Climate scepticism and UKIP trends – more than a coincidence?

Nigel FarageI’ve blogged before on my ideas about the importance of seeing climate scepticism as a political phenomenon related to populism. With yesterday’s county council election results now showing a big UKIP vote, today seems an appropriate time to note that the rise in UKIP support correlates pretty well with an increase in scepticism expressed in polls. Continue reading

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Is the Climate Change Act safe?

the_big_ask_logo_200So, the Daily Telegraph has called for the repeal of the 2008 Climate Change Act. A piece of legislation that Tony Blair called revolutionary and Friends of the Earth (who had campaigned for it) called ground-breaking. Our current PM, David Cameron, said that the Act would be remembered long after he’d gone (although acerbic critics might add that that date is fast approaching…). Many environmentalists saw the CCA as a key step, locking the UK into the certainty of a low-carbon future. Even at the time, my view was that it wasn’t that simple, that politics always trumps law.  More to the point, as the American political scientist Eric Patashnik argues in his excellent book, “the passage of a reform law is only the beginning of a political struggle”. I have drawn out the implications of this point for the CCA at length in a recent working paper for the Energy Policy Group at Exeter University. Continue reading

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Do we need a 2030 decarbonisation target for the electricity sector?

Chair of the Climate Change CommitteeThis post also appears on the website of the IGov project at the University of Exeter Energy Policy Group

It’s widely expected that the electricity sector will lead the transition to a low carbon economy in the UK. Producing about 40% of our carbon emissions, electricity generation plays a central role in determining our overall emissions performance. That is why the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said in 2011 that they thought it Continue reading

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Insurance policy

A while back, I picked up on a debate we had with Alex Evans, and particularly the view that weather related disasters in the US and Europe might transform public opinion on climate change. I still take the view that this is unlikely, despite Mayor Bloomberg’s words after Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York earlier this month. I also think that the current flooding in the UK, which is getting worse, is unlikely to have that effect. However, I do think that the floods could have an effect on policy that works through a different route Continue reading

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A sticking plaster for the energy market

Today Political Climate is joined by guest blogger Richard Hoggett, my colleague from the Energy Policy Group at the University of Exeter, assessing this week’s deal on energy tariffs:

This week DECC officials managed to deliver, at least in part, on David Cameron’s surprise announcement in the commons that the government would legislate to force energy companies to put consumers onto their lowest tariff. As ever, the devil will be in the detail, but on the face of it, reducing the complexity in energy tariffs is a good thing. However, Continue reading

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Fixing the energy market – an update

A couple of weeks ago I floated the idea that the state should step back in to the energy retail market and regulate prices. Too radical for mainstream politics? Well apparently the UK public don’t think so. A Populus survey just out shows that 74% of respondents said they would like energy prices regulated by Ofgem.

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Competitiveness and carbon – is it time to engage with trade policy?

It is clear that UK climate policy is in somewhat of a crisis at the moment. In the near future I shall be blogging on the sustainability of and threats to the Climate Change Act. But this post takes a different direction. However, there is a link, in the sense that the position of Osborne and others bearing down on strong unilateral UK climate policy is based on the idea that this will be bad for the competitiveness of UK industries. Continue reading

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