A 15 August BBC news story picks up on issues raised in Nick Robins’s Twenty trillion dollar question, published on 3 June in the debate on the politics of climate change. But it doesn't go far enough.
For example, it mentions an estimate that greenhouse gas emissions from the
The BBC piece does have some uses, though, as a contribution to general awareness raising. For example, it refers to this 11 July Letter from Institutional Investors to the Electric Power Sector, which looks like another important, albeit small step.
The financial community is one of the "stones" identified in my 8 August article for a forthcoming issue of New Humanist magazine. The editor has kindly agreed that I can pre-publish it on this blog. So if you want a sneak preview (of last week or next month, depending on your point of view), read the attached comment.
A couple of points further to the article:
One, the "groping the stones" metaphor: I owe this to Christine Loh at Civic Exchange (who I first met in Hong Kong last June on the way to Palau, and interviewed here and here). We've talked a little about the climate change issue in China, and she still thinks a good tactical approach for now is via campaigns on air quality (something that "Angel Green" seems to agree with).
Two, the article is fairly dismissive of "peak oil". For some, this probably needs further explanation (MarkLynas, for example, has said he'd be glad if I'd write something about it).
I've argued previously that the analysis Running on Empty (Jan 2004) remains broadly correct (and I do note George Marcus's comments on peak oil in the article linked in this post earlier today). Taking it from there:
There are significantly larger contributory factors to high oil prices on a relevant timescale than an oil peak. Among these are a lack of production capacity and geopolitical instability. If oil goes to $100 a barrel or even $150 (the level Bin Laden has called for) in the next few years it won't be because markets are pricing the depletion of long term reserves.
Further, expensive oil can be good news for the environment (but not, in the near term at least, for poor countries that import it) if it drives efficiency improvements. By itself, however, dwindling, more costly oil is not going to solve climate change, as there is more than enough coal to burn (as a solid or convertible to liquid or gas) to fry the planet.