Monthly Archives: March 2012

The politics of the sustainable state

Dieter Helm, centre right economist and newly appointed Chair of the Natural Capital Committee has just produced an interesting new essay (hat tip to Matthew Spencer). His approach draws a lot on the work of people like Kenneth Arrow and Partha Dasgupta who have argued for the need to measure the “assets” of the natural world (including a safe atmosphere and biodiversity). What is new is his argument that maintaining these assets should be the primary aim of the state in the 21st century. Continue reading

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Of gas and gasoline

Couple of items tonight:

1. As new boy in DECC, Ed Davey seems to have been ambushed by the gas industry, with a ruling allowing new gas power plants to emit up to 450 gCO2/kWh out to 2045. This move will mean that there will be no requirement to fit carbon capture and storage. Someone should tell the Climate Change Committee, who say that average emissions from electricity generation need to be 50 gCO2/kWh by 2030 to meet the 4th carbon budget. The DECC press release unusually quotes George Osborne, so either Davey has already given in to the Treasury within a few weeks, in a way that Chris Huhne managed to avoid for almost 2 years, or else he has done some clever deal in the budget.

2. The strength of public sentiment on fuel tax remains very, very strong. Anthony Wells over at ukpollingreport reports on a YouGov Sunday Times poll:

Unsurprisingly the overwhelming majority of people (77%) would support a decrease in the level of fuel duty. There is still a substantial majority in favour when YouGov asked people to balance the competing priorities of cutting the deficit or cutting fuel duty – 59% think it is more important to cut fuel duty compared to 20% who think it is more important to cut the deficit.

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