Tag Archives: technocracy

Getting climate policy back on course with the Kaya Identity

Here’s another take on the need for a new approach to combat climate change. It is based on the Kaya Identity – not, as you might think, a novel by Robert Ludlum, but a simple equation that gives some very useful insights into the factors that determine levels of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Basing their alternative ideas on this equation, Gwyn Prins and 12 colleagues explain How to get climate policy back on course (pdf here). It needs to be put back on track because, as Prins and colleagues put it, the existing policy approach (based on carbon markets) is an “abject failure” (p.4).

The Kaya Identity suggests that there are four – and only four – macro-scale policy levers that are available for making emissions reductions and each of the four levers suggests a particular approach to policy:

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Common ground or poles apart? Greens and the state on sustainability

The idea of ‘sustainability’ is hugely important to green parties around the world. The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand is no exception; indeed, the word appears on the party website’s header, as shorthand for one of its four charter principles, ‘ecological wisdom’. Sustainability is central to the Green Party’s expression of its environmental vision. This is a vision of a future in which “our human economy will be sustainable because it is in harmony with ecological processes … resources will be used no faster than the rate at which they can be replenished and wastes will not exceed the ability of the environment to absorb them safely.” With this in mind, the party seeks to “ensure that sustainable development will take priority over growth in GDP as a national goal”.

What does sustainability mean in practical terms? In a recent speech, Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons considered sustainability from a business perspective, noting how “business is going green by finding smart ways to use all their inputs more efficiently – less energy and materials per widget, less waste, less toxic materials. They will even change the nature of the widgets so they last longer, are repairable, reusable, recyclable.”

“But,” she stressed, “in the end that can go only so far.”

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Filed under Aotearoa New Zealand, David, green politics, sustainability