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.
If you can imagine the engine for new, renewable and sustainable Energy systems as a train which should by now be thundering down the tracks, get this : it left the depot only to get stuck in the sidings.
Enough of the locomotive metaphors, already. On to the analysis. Here’s an excerpt from Catherine Mitchell’s fine book “The Political Economy of Sustainable Energy” (2008, 2010) :-
If I had a eurocent for every time a Climate Change denier-sceptic told me that if I really, truly believe that Carbon Dioxide causes Global Warming I should just stop breathing…well, I’d be rich enough now to afford to buy the whole of Belgium, or at least most of economically-depressed Wallonia. Mmm…Waffles.
But seriously, holding your breath in the form of Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) is one of the big flashing signs for the future of ReSmoothing, smoothing Renewable Energy supply, that is.
“Supergrid”. Sounds a bit 1986-ish, really. But it could save Europe from industrial collapse as Carbon restrictions start to bite.
“Sun, wind and wave-powered: Europe unites to build renewable energy ‘supergrid’ : North Sea countries plan vast clean energy project : €30bn scheme could offer weather-proof supply : Alok Jha : guardian.co.uk : Sunday 3 January 2010”
It’s time that we all cared about what is happening to Life on Earth. Nobody in an alien spacecraft is going to come crashing through the clouds to save us with miraculous Energy technologies, or brand new Chemistry that beats the Laws of Physics to capture Carbon Dioxide right out of the air in the amounts we are emitting it.
So I’m talking to some people and someone says that people don’t care about the fact they’re wasting Energy, that people just don’t think.
Even though they know about Global Warming and the risks of dangerous Climate Change, and they know about the connection between burning Fossil Fuels and Global Warming, they just don’t care about how much Energy they’re using.
And I know this is heresy to say so, but I said that people shouldn’t have to think about Energy, that they shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about using Energy. I said that the Energy that is provided to them should be Carbon-free and responsibility-free. People shouldn’t be forced to act against their nature. Energy is effectively free at the moment. It’s way cheap, even cheaper than food for a lot of people. So people use it. People love using Energy.
“Sustainable Development” is a phrase with two distinct meanings.
When people trained in Economics think about what “Sustainable Development” means, they normally assume that Nature’s continuing bounty will sustain our development path. That the pyramid of wealth, the wealth accrual machine and monetary incentives will bring more and more people and material resources into optimal production, and there will be no end to the development of the enrichment of all peoples and the quality of their habitat. Growth is good, for it brings prosperity to all, health, wealth, education, freedom from want and a top-notch built environment.
To be honest, he was taller than I expected, and more Eastern in appeareance, a kind of lanky version of Mehmet behind the deli counter at my local Turkish International Food Emporium.
David Miliband was also considerably thinner than I would have liked, considering he might one day rule the New Labour Party, who might just rule my country again. We wouldn’t want him blown away by the slightest breeze, surely, would we ? He needs feeding in my opinion.
The Claverton Energy Group will be holding its 8th Conference from 23rd to 25th October 2009 at the headquarters of Wessex Water, Claverton Down in Bath, England.
Advances in Energy technologies old and new will be presented amongst a wide-ranging and influential forum of engineers. The focus, as ever, will be the development of new infrastructure, within the context of the urgent need to de-Carbonise Energy supply.
Down at the G20 Climate Camp today, I had the opportunity to meet up with people I know from Climate Change work all over the UK and beyond.
Don’t be tempted to dismiss the Campers as sensationalism-seeking wildcats : we’re talking about a collection of some of the finest Science, Policy and Society minds there are, with a bit of the Press mixed in for good voyeuristic effect.