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A new direction for climate policy

Rapid advance in addressing climate change is now possible for the first time in 15 years because global climate policy crashed in 2009, according to The Hartwell Paper, a new international report co-ordinated at LSE, published today (Tuesday 11 May).

After the failure of the international climate policy meeting at Copenhagen last December, LSE Mackinder and the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford, were commissioned by an international consortium of funders to chart a new way forward. 

The result of three months' intensive work by a group of 14 authors from Asia, Europe and North America, The Hartwell Paper argues that a radical change of approach is required, given that the 1992 United Nations international climate policy framework has failed to produce any discernable real world reductions in greenhouse gases. So the crash of 09 is a crisis that must not be wasted.

The paper explains how the global economy can be moved away from its dependence on fossil fuels in harmony with economic recovery and with public approval. This decarbonisation is achieved as a by-product of pursuing more pragmatic and popular primary goals, including expanding energy access, energy security and, ultimately, making energy less expensive and more abundant. Unless fractured public trust is rebuilt, nothing can be done. So the key for completing the job is for policy makers to focus on the first steps, and not on outcome targets or timetables. Current policies fail because they are back to front, politically and technologically. They also misinterpret the core message that scientific research on climate issues gives to policy-makers.

Lead author LSE Professor Gwyn Prins said: 'The raising up of human dignity is the central driver of the Hartwell Paper, replacing the preoccupation with human sinfulness that has failed and will continue to fail to deliver progress.'

The paper sets out access, sustainability and resilience goals. It also makes the case for vigorous and early action on non CO2 climate forcing agents like black carbon and tropospheric ozone. It then argues for rebuilding of public trust via successful improvements in energy efficiency and new energy technology innovation in decarbonised energy supply funded by a low hypothecated (dedicated) carbon tax.

The Hartwell Paper is being published simultaneously in Chinese, French, German, Italian and Japanese translations. The authors are from Canada, England, Finland, Germany, Japan and the USA .

To access the full paper, see The Hartwell Paper


CONTACT: Professor Gwyn Prins, LSE Mackinder, 020 7852 3678, g.prins@lse.ac.uk

Jess Winterstein, LSE Press Office, 020 7955 7060, j.winterstein@lse.ac.uk


The authors of The Hartwell Paper are: 

Professor Gwyn Prins, Mackinder Programme for the Study of Long Wave Events, London School of Economics & Political Science, England

Isabel Galiana, Department of Economics & GEC3, McGill University, Canada

Professor Christopher Green, Department of Economics, McGill University, Canada

Dr Reiner Grundmann, School of Languages & Social Science, Aston University, England

Professor Mike Hulme, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, England

Professor Atte Korhola, Department of Environmental Sciences/ Division of Environmental Change and Policy, University of Helsinki, Finland

Professor Frank Laird, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, USA

Ted Nordhaus, The Breakthrough Institute, Oakland, California, USA

Professor Roger Pielke Jnr, Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Colorado, USA

Professor Steve Rayner, Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford, England 

Professor Daniel Sarewitz, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, Arizona State University, USA 

Michael Shellenberger, The Breakthrough Institute, Oakland, California, USA

Professor Nico Stehr, Karl Mannheim Chair for Cultural Studies, Zeppelin University, Germany 

Hiroyuki Tezuka, General Manager, Climate Change Policy Group, JFE Steel Corporation (on behalf of Japan Iron and Steel Federation), Japan

Principal Funding was provided by the Japan Iron and Steel Federation, Tokyo, Japan and Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc., Tokyo, Japan , the Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York and the Fondation Hoffmann, Geneva