stirling, the STEPS Centre’s co-director, is a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Material World programme today. Our planet provides food, water and energy for its 6.6 billion inhabitants. Science helps us maximise the Earth’s resources, but the world’s natural mechanisms are coming under unprecedented strain.

The BBC’s Quentin Cooper talks to four scientists – including Andy – about the role of science in sustaining and preserving our world.

Now more than ever, scientific expertise needs to be harnessed in order to combat global warming, a challenge that affects us all.

But if science is to provide us with solutions, we also need global political agreement. And we have to recognise that science, especially at the high-tech end, requires a large financial investment from multinational companies.

Quentin discusses these issues with Professor Sir David King, recently retired Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Office of Science and Technology; Professor Chris Whitty from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Professor Richard Davies, Director of the Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems at the University of Durham; and Professor Andy Stirling, Director of Science for The Science & Technology Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex.