Energy Policy: Open source software and crowdsourcing for energy analysis

October 28, 2012

Informed energy decision making requires effective software, high-quality input data, and a suitably trained user community. Developing these resources can be expensive and time consuming. Even when data and tools are intended for public re-use they often come with technical, legal, economic and social barriers that make them difficult to adopt, adapt and combine for use in new contexts. We focus on the promise of open, publically accessible software and data as well as crowdsourcing techniques to develop robust energy analysis tools that can deliver crucial, policy-relevant insight, particularly in developing countries, where planning resources are highly constrained—and the need to adapt these resources and methods to the local context is high. We survey existing research, which argues that these techniques can produce high-quality results, and also explore the potential role that linked, open data can play in both supporting the modelling process and in enhancing public engagement with energy issues.

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Towards a workable post-Kyoto international framework for emissions reduction

October 24, 2012

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.

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Monty Python’s Black Knight Redux – energy policy version

October 23, 2012

“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.

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BAA Terminal 5 Feedback

October 22, 2012

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.

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How to Save the Planet: Be Nice, Retaliatory, Forgiving & Clear

September 17, 2012

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?

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Mail Online creates fake wind farm to make fake point

September 16, 2012

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?

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A customer enters a climate conference…

September 15, 2012

“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.

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Opensource and crowdsourced data offer hope for developing world energy modelling

June 25, 2012

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!

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“Sunset Credits” – A Tool for Removing Fossil Fuel Subsidies

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.

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The Emptiness of Doebbler – a Davos Conversation Misrepresented

February 6, 2012

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.

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