Stuart Macdonald 04 April 2010
Recent allegations that scientists at the Climate Research Unit have hidden and manipulated data has caused a media storm. This column argues that the practices alleged in “climategate” may be more common in academia than we think.
Are academics telling porkies? Are drugs really less dangerous than horse-riding? Are Himalayan glaciers really melting? Politicians are beginning to wonder – which can do little for their faith in evidence-based policy.
Of course, academics never could give straight answers to such questions. Modulation is inherent in any answer and is amplified by transfer to the political arena, which should hardly shock politicians.
Environment Frontiers of economic research
climate change, Copenhagen, academia
Long live the Kyoto Protocol
Richard S J Tol 23 January 2010
Most feel the Copenhagen summit on climate change failed. This column argues for a “plan B” – to go back to Kyoto. The Kyoto Protocol has the tools needed for international policy. Future negotiations should focus on refining existing agreements instead of trying to impress voters at home.
The 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which met last month in Copenhagen, is widely considered to have failed. After two weeks, negotiators returned home with vague pledges and unfinished drafts. The only firm commitment is to meet again in another year.
Kyoto Protocol, climate change, Copenhagen
Two good news from Copenhagen?
Carlo Carraro, Emanuele Massetti 15 January 2010
Are the commitments from Copenhagen enough? The bad news is that the answer is “no”. This column examines the informal targets and the agreement to allocate funding to mitigate climate change. The good news is that this funding has the potential to at least reduce the gap between targets and reality.
As many analysts predicted, the Copenhagen summit held in December 2009 did not achieve the lofty goals that were set for it years ago. It failed to produce a legally binding agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol after 2012 (Stravins 2009, Doniger 2009). But it did make progress.
Indeed, a realistic assessment must admit that the outcome of the summit could have not been different. Hopes for a more ambitious result were not based on the reality on the ground. There are three insurmountable obstacles:
Copenhagen, Global climate cooperation
Identifying a fair deal on climate change
Nancy Birdsall, Arvind Subramanian, Dan Hammer 14 December 2009
Over a billion people live without basic electricity. This column calculates the emissions required to make basic energy services available to all and to grant developing countries’ citizens future access to energy services equal to those enjoyed by rich countries’ citizens at comparable stages of development. These calculations imply some very stark, very different implications for burden sharing. Moreover, they mean that meeting aggregate global emissions targets without sacrificing developing countries basic energy needs will require revolutionary improvements in the technology.
What constitutes a fair deal between the developed and developing countries on climate change – including for example between the US on the one hand and China and India on the other? In the academic and policy literature, the answer to this question is emissions-focussed and mostly arbitrary.
climate change, Copenhagen, climate justice
Kick-starting the green innovation machine
Reinhilde Veugelers, Philippe Aghion, David Hemous 09 December 2009
Mitigating climate change while maintaining economic growth will require a wide portfolio of technologies. This column says too little has been done to turn on the “green innovation machine”. It says governments in developed economies should price carbon, subsidise research, and facilitate technology transfer to developing countries.
The reality of climate change is no longer a contentious issue. The debate concerns the growth consequences of climate-change containment. Economists have not tackled this debate very well, largely disregarding the innovation factor by ignoring the fact that the portfolio of technologies available tomorrow to adapt to and mitigate climate change depends on what is done today.
climate change, innovation, Copenhagen