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Hedges and climate weirdness

I was  on the way to Paris on Eurostar recently, travelling across Northern France. In contrast to England, Northern France is a prairie of huge fields – where are the hedges? This may seem a strange question to pose, but the ecology of Northern French agriculture is a bleak mono culture of large fields with […]

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Coal and carbon – a lesson about volatility and change

I watched the US policy decision on restrictions on coal powered generation in the USA with some interest given my previous experience at Rio Tinto. If these decisions do reduce the role of coal in power generation, they will have some interesting implications around the world. For most of the time I worked at Rio, […]

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Coal – how renewables and anti nuclear stances help

Coal continues to have a large role in world power generation, but the question has to be asked why it still plays such a large part in EU power generation? Isn’t EU policy about reducing European reliance on carbon power sources? Well part of the reasons for coal’s continued role lies in some European policy […]

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Renewable Energy – “It’s the poor what pays the price”

Everyone supports the idea of renewable energy as a major part of climate policy and as a major  plank in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This support goes across the political spectrum with probably most dissent coming from the right rather than the left. To be clear I support the need for investment in renewables. But […]

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Energy Efficiency measures – what should be the focus of EU climate policy

Tony Robson writes in the Financial Times (16 January) arguing that “energy efficiency must be the starting point for the EU’s climate policy for 2030”. He makes a good case with which I largely agree. What I want to focus on is the mix of measures to support that climate policy for 2030 and the […]

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Environmental Pricing and Taxes – The clock ticks

This is my first blog of 2014 and appropriately it is about the passing of time. I going to focus on the targets of a number of countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 – with the new year, this target is now only 36 years away and I think it is […]

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“Who pollutes pays” : Greening taxes while preserving social protection mechanisms

I’ve been asked to speak at a conference on this subject on Thursday in Brussels organised by the Spring Alliance and welcome the opportunity. The issue of how and who pays for environmental measures has become a hot political topic and I’m going to write  a few blogs on pricing carbon, electricity supply and coal […]

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UK Plastic bag charge – a real environmental tax – a response to comments

Kieran O’Connor has written: “I have always wondered about green taxes – and this is great example. 1. Let me ask – if the average person is at the checkout in Londis, (perhaps shopping on their way home from work) they don’t have a bag with them so will the 5p cost of a carrier […]

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UK Plastic bag charge – a real environmental tax

A 5p charge for plastic bags is to be introduced in 2015 in England the LibDems have announced. The tax is to discourage the use of plastic bags – and given the concerns that many have over the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and its smaller brother in the Atlantic this has to be the right thing […]

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What is the right tax rate for fracking in the UK

Martin Hearson has written an interesting blog on the proposed tax regime for gas produced by fracking in the UK and questioned whether it is necessary to offer the incentives for this activity. Britain’s fracking tax incentives: do they pass the test? He says: “First, will there be a published, transparent analysis of the revenue expected […]

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