Monthly Archives: January 2010

State of the Climate Bill

Prior to Copenhagen, advocates of the US cap and trade legislation were arguing that although its ambition was likely to be low, the best strategy was to get it through the Senate and then aim to strengthen it.

The chances of passing a US climate bill with an economy wide emissions cap this year, however modest, now appear to be fading. Senator Lindsey Graham, the Republican sponsor of the bill who as such is critical to its success, was quoted in the New York Times as saying ‘Realistically, the cap-and-trade bills in the House and the Senate are going nowhere.’ Mr Graham believes that Americans favour a focus on jobs, either from clean energy or new oil exploitation, over a punitive emissions cap that forces up energy prices.

On Monday, we posted about two new opinion polls; they suggest Senator Graham may be correct, although others disagree and hold firm to the view that President Obama will use his State of the Union address to underline his commitment to a fully fledged climate bill. Continue reading


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Plus ça change…

There’s a new growth business – no growth. Tim Jackson’s Propserity without Growth is the text of the moment, and the New Economics Foundation has a new report out today on why Growth is Impossible (we’ll be blogging on these over the next few days and weeks, so watch this space for our analysis of where they are right and where they go wrong). 

President Sarkozy of France has added to the mix, last week launching a new sustainable development barometer. Sarkozy, you may remember, commissioned prominent economists Amartya Sen and Joe Stiglitz to look beyond GDP growth and advise on other ways of measuring human progress.  According to reports, the barometer will be used “to inform the French government, parliament, local authorities, businesses, NGOs and citizens about sustainable economic development and environmental pressures in a drive to support initiatives that boost sustainable behaviour”. The indicators included range hugely, from unemployment to the evolution of bird populations, from the carbon footprint of France’s imports to the suicide rate.

If any of this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Continue reading

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Just Don’t Mention the Climate

A recent poll conducted by Frank Luntz, a political adviser more often associated with the US Republican Party and Fox News, further confirms the view that voters respond better to climate change policy if it isn’t framed in environmental terms.

In Luntz’s poll skepticism about global warming is again found to be less significant than resistance to environmentalism. So while 80 per cent of democrats and 43 per cent of Republicans are either definite or pretty sure climate change is at least in part human induced, they reject the idea of ‘sustainability’ in favour of ‘cleaner’, ‘healthier’ and ‘safer’ and ‘green’ jobs in favour of ‘American’ jobs. Continue reading


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Accord Appears Dead Before Departure


There’s a useful spreadsheet on CAN US’s website for keen followers of who’s in and who’s out of the Copenhagen Accord process. The 31 January deadline for sign on now appears to have been shelved.

Brazil, South Africa and South Korea are the only countries so far to have filled in the box on reductions committed; predictably each has put in the same target they were pledging before or during Copenhagen. Continue reading

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The American People – climate sceptics or climate policy supporters?

A new poll from the Brookings Institution has caused some anguish amongst environmentalists, as it shows evidence of an increase in climate scepticism in the US in the wake of the Climategate controversy. In fact, things are not that bad – the proportion who think there is no solid evidence for warming has increased by only 3 percentage points. Despite their depiction in Europe as anti-scientific irrational nuts, a good two-thirds of Americans still do accept the science, according to the survey – surely a comfortable majority.

In contrast with this small movement, the big numbers in the Brookings study are actually about support for climate policies. Continue reading

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A Very Peculiar Accord

Political Climate is limbering up just as the very odd Copenhagen Accord process is reaching its first milestone; the listing of countries that wish to associate themselves with it and the filling in of the curiously sparse appendixes I and II, due by 31 January 2010.

Remember that the Accord was drafted by Brazil, China, India, South Africa and the US in the final hours of the Copenhagen summit in December and agreed by a wider group of big economic players only to be downgraded in the final plenary session due to the objections of a collection of awkward squad and anti US countries. Continue reading


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