Thursday, January 24, 2013

Latest data on global warming

With all the data in for 2012 I have been looking at the latest figures on global warming. I've been looking forward to doing this since my posts last September in response to a speech by Nigel Lawson.

Here is basic picture since 1970 according to the three main datasets:-

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Click to enlarge
I took this at the weekend. This robin has been my constant companion while I have been coppicing.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Yet more on gas

Last week I posted about the dash for gas. The stimulus for that posting was Kevin Anderson's comments an article on the BBC News website giving the views of various commentators about fracking. I finished with a throwaway comment that there was an issue to be resolved between Kevin Anderson and Dieter Helm, whose book I recently reviewed.

Kevin Anderson's comments were not so much about fracking as such but about the principle of the UK expanding its production of fossil fuels. He says:-
"The UK's commitment to make our fair contribution to reduce emissions in line with keeping global warming below a 2C rise gives a very clear global carbon budget, and hence a UK budget: in other words, how much carbon we can put into the atmosphere over this century. Here the maths is unambiguous - we have insufficient budget for the carbon we are already emitting and by the time shale gas is produced in any quantity (five to 10 years), there will be no emissions space left for it."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

More on the dash for gas

A few weeks ago I commented on the "dash for gas" and speculated a little on possible arguments in favour of it. The following quote from Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research puts those speculations into perspective. He says:-
"We are heading towards a global temperature rise of 4C to 6C this century; if we want to get off this trajectory, shale gas needs to stay in the ground and we, in the wealthy world, need to consume much less energy - now."
 There seems to be an issue to be resolved here between Kevin Anderson and Dieter Helm.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Farewell, Christmas

The twelfth day of Christmas is approaching and life is gradually returning to normal. I don't regard Christmas as fully over until after January 7th, the Russian Orthodox Christmas. For several years during the Nineties I used to go on the evening of January 6th with Russian and Russophile friends to the Christmas Eve service at the main Russian Orthodox church in London - and enjoy the magnificent singing of the choir there.

I've got mixed views about Christmas. There is something about the spirit of Christmas that gets to me - particularly through the music of Christmas. Many is the time that I have put to one side my disbelief in Father Christmas and joined a scratch choir to sing some of those magnificent carols in harmony. Then there is that general ambience of bonomie, peace, goodwill to all men and all that. I love it.

Against that there is the awfulness of Christmas as a festival of material consumption. A couple of links are relevant here: this old posting in Slate in praise of Scrooge (which I found thanks to a link on Greg Mankiw's blog) and Annie Leonard's famous video, The Story of Stuff. I can't vouch for the accuracy of what she says and I'm not sure that her sideswipes at the military sharpen her message, but I love the video nevertheless.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Housing and land taxation

A Guardian article by Phillip Inman about housing caught my eye recently - particularly a passage towards the end:-
"The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund and the Institute for Fiscal Studies have in the past couple of years concluded that only an annual tax on land can end the obsession with property. Once landowners face a tax, they will free up land they are sitting on, rather than wait for a rising market to make a killing."
I have been an enthusiast for annual site-value land taxation for more than twenty years. This enthusiasm grew out of my involvement in housing policy, which was my main policy interest for thirty years or so, until it was eclipsed by global warming.