posted by Geoff
on 12th May 2013
Dear Dr Hansen
It is very exciting that you are coming to the London School of Economics to speak at the invitation of Professor Samuel Frankhauser of the Grantham institute for Climate Change. I am writing to you to mention an email exchange we had previously and raise a few other issues.
Briefly I agree with you that a high carbon price is essential. It is probably the most important policy option for combating climate change.
Your carbon fee and green cheque
You have taken the stance that the only politically viable way to distribute the very large revenues from a carbon tax is to send monthly cheques to every citizen. Governments spend none of the tax. This enables you to rename this carbon tax a carbon fee and green cheque.
Your scheme is an earmarked tax which many economists deprecate. I do not. Earmarked taxes are useful policy scenarios.
It would be wonderful if any nation implemented your scheme and I understand why you think your scheme has a better chance of success in the US than one that would involve more government expenditure. This may not be the same in Europe.
posted by Geoff
on 11th May 2013
This was originally posted on the Labour Policy Portal in March 2013. The Labour Policy Portal no longer operates. Thanks to Martin Leah for his help in editing.
A recent poll by YouGov for the Fabian Society found that 73% of respondents believe the way we live now is damaging the planet. Only 14% thought we should leave future generations to fix the problems.
In the Climate Change Act, the UK has “a long-term legally binding framework to tackle the dangers of climate change”. The Act requires that emissions are reduced by at least 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. The Committee on Climate Change say that emissions have fallen by 22% by 2012, which would appear to be on course to keep within the limits set by the Climate Change Act.
However, Sir Robert Watson, Chief Scientific Adviser to Defra, has pointed out that if carbon emissions caused by the manufacture of imported goods and services are counted, then UK emissions have actually risen by 18%. Our consumption from imports is causing carbon emissions, largely in China.
posted by admin
on 12th Jan 2013
The following got lost when posted on Neven’s Sea Ice Blog. It took too much effort to scrap.
it is not at all clear, how high carbon price can global economy endure – actually, the financial crash of 2008 was helped by high oil prices,
What do you mean by “global economy”? It’s perfectly possible to have full employment and a high carbon price. Job creation doesn’t need economic growth but carbon intensive goods and services must be made more expensive and labour intensive goods cheaper.
May I reiterate what I said earlier:
One big problem is that economic models do not disaggregate their labour sectors sensibly. They could then show that a carbon tax recycled into creating employment for the low paid (who are the ones out of work) could create full employment without economic growth.
Since 1968 I have been making similar points and eventually got funding from the European Commission to get a very good economist, Kim Swales, to show that subsidising the labour of the lower paid would create jobs. This was published in 1995 – I had a simpler version published in 1987.
In my proposals the subsidies were matched taxing capital and high paid labour. The modelling showed that the high paid didn’t lose out much because full employment raises GDP.
posted by Geoff
on 2nd Jan 2013
Tim Worstall is a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute. I first heard of the Adam Smith Institute a long time ago when I took an interest in Henry George’s land value tax. The Adam Smith Institute were looking after his papers for the Henry George Foundation.
I still like the idea of taxing the value of land that occurs – not because of the efforts of the owners – but because of the location of surrounding activity. A plot in Park Lane owes its value to it’s location in London next to Mayfair and Hyde Park not to any effort of the land owners. I also like the start of the Adam Smith Institute’s Planning in a free society which considers London as a case study for a “spontaneously planned future”:
Planning policy has proven to be one of the most resilient pillars of the post-war command-and-control state.
… [It has] an unswerving faith in the ability of a bureaucratic planning process to achieve superior outcomes to those achieved in the spontaneous order resulting from voluntary action.
I suppose I like their Planning in a free society for its criticism of some of my bêtes noires of the planning system such as the ridiculous green belt policy, the product of NIMBY self-interest and muddled thinking.
I am uplifted when I read the Adam Smith Institute’s web page Learning About Liberty – the Adam Smith Institute cares about liberty and freedom – just like I think I do. I met some of their people at a conference arranged jointly between the Fabian Society and the Adam Smith Institute (True! But it was a decade or so ago) and came to believe they have a set of principles that they think will make the world a better place.
posted by Geoff
on 30th Dec 2012
I have just received my copy of the latest Fabian Review titled “Green Space”. It has depressed me very greatly. It is not the omen for the New Year that I had hoped for. All the pieces in it are well written and discuss important issues particularly the attitudes of public on green issues. For example
But new polling conducted by YouGov for the Fabian Society and WWP shows a large majority of the public still support the transition to a low-carbon economy as both an economic opportunity and an environmental necessity.
Keith Allott, Head of climate change WWF-UK
This latest polling conﬁrms that the idea of a green economy that can help the planet while also creating jobs and boosting economic growth is no longer a fringe issue to be dismissed as fanciful, or a product of the wishful-thinking left.
Cathy Jamieson, MP for Kilmarnock
Most of the main articles in the review are concerned with this issue and associated ideas – the public are ready to support “green growth” which will create jobs and save the environment. (But do remember Job creation doesn’t need economic growth.)
I think the tone is summed up by the title of an article by the political adviser to Greenpeace: “The foundation of one nation Labour is the place we live, the land upon which we depend, and the climate that surrounds us all, argues Ruth Davis”. Rousing stuff.
Its good that political people are trying to argue for action on climate change to be integrated in mainstream politics but my worry is that it will be too little too late. My problem with the Fabian Green Space is that in the 15000+ words and eight “green” articles there is little awareness of the seriousness of climate change or any recognition that the official line on climate change is disastrously behind real world climate change.
posted by admin
on 16th Dec 2012
When I heard that a draft report of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report had been leaked by a climate skeptic, I had a look at Chapter 9 (Evaluation of Climate Models) to see if the latest versions of their computer models were up to speed on the decline of Arctic sea ice. I wanted to see if the experimental climate scientist was correct when he told me
The trouble with climate modellers is that when there is conflict between their models and the real world, they believe their models.
At the beginning of the leaked draft, it says
There is very high confidence that CMIP5 models realistically simulate the annual cycle of Arctic sea-ice extent, and there is high confidence that they realistically simulate the trend in Arctic sea-ice extent over the past decades.
posted by Geoff
on 9th Dec 2012
Bluesky has posted a response from Connie Hedegaard about the European Commission and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Neven’s Sea Ice Blog. He got a more explicit response than I did.
MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN COMMlSS|ON 29. 11. 2012
Ares (2012) 1245303
Thank you for your E-mail of 22 October 2012 concerning the melting rate of the Arctic sea ice.
The European Commission bases its climate policies on the best available science and on the scientific consensus of experts in the field of climate change. The scientific consensus view on this subject is re?ected in the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Fourth Assessment Report from 2007.
The Fourth Assessment Report (AR) already anticipated that the sea ice extent will reduce in the Arctic at a significant pace and that this may have an effect on the occurrence of extreme events. The recent reports and measurements provide the evidence of what was predicted. The question, though, that requires further scientific clarification in the next IPCC AR, currently under preparation and due in 2014, is whether the pace of sea ice decline in the Arctic is accelerating.
In addition, the Commission is committing increasing resources in communicating the latest developments in climate policy (http://ec.europa.eu/clima/news/index_en.htm), engaging the general public with the campaign “A World You Like in a Climate You Like” (http://world-you-like.europa.eu/en/), and reaching out to the public through social media (facebook, twitter, flickr, pinterest).
This is not credible to me. Perhaps Connie hasn’t seen what Kevin Anderson is saying?
posted by admin
on 7th Dec 2012
Recently (13th November) I listened to the BBC’s program about computer technology, Click with Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson. It was about an experiment in using tablet computers to enable illiterate children to learn.
Children in two remote villages Ethiopia were given tablet computers by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. The children could not read and did not go to school. The solar powered computers were delivered in boxes with no instructions. They were pre-loaded with a small range applications.
The children switched on the computers, powered up the applications and started teaching themselves English. They managed to change the system settings.
OLPC wanted to know if children could learn in the absence teachers and teach themselves how to read. The children learnt quickly and taught each other with no adult intervention.
Ed McMearney from OLPC described how they had “fixed” the setting system on the computers so the children would not make the applications unusable. The settings were also fixed to disable the cameras on the computers so that photographs would not fill up the computer memory. The children managed to work out how to change the system setting and were able to take photographs.
posted by Geoff
on 27th Sep 2012
This is work in progress and may change
A response to a the Call for Sites Consultation
from the City of York Council
This is a submission for sites to be considered for development in York. The key issues concern
- The ownership of land and options on land
- The carbon footprint of new buildings
- The provision of housing that is truly affordable
- The growth of environmentally sustainable economic activity.
The ownership of land and options on land.
I have outlined most of the undeveloped land within the York boundary which avoids clusters of houses because their mixed ownership is likely to promote conflict. (e.g. The houses in a terrace of houses are likely to be owned by several different householders so nearby development would need their views to be taken into account.)
The area outlined in this submission is 15371.3 hectares. At ten homes to the hectare there is room for 153,713 dwellings. This is far in excess of York’s needs.
posted by Geoff
on 25th Aug 2012
The BEEB may be the best we’ve got but they get important issues – like climate change – very wrong. To help them out I’m going to tweet advice to the BEEB (as @GeoffBeacon) and publish the tweets on www.tweetstothebeeb.com. Before the site goes live they will be here.
Tweets to the BEEB
WHYS Myles: Sandy a category 1 not the worst cat 5. ESA: largest Atlantic hurricane on record Explain!
Listened to about the rich keeping climate change off the agenda then tells me @OnePlanetBBC has been scrapped!
could get in by adding Logged here
WHYS Climate attribution …”one for the scholars not for ordinary people”? Scholar Myles Allen?
You better hide Bloomberg story somewhere obscure on your foreign pages Oh! You did.
@rogerharrabin @BBCAmos @davidshukmanbbc Frankenstorm Look for news on Jennifer Saunders – put her in your #BBCbalance
@JeremyLeggett @BBCNewsnight Jennifer Francis never mentioned by #BadBeebClimate EU also problem
@rogerharrabin Frankenstorm. So not too much can be read into “wierd weather”?
@rogerharrabin Jennifer Francis is “getting more attention as the weather careers from one extreme to another.”
@rogerharrabin Scientists saying no weird weather should be bbc-balanced with Jennifer Francis
flood season was in winter – now often in summer but no “long-term trend”. What??
Google news search “food climate site:” shames BBC reporting
The Mail reports Tim Lang on R4 BBC website doesn’t?
Vicki Hird: Climate change is already damaging food production... Ooh! Tuck it away at the end
@BBCAmos @davidshukmanbbc Greenland’s ‘Ice Quakes’ Record More to ignore here
@davidshukmanbbc ‘big melt’ … You may have your facts wrong. See wayne’s comment here
@davidshukmanbbc ‘big melt’ Why the quotes? And don’t mention food security!
@rincon_p Christoffersen knows little about what less sea ice does so ask JF.
Note for Connie Hedegaard, EU Climate Commissioner BEEB! Look too! @BBCAmos @davidshukmanbbc