Monthly Archives: September 2010

Worried floaters

Blogging from the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, Political Climate has picked up on some new polling by YouGov for Policy Network. This  survey was aimed at getting the Labour Party to understand how voters see it, but it also has some interesting insights for the politics of climate change. Continue reading



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A tale of two Milibands

I’ve got a rather provocatively titled piece coming out in the next issue of Political Quarterly, about two different ways of approaching climate change politics put forward by the two Miliband brothers, currently locked in a struggle for the leadership of Britain’s Labour Party. Continue reading


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Monbiot and Climate Politics II

Our letter is published in today’s Guardian newspaper. You can read it here and below:

The Guardian, Letters, 23 September 2010.

Dear Sir

George Monbiot is right to highlight politics as the main blocker to action on climate change (Climate change enlightenment was fun while it lasted. But now it’s dead, 21 September). It’s only a shame it’s taken him and many others so long to recognise what the evidence has been saying for some time.

Climate change is a long-term problem that requires short-term responses. Polls suggest that about two-thirds of people accept the role of humans in changing the climate, but tend not to prioritise it when at the checkout or ballot box. Thus while political and corporate rhetoric has increased in recent years, there have been few costly investments in new technology. Continue reading

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Monbiot and Climate Politics

In Today’s Guardian newspaper in the UK, environmental columnist George Monbiot has seemingly woken up to the politics of climate change – almost. He finishes a lengthy soliloquy to the global climate change negotiations and climate campaigning more generally with the following:

‘All I know is that we must stop dreaming about an institutional response that will never materialise and start facing a political reality we’ve sought to avoid. The conversation starts here.’

The conversation in fact began a while ago, notably over at the Breakthrough Institute in the US and in Anthony Giddens book. Continue reading

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Never Mind The Targets, Feel The Stones

Here’s a post that might equally well be entitled ‘better late than never’; I’ve finally got around to looking at this year’s data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance contained within the UNEP-SEFI global trends report. It’s fascinating and puts in context the last post on this blog which focused on the demise of emissions target-setting.

New investment in sustainable energy globally fell by 7 per cent in 2009, compared to 2008, to a total of $162 billion. This should not cause major concern since levels of investment are highly likely to fluctuate considerably from year-to-year. It’s the average over time that matters and the UNEP report points out that this was still the second highest annual investment in sustainable energy on record.

But it’s the detail rather than the aggregate data that’s of interest. Continue reading


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Targets Debate ‘Largely Irrelevant’ says de Boer

To cries of ‘now you tell us,’ Yvo de Boer, the man perpetually dubbed ‘former UN climate chief’, has reportedly said ‘Discussions about [emissions] targets have become largely irrelevant in the context of the Copenhagen outcome.’ And, has reportedly also said,’ I don’t think that we’re going to see a dramatic increase in the level of ambition.’

His argument is one that will be familiar to regular readers of Countries have made their best offers in the annexes to the Copenhagen Accord and are unlikely to revise upwards until political and economic conditions change. As we pointed out over on the Open Democracy website prior to Copenhagen, targets do not inexorably lead to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (although if there’s a process like the UK’s Climate Change Committee in place, they certainly help). Continue reading


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Can Climate Campaigns Reach 9 Million MPH?

In haste, but because we were recently asked by a climate campaigner friend; can there be a Make Poverty History (MPH) campaign for climate change?

From memory, MPH persuaded its supporters in the UK to take more than 9 million separate actions (please correct us if our memory is errant) in the run up to Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005. These included sending postcards and text messages to leaders, signing petitions and taking part in a succession of campaigning events and protests. Continue reading


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