Managing in a Changing Environment

Cotswold International Airport

I took this photo this afternoon at Cotswold International Airport which is near Cirencester. Yes it does exist and as you will see 747s can land there. The reason for the photo today, is that it is roughly 12 months since Covid 19 started to take hold of our attention. Would any of us have thought it would have led to the grounding and taking out of service of 747s? I doubt it.

What Covid has shown us, is that coping with change, let alone planning for it, is difficult. That our politicians are not very good with change. That lots of people are not very good at change because its not business as usual.

The journey to a net zero carbon global economy involves a vast amount of change for all of us, individuals, businesses and political systems from the local council to national governments and beyond. What coping with Covid should teach us, is that lots of people are not skilled in dealing with change. That some deny what is going on. It is highly probable that changing to net zero will produce many of the same issues as covid. If anyone tells you this will be easy, they haven’t thought about it or they have a vested interest they are protecting or they are dissembling.

Don’t underestimate the change that a net zero carbon economy requires.

© Chris Lenon and http://www.zerocarbonourchoice.com  2020-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Chris Lenon and www.zerocarbonourchoice.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Covid 19, & China

A number of members of my family have posted some disbelief about the number of deaths and disclosure about Covid 19 in China. Despite the disclosure of an additional 1200 deaths today by the Chinese authorities, scepticism about disclosures does not appear misplaced.

At the moment, there is generally a lack of explanation of the differing effects of covid 19 in different countries. In the Nordic countries Norway has twice the cases of Finland, Denmark twice Norway and Sweden twice Denmark. Why?

But China also poses some interesting questions. As the attached map shows, large areas of China were barely affected by covid 19, even though they were only a short distance from Wuhan (the epicentre). Neither Beijing nor Shanghai were badly affected. Why? China had a very vigorous lockdown, but lots of people were moving around China before the lockdown for Chinese New Year, so why didn’t the virus spread widely within China if 5 million people from Wuhan travelled around China?

The six western Chinese provinces each had less than 100 cases of covid 19, so less than 600 cases in total. Yet Cuba has had over 800 cases. This all seems strange.

© Chris Lenon and http://www.zerocarbonourchoice.com  2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Chris Lenon and www.zerocarbonourchoice.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Carbon Wealth at Risk – geo-political consequences

In Chapter 4 of my book Zero Carbon Our Choice, I focus on the geo political consequences of decarbonisation. What surprises me about those who advocate the green deal as a positive, is that they underestimate the downside of “carbon wealth at risk” from decarbonisation. Many dismiss this as something which will only affect large oil companies (which it will) but the consequences beyond the obvious are significant in global terms.

I’ve written about the effect of Covid 19 on demand for carbon goods and services like airlines and what level of support we should be considering as a response. But the ramifications are considerable from the drop in demand for energy. As an example, some electricity tariffs are now negative in the UK in the day, due to the combination of the fall in demand and renewable production which cannot be turned off. Some customers will earn 3.3p/Kw to use electricity!

Norway provides an interesting perspective on carbon wealth at risk. The decline in the oil price has led to a fall in the Norwegian currency and politicians are recognising that going forward Norway may become more like other countries and have to adjust its government spending as a result. Norway benefits from the prudence of its sovereign wealth fund which will cushion some of the consequences, but if Norway is adjusting in this way then the effects on other countries which have a significant dependence on carbon in their economies will be even harder, particularly if they don’t have sovereign wealth funds.

I will write separately about the developing countries which have significant carbon wealth at risk. The likely consequences of reduced carbon wealth are increased instability in those regions of the world with carbon wealth and the contagion from that instability in those regions to neighbouring countries (Venezuela and Colombia is a recent example).

The economic slowdown and the effect on carbon demand from Covid 19 measures is showing that the consequences of carbon decline will need to be carefully analysed and the costs involved properly calculated rather than dismissed.

This is not to say we should not decarbonise, but that we need to understand all the costs and ramifications of this change.

© Chris Lenon and http://www.zerocarbonourchoice.com  2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Chris Lenon and www.zerocarbonourchoice.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.