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

Heinberg – after Copenhagen

by Shaun Chamberlin on March 15th, 2010

An interview with the ever-insightful Richard Heinberg, discussing where we should put our efforts in the aftermath of the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit. It is well worth a watch, and you might want to consider spreading it to your contacts via the “Share This” link in the bottom right corner of this post.

I heartily endorse his perspective, but disagree when he argues in support of carbon taxation at around fifteen minutes in, saying that “we need to make fossil fuels more expensive”. In my opinion, we do not – we need to guarantee a fair entitlement to the available energy, not ration it by the depth of people’s pockets.

As Richard says, “if you’re taxing everybody on their use of fossil fuels – raising their cost of living – it’s pretty hard to get their buy-in to that”, but once you guarantee people a fair entitlement, in line with a declining cap, society can then collectively focus on keeping the price of energy as low as possible, which is a simply-understood task that everyone can buy into with enthusiasm.

Richard is touching on a widely-unrecognised contradiction at the heart of present energy/climate policy discussions – the desire to raise carbon prices while keeping energy prices low. Market-based approaches struggle to see past this, but TEQs would resolve it at a stroke, through the recognition that reducing the quantity of carbon emissions can be best achieved by means other than a high price.

The Transition Timeline – book launch events

by Shaun Chamberlin on March 7th, 2009

The Transition Timeline launch + Age of Stupid Premiere

Transition Town Kingston are hosting a pre-launch celebration of my new book, The Transition Timeline, at the Kingston Odeon on the 15th March (this Sunday) from 5:30pm.

This event will also form part of the nationwide People’s Premiere of new film The Age of Stupid, directed by the inspirational Franny Armstrong, produced by Oscar-winning John Battsek, and starring Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite. Tickets for the event are £10 and can be ordered here. For this you will be amongst the first to see The Age of Stupid, enjoy a live satellite link-up to the simultaneous premiere taking place in a solar tent in Leicester Square(!), witness the launch of the international “Not Stupid” campaign, and have the opportunity to discuss the film with both me and Hilary Gander, one of the founding members of the Campaign against Climate Change. I will also be selling and signing copies of The Transition Timeline at the Kingston screening, which will be the first opportunity for anyone to get their hands on a copy!

Over 100 tickets, of a capacity of 337, have been sold even before the main announcements, so make sure you book soon if you want to come support me and The Age of Stupid. 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).