The business of climate change

New York-based merchant bank Lehman Brothers have produced an excellent overview of the business and economics of climate change (PDF). If you have any interest in the economics of dealing with climate change, and want an informed overview of the drivers of political and commercial change, this is a very good place to start. I don’t agree with everything they have to say (they’re far too dismissive of electric vehicles, for instance – I reckon EVs have the potential be a disruptive technology), but the sectoral and country by country analysis of investment opportunities is fascinating, and their general take on the issue is very close to my own. From the conclusions:

The size of the carbon market globally, as measured by the value of permits issued, could, on a conservative estimate, be over $100bn by 2020 or thereabouts. This assumes that the United States, Japan, and China join the EU in moving to an emissions trading scheme covering around 50% of their total emissions. Annual turnover would be a multiple of that figure. This compares with the US Treasury market which currently stands around $2 trillion.

They put the chances of an international deal including China and India at 75% (up from 50% in an earlier report), and expect share prices to begin to track relative carbon intensity – with carbon-light companies doing better. Recommended reading.

Tech to the rescue

Just found this Herald piece by Anthony Duesberg, based on an interview I gave before heading off to China. He wanted to explore the “technology to the rescue

Thursday build-up

With only a couple of days to the government’s big emissions trading announcement, the media are getting all excited. Colin James in the Herald grumbles about the lack of consultation and the need to build a consensus outside of Parliament, and then switches tack to suggest that the really important negotiations are to do with what follows Kyoto. Rod Oram in the Sunday Star Times suggests (rather more cogently) why there’s hope of action by the US, Australia and China. The Press, meanwhile, fears that some power companies might make windfall profits under emissions trading (step forward Meridian), and predicts that forestry could be the next big thing.

Back in harness

ChinaI bought one of Martin’s pork pies today. After too much yak in Shangri-La, I found myself lusting after something a little more in my own cultural tradition… But as I try to catch up with climate news, I find that Xian Ge Li La is in the news for all the wrong reasons:

KUNMING, September 10 — One of China’s leading tourist landmarks, Meili Snow Mountain, will be devoid of snow within 80 years if global warming trends continue, a meteorological scientist warned on Monday. Liu Jiaxun also said China’s lowest and southernmost glacier, Mingyong, has shrunk by at least 40 meters over the past 13 years. The combined effects of ice melting and drying water sources would have devastating effects downstream, said Liu, deputy director of the Meteorological Bureau of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in northeastern Yunnan Province. Mingyong — at 2,700 meters above sea level and 28.5 degrees north — had the lowest elevation and latitude of all China’s glaciers, said Liu. At 11.7 km long and covering 13 sq. km, it was shrinking faster than any other Chinese glacier, he said.

Sadly, during my visit to the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture the Himalayas were shrouded in cloud. It rained. (Picture from Erhai Lake near Lijiang). Catching up will continue soon.

[Update: Pictures of the Meili Snow Mountain and glacier from China View here. The clouds cleared briefly, apparently…]

Hot Topic hiatus

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting less frequently – I’m donning my truffle hat and heading off to a conference in China. I’ll be checking in from time to time, as internet connections allow, and will try to keep in touch with climate news in NZ and overseas. You may expect me to plant some trees on my return.
Meanwhile, a few interesting links: British dairy farmers are waking up to their carbon footprint – which suggests that our farmers will need to do more than rely on their “global warming hero