May 112010
 
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A major change of approach is needed if society is to restrain climate change, according to a report from a self-styled “eclectic” group of academics.

The UN process has failed, they argue, and a global approach concentrating on CO2 cuts will never work.

They urge instead the use of carbon tax revenue to develop technologies that can supply clean energy to everyone.

Their so-called Hartwell Paper is criticised by others who say the UN process has curbed carbon emissions.

The paper is named after Hartwell House, the Buckinghamshire mansion, hotel and spa where the group of 14 academics from Europe, North America and Japan gathered in February to develop their ideas.

Its central message is that climate change can be ameliorated best by pursuing “politically attractive and relentlessly pragmatic” options that also curb emissions.

These options include bringing a reliable electricity supply to the estimated 1.5 billion people in the world without it using efficient, low-carbon technologies.

“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,” said lead author Prof Gwyn Prins.

Prof Prins is director of the Mackinder Programme for the Study of Long Wave Events at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an adviser to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the UK charity chaired by Lord Lawson that aims “to help restore balance and trust in the climate debate”.

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