As I mentioned Saturday, Monday will see the official release of the British economist Sir Nicholas Stern’s report forcasting the economic implications of climate change. At first I thought the prospects were minimal for coverage in the US press on this to be minimal, but apparently Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown has other ideas.
Brown, the likely successor to Tony Blair as head of the Labour Party, shares with Blair an interest in mitigating climate change and the release of the Stern report tomorrow and its dire predictions–that climate change could bring about a global depression–is evidence of the desire to raise the profile of both the issue as well as the upcoming international UN climate change conference in Nairobi.
If the report isn’t enough, apparently Brown has enlisted former US Vice President Al Gore as an advisor on the issue. Bloomberg is reporting that the enlistment of Gore is an effort to bring the US back into global talks about the successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
It is unlikely that Gore’s involvement as an advisor to the British Treasury will change attitudes in Washington, but many observers are speculating that the issue will play a factor in the 2008 Presidential election–both John McCain and Hillary Clinton are proponents of mandatory CO2 caps.
As I mentioned last week, the issue of rising fuel prices is a cause for concern for many politicians.
Australia, like the United States, is a large importer of petroleum and depends on these imports to sustain a highly consumptive, automobile-dependent, energy regime.
Unlike the United States, Australia has been pushing the use of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) as an alternative, culminating in an announcement by Prime Minister John Howard last week to provide a $2000 (Au.) subsidy to consumers who convert their car to accept the fuel.
From a sustainability perspective, there are numerous problems with relying on LPGs as a staple for energy policy. First, LPGs are derivitive from butane and propane produced during oil and natural gas extraction. As such, they don’t offer an alternative to fossil fuels–rather another form.
Similarly, the fuel burns cleaner than conventional petrol, but still produces the same amount of carbon emissions, doing nothing to the pressing problem of climate change.
This subsidy seems less an attempt to engage in a more environmentally sustainable energy policy than a way to bolster political support.
This page is intended as an information resource for DePaul University students enrolled in my current courses. Given the fact that courses in public policy are fundamentally concerned with important issues facing civic life, it is essential for students to see the connections between the theory and analysis presented in class and contemporary examples of policy problems.
People with general interest in urban and environmental policy may also find this site useful as will former students and alumni of DePaul’s Public Policy Studies program.
Readers are encouraged to comment on posts. For contact information, please see my page on DePaul’s Public Policy Studies program website.
My research focuses on the social, economic, ecological and political aspects of metropolitan and urban policymaking.
I am especially interested in the phenomenon of suburbanization and the challenges facing suburbs as many attempt to initiate policies relating to sustainability. Additionally, I have published research on planned communities, looking at the ways in which these master-planned urban spaces reflect particular social values.
More information and links to publications can be found on my research page.
I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Public Policy Studies Program at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois where I offer courses in sustainability, metropolitan development, and envrionmental and urban policy.
I also teach in DePaul’s interdisciplinary Liberal Studies program. Visit my teaching page for current and historical course syllabi.