UN Resource Panel highlights food and fossil fuel as global problems

It was my big day in Brussels: The deputy director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Angela Kropper, and the EU’s Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potocnik, were there for the launch of our report, The Environmental Impact of Production and Consumption: Priority Products and Materials. It was the request for the report that prompted me to work on the Carbon Footprint of Nations. The report was written by a working […]

Carbon footprint calculation methods matter for policy

Recently, the idea of monitoring the carbon footprint of a nation as one option for climate policy has found its way into the legislative process in the UK. A Private Members Bill has been put forward in the House of Lords – the Bill seeks to put in place a consumer emissions target (the current UK Climate Change Act which sets an 80% reduction target only addresses production, i.e. territorial, emissions). Lord Teverson […]

Top Environmental Policy Paper

The Carbon Footprint of Nations has been recognized as the Top Environmental Policy Paper in 2009 by Environmental Science & Technology (announcement).

It is a big honor for us to win that award. ES&T is the most important journal in environmental science and environmental technology, publishing 1500 papers in 2009. We were apparently among 80 papers nominated for the award. Most likely, the popular appeal and policy relevance of our paper was an important factor in our […]

Carbon Footprint – Updated

A recent update of our study on the carbon footprint of nations highlights the role of China, Russia, the USA and the EU.

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Steven Davis and Ken Caldeira have just published an analysis of the carbon footprint of nations using the GTAP 7 database, allowing for a comparison of the years 2004 and 2001. The paper published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of […]

Sharing the atmosphere

The Climate Conference in Copenhagen has ended as expected: with a political declaration instead of a legally binding agreement. Nonetheless, there seems to be wide-spread disappointment among the public. Commentators are busy portioning out blame for the failure of the negotiations, where the U.S.China, and the unwieldy UN procedures receive the largest shares. Those involved in the negotiations process see Copenhagen as a stepping stone rather than a finish line: they point […]

  • “Exported Emissions” at COP15 “Exported Emissions” at COP15

    “Exported Emissions” at COP15

“Exported Emissions” at COP15

The Guardian and industry actors call for considering Carbon Embodied in Trade as part of a climate deal at Copenhagen.

On December 7, 2009, 56 newspapers from 20 countries published a joint editorial calling world leaders to use the 14 days of climate negotiations in Copenhagen in order to come to an effective and fair agreement to limit climate change.

At the time I am writing this, it is too early to see whether the call […]

The Environmental Footprint of Biofuels

A new UN report emphasizes the importance of addressing land use, water, and biodiversity impacts of biofuels.
The jury is now in on biofuels: Current government mandates in the United States, Europe and other countries to blend biofuels into ordinary car fuels cause substantial environmental damage, do little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and have a questionable contribution to energy security. A new UN report and a new book document many, sometimes fascinating facets of […]

Carbon Market Promises and Woes

Economists argue that the carbon market suffices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and attack additional policy tools for increasing mitigation costs. Time to look at how the carbon market works in practice!

In my last blog I have pointed to the campaign of a few Norwegian economistsagainst climate policy tools such as the newly established green certificate market, which ensures a higher electricity price for renewable electricity. I published a similar critique in Dagens […]

Hurra for Green Electricity!

Some economists argue that support for renewable electricity leads to more coal power. Their reasoning is curiously flawed and oversees the crucial role of technological learning.

A curious discussion about climate policy has arisen in Norway now that the country has agreed with Sweden to join Sweden’s  ”green certificate” market (a.k.a. el-certificate, similar to the renewable portopholio standard) . This policy tool creates de-facto a niche-market for specific kinds of renewable energy, […]

By |September 13th, 2009|Reflexions|0 Comments

Can Technology Spare the Earth?

The IPCC says that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 % by 2050 to achieve the goal of limit global warming to not more than 2°C, agreed to by the EU and the G8.

Recent research indicates that the cumulative emissions in the period 2000-2050 should be not more than 1000 billion tons of CO2. In the first 7 years of this 50 year period; 234 billion tons were already […]