It’s all about the pie!

The pie is only half baked. Liz Truss is going to fix that!

Half baked? A pie, earlier today

(reading time: 2 mins)

What was Liz Truss going on about when she told Laura Kuenssberg we need to grow the size of the pie? Let’s be honest here, most of us are too thick to understand clever economic stuff like this. But really, it’s brilliantly simple.

You see, since 2008 too many British people have been stuck eating supermarket own-brand fun-size pork pies, which are mostly ground up snouts, trotters, sawdust and chicken feet. Yeuch!! But now, thanks to her tax cuts, the rich can buy lots more massive Venison and Partridge pies from Harrods. They won’t be able to eat all their pie, so they’ll share the leftover pie with the upper middle classes. The upper middle classes will get really full, and they’ll share their Waitrose responsibly sourced Organic pies with the lower middle classes.

The lower middle classes can then share their Sainsburys’ pies with the working poor… who will then share their pies with people on benefits, and so on. Eventually, the rich peoples’ pies will become so big, even the poor will be eating Venison and Partridge pie very day!

Here’s the really brilliant part though – none of us will need to pay for heating because the pies will be really, really hot! And nobody will be homeless because the crusts will be so big you’ll be able to live under them, and not pay any rent. As Liz Truss says, the solution is to grow the size of the pie! Thank you Prime Minister. It’s so obvious now.

Oh, and just in case that doesn’t work, remember it’s all the fault of the Bank of England, all those City remoaners, Keir Starmer, and probably Jamie Oliver, for not baking a pie big enough to go round.

The limits of Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion flags in Bristol July 2019

(reading time: 4 mins)

Why was I absent from Bristol’s Extinction Rebellion protests last week? I’m a left leaning voter who accepts time is running out for climate change action. Last winter I spent eight days upgrading my loft insulation to reduce my gas consumption by about 10% – which is one of many actions I’ve taken to reduce my carbon output. So why did I cycle past the protest each day instead of joining in?

Although XR are doing an important job of keeping climate change in the news cycle, I believe there’s a limit to what XR’s protests will achieve.

Continue reading…

When is a tax not a tax? When it’s a carbon dividend

Oil extraction

(reading time: 8 mins)

Scientists and economists have long advocated carbon taxes as the most effective way to remove carbon from the world economy. The carbon dividend is one of the few ways to make carbon taxes politically acceptable.

But while taxing carbon may be vital, people rarely vote for new taxes. While left of centre Europeans like me want increased funding for public services, history shows it’s an uphill task selling voters the tax increases needed to pay for them. It’s too easy for voters and politicians to think short-term and let future generations pay, with the cost of inaction rising all the time.

However the strength of the carbon dividend may be its cross party appeal. In different forms, the carbon dividend has long been popular with environmentalists (it is UK Green party policy), but is also gaining traction with Republicans and Libertarians. Continue reading…

Climate change, anxieties and actions

Oil refining
Image courtesy of NASA

(reading time: 11 mins)

This summer’s heatwave through Europe and Asia was one of many extraordinary weather events, which along with forest fires, storms and flash floods, are becoming less extraordinary every year. Scientists are not claiming direct cause and effect for individual weather events, rather there is a very simple principle at work – CO2 and Methane put more energy into our weather systems. The more energy goes in, the more energy comes out, with greater frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

The IPCC October 2018 report and the ‘hothouse earth’ report that rounded off the summer both re-state that climate change may become irreversible, but with the worrying twist that the tipping point may be closer than previously thought. There are more frequent warnings that we really could leave Earth permanently damaged for our species, perhaps within a few generations.

Such headlines grab the attention for a time because our hunter-gatherer brains are hardwired to monitor for immediate threats. However as the solution requires action outside of our control, what remains is often a sense of powerlessness.  Continue reading…