Monthly Archives: January 2011
We were recently challenged on the question of how inequality can be reduced at the same time as the transition to a low carbon economy can be managed. We agree that both need to be addressed at simultaneously, since sharp inequality makes the politics of climate policy much more difficult.
My starting point is to argue that we first need to understand what is driving inequality. At the top end, it is clearly about the rise of finance, but in a recent pamphlet co-authoured with Adam Lent, I lay out the case that in much of the economy it is innovation that is the main mechanism. Continue reading
The transition to a low carbon economy is a transition, so indicators of change like investor confidence are a litmus test of the direction of travel. Sadly, news just in from an Ernst and Young survey of 529 UK- based firms and financiers shows such confidence sharply down since the Comprehensive Spending Review Continue reading
Just a quick one to say how delighted we were to learn of the excellent (and excellently named) Climate Sock, which tracks and offers comment on polling about climate change and climate policies. Check it out! (Hat tip to Will Straw)
We set up Political Climate almost exactly a year ago, with our first post on the Copenhagen Accord. It’s been a bit tough at times balancing the blog with family life, and there have been a few times when we went a bit quiet, but we managed the keep the show on the road! We’ve really enjoyed writing the blog and we hope you have enjoyed (or at least been stimulated by) reading it, and hope you’ll stay with us over the next year.
Matthew and Andrew
PS Thanks to Laurence Chiles for handling the CSS
One of the big puzzles about climate policy is that, according to most studies, reducing emissions, even by a large proportion, appears to cost very little, but despite this, the politics are hard. Why is this? One reason may have to do with the difference between how costs are typically expressed in such studies on the one hand and how people actually experience them on the other. Continue reading
This thought-provoking FT Leader heralds the demise of technocracy in the face of harder economic times. It has, as all things thought-provoking should, got us thinking.
The elite that the FT Leader argues is now feeling the heat of populist indignation under its feet has been at the forefront of arguing for action to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The evidence from the science and economics of climate change is on their side. But climate policy threatens to harm many people’s already hard-pressed interests.
‘The people are complaining loudly’ argues the FT. ‘Elites must both listen and respond.’
There are at least two ways in which this might play out for climate change. First, the implementation of technocratically defensible climate objectives may become tougher and tougher as people rail against wider hardships and the impositions of elites.
Second – and highlighted brilliantly by Andrew Revkin in the New York Times – rather than becoming embroiled in denialism, climate progress might simply be trampled underfoot as people scramble around more immediate concerns or be drowned out by the surround sound of populism.
Either way, the climatocracy that has emerged in recent years may be under threat if, as the FT suggests, people in moribund economies look to assert their will and bring down incumbents.