Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More news, boys (and girls)!

The letters section of the Guardian opens with the headline ‘Lack of political will hinders a climate bailout’, picking up Caroline Lucas’s (MP Green Party) message in her letter. She takes issue with the Guardian’s view (article on 30 May) that policy makers are out of solutions for slowing this process. In her view, it is the lack of political will, a ‘shocking absence’ of political will.
But has it escaped her attention that the UK, together with Germany, has produced the most ambitious political targets for climate mitigation? She wants to see a ‘war footing’ to speed up individuals, organizations and government, and ‘harness them together’. This rhetoric is resonant of the debate about green dictatorship we have in the German press at the moment, and here on the blog.

Two more letters see the solution in an appropriate high carbon price to lead us onto the clean energy path. Less central government cajoling and more reliance on the silent force of economic relations. The problem with this approach is that high carbon prices will impinge on economic growth and not necessarily have an impact on individuals’ behaviour because their lives depend on electricity and fuel. If anything, further price hikes will alienate citizens from climate policies.
Recent news that CO2 emissions have grown despite the economic downturn shows the size of the problem, especially if we take into account political efforts to drive emissions down, such as the UK Climate Change Act or the Europeans Emissions Trading Scheme. The CO2 data reveal the essential failure of current policies. Policy makers really are out of solutions to slow the process.
Time to look at alternatives, see here.