Building a low-carbon future: the politics of climate change

CC-webfinalWill the reconstruction of the global economy be positive for mitigating climate change? Is the move toward energy security at odds with a low-carbon society? Do we need the return of state planning to overcome the climate change challenge? How can the response to climate change be socially just? How can we forge an achievable but also equitable and legally secure international emissions deal at Copenhagen?

By addressing these questions, leading international thinkers and practitioners put forward a compelling new account of climate change politics and policies in this pamphlet, demonstrating how a low-carbon future can be built by a revitalised co-existence of markets and the state, as well as a strong political narrative of hope and opportunity.

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Martin Rees

Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society and Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics  at the University of Cambridge speaks to Policy Network ahead of his speech on the politics of climate change. He asserts that faith in technology will see us meet 2050 targets, live in a low-carbon society,  and maintain our standard of living and levels of economic growth.

Open letter from Leslie Dighton, LSE governor

Open letter to the organisers and participants of the politics of climate change conference with special reference to the contributions by Tony Blair, Martin Rees, Richard Lambert and David Cote.

Congratulations to the organisers for an unusually well constructed day on an unusually complex issue. What was its conclusion?

The key one got said at the conference – the brutal truth is we are missing the key targets – but it remained in the small print of the main debate. 20 years of serious scientific understanding and three years of intensive public awareness later, there is no decline in the trend of emissions outputs nor even a declaration.

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Roger Liddle’s thoughts on a successful conference

Roger Liddle, Vice Chair of Policy Network gives his concluding thoughts on the Policy Network’s conference on ‘The Politics of Climate Change’ on 5th June 2009 at the LSE.

Tony Blair headlines Afternoon Plenary

Part 1

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Dave Cote, CEO of Honeywell Speaks at Second Plenary

Video Interview

David Cote, CEO of Honeywell, speaks to Policy Network ahead of his speech in the second plenary.

In his speech Cote discussed climate change-related business trends and Honeywell’s growing role in the European and U.S. energy efficiency markets.

“While adoption and the individual savings contribution of these technologies will differ by region, the overall forecasted energy savings is 15-20% for both the U.S. and Europe,” said Cote.

Cote discussed the impediments and solutions to using energy efficient technologies, including a call for governments worldwide to uncover more ways to curb energy consumption while creating incentives that support energy and economic security.

“Reducing energy intensity while improving energy and economic security is a huge issue,” said Cote. “We won’t get there unless we address the behaviors inherent in the system. It is all very doable, we just have to get started.”

Watch his speech in full here.

Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco – Interview

Terry Leahy, the CEO of Tesco speaks about incentivizing the consumer to live a low carbon way of life at Policy Network’s ‘Politics of Climate Change’ conference on 5th June 2009 at the LSE. Leahy argues a green way of life begins and ends with the consumer and they must be motivated not just through tax and regulation to change their lifestyle. He believes governments cannot see consumers as a problem by restricting and rationing our lives, rather create frameworks and markets that encourages both businesses and consumers towards a better way of life.

Terry Leahy’s speech on the politics of climate change:

“As we prepare for Copenhagen later this year, we need to confront a brutal truth: our approach to tackling climate change is not working. On current trends, we’re going to miss all the targets we have set ourselves. We’re in this situation because the climate change debate is based on a number of wrong assumptions. One is that climate change can only be solved by big governments and big technology.

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Peter Mandelson talks about the Politics of Climate Change

Speech  delivered by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson at the Policy Network event: ‘The Politics of Climate Change: Overcoming the political challenges of climate change – from economic crisis to business revolution’ London School of Economics, Friday 5th June, 2009

I think we’re entering a precarious time for mainstream politics in the UK. Cynicism and scepticism about politicians and politics in the UK is obviously pretty high. We badly need a core of positive ideas about the future in this country and for me climate change is at the heart of that.

Rebuilding political trust in Britain matters for its own sake. But it also matters because politics is the only way that we will be able to legitimately make the huge decisions that need to be made now to face up to challenges like climate change, or our global economic future. Politics is the mulitplier for the sense of collective renewal and endeavour. This morning I would like to say just a few things about how we do that, particularly in industrial policy.

The core challenge of climate change politics is getting people to connect their choices now with outcomes in the relatively distant future and in different parts of the world. It’s going to cost in the short term, there is no way around that. Continue reading

Matthias Machnig, State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment

Matthias Machnig, State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nuclear Safety and Nature Conservation, talks to Policy Network.

Greg Clark MP, UK Shadow Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change

Greg Clark, UK Shadow Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, talks to Policy Network about the politics of climate change. He was talking at the conference organised by Policy Network at the London School of Economics, on the 5th of June 2009.