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.
Grist posted the results of a US poll earlier this week showing the popularity of alternative forms of energy. Remarkably, its article is without substance or much commentary, which is why I’m merely pasting in the poll results here.
Three points of interest: First, a Senate bill focused on clean energy (ill defined in the question, but nevertheless pretty clear) is very popular. Second, a drilling bill is also fairly popular. Third, no mention of climate change. Continue reading
If you watched this, read this. But then read this and this and then this. 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.
After Copenhagen, getting the COP to agree on almost anything would have seemed an achievement, so it’s worth taking the outcome of COP 16 in Cancún – reported by many as a ‘deal’ – with a pinch of salt. Of course, not having more than 100 world leaders present probably helped by taking the weight off the UN’s shoulders. But without heads of government, political commitment to the process and its Mexican outcomes cannot be assumed.
Sleep Deprivation is probably playing a part in the somewhat dizzy response that’s emerging from Mexico. The Guardian’s ‘The Deal LIVE‘ is a good example. A more sober assessment of the implications comes from Fred Pearce on the News Scientist’s website. Continue reading