Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wind of change reaches Museum of Scotland

Stuart Haszeldine
Last evening a debate was held in the Museum of Scotland entitled "Scotland's energy policy is a load of hot air".

It featured Niall Stewart, the CEO of Scottish Renewables, and Professor Stuart Haszeldine of Edinburgh University speaking against the motion.  They were countered by Andrew Montford and Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson. There are several accounts of the debate available though notably, I can find none which come from the Scottish Renewables perspective. Here are two.

Support for those arguing for the motion grew from 66 before the debate to 126 after.  Those supporting Messrs Stewart and Haszeldene  grew rather more modestly from 36 to 50.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Its academic value is zero

Paul Wheelhouse MSP
The Government consultation - and significant line of justification - for the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 was the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change.  It had been commissioned by the UK Government and was published in 2006.

Although as a media event it initially carried all before it creating an aura of academic substance, (or at least economic competence), in its role as a driver for the Climate Change Acts, it had mixed reviews from economists from soon after its publication.

Now, six years later, a further critique expands on the early criticisms.  Richard Tol, Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex says this of Stern in his foreword to  What is Wrong with Stern?:
"The Stern Review was a tactical masterstroke, but it will likely prove a strategic blunder.  Its academic value is zero."
Professor Tol is one of the authors of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report published in 2007.

This raises some uncomfortable questions about the economic credibility of Scotland's 'groundbreaking' Climate Change Act.  A headache for our new minister for Environment and Climate Change?

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Change at the ministry

Paul Wheelhouse MSP has this week taken over as Minister for Environment and Climate Change at Holyrood.

Whilst it is not clear that he has said very much publicly about climate change he arrives at a fascinating juncture.

The 'groundbreaking' Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 was significantly justified by the Stern report and the IPCC fourth assessment report.  The latter has faced growing credibility difficulty and now the much quoted Stern Report has been the subject of a devastating critique by MP Peter Lilley.