The Great Debate UK

Overpopulation is the biggest threat to our climate

Photo

photo-roger – Roger Martin is a former diplomat and leading environmentalist. He is now Chairman of the Optimum Population Trust. Any views expressed are his own -

I’ve been an environmental campaigner for 20 years, and can confidently summarise all our problems as ‘too many people consuming too much stuff.’ But in all those worthy meetings about all those worthy green projects, I’ve noticed that everyone talks about the stuff, like consuming less energy rather than providing more; and no-one talks about the people, the number of consumers.

So in the last 10 years I’ve been increasingly asking colleagues, ‘Can you name a single environmental problem that would not be easier to solve with fewer people, and doesn’t get harder –- and ultimately impossible –- to solve with ever more?’ No-one can. Optimum Population Trust (OPT) Patron Sir David Attenborough recently said he too had never encountered such a problem. Have you?

Here’s an interesting fact. OPT’s YouGov poll in June found, to my surprise and delight, that 70% of us are already aware that population growth here causes serious environmental problems; half of us would like a smaller UK population (England is already the most crowded country in Europe); and only 8% of us actually want any more population growth at all. So why is everyone so nervous of mentioning the P word? Why do our politicians try to “reassure” us that they, at least, are not worried by the prospect of our population rising by 20 more Birminghams in our lifetimes? OPT speaks, seemingly, for a silent majority.

In the fight against climate change, carbon capture is crucial

Photo

chalmers_small- Hannah Chalmers is a postgraduate researcher at the Centre for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey. All views expressed are her own -

This week the International Energy Agency launched a series of detailed technology roadmaps covering 19 technologies that are expected to be important in mitigating the risk of dangerous of climate change. One of these was for carbon capture and storage (CCS).

from Commentaries:

Rethinking carbon diplomacy

Climate change was initially billed in a leading role at the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh. Now it looks set to make the briefest of cameo appearances.

Nonetheless, the gathering offers a crucial chance to recast the talks. The United Nations carbon process is in deep trouble and desperately needs help from the top. If the G20 heads of government want to avoid embarrassment at the Copenhagen Summit, they need to start to steer the talks in a new direction.

We Need a Fresh Approach on Climate Change

Photo

Bjorn Lomborg
- Bjorn Lomborg is adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School. He is the organizer of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, which brings together some of the world’s top economists, including 5 Nobel laureates, to set priorities for the world. The opinions expressed are his own. -

In this blog, I would like to share with you some of the best – and worst – ways to fix climate change. This is important because the Earth is warming up, increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide are contributing to this warming, and humankind is dumping ever-increasing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Government must act on bold promises to UK manufacturers

Photo

radley1- Steve Radley is Director of Policy at EEF, Britain’s manufacturers’ organisation. The views expressed are his own.

This week the index of manufacturing activity in the UK moved into growth territory for the first time in more than a year. While that does not necessarily mean that the recession is over, it does suggest that we should be thinking a bit more about what sort of recovery we are likely to see and how well placed the UK is to meet it.

from UK News:

‘Green’ expert sees red over UK climate pledges

Professor Sir David King, the British government's former top scientific adviser, is no stranger to controversy.

 

He ruffled feathers on both sides of the Atlantic in 2004 when he described climate change as a more serious threat to the world than terrorism.

from The Great Debate:

A new vision for the Summit of the Americas

americas-summit3

-- Jeffrey W. Rubin is professor of history and a research associate at the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University, where he directs the Enduring Reform Project. Emma Sokoloff-Rubin is a Yale undergraduate and an associate editor of The Yale Globalist. The views expressed are their own. --

As leaders of the world's 20 largest economies debated stimulus packages and financial regulation at the G20 in London in early April, policemen kept at bay protesters' calls for attention to inequality, hunger, climate change, and human rights. The leaders talked economic shop as the protesters demanded new visions -- and the disconnect did not offer much hope for addressing the ravages of crisis worldwide.

from The Great Debate:

Democratic divisions stall U.S. cap-and-trade

John Kemp Great DebateProspects for enacting a cap-and-trade program regulating U.S. greenhouse gas emissions later this year have receded following a vote in the Senate exposing deep divisions within the Democratic Party.

On April 1, 26 Democratic senators broke with the majority of their colleagues and both the party's Senate leaders to join all 41 Republicans voting for an amendment to the annual budget resolution forbidding use of the budget reconciliation process to pass climate change legislation involving a cap-and-trade system.

from The Great Debate:

First the stock market, now water

Jonas Minton-- Jonas Minton is Water Policy Advisor for the Planning and Conservation League, an environmental advocacy organization.  Previously he was deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources. The views expressed are his own. --

In many ways, water policy in the Western United States mirrors the economic policies which created our financial catastrophe. Here in the West we’ve seen a massive development boom fueled by unrealistic expectations of ever-increasing supply.

from The Great Debate:

U.S. cap-and-trade choice inferior to carbon tax

John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

President Barack Obama's first budget puts climate change at the heart of the administration's long-term economic plan. But despite the clear theoretical advantages of a simple carbon tax, he seems set to follow the EU and California in opting for a cap-and-trade system.

The budget plan commits the administration to work with Congress on an economy-wide emissions reductions program, based around cap-and-trade.

  •