For too long the left has been allowed to claim ownership of the environment. The right has implicitly accepted that protecting the environment is in opposition to a prosperous and free society. Now, as clean energy becomes competitive with fossil fuels, a new battlefield opens up. The solutions offered by the left are stifling competition and slowing down the uptake of clean energy. Only by releasing a maelstrom of entrepreneurial and competitive activity will the world be able to build a high-performing clean energy system without driving costs to unacceptable levels. And only by leading the process will the right find its natural voice on energy and the environment.
Welcome to Liebreich.com!
Years ago – over a decade now, before blogging was called blogging – the voices told me I had to have my own website, so I built one. But then I got busy, and for the longest time I didn’t post anything. Now, finally, I have got round to relaunching Liebreich.com. I hope you like it!
This is a white paper I published in December 2005 – seven years ago – in which I branded the Kyoto Protocol a failure and described an alternative approach for bringing countries into an accession-based system for emission controls, similar to the largeyly successful Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Under “Accession to GDP Less X%”, all countries would have the same goal: emissions to undershoot GDP growth by the same percentage. With the UNFCCC having essentially run into the sand, we need to look again at new approaches.
“I am Arthur, King of the Guardian Readers. I seek the finest and the bravest knights in the land to join me in building my Clean Energy Camelot. Will you join me?” Musings on UK energy policy, with acknowledgements to Monty Python.
On my last trip through London Heathrow Terminal 5 BAA was (un)wise enough to ask me for feedback on the experience. I so much enjoyed writing down my thoughts that I decided to replicate them here.
Five years ago this week, I published a white paper entitled “How to Save the Planet: Be Nice, Retaliatory, Forgiving and Clear”. In it, I postulated that climate is a prisoner’s dilemma, but one one which will be played repeatedly, not just once. The difference is critical: instead of shooting for an unachievable top-down climate deal, we should focus on accelerating the inevitable emergence of domestic action on climate change. Since then we have seen the failure of Copenhagen, and the emergence of strong national responses. Is it time to look again at the game theory behind climate change?
On 8 September the Mail Online carried an article entitled “Are wind farms saving or killing us? A provocative investigation claims thousands of people are falling sick because they live near them”, by well-known seeker of truth, James Delingpole, known to be “right about everything”. So why did he use a faked photo of a wind farm to make his point?
“Look, matey, I know a dead Protocol when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.” “No, no he’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’! Remarkable bird, the Copenhagen Blue, innit, eh? Beautiful plumage!”. Musings on the Kyoto Protocol, with acknowledgements to Monty Python.
My second academic paper, which has been submitted for peer review, looks at the use of open-source software, open and crowd-sourced data to support the energy planning process, in particular in the developing world. OK, it’s not everyone’s idea of a page-turner, but eight other authors and I thought it was an important topic!
Sunset Credit schemes offer an innovative approach to removing fossil fuel subsidies, avoiding the risk of popular discontent, while at the same time attracting investment for renewable energy and energy efficiency. This White Paper describes an innovative approach to removing fossil fuel subsidies, without triggering popular backlash, while at the same time supporting the introduction of modern renewable energy technologies and building capacity in developing economies.
During this year’s Davos meetings, I made sure to visit the Occupy WEF camp. There I met Curtis Doebbler, professor of law at Webster University in Geneva, Switzerland. At the time I did not know his rather colourful hsitory of anti-americanism. We had an animated and fascinating discussion: he supported the ongoing UNFCCC process, drawing on his knowledgeable of international law; I argued it needed reform, drawing on my knowledge of investment activity in climate solutions. So far so good. What was not good was that he went on to misrepresent my position in a piece entitled “The Emptiness of Davos” in Al Ahram newspaper.