Environment

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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

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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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

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    Refining the climate science will be essential for firms’ ability to adapt to global warming

Refining the climate science will be essential for firms’ ability to adapt to global warming

“It’s nice for people to talk about two degrees….but we don’t even have the commitments that are going to keep us below four degrees of warming”. Bill Gates, in The Economist.

Even the most optimistic predictions of the outcome of the Conference of Parties in Paris (COP21) still agree that historical emissions have ‘locked in’ 1.5C of global mean temperature […]

Maritime shipping must come to grips with its CO2 emissions

Maritime shipping is the transmission belt for the global economy, carrying 90 percent of global trade. It plays a fundamental role in the growth of the world economy. However, it is also a major contributor to global environmental change through a diversity of issues from oil spills, CO2 and other air emissions, to invasive species, disposal of hazardous material […]

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    New economics of climate change action challenges ‘costly burden’ arguments

New economics of climate change action challenges ‘costly burden’ arguments

As representatives from more than 190 countries gather in Paris to negotiate an international deal to tackle climate change it is timely to reflect on the evolving economic rationale for international climate cooperation.

A central conclusion of the 2006 Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change was that the global costs of failing to act on climate change would […]

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    Investing in a zero carbon economy could help the EU escape secular stagnation

Investing in a zero carbon economy could help the EU escape secular stagnation

What the downward revisions of various forecasts (IMF, OECD, OFCE) presented in early autumn 2015 tell us about the Eurozone is not very comforting. A recovery is underway, but it is both sluggish and fragile. The unemployment rate in the Eurozone is still very high (almost 11 per cent of the labour force in the second quarter), and a sluggish recovery […]

Why Are We Waiting? – Book Review

Why Are We Waiting? The Logic, Urgency and Promise of Tackling Climate Change. Nicholas Stern. MIT Press. 2015.

In 2006, the Stern Review was published. It fast became the most reliable and extensive analysis of the economic repercussions of climate change on human systems. To those working on climate change, Professor Lord Nicholas Stern is a familiar name. He uses […]

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    Zero growth wouldn’t bring the world anywhere near the necessary reduction in CO2 emissions

Zero growth wouldn’t bring the world anywhere near the necessary reduction in CO2 emissions

Could you comment on zero-growth proposals, as opposed to delinking economic activity and greenhouse gas emissions?

“There are some that would argue that we cannot manage climate change unless we stop growing, and I think that’s a mistake. Let me just be slightly numerical to illustrate that. We are emitting as a world 50 or 51 Gigatons a year of […]

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    Growth of emerging markets, new technologies and urbanisation are historic world shifts

Growth of emerging markets, new technologies and urbanisation are historic world shifts

What role do universities play in helping businesses understand the world and where the world is going?

“The world is undergoing fundamental structural change. The balance of economic activity is moving to emerging markets and developing countries, as they have faster growth rates than we’re seeing in the rich countries. It’s moving into towns and cities at an extraordinary rate. […]

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    Tata shows that private governance of adapting for climate change can work – with clearer incentives

Tata shows that private governance of adapting for climate change can work – with clearer incentives

A growing paradigm of ‘engaging the private sector’ is noticeable in all areas of climate risk management and adaptation. Particularly in the face of constrained public budgets and rising adaptation costs, policy makers internationally, nationally as well as locally appear to be increasingly interested in the contribution of the private sector to societal resilience.

However, there is limited empirical investigation […]

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    Why the EU should redouble its efforts to reach full decarbonisation

Why the EU should redouble its efforts to reach full decarbonisation

As the world approaches the Paris climate conference, where it is expected to adopt a new global climate agreement, the European Union is striving to maintain its traditional leadership role on climate change. This leadership seemed to hit a high point in October 2009, when the European Council of Heads of State and Government agreed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) […]

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    Where do multinationals fit in global efforts to adapt to climate change?

Where do multinationals fit in global efforts to adapt to climate change?

Climate change is widely recognized as one of the critical global challenges on the political agenda and is not a new topic for the boardrooms of multinational corporations (MNCs) either. Ahead of the upcoming climate change summit in Paris in December governments and companies are pledging emission reduction targets and are working on new initiatives to lower their carbon […]

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    The world needs to stop relying on linear business models that produce waste

The world needs to stop relying on linear business models that produce waste

The industrial revolution 200 years ago created what we call a linear economy. Ever since, we have been relying on such a model to achieve economic growth, and standards of living have improved significantly. But we pay a high price for it. In this type of “take, make and dispose” economy, companies operate with blinders on and industries function […]

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    The energy sector is changing fast, but is it enough to keep global warming within 2ºC?

The energy sector is changing fast, but is it enough to keep global warming within 2ºC?

“This industry is going through a tremendous transformation. We used to have a pretty good idea of what future needs would be….That world has ended.” – Steve Holliday, CEO National Grid
The way we generate, transport, store and use energy is changing: the centralised system of large emissions-intensive, often state-owned power plants that send electricity to consumers using inflexible tariff […]