Smith’s photo | Brussels Blog

Smith’s photo

posted by on 17th Aug 2019
Reduced version of Smith’s photo

This morning, Smith was sitting next to me in the coffee bar.

I was feeling a bit miserable about the state of the world.

Smith’s lovely photo made it a little better.

Smith. Thank you for letting me share it on my blog.

Find the full version on dropbox.

One small step for York, one giant leap for the World

posted by on 23rd Jul 2019

(On the 50th anniversary of man’s first moon landing.)

Submission to the Public Inquiry on the 2018 York Local Plan

Joking aside, I believe this submission on the York Local Plan can start something of worldwide importance. Worrying climate feedbacks are mentioned in the accompanying document The York Local Plan: Climate Change. These climate feedbacks are eating into the remaining carbon budgets. Keeping to these budgets is one of the few ways to stop climate change becoming completely out of control. These are described in a video on “cascading tipping points” in the video by Paul Beckwith [1].

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Oxford Economics 2: Chasing productivity

posted by on 14th Jul 2019
More productivity needed?

In How robots change the world, Oxford Economics ignored climate change. Their report contains some interesting conclusions about how robots will destroy jobs by replacing workers while creating other jobs by generating economic growth.

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Models of reducing carbon emissions – and negative emissions?

posted by on 11th Jul 2019

Models of reducing carbon emissions

My previous post discussed a recent report from Oxford Economics,which discussed the replacement of workers by robots. It predicted that on average 1.6 workers will lose their jobs for every industrial robot installed.
However, the introduction of robots will generate economic growth and create jobs:

Our study shows that the current wave of robotization tends to boost productivity and economic growth, generating new employment opportunities at a rate comparable to the pace of job destruction.

My post criticised Oxford Economics because their report ignored climate change: To keep to climate targets steep falls in carbon emissions are necessary. This is very unlikely to be possible with continued economic growth.


Recently a graph in a tweet by Greta Thunberg caught my attention

Figure 1

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Oxford Economics 1: Robots and climate

posted by on 26th Jun 2019

I heard the news today on BBC, ITV [1] and followed up online [2].

One interesting story concerned a report by Oxford Economics [3] about how every new industrial robot would destroy 2.2 jobs in poor areas and 1.3 jobs in wealthier areas. Apparently, this will be countered by the increased economic growth that these robots will bring.

However reports in the media did not mention the effects of economic growth on climate change so perhaps Oxford Economics should do some more research.

A start would be to look at the global yearly emissions of CO2 and also at the Keeling Curve showing increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere:

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Topics for enhanced town planning: #6 to #10

posted by on 24th Jun 2019

We must find new ways of living: New pleasant ways of living that do not destroy our planet..

#6 Car-free cities are cheaper

n 1992, Carlo Ripa di Meana was the European Commission Environment Commissioner. He called for cities to be free of cars he said he was ready to become car-less, and so should other city dwellers, to prevent Europe’s cities being choked by the internal combustion engine.

He publicised a study he had commissioned showing that it would cost between 2 and 5 times less to live and work in car-free cities because of the savings people could make in not having cars to buy, park, insure and maintain.

A press release from the European Commission in 1992 said:

Based on these observations, Carlo RIPA di MEANA, the European Environment Commissioner, has had a study carried out on car-free cities in an attempt to find the answer to the following question: Is it possible, and if so to what extent, to conceive of a city which will operate more efficiently than the type of cities we have at present, using alternative means of transport to the private car?

The answer provided by the study is positive, even in purely financial terms: the car-free city costs between two and five times less (the costs varying depending on the population density of the city).

That study may have hastened his exit from the European Commission

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Housing – work in progress

posted by on 14th Jun 2019


This is a summary of a series of posts on housing from my site . When I have the energy and time I will rework these posts.

Personal remaining carbon budget: 64 tonnes CO2e

There is an important consideration that should be a precursor to this series: A representative remaining carbon budget. My judgement is that if humans emit more than 64 tonnes of greenhouse gasses each – measured as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), horrid things will happen.

This is a moral judgement informed by science as explained here. and estimated in #1 of Topics for Enhanced Town Planning.

This post is as an index to previous work and may be of more interest to me than others. The heading of each “Part” is a link to the original article.

Part 1: embodied carbon and climate

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A moral judgement informed by science.

posted by on 14th Jun 2019

A representative personal remaining carbon budget

How much greenhouse gas can you reasonably emit? This is a personal judgement. Your judgement will depend on:

  1.  Your judgment of the consequences of climate change
  2. Whether you believe climate models are accurate
  3.  How you think Earth saving technology will develop
  4.  How much you care about the future
  5.  Whether you think mitigation is a lost cause.

Notes …

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What would the Bank of England do if new housing were cheap?

posted by on 11th Jun 2019

A few years ago I asked Andy Haldane, the Chief Economist at the Bank of England what would happen if there were to be an increased supply of cheap housing. He kindly replied

If additional housing supply was to cause sharp declines in house prices, this might raise concerns about the adequacy of mortgage lenders’ capital positions and hence raise financial stability concerns. Some insurance against this risk is provided by banks’ own credit risk model calibrations and regulatory stress which consider severe levels of stress in the housing market, both of which are used to set banks’ level of capital.

We intend to conduct a further, housing market related stress test of UK banks later this year.

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Topics for enhanced town planning: #1 to #5

posted by on 27th May 2019

We must find new ways of living: New pleasant ways of living that do not destroy Planet A.

This requires a new form of town planning. Today’s town planning may be a starting point but a new, wider discipline is needed to make radical changes to the way we live. The idea was outlined in an earlier post, Enhanced Town Planning

Here are the first five topics for the new discipline. More topics: Topics for enhanced town planning: #6 to #10

#1 A reference target for personal remaining carbon budget: 64 tonnes CO2e

A remaining carbon budget is the quantity of greenhouse gases that can be emitted before a global climate disaster occurs. This note estimates a reference budget: a quantity of emissions to be used as an indicator of the success or failure of the global climate policies.

If we keep within this budget, we are doing well: Exceed it and we are doing badly.

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