Environment

  • Permalink Gallery

    Hinkley Point C nuclear station: an expensive solution to a cheap problem

Hinkley Point C nuclear station: an expensive solution to a cheap problem

Colour Scheme, by Mark Robinson, under a CC-BY-NC- 2.0 licence
The UK will soon break ground on its first new nuclear power plant in more than 20 years now that PM Teresa May has signed off on Hinkley. While clearly a political decision, given the involvement of both French and Chinese companies, my colleagues and I at Bloomberg New Energy Finance […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    When enough countries lead by example, they create a tipping point for climate agreements

When enough countries lead by example, they create a tipping point for climate agreements

Avoiding dangerous climate change is one of the most complex problems for international cooperation. It requires overcoming several barriers to collective action and success hinges on widespread cooperation by countries faced with incentives to delay costly mitigation and free-ride on the efforts of others.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has warned that climate change may be “abrupt […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Climate change impacts the economic development of low-income countries

Climate change impacts the economic development of low-income countries

The Earth has warmed on average by about 1 degree Celsius since the late 19th century. Regardless of international commitments to reduce emissions, further substantial warming is now locked in for the next several decades at least. The worst effects of this warming, for societies and economies, will be felt in low-income countries, where livelihoods depend strongly on the […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Euro zone crisis and climate change: Addressing two targets with one instrument

Euro zone crisis and climate change: Addressing two targets with one instrument

The threat of climate change requires a transition of society away from fossil fuels towards renewable energies. Such transition cannot be achieved in a context of economic stagnation. The deplorable state of the European economy is the direct consequence not of the financial crisis of 2008/09, but of the seemingly unsolvable euro zone crisis. This places the long-term challenge […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Africa’s Nile basin countries should invest in rain, not big infrastructure projects

Africa’s Nile basin countries should invest in rain, not big infrastructure projects

Last month the The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) and over 1000 experts gathered in Dar es Salaam during the Africa Water Week to discuss new pathways for development and increased investment in water infrastructure. The challenges are huge; the El Nino of last year showed the exposure of African economies to the vagaries of weather. Climate change […]

How Brexit will affect climate change policy

It is still too early to know all the ways in which the UK’s departure from the European Union will affect the climate change policy of the 28 current Member States, but some things now seem likely if not inevitable.

‘Brexit’ will not be completed for at least two years, particularly as the UK has not yet activated Article 50 […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Environmental disclosure: corporate accountability or greenwashing?

Environmental disclosure: corporate accountability or greenwashing?

Nearly all of the 100 largest companies in Japan, France, and the United Kingdom — and the vast majority of such companies in the United States — issue sustainability reports. These very high reporting rates reflect increasing pressure on companies from stakeholders — including investors, consumers, governments, and civil society — to be more transparent about their environmental impacts.

Does […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    When disaster strikes, who pays for the impacts of climate change?

When disaster strikes, who pays for the impacts of climate change?

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change calls for further emission reductions, more efforts to increase our resilience to climate impacts, and support for those who are affected by a changing climate. Under the heading ‘Loss and Damage’ this third pillar of the international climate architecture has gained prominence over the last few years and is now an official element […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Don’t try to convince your employees to become environmental advocates

Don’t try to convince your employees to become environmental advocates

Improving environmental performance remains a key concern for many organisations, with consumer and NGO expectations regarding sustainability increasing. Whilst much attention has focussed upon adopting new technologies, supply chain innovations and production efficiencies, there has been a growing appreciation of the role that individual employees may play in reducing the environmental impact of an organisation’s activities.

Organisations and academics have […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    As China uses less coal, its emissions of CO2 may be past their peak

As China uses less coal, its emissions of CO2 may be past their peak

Something quite remarkable is happening in China. The country’s coal use grew at more than eight per cent per year between 2000 and 2013. But, in 2014, coal use barely grew at all and then it actually fell by more than three per cent in 2015.

Figure 1: Chinese coal consumption, 1990–2015

Source: China National Bureau of Statistics

This drop in coal consumption […]

How can the wood industry communicate its sustainability?

The efficiency of environmental communication should be built throughout business practices. Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) (www.luke.fi) has studied this issue by interviewing companies in the Nordic woodworking industry and by analysing recent developments in environmental performance measures.

Wood is a renewable raw material, and thus the environmental performance of wood product companies has the potential to give them a […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Subsidies don’t guarantee success for the volatile solar power industry

Subsidies don’t guarantee success for the volatile solar power industry

In my book Emerald Cities, I wrote enthusiastically about the connections that cities were making between sustainability and economic development—transforming building materials suppliers into green building suppliers and producing streetcars and electric vehicles and biodiesel among others. Many of the examples were in renewable energy, particularly photovoltaic (PV) solar panel production.

The story started in Freiburg—one of several cities whose […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Better locations could lead to a 20-50% increase in wind farm profitability

Better locations could lead to a 20-50% increase in wind farm profitability

Wind power is becoming an increasingly important part of the US energy mix, taking up more than four per cent of the total electricity generation as of 2014 and growing by 25.8 per cent annually for the past decade.

But have we been able to put the wind turbines in the right locations? It is widely acknowledged that the economic […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Without a definition of corporate sustainability, how to measure performance?

Without a definition of corporate sustainability, how to measure performance?

BMW is the world’s most sustainable corporation. This is according to the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World index released by Corporate Knights at this year’s World Economic Forum. Last year’s most sustainable corporation, Biogen, was ranked 30th this year. These companies have clearly performed well on a rigorous set of environmental and social criteria, but are […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Cities affected by flood often keep economic activity in the vulnerable areas

Cities affected by flood often keep economic activity in the vulnerable areas

Extreme rainfall during December 2015 resulted in widespread flooding across northern England, Scotland and Ireland. With the costs of this one event potentially exceeding $2 billion, an important policy question is why so many people are hit by flooding, particularly in locations that are repeatedly inundated.

The recent events in the British Isles are just one example of a major […]

It’s time to reform the price of water

One of the first things most students of economics learn is the diamond and water paradox. How can it be that water is free even though life cannot exist without it, while diamonds are expensive although no one dies for lack of diamonds? The answer is that water can be free if its supply is abundant relative to demand. Nevertheless, […]

People first resist but later tend to embrace garbage taxes

People do not like taxes. This is a recurrent fact in many contexts. Sometimes people do not like taxes even though they work just fine. Environmental taxes represent a good example. In most cases, environmental taxes aim at changing behaviour, not raising fiscal revenues. Yet, they are seen with suspicion by the population, and their effectiveness is often challenged.

But sometimes […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The environment and climate change: 10 posts to help you take a stance

The environment and climate change: 10 posts to help you take a stance

♦♦♦
An environmental disaster in Brazil raises highly problematic risk and regulation issues

In this regulatory regime, parent companies are seen as responsible and the federal regulator as weak, writes Martin Lodge

 
Business involvement in climate negotiations has come a long way

But businesses are not yet playing a leading role in the new area of climate cooperation, writes Robert Falkner

 

 

Refining the climate […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    An environmental disaster in Brazil raises highly problematic risk and regulation issues

An environmental disaster in Brazil raises highly problematic risk and regulation issues

The bursting of the dam in Mariana in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais on 5 November 2015 has generated considerable headlines. The dam containing the tailings of the Fundão iron-ore mine caused at least 16 fatalities, displaced hundreds, disrupted water supplies and caused considerable environmental and ecological damage. It also had potential devastating economic and social impacts on […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Business involvement in climate negotiations has come a long way

Business involvement in climate negotiations has come a long way

As the Paris climate summit is nearing its end, an impressive array of global business leaders from around the world have lent their support to a strong climate agreement. Why are the likes of Richard Branson, Ratan Tata and Paul Polman calling for international cooperation on climate change? How serious are their commitments, and what can be done to […]