In a new edition of his hard-hitting book on climate change, economist Dieter Helm looks at how and why we have failed to tackle the issue of global warming and argues for a new, pragmatic rethinking of energy policy.
“An optimistically levelheaded book about actually dealing with global warming.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“[Dieter Helm] has turned his agile mind to one of the great problems of our age: why the world’s efforts to curb the carbon dioxide emissions behind global warming have gone so wrong, and how it can do better.”—Pilita Clark, Financial Times
Helm's credentials couldn't be more impressive and include service as special adviser to the European energy commissioner and as chair of the advisory group on the EU 2050 Energy Roadmap. The book's introduction could hardly be more saddening and frustrating. As Helm writes: "despite innumerable conferences, summits, proclamations, agreements and policy interventions, so far nothing much has been achieved, and indeed some of the interventions may have made things worse." Against this backdrop, which Helm details in accessible prose, he pragmatically concludes that fixing climate change requires that consumers be "willing to vote for politicians who will force them to pay" the costs of a transformed energy policy. Such candor is rare, and if that's the prerequisite to stave off potentially catastrophic global temperature increases, hope must triumph over experience. Helm superbly articulates why some of the alternate energy sources touted as solutions (such as wind power) aren't cost efficient, and how countries claim to have reduced harmful carbon emissions only by increasing carbon imports that don't add up to a net reduction. This intelligent though depressing tome should inform future debates.