We held one of our most successful speaker events ever in January with Oliver Tickell, author of Kyoto2, speaking about his book and giving some real solutions on how to tackle climate change and proposing an economic framework for the value of carbon emissions. The venue was a lecture theatre in a new building at Aston University with a very bad energy rating, but we should offer thanks to them for hosting the event and allowing this valuable discussion to take place there.

Mr Tickell first talked about the fluctuations in the value of oil and the financial crisis that has happened since the completion of his book and whether what he had written still held firm. None of this had been predicted by economists, yet it mirrors the kind of feedback mechanisms of climate change very well.

He concluded that the messages are still very relevant and, even in times of recession, such as we have now, money should be invested in the mitigation of climate change. The figure he proposes is a trillion dollars, which is just 1.5% of world production, and could be raised through a system of selling emission permits. This could be spent on financing new cleaner technologies and, just as importantly, on paying countries not to cut down forests to grow crops such as palm oil and soya.

Many of the costs are not really costs, according to Oliver, as they would actually save us money in the long term, such as employing out-of-work builders to insulate homes and create energy efficiency savings. Redesigning equipment that is inefficient, such as fridges, would also be cost-effective when the investment is compared to the widely distributed savings that can be achieved.

The messages that he was promoting fit very well with our Energy Revolution campaign (www.foe.co.uk/energyrevolution) to put real pressure on the government to ensure that carbon emissions targets are met and that we can move to a low carbon society. You can still sign up your organisation to this if you contact us at campaigns@birminghamfoe.org.uk.


Pressure also needs to be applied to those taking part in the talks in Copenhagen later this year to ensure the world moves in the right direction to prevent runaway climate change.