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After all the talk of energy shortages and black-outs over the past week, I thought it’s time to take a more positive look at the energy policy horizon.  I’ve picked out a couple of highlights that might help us keep the faith through the long nights huddled around candles rubbing flints together: i) London Array – the world’s biggest offshore wind farm – was officially opened today by David Cameron.  It’s only… Read More

As the Energy Bill  hots up this week, it is essential that the government keeps its head and resists calls for a new target of 50gCO2/kWh by 2030.  Here’s how I see it: Why now? – targets that attempt to centrally mandate a rapid scale-up of renewables should not be set until there is more certainty on grid resiliance, energy storage, CCS and demand management. – the problems of the UK’s planning… Read More

It was no lesser authority than Kenny Rogers who revealed in his 1978 country classic that ‘Every gambler knows; the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep’.   It is a logic that has been whispered around card tables and hollered at barn dances from Kent to Kentucky ever since.  But today saw perhaps its most unusual application to date.  Forget the precautionary principle or sustainable… Read More

You don’t need to buy The Daily Mail to get hold of the priceless banter on its opinion pages;  it shouts abuse at you across the newsagent; it bellows out bile from petrol station forecourts; it downloads its distress onto your smartphone.  It’s an addictive dose of comedy, parody and parallel reality.   One editorial column caught my eye recently, included the following line: ‘in the depths of this rapidly worsening economic crisis……this…….. Read More

There is a radical idea doing the rounds. So radical in fact that in years gone by, earlier forms of the idea have brought down governments, destroyed political parties, even brought the country to the brink of civil war. It’s explosive stuff.  Political dynamite. Being too technical to fit into an abusive UKIP tweet means it has passed the local elections by. But if the Kippers only knew it was about a… Read More

Offsetting is not everyone’s preferred form of environmental action.   But when you run the biggest mechanism for generating offsets on the planet, you think you might have bought in. Not so. The UN operates (through the UNFCCC) the largest and most successful offsetting mechanism known as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).  It allows developed world emitters to invest in developing world clean technology projects. This has two positives – reducing the… Read More

Decarbonisation is an ugly, overweight word.  On twitter it is cut to ‘decarb’; like a statutory pasta rationing regime.  But for green groups, it’s the rationing of targets not tagliatelle that is causing stomachs to rumble. Not satisfied with emissions targets for 2050 and 2020, binding carbon budgets, EU renewables targets and global emissions pledges, some environmentalists are demanding another helping of targets.  Or perhaps this is the icing on a layered… Read More

An influential report has provided damning evidence of the Welsh Government’s lack of progress on community energy. Published today, the Second Annual Report of the Climate Change Commission for Wales  highlights the sluggishness of Welsh Government (WG)  to promote or support community action on energy in Wales. Despite optimism around the launch of Community Energy Wales in June 2012 and continued calls for communities to be better engaged in energy generation, today’s report finds… Read More

When cap-and-trade was introduced as the primary policy tool to drive emission reductions in Europe in 2005, it marked something of a policy revolution. From the ancien regime of command-and-control regulation here was something that represented a brave new world of efficient and flexible controls on pollution.  Old rules which had been watered-down, manipulated and evaded by vested interests would be guillotined by the unwavering blade of the EU Commission’s cap. The… Read More

Polling shows that the US public is becoming more concerned about climate change and more inclined to support measures that prevent it.    A recent study by Duke university shows that support for action has increased to the highest level since 2006. Obama is responding to that change in public mood as he delivered a call for Congress to bring a cap-and-trade bill in his state of the union address.  But is federal… Read More