Dieter Helm – Wikipedia

I heard Dieter Helm speak at a Yale forum today on zoom. Climate Change and Global Development: Net-Zero after Covid-19?
“The seventh in a series of virtual panel discussions, The Yale Development Dialogues – a collaboration between the Yale Economic Growth Center, the South Asian Studies Council at Yale MacMillan Center, and the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.”

Sir Dieter Robin Helm CBE (born 11 November 1956) is a British economist and academic.

Career[edit]

Helm is Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Oxford, and Fellow in Economics at New College, Oxford.[1][2][3]

He was a member of the Economics Advisory Group to the British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and Chair of the Natural Capital Committee.[1][4][5]

His research interests include energy, utilities, and the environment.[6]

Helm was knighted in the 2021 New Year Honours for services to the environment, energy and utilities policy.[7]

The Carbon Crunch[edit]

In his book The Carbon Crunch (2012) and in print media, Dieter Helm criticised efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through current regulation and government intervention, and the deployment of renewable energy, particularly wind power.[8][9][10][11]

He recommended establishing a carbon tax and carbon border tax, increased funding for research and development, and an increased use of gas for electricity generation to substitute coal and to act as a bridge to new technologies.[12]

Works[edit]

Books[edit]

As author

  • Net Zero: How We Stop Causing Climate Change (September 2020), Harper Collins, ISBN 9780008404468.
  • Green and Prosperous Land (March 2019), William Collins, ISBN 978-0008304478.
  • Burn Out: The Endgame for Fossil Fuels (March 2017), Yale University Press, ISBN 9780300225624.
  • Natural Capital: Valuing the Planet (May 2015), Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0300210989.
  • The Carbon Crunch: How We’re Getting Climate Change Wrong – and How to Fix it (September 2012), Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0300186598.
  • Energy, the State, and the Market: British Energy Policy since 1979 (February 2004), revised edition, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199270743.

Source: Dieter Helm – Wikipedia

Climate Change Could Cut World Economy by $23 Trillion in 2050, Insurance Giant Warns – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Rising temperatures are likely to reduce global wealth significantly by 2050, as crop yields fall, disease spreads and rising seas consume coastal cities, a major insurance company warned Thursday, highlighting the consequences if the world fails to quickly slow the use of fossil fuels.

The effects of climate change can be expected to shave 11 percent to 14 percent off global economic output by 2050 compared with growth levels without climate change, according to a report from Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest providers of insurance to other insurance companies. That amounts to as much as $23 trillion in reduced annual global economic output worldwide as a result of climate change.

Some Asian nations could have one-third less wealth than would otherwise be the case, the company said. “Our analysis shows the potential costs that economies could face should governments fail to act more decisively on climate,” said Patrick Saner, who is in charge of global macroeconomic forecasts for Swiss Re.

The projections come as world leaders gather Thursday and Friday for a virtual climate summit in Washington hosted by President Biden, who has urged countries to do more to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Mr. Biden is expected to pledge to cut the United States’ emissions by about half by 2030.   . . . “

Opinion | New York State’s Divestment Threat Is a Victory for Climate Activists – By Bill McKibben – The New York Times

Mr. McKibben is a founder of the climate advocacy group 350.org and a leader of fossil fuel divestment efforts.

Credit…Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times

“New York State’s comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, announced on Wednesday that the state would begin divesting its $226 billion employee pension fund from gas and oil companies if they can’t come up with a legitimate business plan within four years that is aligned with the goals of the Paris climate accord. Those investments have historically added up to roughly $12 billion.

The entire portfolio will be decarbonized over the next two decades. “Achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 will put the fund in a strong position for the future mapped out in the Paris Agreement,” he said in a statement.” . . .

Thank you Bill McKibbon.

Here is denier comment, followed by my response to it:

Jonathan Katz
St. Louis56m ago

It may be a victory for climate activists, but it’s a defeat for humanity. Fossil fuels are the reason we aren’t living like medieval peasants in cold smoky (burning biofuels) huts. Climate change is real, and anthropogenic, but it isn’t hurting us. Net, it is probably beneficial, extending growing seasons, making it easier and cheaper to keep warm in the winter, enriching the atmosphere with CO_2 that plants need, and increasing rainfall in arid regions. I am a professor of Physics, and understand much more about greenhouse gases than Mr. McKibben. I am interested in the welfare of humanity, not in McKibben’s mystical pre-industrial Eden.

3 Replies7 Recommend

 
David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
@Jonathan Katz You start off so well, I didn’t expect you to argue that we are not being hurt. Have you spoken to anyone from the Gilbert Islands in the South Pacific. One Virginia think tank that does work for the Pentagon reported in the last year or two, that Iran will probably run out of water in the next 50 years. About 3 years ago, Johannesburg, South Africa almost ran out of water completely. The UN High Commission on Refugees estimates that we have 30 million climate change refugees now, and several hundred million in a a the next 30 years. (We do need to refresh or check these numbers, but they are staggering.) God bless you Sir, but beware of Dante’s inferno. 7.7 billion people now on the planet, Scientists are saying we are the meteor causing the 6th extinction of species, going on now.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Federal Report Warns of Financial Havoc From Climate Change – By Coral Davenport and Jeanna Smialek – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — A report commissioned by federal regulators overseeing the nation’s commodities markets has concluded that climate change threatens U.S. financial markets, as the costs of wildfires, storms, droughts and floods spread through insurance and mortgage markets, pension funds and other financial institutions.

“A world wracked by frequent and devastating shocks from climate change cannot sustain the fundamental conditions supporting our financial system,” concluded the report, “Managing Climate Risk in the Financial System,” which was requested last year by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and set for release on Wednesday morning.

Those observations are not entirely new, but they carry new weight coming with the imprimatur of the regulator of complex financial instruments like futures, swaps and other derivatives that help fix the price of commodities like corn, oil and wheat. It is the first wide-ranging federal government study focused on the specific impacts of climate change on Wall Street.

Perhaps most notable is that it is being published at all. The Trump administration has suppressed, altered or watered down government science around climate change as it pushes an aggressive agenda of environmental deregulation that it hopes will spur economic growth.

The new report asserts that doing nothing to avert climate change will do the opposite.

If People Grasped the Full Cost of Cars, They Might Make Greener Choices

“If more consumers understood the total costs of car ownership it could promote a shift to cleaner, lower-emission alternatives, according to a new paper co-authored by an economist at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES).

In a survey of more than 6,000 consumers in Germany, researchers found that people underestimate the total cost of vehicle ownership by €221 ($240) per month on average. Although they correctly estimated their spending on fuel on average, they “severely” underestimated all other major expenditures, including depreciation, repairs, taxes, and insurance. The misjudgment amounts to 52 percent of the actual costs.

We discuss a set of potential solutions. For example, rather than having a label on new cars only showing the future fuel costs, the label could include the full expected monthly costs of ownership.
— Kenneth Gillingham
If these consumers were aware of the true costs, the researchers then calculate, it could reduce the number of cars in Germany by as much as 17.6 million, or 37 percent.

“If people underestimate how much it costs to own a car, they are more likely to own cars, rather than use other, cleaner, modes of transportation,” says Kenneth Gillingham, an associate professor of environmental and energy economics at F&ES and corresponding author of the paper. “And because repair costs are higher for conventional gasoline-powered cars, the underestimation could affect the uptake of electric vehicles as well.”

The researchers suggest that these miscalculations can be used as leverage in creating new policies that promote cleaner transportation choices — for instance, car sharing, alternative-fuel vehicles, public transport, biking or walking.”

Source: If People Grasped the Full Cost of Cars, They Might Make Greener Choices

Opinion | To Survive Disaster, Plan for the Worst – By Tina Rosenberg – The New York Times

By 

Ms. Rosenberg is a co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, which supports rigorous reporting about responses to social problems.

Credit…Rehman Asad/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Disaster relief works like this: There is a flood, a drought, an earthquake, a famine, an exodus of refugees. Reporters swarm in, broadcasting images of suffering. Humanitarian workers on the ground analyze who needs what relief and draw up plans. The government asks for help. The United Nations coordinates international pledges. Relief comes in — money, bags of grain, medical supplies.

But by that point, weeks or months have gone by.

Rarely is there preplanning, pre-fundraising, or pre-agreement on a plan. “This is medieval,” said Stefan Dercon, a professor of economic policy at Oxford and a former chief economist of Britain’s bilateral aid agency, the Department for International Development. He and Daniel Clarke, head of the London-based Center for Disaster Protection, wrote the book “Dull Disasters? How Planning Ahead Will Make a Difference.”

“It is as if financial instruments such as insurance do not exist,” they wrote. “This is begging-bowl financing at its worst.”

But here’s what can happen instead — what, in fact, did happen in the Kurigram district of northwest Bangladesh in July. With colossal rains predicted, the United Nations World Food Program and the Bangladesh government identified about 5,000 particularly vulnerable families. Three days before the flood hit, they used mobile phone banking to send each family the equivalent of $53. With that money, the families secured their houses and belongings — for example, buying materials to lift their furniture off the ground. And they could pay the costs of taking their livestock and fleeing.”

Opinion | Want to Do Something About Climate Change? Follow the Money – By Lennox Yearwood Jr. and Bill McKibben – The New York Times

By Lennox Yearwood Jr. and 

“WASHINGTON — If you asked us why a dozen people sat on the floor next to the A.T.M. in a Chase Bank branch on Friday, waiting for the police to arrest us for this small act of civil disobedience, we would come up with the same answer as the famous robber Willie Sutton: “Because that’s where the money is.”

We don’t want to empty the vaults. Instead, we want people to understand that the money inside the vaults of banks like Chase is driving the climate crisis. Cutting off that flow of cash may be the single quickest step we can take to rein in the fossil fuel industry and slow the rapid warming of the earth.

JPMorgan Chase isn’t the only offender, but it is among the worst. In the last three years, according to data compiled in a recently released “fossil fuel finance report card” by a group of environmental organizations, JPMorgan Chase lent over $195 billion to gas and oil companies.

For comparison, Wells Fargo lent over $151 billion, Citibank lent over $129 billion and Bank of America lent over $106 billion. Since the Paris climate accord, which 195 countries agreed to in 2015, JPMorgan Chase has been the world’s largest investor in fossil fuels by a 29 percent margin.”

In Crucial Pennsylvania, Democrats Worry a Fracking Ban Could Sink Them – The New York Times

By Lisa Friedman and 

Ms. Friedman and Mr. Goldmacher traveled Western Pennsylvania together with The Daily, the Times podcast, to grapple with the fracking economy.

PITTSBURGH — Though they are both Democrats, John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, and Bill Peduto, this city’s mayor, have their differences on the environment.

Mr. Fetterman, who toppled an incumbent Democrat in 2018 from the left, nevertheless calls Pennsylvania “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas” and sees extracting and taxing gas as critical to the state’s economy and the “union way of life.” Mr. Peduto lobbied unsuccessfully against a local petrochemical plant and is steering his once-struggling steel town to be independent of fossil fuels within 15 years.

But they agree on one thing: a pledge to ban all hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, could jeopardize any presidential candidate’s chances of winning this most critical of battleground states — and thus the presidency itself. So as Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren woo young environmental voters with a national fracking ban, these two Democrats are uneasy.

“In Pennsylvania, you’re talking hundreds of thousands of related jobs that would be — they would be unemployed overnight,” said Mr. Fetterman, who endorsed Mr. Sanders in 2016 before Donald J. Trump won his state, pop. 12.8 million, by just over 44,000 votes. “Pennsylvania is a margin play,” he added. “And an outright ban on fracking isn’t a margin play.”

BlackRock C.E.O. Larry Fink: Climate Crisis Will Reshape Finance – By Andrew Ross Sorkin – The New York Times

“Laurence D. Fink, the founder and chief executive of BlackRock, announced Tuesday that his firm would make investment decisions with environmental sustainability as a core goal.

BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager with nearly $7 trillion in investments, and this move will fundamentally shift its investing policy — and could reshape how corporate America does business and put pressure on other large money managers to follow suit.

Mr. Fink’s annual letter to the chief executives of the world’s largest companies is closely watched, and in the 2020 edition he said BlackRock would begin to exit certain investments that “present a high sustainability-related risk,” such as those in coal producers. His intent is to encourage every company, not just energy firms, to rethink their carbon footprints.

“Awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance,” Mr. Fink wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times. “The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance.” “

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:

An open letter to the NYT. This piece about Blackrock moving sustainability to central to its investing decisions is significant and exciting, but I would like the Times to do a major story on whether or not those investors with stock in fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil should divest or remain as shareholders, if they want such companies to change direction and move rapidly away from fossil fuel extraction.

Many of my environmental friends think divestment is the only solution. I do not. I feel like environmentalists have more influence as an insiders and complainers and voters for change. I would love to hear what famous economists and financial experts think on this difficult subject.

Sincerely,
David Lindsay
Hamden CT.

Editorial | The World Solved the Ozone Problem. It Can Solve Climate Change. – The New York Times

By 

The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.

“Nearly 50 years ago, three chemists named Mario Molina, Sherwood Rowland and Paul Crutzen found evidence that chlorofluorocarbons, chemicals known as CFCs and released from aerosol sprays, were weakening the ozone layer that functions as the earth’s natural sunscreen protecting humans, animals and plants from harmful radiation.

The discovery made big news and rattled the public. Aerosol sales dropped dramatically, and, despite pushback from the chemical companies that made CFCs, Congress in 1977 added protecting the ozone layer to the Environmental Protection Agency’s duties under the Clean Air Act. Not long afterward, the agency determined that the compounds, then widely used in refrigerators, air-conditioners and some industrial processes, posed an even graver threat to the atmosphere than first thought. Soon after, pressure began to build for a phaseout of CFCs in the United States as well as for an international treaty to find alternatives.

The case for global action became ever more urgent in 1985 when a British team discovered a hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica, followed by confirmation by NASA scientists of a connection between the hole and CFCs. With the rest of the world and even industry on board, the result was the 1987 Montreal Protocol, a landmark agreement banning chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting chemicals. End of story? Not quite. As it happened, the ozone-friendly replacements for the CFCs, known as hydrofluorocarbons, turned out to be distinctly unfriendly to the climate. So in 2016, the Montreal signatories reconvened in Kigali, Rwanda, and agreed to amend the original protocol to phase out HFCs and find substitutes more friendly to the atmosphere.

The bottom line is that the world, confronted with two dire threats to the earth’s fragile atmosphere, found two planetary responses with positive outcomes. The ozone layer is healing. That’s worth remembering as we struggle, often despairingly, to find common ground in the battle against climate change. Compared with the manifold complexities of global warming, dealing with ozone depletion was, in fact, relatively simple. But the key point is that it happened, and it’s worth asking why the world has not responded with similar resolve in dealing with the main global warming gases like carbon dioxide, about which we have known a lot for a long time.”