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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Blogging Davos 2012

January 25, 2012

For five frantic days at the end of January the jeweled ski resort of Davos transforms itself into a fantasy concption of the centre of world influence. A five-year Davos veteran, this year I transformed myself into Davos Man, or rather Davos Blogger. I have tried to give some idea of what it’s actually like to attend: the rigid pecking order, the circles within circles, the transport chaos, the missing constituencies, the Occupy WEF movement, the Ukrainian presidential bodyguard who tried to manhandle me out of the toilets. Only problem is, it took so damn long to write each night that I didn’t go to a single party. So not that realistic after all…

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Ya Basta: Stop the UN Climate Charade

November 26, 2011

In November 2011 it was Durban’s turn to host the annual Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This was the 17th such annual meeting. The following article, which first appeared on, explains why I think these annual meetings are counter-productive, and proposes a different approach.

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United Nations: Time to reflect, refocus, reinvigorate

September 23, 2011

Michael wrote this piece about a year ahead of Rio+20, the 2012 Summit on Sustainable Development. He argued that Rio should focus on three things: making sustainability relevant to all by focusing it on resource efficiency; accelerating the transition that is anyway happening in the energy sector; and figuring out realistic ways to unlock large climate finance at scale. He knew he was whistling into the wind, but hey, he enjoys writing.

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Towards a Green Climate Finance Framework

August 31, 2011

COP 16 in Cancun saw agreement on the creation of a Green Climate Fund to manage ‘a significant portion’ of the annual $100bn of funding committed to the developing world in Copenhagen. However, it did not clarify how such a fund might operate. In this white paper, I explain that the model which is emerging during subsequent negotiations will not work. I lay out my alternative proposal for an integrated Green Climate Finance Framework which could deliver the required $100bn per annum investment. Despite the fact that many negotiators read this paper, I was never invited to explain it in person.

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First They Ignore You…

May 7, 2011

I spend my life making presentations on the world’s shift from dirty, centralised insecure energy to a cleaner, more distributed and secure energy infrastructure, driven by the underlying economics and geopolitics. In this 3-minute video I try to tell the same story, but using only images and music. The question I wanted to raise is, if the shift is inevitable, should you spend your time and energy hanging on to the past or looking to the future?

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The Perils of Protectionism

October 7, 2010

A trade war may deliver a short-term boost to domestic companies, but the cleantech industry as a whole would suffer. A version of this piece appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek, 7 October 2010.

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Engadin Marathonistas – Intro

December 21, 2008

Each year, on the second Sunday in March, a 42km cross-country ski race rips through some of Switzerland’s most amazing scenery. For many years I lead a group of up to 60 people taking part, calling ourselves the Engadin Marathonistas, who raised over £100,000 for various charities.

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