Skip to main content

Seminar: From Big to Small: Planetary Economics and the implications for energy demand analysis (11 Apr 16)

Monday 11 April 2016

Monday 11 April 2016, 1-2pm, Seminar Room 8.119, School of Earth and Environment

Speaker: Michael Grubb, University College London

This talk outlines the underlying economics of energy sector decision making and implications for the design of climate policies. It illustrates three different domains of decisions, and corresponding pillars of policy which flow from these.

Evidence is presented to suggest that all three domains are equally important in the task of transforming energy systems, and shows that the corresponding pillars of policy – on efficiency, pricing, and innovation – are mutually interdependent. Any pillar on its own will fail. A fundamental problem of policy in Europe has been failing to set carbon pricing within the wider context of the other policy pillars, on efficiency and innovation. This has both undermined the effectiveness of the EU ETS, and made it unnecessarily unpopular.

The presentation outlines some implications for ETS design in two areas – strengthening synergies with other policy pillars, and the need for stabilisation mechanisms.   Finally, it sets the underlying issues in a wider context of economic theory and the European economic crisis, and outlines ways in which energy and climate can and should become more closely linked to mainstream debates about European economic recovery.

This presentation is based on the authors book Planetary Economics: Energy, Climate Change and the Three Domains of Sustainable Development, published by Routledge 2014.

Michael Grubb is a Professor of International Energy and Climate Change Policy at University College London (Institute of Sustainable Resources), editor-in-chief of the journal Climate Policy, and Senior Advisor on Sustainable Energy Policy to the UK Energy Regulator Ofgem.  His former positions include Senior Research Associate at Cambridge University (Departments of Economics and Land Economy); Chair of the international research organization Climate Strategies; Chief Economist at the Carbon Trust; Professor of Climate Change and Energy Policy at Imperial College London; and head of Energy and Environment at Chatham House, and he continues to be associated with these institutions.

Professor Grubb has also served on the UK Climate Change Committee, established under the UK Climate Change Bill to advise the government on future carbon budgets and to report to Parliament on their implementation.  In 2013 he was the Specialist Advisor to a House of Lords European Committee enquiry. ‘No Country is an Energy Island: securing investment for the EU’s Future’ (2013).

Michael Grubb is author of eight books, fifty journal research articles and numerous other publications. He has held many advisory positions with governments, companies and international studies on climate change and energy policy, and has been a Lead Author for several reports of the IPCC on mitigation, including the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.  His book Planetary Economics, which brings together the lessons from 25 years of research and implementation of energy and climate policies, was published in March 2014: it has received widespread accolade as a ‘seminal’ contribution, ‘comprehensive and profoundly important’ for its presentation of a new approach to both the theoretical underpinnings and the practical policies for tackling energy and climate change challenges.

This seminar is hosted by the Sustainability Research Institute.

Open to University of Leeds staff and students.