18 thoughts on “The dark side of climate change policy”

  1. Posted 29/07/2009 at 11:47 | Permalink

    Politicians like talking about climate change because it makes them sound virtuous and on the side of the angels. However, what they will not admit is that dealing with climate change will be phenomenally expensive and only achievable for us in the West if we can persuade the developing world not to develop and accept permanent poverty. Indeed, this is how we ought to frame the debate – clear air for us, poverty for you – because we cannot do what Gore and Stern want us to do and maintain our way of life, not unless we can export our problems to Africa and Asia and keep them there.

  2. Posted 29/07/2009 at 11:47 | Permalink

    Politicians like talking about climate change because it makes them sound virtuous and on the side of the angels. However, what they will not admit is that dealing with climate change will be phenomenally expensive and only achievable for us in the West if we can persuade the developing world not to develop and accept permanent poverty. Indeed, this is how we ought to frame the debate – clear air for us, poverty for you – because we cannot do what Gore and Stern want us to do and maintain our way of life, not unless we can export our problems to Africa and Asia and keep them there.

  3. Posted 29/07/2009 at 18:01 | Permalink

    Attending the ‘Cabinet’ in Cardiff I learnt from a major house builder that climate change regulation will

    1. Add £16,000 to the cost of an average 2.5 bed house – About 10%.

    2. Substantially delay development applications which will contribute toward creation of the next property bubble

  4. Posted 29/07/2009 at 18:01 | Permalink

    Attending the ‘Cabinet’ in Cardiff I learnt from a major house builder that climate change regulation will

    1. Add £16,000 to the cost of an average 2.5 bed house – About 10%.

    2. Substantially delay development applications which will contribute toward creation of the next property bubble

  5. Posted 29/07/2009 at 18:12 | Permalink

    Within human history Florida was twice as wide as it is today. I wonder who caused that global warming. Too many red Indian smoke signals?

    It has also been colder. In Dickens days the Thames froze in winter.

    The world is warming on average. That trend has been going on for ten centuries. Mankind did not cause that. Whether mankind is aggravating the trend is open to debate.

    It makes sense to reduce pollution, but central government planning tends to backfire and aggravate the problem.

  6. Posted 29/07/2009 at 18:12 | Permalink

    Within human history Florida was twice as wide as it is today. I wonder who caused that global warming. Too many red Indian smoke signals?

    It has also been colder. In Dickens days the Thames froze in winter.

    The world is warming on average. That trend has been going on for ten centuries. Mankind did not cause that. Whether mankind is aggravating the trend is open to debate.

    It makes sense to reduce pollution, but central government planning tends to backfire and aggravate the problem.

  7. Posted 30/07/2009 at 14:58 | Permalink

    How can any sane person believe the propaganda about 400,0000 green jobs after reading this: http://www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf

    Furthermore, Denmarks experience with wind generation is awful, see: http://centurean2.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/denmark-wind-farms-a-terrible-expensive-disaster-britain-follows-this-pattern/ and it would seem that Germany’s adventure into the business has also been a failure, see: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/dominic_lawson/article6719142.ece

  8. Posted 30/07/2009 at 14:58 | Permalink

    How can any sane person believe the propaganda about 400,0000 green jobs after reading this: http://www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf

    Furthermore, Denmarks experience with wind generation is awful, see: http://centurean2.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/denmark-wind-farms-a-terrible-expensive-disaster-britain-follows-this-pattern/ and it would seem that Germany’s adventure into the business has also been a failure, see: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/dominic_lawson/article6719142.ece

  9. Posted 01/08/2009 at 22:55 | Permalink

    Richard, quite right about the absurdity of most of the policies, targets and economic claims, and the negative impacts they will have. And I say that (as you know) as a long-term investor in renewables. No one with a credible record in the industry believes we can achieve the renewable and carbon targets, and the sensible ones don’t think we should.

    But you are wrong about domestic energy. It is much too cheap, not too expensive. It incurs little cost from green measures, and gets favourable treatment compared to other energy-uses. It’s hard to provide the evidence in a comment, so I have posted the explanation at http://www.pickinglosers.com/blog_entry/bruno/20090801/poor_consumers .

  10. Posted 01/08/2009 at 22:55 | Permalink

    Richard, quite right about the absurdity of most of the policies, targets and economic claims, and the negative impacts they will have. And I say that (as you know) as a long-term investor in renewables. No one with a credible record in the industry believes we can achieve the renewable and carbon targets, and the sensible ones don’t think we should.

    But you are wrong about domestic energy. It is much too cheap, not too expensive. It incurs little cost from green measures, and gets favourable treatment compared to other energy-uses. It’s hard to provide the evidence in a comment, so I have posted the explanation at http://www.pickinglosers.com/blog_entry/bruno/20090801/poor_consumers .

  11. Posted 03/08/2009 at 12:46 | Permalink

    Bruno,
    not sure if this is comparing like with like:
    “Denmark and Sweden, with much higher energy costs than the UK thanks to very heavy carbon and fossil-fuel taxation, have so little “fuel poverty” … because they have very high-quality housing … And why do they have high-quality housing? Because energy is expensive”
    I guess that Scandinavian houses are not only more energy efficient, but have higher building standards in general, because they are newer on average. It’s the planning system that impedes new construction, and lower energy efficiency on average.
    But I agree that symptom treatments like differential VAT rates are a poor solution.

  12. Posted 03/08/2009 at 12:46 | Permalink

    Bruno,
    not sure if this is comparing like with like:
    “Denmark and Sweden, with much higher energy costs than the UK thanks to very heavy carbon and fossil-fuel taxation, have so little “fuel poverty” … because they have very high-quality housing … And why do they have high-quality housing? Because energy is expensive”
    I guess that Scandinavian houses are not only more energy efficient, but have higher building standards in general, because they are newer on average. It’s the planning system that impedes new construction, and lower energy efficiency on average.
    But I agree that symptom treatments like differential VAT rates are a poor solution.

  13. Posted 04/08/2009 at 06:38 | Permalink

    There might be a number of factors, Kris, but it would be a strange thing for the IEA to argue that price was not relevant to demand. After all, new houses aren’t intrinsically high-quality. You have to build them to the standard. And what influences the choice of the standard to build them to? If you have experience of British builders, you will know there are the Building Regs standards that they claim to build to, and there are the standards that are actually built.

  14. Posted 04/08/2009 at 06:38 | Permalink

    There might be a number of factors, Kris, but it would be a strange thing for the IEA to argue that price was not relevant to demand. After all, new houses aren’t intrinsically high-quality. You have to build them to the standard. And what influences the choice of the standard to build them to? If you have experience of British builders, you will know there are the Building Regs standards that they claim to build to, and there are the standards that are actually built.

  15. Posted 04/08/2009 at 09:59 | Permalink

    There is a danger that if environmental building standards are too high they will act as a disincentive to the construction of new housing. Jack Dance (see comment above) gives an estimate of £16,000 per new home as an average cost. As house prices fall this represents an increasing share of the build costs and will make some projects uneconomic. In environmental terms this may be counterproductive, since even without the recent crop of green building regulations, new houses would be far more energy efficient than draughty old Victorian ones. I would also like to see some kind of cost-benefit analysis of recent regulation.

  16. Posted 04/08/2009 at 09:59 | Permalink

    There is a danger that if environmental building standards are too high they will act as a disincentive to the construction of new housing. Jack Dance (see comment above) gives an estimate of £16,000 per new home as an average cost. As house prices fall this represents an increasing share of the build costs and will make some projects uneconomic. In environmental terms this may be counterproductive, since even without the recent crop of green building regulations, new houses would be far more energy efficient than draughty old Victorian ones. I would also like to see some kind of cost-benefit analysis of recent regulation.

  17. Posted 05/08/2009 at 20:00 | Permalink

    Richard, That’s a very important point. That is yet another reason why it is better to use demand pull than supply push or regulation. More expensive energy encourages people to look for the cheapest ways of cutting their bills, rather than pushing expensive, one-size-fits-all or bureaucratically-complex solutions at them when those solutions don’t offer sufficient savings to justify the cost.

  18. Posted 05/08/2009 at 20:00 | Permalink

    Richard, That’s a very important point. That is yet another reason why it is better to use demand pull than supply push or regulation. More expensive energy encourages people to look for the cheapest ways of cutting their bills, rather than pushing expensive, one-size-fits-all or bureaucratically-complex solutions at them when those solutions don’t offer sufficient savings to justify the cost.

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