Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

Brown thinking green?

Posted by Evan Herrnstadt on November 6, 2007

Gordon Brown unveiled a new British energy plan in the Queen’s Speech today, as he laid out his first full governmental program. The Bill will supposedly enforce emissions reductions of 60% by 2050 and 26-32% (which I assume can be taken to mean 26%) by 2020. Crucially, the new plan includes international aviation and shipping (what will I post about now?). The bill also calls for an expanded renewables standard and facilitation of private investment in carbon capture and storage. The standard is okay; in the context of binding targets, I think a wisely designed RPS could be an effective complementary policy. The CCS incentive is good. Although we run into the problem of government trying to pick winners, CCS holds enormous potential and faces huge initial capital and risk thresholds.

This is momentous, as it makes Britain the first country to introduce domestic legally binding emissions limits. How binding is “binding”? Only time will tell.

Note: I would love to get some feedback on this from people more familiar with proposed U.S. climate legislation. (Hint, hint, Daniel)

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