The governments of the world are, by and large, well-informed about Climate Change by their trusted scientific advisers and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). However, there is a disconnect between this knowledge and concrete policy action. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has not been successful in achieving control of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions through the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Plus, annual negotiations have not reached a form of an agreement to succeed Kyoto, as evidenced by the inconclusive round of talks in December 2009 in Copenhagen. Suggestions of a way forward include a radical re-think about the formulation of the Kyoto Protocol, and the connection of Climate Change to other global concerns.
Kyoto Isn’t Working
For a period during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the world economy appeared to reach a stable point, whereby Carbon Dioxide emissions per person (per capita) levelled off. Many of the world’s major economies were switching fuels – from coal to Natural Gas. And some heavily industrialised countries were going through revolutionary change, and reducing their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions as a result of the ensuing loss of industrial output.
Policy strategy for controlling risky excess atmospheric greenhouse gas (Gowdy, 2008, Sect. 4; McKibben, 2007, Ch. 1, pp. 19-20; Solomon et al., 2009; Tickell, 2008, Ch. 6, pp. 205-208) mostly derives from the notion that carbon dioxide emissions should be charged for, in order to prevent future emissions; similar to treatment for environmental pollutants (Giddens, 2009, Ch. 6, pp. 149-155; Gore, 2009, Ch. 15 “The True Cost of Carbon”; Pigou, 1932; Tickell, 2008, Ch.4, Box 4.1, pp. 112-116). Underscoring this idea is the evidence that fines, taxes and fees modify behaviour, reigning in the marginal social cost of “externalities” through financial disincentive (Baumol, 1972; Sandmo, 2009; Tol, 2008). However this approach may not enable the high-value, long-term investment required for decarbonisation, which needs adjustments to the economy at scale (CAT, 2010; Hepburn and Stern, 2008, pp. 39-40, Sect. (ii) “The Consequences of Non-marginality”; MacKay, 2008, Ch. 19; Tickell, 2008, Ch. 2, pp. 40-41). Continue reading The Price of Carbon
The news is that there is continuing progress towards a fully Renewable Europe. It is, after all, the only means to ensure a sustainable Economy into the future, given the twin blended threats of Climate Change Carbon Mitigation and Peak Fossil Fuels.
Dr Gregor Czisch’s meisterwerk is being translated into English for publication this Summer :-
You would never know from the plainspeaking title just how exciting this is : seriously cheap Energy and peacemaking collaboration all in one shot !
The management consultants PriceWaterhouseCooper (couldn’t they think of a more speakable name ?), have just published their own view on Europe and North Africa combining to provide a one hundred percent renewable Energy solution :-
Together with a couple of my peers, I’ve been taking a look at BP’s “sustainability”, both from a business point of view and from a Climate Change point of view.
We’ve just given a presentation, of which I offer you a couple of the slides and the script to accompany them.
The central point of issue is : what will BP do after the Gas and Oil are gone ? There may be decades of reasonable hydrocarbons left to exploit, but how will Pension Funds get their return on investment after that ? Where is the future thinking ?
And what about Climate Change ? Retreating from Alternative Energy back into its core business of Oil and Gas means that BP plc will not be able to make substantial cuts in the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of the products that they sell – which means that sooner or later, when Carbon Energy is rationed, their business will start to implode.
A number of prevalent ideological frameworks employed for constructing policy to address Global Warming appear to have faulty foundational analysis and are therefore ineffective in addressing Carbon Dioxide Emissions. Politically implementable options that could lead to effective action to combat Climate Change are being kicked into the long grass at every turn, in policy, in investment and in society.
Reasonable proposals are being made over-complex to implement, or delayed by every means possible. The dominant memes of economics hinder good decision-making; for example, not all natural capital can be valued as a commodity, and yet Carbon markets and Carbon tax regimes are the most ubiquitous proposals.
The cheapest options for efficiency are overlooked for subsidy-attracting large-scale projects; and wholescale sustainability approaches are being discarded in favour of focus on obsessional marginal issues such as recycling.
The imperative to deliberately orient investment towards Low Carbon energy is lost in the haze of planning based on non-solutions such as the renaissance of Nuclear Power and Carbon Capture and Storage in the pursuit of so-called “Clean” Coal.
Not content with having four very similar Planning Applications overturned previously in quiet, suburban Highams Park, London E4, (including one taken to a Public Inquiry), nothing seems to be able to stop Tesco trying again, with a remarkably unchanged plan for a mega-superstore with crowded urban-style blocks of adjacent flats.
Only this time it’s got a “travellator”, you know, the kind of moving walkway normally found at airports, to take you from the ground floor car park atrocity to the first floor store.
This is their attempt to design the plan into our hearts. But not even a brilliant architect can make a catwalk model out of this bloated parasitical plan :-
In his own, special, blond, way, I feel Bjørn Lomborg is as dangerous as Martin Durkin. They both act like incarnations of The Climate Joker in my view, showing different capricious sides to the destructive force of mankind’s inhumanity to man (and beast and tree).
He may prowl like a cat and purr like a cat, and make out he’s soft and sweet in interviews, but Peter Mandelson’s ideological positioning gives him the impression of him more resembling a pawn, an eel or a rat, and gives me a shudder of disgust; and I’m glad to hear the Climate Rush non-Pussycat Dolls have seen fit to pounce on him :-
Heaven knows what Aubrey Meyer must feel like some days.
For every ounce of frustration I feel about the sloth-like pace of the international Climate negotiations, he must feel a pound of nerve-wrecking agitational sweating stress.
The United States of America has been trumpeting its progressive politics again this week, asserting itself as the world’s Climate Change leader at the G8 talks in L’Aquila in Italy. Continue reading No Country for Old Men
Terry Leahy, the CEO of Tesco, the largest supermarket chain in Britain, spoke at the 5th June 2009 conference “The politics of climate change : from economic crisis to business revolution”. His mood was ebullient, it seemed to me.
“We’re going to miss all the targets we set ourselves.” I think he might have been referring to both the Kyoto Protocol and the UK / EU 2020 targets, so I don’t know why he seemed so buoyant about it. Continue reading Mr Tesco Speaks Of Zero