Alex Meredith

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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

There has been a lot of talk about subsidies for the renewables sector this week, so I thought it might be useful to ponder, for a moment, a world without subsidies. In this world, the energy mix might look different.  But the changes might not be the ones that critics of renewables subsidies would expect. Fossil fuels benefit from a $523bn (2011) global subsidy.  This is 500% more subsidy than the renewables… 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

It has been a tough week for democrats. In Europe, the European Parliament rejected a simple measure to help support the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). In the US, the Senate rejected a simple measure to make gun ownership a little bit more difficult. It is hard to understand either vote – both proposals made sense by every logical measure.  They also attracted support from a broad cross-section of the… 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

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