Introducing the climate deniers at the Renewable Energy Foundation


John Constable of the Renewable Energy Foundation finds that he gets attacked for being something he is not:

Work like this has caused a flurry of unease in certain circles. REF has been falsely accused of hiding its donors, while our new Energy Institute – established with the University of Buckingham – has been branded a “front” for climate sceptics. The Independent quoted one academic who called me a “doubt-monger”.

We feel the pain, we've been accused of similar things ourselves. So, what is it that Constable suggests?

But it also means that there has to be a clear economic signal, which I think is best provided by putting a consistent, economy-wide price on carbon, probably through a carbon tax with corresponding offsets in other taxation. This would be flexible, so economic harm could be kept under control, and it would be technology-neutral, allowing the economy to gravitate towards the cheapest ways of reducing emissions that human ingenuity can discover.

That is also what we have been suggesting this past decade. And it's extremely surprising to be told that we're climate deniers for doing so. For this was, of course, the major recommendation of the Stern Review itself. That source document that everyone is using to tell us that something must be done. Stick on a carbon tax at the social cost of carbon emissions, reduce other taxes to compensate and she'll be right. Perhaps sprinkle a bit of R&D fairy dust tax money around the place as well.

This is not an odd view, is not some denial, it's the straight up mainstream view. We could get everyone from Bjorn Lomborg through Nick Stern, Bill Nordhaus, Richard Tol all the way out to James Hansen to sign on to this. Yes, there's technical arguments about what the social cost is but the basic structure of what needs to be done is evident to everyone who has spent more than 30 seconds thinking about the economics of this.

But then, of course, it's when the economics profession is most united in their view of a matter that no one else takes a blind bit of notice, isn't it?