Since returning from the US on 18 September I've attended two meetings on energy and climate change.
The first, convened by the Westminster Energy Forum with RUSI on 19 September, was not overwhelming. Attendees have been asked not communicate what was said, but there was little new.
Valerie Caton, Director, Energy Security and Climate Change at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, summarised some UK government activity including the Global Opportunities Fund at her own department. I'm not divulging any secrets to say that one GOF energy effiency project with the Kaliningrad municipality showed a four fold return on investment within one year (invest $25,000, save $100,000: a 400% return per annum virtually risk free - text book Amory Lovins stuff). Russia holds the G8 presidency next year, and is choosing energy security as a key issue.
Robert Casamento, Head of Climate Change at Deloitte, showed more caution on nuclear power than I would have guessed. Christophe-Alexandre Paillard, from the Strategic Affairs Directorate at the French Ministry of Defence, was very good - direct and darkly funny - on regional energy security hotspots and the geopolitics of oil, but had far too little time allocated.
The second conference (earlier today, 21 Sep) launched Decarbonising the UK, a multi year study from the Tyndall Centre on how UK emissions can be cut by 60% by 2050. There was some quality here. I won't attempt to go into it now, except to note a first rate overview of the study from Kevin Anderson and an illuminating discussion between David King and attendees on political realism and being direct and effective about what the science says. And in his introduction, Elliot Morley was surprisingly OK - some plausible sounding words at least on the need to change the tax system and improve regulation, and caution on the costs of nuclear.
Earlier in the morning, the media (even Five Live!, noted Stephen Tindale of Greenpeace) had picked up on a key observation from the study - that everyone's carbon emissions in the UK will have to go to zero to allow for aviation growth and still meet the 60% target. This is a start, but misses the larger point that it must not be too long before we embrace a 90% target. Will Tyndall do the work? I had to leave early so don't know the answer yet. (A wild guess - "yes, if you pay us".)
On 12 September I wrote a piece on impacts of energy technologies for a supplement on energy to appear in the 23[?] September New Statesmen (to coincide with the Labour Party Conference). It's not great (written while on the run in the US); but I think it's useful as it looks at next steps as and where business, the NGO sector and others are on the same page (see, for example, George Monbiot and respondents).
In preview, a draft of my piece is attached as a comment to this post.