"To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing." - Raymond Williams

All Party Parliamentary TEQs report – rationing, not carbon trading

by Shaun Chamberlin on August 14th, 2009

Market invisible hand

As the evidence for the utter inapplicability of free market carbon trading to our climate emergency continues to pile up, interest continues to grow in the less PR-friendly alternative – the rationing of carbon-rated energy.

Yesterday, the UK Government’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas previewed a draft report commissioned from The Lean Economy Connection. The report, which I co-authored with Dr. David Fleming, emphasises the necessity of considering our pressing energy challenges alongside climate change, and argues that national energy rationing systems on the model of TEQs (Tradable Energy Quotas) will be essential to the fair distribution of fuel as shortages unfold, with implementation now an urgent priority for the UK.

John Hemming MP, Chairman of the All Party group, stated that the UK government remains unprepared for peak oil: “The evidence is now strong that peak oil is either upon us or just over the horizon. Even the International Energy Agency accepts that an oil supply crunch seems to be on its way. The UK government should urgently consider the TEQs system, as I believe it’s the only comprehensive and fair way to tackle climate change and the coming oil crisis.” Read more »

Despairing of Ed Miliband, Becoming a Filmstar, and Other Adventures

by Shaun Chamberlin on June 4th, 2009

Shaun Chamberlin
It has been another crazy whirlwind of a month, with this weekend set to be the first in five which I get to spend in Transition Town Home, having spoken recently in Bungay, Glastonbury, Belsize Park and the Forest of Dean, as well at the Transition Conference (I hate that name, can’t we call it a ‘Gathering’ or something?) in Battersea, and at the Sunrise Celebration Festival.

One highlight for me was watching the world premi√®re of the movie “In Transition” and being surprised and delighted to find that I was in it (having completely forgotten the quick interview they grabbed with me at my book launch!). Another was meeting an A-Level teacher who is already using my book as a teaching aid for his Environmental Design students.

But perhaps of wider interest was the fact that Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, turned up at the Transition Conference as a ‘keynote listener’, but still managed to drop a few bombshells. Read more »

Scottish Parliament discusses TEQs

by Shaun Chamberlin on May 12th, 2009

Tradable Energy Quotas

I was delighted to read this week that my recent article in Resurgence magazine has helped inspire Bill Wilson MSP to champion TEQs (Tradable Energy Quotas) in the ongoing debate on the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Dr. Wilson highlighted that “climate change could be an opportunity for Scotland, rather than a malign threat, a driver for truly sustainable development. We will be a greener country, of course, but we could and should also use climate change to become fairer, healthier and wealthier, smarter, safer and stronger”. Read more »

The Crash Course at Christmas

by Shaun Chamberlin on December 26th, 2008

Neoconservative stewardship

I spent a few hours this Christmas watching former Pfizer Vice President Chris Martenson’s Crash Course, which undertakes the daunting task of presenting the overarching interplay of economics, energy and environment in today’s world, and doing it in a friendly, accessible way. He does an impressive job, and it’s all broken down into easily digestible videos from 2-15 minutes long.

His simple indisputable explanations of topics such as why economic growth does not equal prosperity are invaluable, but most impressive to me was the clarity with which Chris distinguishes between his own beliefs and the facts he is sharing which have shaped those beliefs. For example, he states up front his belief that “the next twenty years are going to be completely unlike the past twenty years”, and then shows us just which facts have led him to that belief. It becomes hard to disagree. Read more »

Oiligarchy – The game!

by Shaun Chamberlin on November 10th, 2008

Oilpeakalypse Now

Despite the cute hypothesis that in doing so I risk damning the human race to eternal underachievement, I’m going out on a limb today and encouraging computer gaming.

I fancy the entertainment value of Oiligarchy might just do as much to shift the cultural stories around peak oil as a hundred carefully-crafted essays. It’s free, easy, doesn’t take long to play through and it might just raise a smile or two! Give it a go below the cut.

Edit – over 1.5 million plays in the first month since launch! Read more »

BBC Radio 4 discusses Peak Oil (intelligently!)

by Shaun Chamberlin on September 27th, 2008

BBC Radio 4

The “You and Yours” programme on BBC Radio 4 this week held a studio discussion on Peak Oil, with energy investment banker Matt Simmons, peak oil educator Richard Heinberg and the Chair of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil, John Hemming MP. The 12 minute discussion can be heard here and includes discussion of the options open to the UK government, including Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs).

Polly Toynbee joins Team TEQs

by Shaun Chamberlin on August 17th, 2008

Polly Toynbee

Last month I attended an Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) meeting called to announce their latest research into personal carbon allowances. Polly Toynbee was invited to chair the meeting, and was clearly impressed with what she heard as she has now written a very positive article about TEQs in her column in the Guardian. In it she reminds us of DEFRA’s description of the scheme as “ahead of its time” and derides the Government’s delay in moving towards implementation.

The IPPR have now joined our challenge to DEFRA’s decision to delay a full feasibility study into TEQs, announcing that their research found that the public are far better disposed towards personal carbon allowances than DEFRA claim, and much prefer the idea to carbon taxation or upstream carbon trading (IPPR’s research took the time to explain the three schemes rather more thoroughly than DEFRA had, which certainly helped on this score).

Burn up

by Shaun Chamberlin on July 27th, 2008

Neve Campbell in Burn Up

I have just watched the BBC’s outstanding thriller Burn Up, starring Rupert Penry-Jones, Marc Warren, Bradley Whitford and Neve Campbell (trailer available here).

It is a dramatic account of the intrigue, betrayal, sex and violence surrounding characters in the oil industry, international diplomacy and the environmental movement in the build up to the international conference that will decide on the successor to the Kyoto Protocol. For those who haven’t yet seen it, be aware that the discussion below the cut contains spoilers. Read more »

A clash of cultural stories

by Shaun Chamberlin on July 17th, 2008

Thanks to the Oil Drum‘s Peak Oil Media Watch I recently came across this fascinating video clip from the “Fast Money” programme on American business news channel CNBC. In the extract the studio panel are discussing the rise in oil prices and – as is the show’s theme – how to make money from it.

Their studio guest is Joe Terranova, who appears to be a typical energy investment type (though with an incredibly expressive face!), but their phone linkup is to Matthew Simmons, Chairman of Simmons & Company International Ltd, who is one of the very few high-profile figures to have predicted the current oil price rises, and who has been raising the peak oil issue for some years now. The mismatch in their perspectives is spectacular, especially from 4 minutes in. Read more »

Reinventing collapse

by Shaun Chamberlin on June 29th, 2008

Reinventing Collapse

As George Carlin once said, “they call it the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe in it”.

At the risk of this blog becoming ‘review corner’, that seems the perfect introduction to the book I just finished reading – Dmitry Orlov’s brilliantly enjoyable Reinventing Collapse. This is a true work of dark optimism, with a fair dash of dark humour to boot.

In it, Orlov draws on his experiences of the collapse of the Soviet Union to explore the future American residents like him are likely to face as the effects of the USA’s disastrous economic, energy and foreign policies take hold. Read more »