Sep 25 2007
Reuters: Carbon price is poor weapon
By Chris Littlecott
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The practical value of a carbon price comes under scrutiny in an analysis article by Jeremy Lovell of Reuters.
Lovell contrasts the theoretical role a carbon price could play in driving forward technological changes with the realities of its limited influence to date.
The article features extensive quotes from E3G founding director Tom Burke:
The policy instrument of choice pretty well everywhere is a price for carbon, and it is not going to work,” said Tom Burke of environment lobby group E3G.
“To stop climate change moving from a bad problem getting worse to a worse problem becoming catastrophic, you have to make the global energy system carbon neutral by 2050—and that will not happen just using carbon pricing.”
Burke said what was urgently needed were strict technical standards and investment incentives to achieve the transition.
“You have got to drive the carbon out of the energy system and then keep it out forever,” he said. “In the first part of that you are making serious step changes. They are not going to be accomplished by marginal changes in price.”
And after further supportive quotes from Dieter Helm of Oxford University and Jim Watson of Sussex University’s Energy Group, the article returns to Tom Burke for a closing thought:
To E3G’s Burke the problem is less one of technical availability and ability than of political courage.
“It is well within our technical competence. What you need is the political will,” he said. “The trouble is that there are a lot of people out there making a lot of money out of carbon trading and who want to perfect the market rather than press for the changes that are actually needed.”