Azara Blog: Yet another policy proposal on climate change

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Date published: 2009/07/08

The BBC says:

An international group of academics is urging world leaders to abandon their current policies on climate change.

The authors of How to Get Climate Policy Back on Course say the strategy based on overall emissions cuts has failed and will continue to fail.

They want G8 nations and emerging economies to focus on an approach based on improving energy efficiency and decarbonising energy supply.

Critics of the report's recommendations say they are a dangerous diversion.

Emissions targets are not ideal. First of all, the current thinking is that the alleged real target should be an integration of global emissions over all history, and none of the emissions targets discussed really get that close to this. So, under the Kyoto Treaty, for example, the EU can perfectly well let China create goods, and so emit greenhouse gases, on its behalf, so it's just a transfer of emissions from one party to another.

To achieve the ideal would require a global carbon tax. (The alternative, cap-and-trade, is far from ideal because billions of pounds end up in the pockets of bankers, lawyers, traders and corporations for no reason.) One effect of a global carbon tax would be an improvement in energy efficiency and a decarbonising of the energy supply.

If implemented correctly, a global carbon tax could also naturally lead to a decrease in human population, which is another, rarely discussed, way to reduce emissions. Unfortunately pretty nearly all governments of the world deem it in their self-interest to increase their own population. The so-called environmentalists do not help on this score because they like focussing on per capita emissions rather than global emissions. (They do this because they want to claim that the citizens of their own countries are far too rich. Excepting themselves, of course.)

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