Last week saw a pitched battle outside Indonesia’s parliament building, with water cannons and tear gas deployed on 10,000 protestors. The reason? Proposals from the government to cut Continue reading
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
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.
The Durban climate summit produced a surprise (or at least a surprise for natural pessimists like me…). A consensus agreement has been reached to open a new phase of negotiations, to be finished by 2015 at the latest, with targets for all countries kicking in from 2020. Given initial positions of the most powerful actors, this outcome looks Continue reading
Amongst all the coverage in the build up to Durban last week, I noticed a rather odd-looking story from Fiona Harvey (previously at the Financial Times, now in the green corner at The Guardian) on “government research” claiming that UK carbon-cutting targets would be exceeded. The piece said that a new report claimed that the UK would “over-achieve on its carbon-cutting targets” and that “Since 1990, the UK’s carbon emissions have dropped by a quarter.” This is not Continue reading