Policy Questions

Analysis is one thing, but naturally we are often challenged about how it should be translated into policy, especially within the UK. In my view the Zero Carbon Britain series remain the most convincing rapid reduction scenarios, and can be accessed via the CAT web site here.

What the whole world should do is a much more difficult matter. These unpublished discussion papers propose several key notions that would probably be necessary for a successful mitigation effort. They are:

  • development of a strategic physically-realistic plan
  • massive expansion and redirection of research effort
  • 'benign geo-engineering' to slow the problem down and keep the 'window' open
  • a 'parallel narrative' to explain the nature of the transition before it begins
  • the transition itself, with an urgency and focus normally only found in times of war

Rational Response for Governments 2007 (doc)

Building Spitfires 2009 (doc)

A Letter to Wally Broecker 2010 (doc)

The 'letter to Wally Broecker' was inspired by his book Fixing Climate (he is one of the grand old men of climate science, and was a fellow lecturer at the Hay Festival of that year, whom I narrowly missed meeting face to face) contains a proposal for the proportions of effort that should be put into sequestration, low-carbon technology, and various kinds of cultural change in the next 200 years. This is only back-of-the-envelope guesstimation, but I have never found anyone to impugn its logic.