Wartime rhetoric, especially harking back to World War II, pervades public discourse in many fields. In the UK, this is currently a device associated particularly with the Brexit ‘debate’. But here and around the world such emotive framing now extends to the climate emergency. Esteemed economist Joseph Stiglitz has referred to the climate crisis as humanity’s Third World War, […]
Policymakers the world over are exploring a range of strategies to mitigate and adapt to greenhouse-gas emissions and manage the unavoidable effects of climate change.
At the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21), representatives agreed to keep any increase in global average temperature within 2°C of pre-industrial levels and also […]
Spring is traditionally the season of regrowth and new hope. And this is certainly the case with the resurgence in efforts this year in Europe to confront the climate crisis. Over a few short weeks in April and May – what I like to call the ‘Climate Spring’ of 2019 – an extraordinary pattern of events converged to swing […]
The UK set its first climate change target back in 1997 under the Kyoto Protocol. With a commitment to reduce emissions by 12.5 per cent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012, the target allowed for incremental decarbonisation efforts as opposed to an economy-wide transition. Nonetheless, the UK managed to reduce its carbon intensity (tonnes of carbon emitted per […]
Frequently described as the ‘the canary in the coalmine’ of global agriculture, wine grapes are exceptionally climatically sensitive and grow at their best only within narrow climatic bands – typically between 13 and 21°C. Warmer climates have brought a larger area of the UK within the ideal climatic range for a number of commercially popular wine grape varieties, including […]
Solar geoengineering (also known as solar radiation management) is a technology in its infancy – and it is controversial. It has the potential to reverse or mitigate some of the global warming caused by greenhouse gases by either releasing cooling particles (for instance sulphur) into the stratosphere, or by modifying clouds over the oceans so that they reflect more […]
Sustainable finance ended 2018 on a high. Never before has so much capital been committed to integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. But financial markets also entered an unnerving cycle. If we are not careful, growing financial turbulence could divert attention away from the urgent need to scale up investment in climate action and sustainable development. Instead of […]
An overarching strategy for sustainable growth is required to address the dual challenges of restoring productivity growth and managing a transition to a low-carbon economy – priorities in both the UK and other G20 countries. Against the backdrop of an uncertain economic climate as the UK recasts its relationship with Europe and the rest of the world, and as […]
The rapid rise of digital communications ushers new opportunities for corporate environmental responsibility. For instance, online conferencing provides alternatives to air travel for meetings of international colleagues, and online form submission and bill payment schemes reduce requisite paper communications between companies and their patrons. Yet mandating that employees or customers use these options can cause resentment by appearing as […]
What types of energy does China finance with its development aid?
China has been steadily intensifying its economic and strategic relations with developing countries in recent years. Through deepening trade ties, large-scale infrastructure financing and its ambitious vision to create ‘seamless connectivity’ through three main infrastructure sectors (energy, transport and information and communications technology) across continents through its Belt and […]
Climate change poses risks to the financial system. Yet our understanding of these risks is still limited. As we explain in a recent paper, central banks and financial regulators could contribute to the development of methodologies and modelling tools for assessing climate-related financial risks. If it becomes clear that these risks are substantial, central banks should consider taking them […]
Climate change poses increasing risks to economic growth and development across the world and particularly in developing countries. A critical issue is the extent to which private actors, and especially businesses, are able to adapt to climate risks. In Africa, the private sector generates two-thirds of the continent’s investment, 75 per cent of its economic output and 90 per […]
Wide access to clean technologies is crucial to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting the increase in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius. This requires considerable technology transfers from North to South as 90 per cent of the increase in global carbon emissions until 2050 is expected to occur in the developing world, while the vast […]
Six of the top 10 emitters of greenhouse gas are developing countries, according to a recent analysis of the World Resources Institute (see Figure 1). At present, developing countries already account for more than half of total annual emissions, and the share will only rise as developing countries grow. Clearly, achieving the global climate targets of the Paris Agreement […]
The government’s post-Brexit customs proposals, published on 15 August, recognised that one of the biggest opportunities for the UK is in trade in services. The second largest exporter of services worldwide, with services accounting for 45 per cent of the country’s exports in 2016, the UK already has a head start on its competitors. Last month Liam Fox, UK Minister for […]
Recent attempts to advance international cooperation have shown the importance of a very well managed negotiation process. While the UN climate change negotiations in Copenhagen ended without official agreement in 2009, they got back on track one year later in Cancún and reached a global deal in Paris in 2015. The largest summit ever at that time, with 120 […]
Why do we observe climate-friendly behaviour?
From an economic perspective, it is particularly hard to explain why people, and countries, engage in pro-environmental behaviour. Even more so when it comes to climate-friendly behaviour. Since its benefits are enjoyed worldwide, regardless of who shoulders its burden, why not simply free riding on the efforts of others?
Yet, people purchase hybrid cars, solar […]
At first glance, this may seem like a trivial question but in the context of the Brazilian Amazon, heavily deforested over the last half-a-century, understanding the links between commodity prices and deforestation is important given ever-increasing demand for beef and dairy products. Tropical forests host critical biodiversity ‘hotspots’ as well as providing a range of important ecosystem services, in […]
On 13 January, the office of the Prime Minister, Theresa May, received a letter signed by 100 members of the climate change research community about the potential threats to, and opportunities for, the UK national interest arising from the recent elections in the United States.
I had signed the letter after becoming concerned by alarming reports of plans that could […]
Strip coal mining, by Stephen Codrington, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic licence
The election on 8 November of Donald Trump as President of the United States has created great uncertainty about future American policies on energy and climate change. President-Elect Trump has in the past made a number of public statements questioning the existence of climate change, even claiming […]