Bryan Walsh’s piece on Al Gore’s reality versus everyone else’s in Time magazine is an excellent precis of the current politics of climate change. He even gets the UK picture about right; the default position for US environmental writers is to assume European climate policy is a done deal. That said, Continue reading
Author Archives: andrewpendleton
One front page does not a crisis make. But the malcontent over climate change policy is growing and, with rising energy prices, can only become worse. Green campaigners shouldn’t be complacent about this because while the science and economics of climate change may largely be settled, the politics are not.
Last week’s Mail splash was a mash-up of two stories, both essentially from the same source; the Global Warming Policy Foundation. One part, which is of less interest, is based on a paper by Lord Andrew Turnbull, an economist and trustee of GWPF who served as Cabinet Secretary during the Blair years. Continue reading
We’ve argued before on this blog that taxing wealth is a defensible approach to raising revenue for vital climate change adaptation. It’s also a potential source of capital to finance investment in the low-carbon economy.
The city of Leipzig has been playing host to the International Transport Forum’s annual summit whose background paper this year focuses on the challenge of meeting the travel needs of a future world population of 9 billion.
This graphic showing the distribution across different income groups of vehicle use in the US caught the eye of a colleague to whom I sent the paper:
It tells two stories. Continue reading
Okay, so it’s not all about how to ‘frame’ climate change to make it more acceptable; the substance of policy matters. For instance, the unfolding debacle in the UK concerning how it meets its carbon targets and whether a renewable energy target is helpful in this regard or a hindrance is not a matter of framing but of raw policy. The debate is however playing out in a political context that could quite easily lead to support for existing policy ebbing away. So as well as addressing the policy challenges, we need to pay close attention to how people are engaged in the debate; if there was a broad concensus on the issue then backsliding would not be an option and progress would be easier (to state the obvious). Continue reading
Dagnabbit, there’s no pleasing you scepticy chaps is there. It’s not enough that people are becoming bored with climate change. They have to be becoming bored with climate change for the right reasons (obv. waking up to the grand conspiracy etc – see comments on Matthew’s recent post).
Are you environmentalists in disguise (as the more ardent fans of my favourite football club often chant, although they substitute ‘environmentalists’ for ‘Derby’)? Greens have been criticised – at least by Matthew and I – for wanting people to take the necessary actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the name of the climate; to forfend Armageddon.
In truth it doesn’t matter. If people are in fact beginning to wonder if the whole oil thing looks a bit iffy and so whack a solar panel on their Wimpy semi then it’s all to the good (even if we do end up paying them for the privilege). Not only do they mitigate a little bit of climate change, but they’re also instant early adopters.
In a topsy-turvy fashion, one could apparently level the same criticism at denialist folk. If people are becoming disgruntled with beardy climate wonks (strokes beard!), it has to be because they’ve seen through the AGW lie and not due to a growing sense that dealing with climate change all looks a bit too tricky and pricey, thank you (is it your zeal I can feel?)
Back in the day when the dominant global negotiation focussed on trade liberalisation rather than climate protection, the then US trade representative (and now World Bank President) Robert Zoellick ruffled European feathers by appearing ambivalent as to the future of the WTO process. Even in 2001, before the ill-fated Doha ‘development’ round of talks was launched, the US made it clear that bilateral or regional agreements would serve the US well in the absence of successful multilateralism.
The unexpected political turbulence in oil-producing Arab states has seen a 70s revival in discussions of an oil price shock . But Jeremy Warner at the Telegraph has done the ‘math’, as he puts it, on likely demand going forward and argues that an inexorable thirst for the black stuff in Asia will effectively lock in a much higher oil price. Continue reading
A number of the essays in Going for Growth, a new book edited by my colleague Will Straw, are well worth reading. Two in particular stand out as being of significance in the climate change debate.
One of us is highly likely to return soon to the issue of innovation and so we’ll set Stian Westlake’s contribution to one side for now. Gerry Holtham’s call for a public vehicle to carry private sector investment into major infrastructure projects will have particular resonance to those currently involved in the Green Investment Bank debate. Continue reading
Presumably, then, to many of those who’ve commented on yesterday’s post and to NEF and others, today’s confirmation of UK 2010 Q4 economic contraction is good news (the graph is from ONS data).
I responded to a piece by Viki Johnson of New Economic Foundation on the China Dialogue website. This is a re-post of my response, which you can also read here:
Yesterday, as part of chinadialogue’s series on well-being economics, Viki Johnson of the new economics foundation argued that endless economic growth is neither possible nor necessary. Here Andrew Pendleton, associate director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr), responds.