Climate Change and Global Development: Net-Zero after Covid-19

– So thank you so much for joining us for Climate Change & Global Development: Net-Zero after COVID-19. This is the seventh in a series of Yale's Development Dialogues which are virtual panel discussions hosted by the Yale Economic Growth Center, the South Asian Studies Council and the Jackson Institute
for Global Affairs. And as you may know, if
you've joined us in the past, we look to lessons from
history and economics to address today's policy problems in low and middle-income countries. I'm Catherine Cheney, I'm a journalist focused
on global development and I'll be your moderator today. And I'm joined by panelists
including Sir Dieter Helm, who's professor of economic policy at the University of Oxford, and former independent chair of the UK Natural Capital
Committee which provides advice to the government on the
sustainable use of natural capital.

Plus, you'll hear from
Rohini Pande, Sunil Amrith and Rory Stewart who are organizers and co-hosts of this series and I'll introduce them in just a moment. But first just to set up the topic, the topic of green growth
has come up a few times over the course of the
Yale Development Dialogues and there's been some debate around it but we haven't really tackled this head on and that's what we'll be doing today. So in climate negotiations, low-income countries have long asserted that they are being asked to
sacrifice economic development for a problem that's largely caused by high-income countries. And today, western countries
set bold emissions targets even as they continue to
import goods manufactured in low and middle income countries at a high environmental cost.

So countries like India
may in fact increase their reliance on coal to help mitigate the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which of course has really
become a crisis in India today even as they set targets for
renewable energy production. I should note that this
dialogue is being held on Yale Climate Day which is
a full day of virtual events. This provides an opportunity
for the Yale community and the public to come together around pressing environmental challenges. And you can click the link in the chat if you're joining us on Zoom for details on other events today including John Kerry's
keynote this afternoon. As I mentioned as people
were still signing on, for those of you joining us here on Zoom, please do submit your questions throughout using the chat or Q&A function. And now I wanna go ahead
and introduce our panelists and move into discussion. So earlier I mentioned Dieter Helm. His most recent book, "Net Zero: How We Stop
Causing Climate Change" addresses the actions we all need to take to tackle the climate emergency and we'll hear more from him on that.

Sunil Amrith is the Renu
and Anand Dhawan professor of history and current chair of the South Asian
Studies Counsel at Yale. His research focuses on histories
of environment, migration and public health across
South and Southeast Asia. Rohini Pande is the Henry J. Heinz the second professor of economics and director of the Economic
Growth Center at Yale. Her research has examined
the political economy of aid and empowerment of the
in developing countries.

And Rory Stewart is a
former member of parliament and secretary of state for international development in the UK. He's written extensively
about travel, politics and development and
argued against the merging of the Department for
International Development and the Foreign Office
now known as the FCDO, you may be familiar. So I wanna begin with a
question for each of you just to get your take on the
topic we're addressing today and then we can dive into details of what you have to say and
get into a conversation. But I think we all agree.

We might not agree on the path to this but I think we all agree that the traditional methods
of growth must change in order to address climate
and development goals. So the question is, and this is where there might be some
disagreement and debate, what are some of the hard
decisions that need to be made and who needs to step up? So just to get your take on this topic, let's begin with Dieter,
if that's all right. – Well, thank you very much and thank you very much for asking me along to this discussion. So almost all discussions
about environmental concerns start with the question of the
economy and economic growth. And the alternative is put
forward as either green growth or no growth, club of our own thought that we should have no growth at all. My take on this is that
growth is perfectly plausible provided it's driven
by technology and ideas and that the scope for the advancement of human ingenuity of
technology is enormous.

However, we can only consume
at a level which is consistent with sustaining those
opportunities through time. So the fundamental
environmental observation to kick off with is we are all living beyond our sustainable
environmental means. In other words, we are consuming too much and the level of our
consumption has to adjust down before it can continue
to go up into the future. And why is that? It's because you and me are
ultimately the polluters and we're not paying the
cost of our pollution including carbon emissions and the like.

And whether those emissions
are caused in India or China or Africa or they're caused in London is irrelevant in the
climate change example. So we have to step up and pay
the costs of our pollution and recognize that we're
responsible for far more pollution than we're currently causing. And that leads to some
pretty hard decisions because of course,
politicians around the world from Biden to Johnson, to
Von der Leyen in the EU are all promising to boost consumption to solve our current economic difficulties from the coronavirus. And simply boosting
consumption is not a model which is going to deliver the kinds of environmental
adjustments that need to be made. We the polluters have to adjust down, and then we have a proper
level to work on this but the politics of
that are extremely hard. – Thank you. And when you mentioned
we're all living beyond our sustainable environmental means, I know your book outlined
some steps that can be taken which we'll get into in our conversation. But I'd love to go ahead
and bring, let's see.

We'll begin with Sunil,
if that's all right. We'll bring Sunil into this. So again, I mentioned that
you and Rohini and Rory have been part of conversations over the course of this series where the topic of green
growth has come up. And I wonder if you can expand on based on maybe historical
perspective as well which I know you bring to this, what do we do now that
we're at this crossroads? Who needs to step up? What hard decisions need to be made? – In some ways, Catherine,
I think the hardest decision is the way you put it just now. You said, we all agree. We all agree, but I suspect a lot of
the world does not agree. And I think that the hardest task is in fact a profoundly political task. And that is the task for
those of us who believe that a new way of thinking about growth and the relationship between the economy and environment is necessarily. The task is one of persuasion really, because I think there's a big disconnect between the kinds of conversations that we've been having on this dialogue with a wonderful audience engaging with us and the conversations that are
being had around the world, not just in the developed countries but also in developing countries
about who should sacrifice, about what priorities are particularly in
light of this pandemic.

– I think you're absolutely right. And so if that is a barrier persuasion which I think it is, hopefully in our conversation, we can get to not only hard
decisions that need to be made but hard steps that need to
be taken including persuasion and consensus before we
can actually make progress. So hopefully we can get into that. Rohini, can I bring you into this? What's your take on this topic
and Net-Zero After COVID-19. How do we get there? – Thanks, Catherine. So I think I'd probably build off both what Dieter and Sunil were talking about.

And can really remind us
that in some ways before, there was economics that
was political economy. And that really, I think is
what needs to be sent to stage as we think about issues
to do with climate change and how we are going to
get rich and poor countries to possibly choose different
distributional burdens. Sunil talked about persuasion. I would add to it the idea of
how do we create incentives. So how do we actually have policies that incentivize rich countries to do what is arguably good for the world but perhaps may not be good for them in some very narrow sense, something I know you're
going to come back to that we've already seen with COVID-19 and a lot of discussion
of vaccine nationalism. The other issue I'd bring
up is that implementation. I think a lot of discussions
of climate change policies tend to be quite legal right now. So a lot of discussion of having
different countries decide what policies to put in place. But when we look at I think the failure of several of these
policies, for instance, those are the Kyoto Protocol.

A lot of them have to do
again when we can institutions then make it hard to
implement these policies. And again, looking at COVID-19
and looking for instance at the vaccine rollout in
India and how slow it is, I think it's important to remember that a lot of the issues are going to be how do we have fair technology transfers? How do we think about IP issues? But a lot are going to also be about how can the global community
helps trend and institutions and how can citizens domestic countries ask for the institutions that will give them the voice they need. – And yeah, I know you can expand on this in our conversation but I think if we look
at COVID-19 as a test for how developed countries can
support developing countries going through a shared challenge, there are concerning
implications for our ability to respond to climate change given the challenges
we've seen with COVID-19 and global solidarity
in responding to that. Rory, I'd love to bring you into this. I know that your views on these issues include your own experience
as working in policy, working in development, trying to work with countries
facing these hard decisions.

So what are some of the challenges ahead and who needs to do what? – Well, I'm really gonna come in on this from the point of view of somebody who was recently a
politician and a minister. And I saw three different types of issue. One of them is domestic to Britain. So when I was running
to be mayor of London, all the polling suggested that the overwhelming majority
of the population was not prepared to spend
15 pounds more a year in order to pursue environmental policies. So it's extremely important to understand that domestic politicians running are being told by that polling
experts and strategists that this is not a way to get votes.

And if you think about the
things that we wanted to do even at a tiny scale of London,
for example, on air quality extend the clean air zone out
to the outskirts of London which was going to pose a
cost of 65 pounds a week on people with older vehicles
from low income families, you could see why very,
very quickly in the election people were reluctant to go there. So that's first thing. Second thing is the way in
which countries like Britain deal with other countries. In other words, the
bilateral relationship. So I was very struck and defeated
by the enormous reluctance from British development professionals to really emphasize climate.

And the reason for that is
that their development models very much dependent
particularly on energy. So a lots of the programs
that they were most proud of which they thought would
get the greatest results in terms of getting people out of poverty involved investing in coal
fired, heavy oil fired plants. And when push came to shove, when I started to block those projects, so I started block money
going to a Shell Oil project in Senegal, for example, or I tried to stop the Commonwealth
Development Corporation spending its money on large
fossil fuel burning projects in Africa, there was huge
pushback in almost reluctance. Even though the development
community acknowledges that a lot of the impacts of climate change will be felt very, very drastically by some of the poorest people in the world in terms of flooding, in
terms of solar iteration, in terms of heat, right? And the argument made by the
most senior person to fit is that by dealing with climate change, we were punishing today's poor for the sake of tomorrow's poor.

And then the final point
which we can turn back to which I think Rohini, Sunil
and Dieter have all touched on is the way that this is actually perceived from other countries, and how much India may be reluctant to accept these type of moves. But to take it even more
extreme, think about Afghanistan. When I walked across Afghanistan in the winter of 2001, 2002, there was literally no electricity
between Herat and Kabul, none at all. And as Afghanistan tries to develop, obviously they're trying to
generate some electricity but this is a country
of 30 million people. If Afghanistan began to go on the path of trying to generate
the amount of electricity that a European country
of 30 million people got and that that was repeated
cause you cannot imagine the scale of the problem
we're creating for the world.

And yet, can you imagine
trying to say to Afghans, no, no, no, I'm sorry,
this isn't gonna happen. Okay, so on those three
points, I'm gonna stop 'cause everybody else
was much shorter than me. – Well, I do have one
follow-up question for you which is when you're facing
that kind of pushback and that statement as you said, by dealing with climate change, we're punishing today's
poor for tomorrow's poor.

It's hard to make change, right? Even just institutionally,
no matter the change, it's hard to make change. And you mentioned that
these energy projects which within defeat, there
were a lot of champions for these energy projects in terms of their development outcomes, the environmental impacts were negative. If you're making that kind of argument and seeing that kind of pushback, it seems that it would be helpful to point to examples of what could work.

And can you give some
examples what could work? What could be a win-win for development and for the environment? – I mean, it is true that you can do some extraordinary renewable
energy projects now much more cheaply than you
were able to a few years ago. So I went to see this
extraordinary wind project in Lake Turkana in Kenya and I went to see some
extraordinary solar projects in Jordan.

And they are generating
electricity in Jordan from solar panels at
an incredibly low rate. But I just want to dig
into that a little bit because of course, one
forgets how politics matters even with something like a solar panel. So although they were
generating electricity from these set of panels much more cheaply than they were generating
extras from anything else, they weren't building anymore. And the reason they weren't
building anymore was politics. The Arab Spring had led to them losing their fuel supply from Egypt. They then sign the series of
contracts for 20 or 30 years with big international oil companies to produce carbon produced
the energy into Jordan and they couldn't get
out of those contracts.

They had to pay the money to
them every year, regardless. But there was no point of
building more solar panels for domestic consumption
and they couldn't export because all their export lines run through Syria to Turkey and
Iraq which had a huge demand for the type of power
they were able to produce. I just wanted to bring that to bare because it's very tempting for
students and others to think, okay, well, why don't we
just can't give Michele the solar of panels, and Mali with set of panels,
Jordan with set of panels.

But when you actually
get into these problems the way the contracts work
and the way that the politics and conflicts in neighboring states work, these things become much more difficult. I'm sorry, I'll try and
be a bit more optimistic in my next time. – No, that was great, Rory. And I want to bring Rohini in
because India came up earlier. And just in terms of zooming
in on what this looks like and how politics are
involved as Rory mentioned, Rohini, can you provide
us some perspective looking at India. – Well, I see a train passed
from outside my house.

– I'm timing with a train
passing through, okay. – But let me jump. Actually, I wanted to just
follow up on Rory's point on solar pricing and
actually talk about some work that one of our colleagues here at Yale, Nicholas Ryan has been doing right now on solar pricing and growth
of solar energy in India. And I think the point he's made is that green energy suppliers now increasingly have as reset low what we
would call variable cost.

So they still have a large fixed cost. This is partly the case
also that as you're thinking about alternative forms of energy, we often have to think about how they're going to fit into the grid. So what this has meant
in the case of India which is a federal country, that if you're a producer of
say green energy supplier, you have to contract
with the state government in order to say, I will give
you so much solar energy that'll go into your grid. But what this means is that most electricity distribution companies at a state level in India
are terribly bankrupt for a combination of political
economy and other reasons. And so there's a huge concern of basically renegotiation and default by the state electricity companies which will very often not be
taken to court the same way.

And so this has led to in general quite a lot of counterparty
risk for green energy suppliers when they're trying to go
to the state government. So they're very willing in Nick's work right now to sell to
the central government which seems to be doing better here, but very unwilling, very
often to go to those states that are actually the poorest states that are just beginning
to put in place grids when you really want from the start a transition to green energy. But those are exactly the states where the suppliers don't want to go and because they're the most concerned that they will not be
able to recover that cost. So I think that's a good example
of saying that very often we look at technology and we say, wow, look at the price of solar.

It's falling so fast. And we have to actually think about what actually is a good to take for the suppliers to provide it. As Rory said, sometimes international but even within a fast-growing
country like India, it can be institutional
barriers or just risks that means people won't tend to. – Absolutely, I write
a lot about technology and global development. And there is a lot of promise when it comes to technology in this space, but that what will it take question? Many barriers stand in the way. And speaking of that, I
want to return to Dieter now and hear a little bit more about your book and what you lay out in the book. And I know you talk about what citizens and governments can do to cut carbon. And we've heard a little bit from Rory about some of the challenges
working in government, Rohini expanded on that.

I'd love to narrow the focus
to citizens for a moment because earlier you were talking about this as a shared responsibility. And for citizens in low
and middle income countries in particular, I'm curious kind of building on Rory's point earlier, what should they be asked to give up? Again, many challenges here in terms of asking people to
do things for the environment that might not be in
their own self-interest or in the interest of their country from a development perspective but I'd love for you to
expand on points in your book in terms of if we are all to take action, what does that action look like from the perspective of citizens in low and middle income country? And you're on mute.
Yeah.

– Use the same lock in the end often yet. It's important if you are
citizens to do things. And I deliberately focused on citizens and not just consumers and I'll explain that point in a moment. You have to make sure
that what they're doing is gonna make some difference and it's actually going
to address the problem. So you have to start back at the beginning with characterizing what the
climate problem is, where it is and what would be necessary
to crack this problem. So the first thing to say is almost all the discussion
is about emissions. But then the number that matters is the concentration
of carbon in the attic, the stock and the other greenhouse gases. It's sequestration and emissions, and its emissions net of sequestration which adds to that concentration. So it's just as important to talk about what's happening to the Amazon and how you protect the
natural assets around the world as it is to talk about what
comes out of a coal postage.

It's not that the coal
postage is important, it's just that we shouldn't be exclusively focused on emissions without thinking about sequestration. The things like rainforest
in Brazil, it's both, it's admitting a hell of
a lot by burning it down, but it should be
sequestrating a lot instead and oceans, phytoplanktons and so on. So that's the first thing to say. The second thing to say is
anyone who thinks one more heave and that'll I'm sure lead
to a discussion about COP26 has to explain how a bit of recent history doesn't fit that model. So every single year since 1990, we've added two parts per million to the concentration of
carbon in the atmosphere.

There isn't a blip for the
financial crisis in '07, '08, and there was no blip last
year during the lockdowns. And that should really give
people pause for thought. If you do all of that to
the developed economies and still you are two parts
per million to the atmosphere, we really have to look at
this problem very hard. I mean, I'm happy for
everyone to have meet up for 17,000 people to rock up in Glasgow. I'm very pleased that politicians are talking about climate change. But anyone thinks that Paris
really cracked the problem and this is the icing on the cake. They're not in the same universe as me. Now, the next thing that's very important and this is back to which citizens, okay. If you look at current climate change, nearly 30% of emissions
are from China, okay.

China has more emissions than
Europe and the United States put together now in the
share of total emissions. These are staggering numbers, okay? And what's more, it's building
more new coal power stations than all the coal power stations closing in Europe and in America. Good to that is it's important,
but it's in proportion. And that the current growth rate of China let's say five to 6% by
235, there'll be two Chinas. So to get a real grip of the
magnitude of the problem, think about a world in
which you just go off shore from the East coast of China and there's another one and it looks very much
like the existing one. And that will probably
be true of India too as India's growth rate goes
back up to five six and beyond. And you can just do the arithmetic. So these are stunning numbers.

So if you go into that context and say, so what does it take
to crack that problem? Well, if you just look at emissions, you think it's the Chinese,
it's all their fault. I've heard politicians
say those things privately going forward, okay. So there are two things to say about it. One is that a lot of those
emissions are for you and me. So the Chinese model is less so now but it was built on an
export orientated model as an Indian model may be going forward following on from Korea,
Japan, and Germany in the periods after the
post second world war period.

So you have to make sure that the people who are
actually causing those emissions to be made actually are the people who are paying for those emissions. The piece I'd add on top of that is that if you think climate
change is gonna get solved between now and 2050 or beyond, then it's almost not all
but largely going to be in terms of additional
contribution to climate change gonna be coming from
China, India and Africa, and Brazil, Philippines, Indonesia. These are the rapidly
growing areas in the world. And if they do rapidly grow
with high levels of emission, whatever the justice of that, we will face that very hot climate change. So if we are really interested
in making these changes, we the citizens of the countries with much higher consumptive per head have to make sure we pay for the emissions in those countries.

And now what do their citizens do? Well, I'd put it the other way around. What are their citizens entitled to? So I say citizens because
in my environmental approach what I want to do is to
make sure that all citizens have the basic capabilities
to function society. You can see that I did my
thesis under much ascend to see where this argument comes from. So it's a positive entitlement
to assets not utility, not the economist normal currency, it's making sure they have the wherewithal within which to live their lives. The most important wherewithal to do that is to have the natural capital assets, environmental assets to
make their lives tolerable. The only way that's gonna happen as the Indian Energy Minister made clear a couple of weeks ago is that there has to be
substantial transfers to make that possible. And I think the most
frightening thing about Paris and they need the
discussions about Glasgow is that people are talking about, well, couldn't we go from
100 billion to 200 billion to address the transfers
that might be required. We in Britain spent 300
billion just on COVID, right.

This has got an order
of magnitude different. And the difference between
the COVID it episode and the climate change
one is the COVID one enables an element of
national wool building and nationalistic protection
which we've seen that lives. There is no wall you can build, not even one that Mr. Trump could imagine which will keep a ton of carbon emitted anywhere out of the
world into our climate. So I think we have to
think about global citizens and their entitlements, we have to think about
isn't assets not flows and we have to think about it in the capabilities that go with that.

Not just trying to make them happy and think it's some of you tyrant exercise in maximizing economic welfare. – Thank you, and I'm glad
you brought up this point around natural capital which
I hope we can return to because I think too often,
it's presented as a trade off in terms of protecting
the planet at a cost to your country's development path.

But when you bring in natural capital as a lens through which to look at this, you can identify more of
these win-win opportunities. – A very quick come back on that. So a lot of people who
think there's a trade off between the environment
and economic growth, between that capital
and GDP tomorrow, okay. And at the same breadth, they'll accept that what
we're currently doing is unsustainable. So the conclusion that follows from something that's unsustainable is it will not be sustained.

And the problem is and the
problem of convincing people in Europe and the United States is that the people who are really
gonna get the bronc end of it not being sustained
is actually not us. We've got a lot of technologies,
we've got air conditioning, we've got all sorts of things. It's the poor that are
gonna get the consequences. That's what makes the politics nasty because it says, actually, you know what? If we don't do what's necessary
to address climate change, we get the effects last,
they get them first. And that sequencing is quite important. – [Catherine] Go ahead, Rory.

– Come in very quickly. I mean, I think Dieter has
produced the very stuck and very important thing there. Remember it's also true to some extent within wealthy countries that
it's often the poorest people who are at the center of
this political problem. But if you think of relatively
straightforward policies that British governments
tried to implement, for example, we tried
to increase fuel tax. There was an escalator set up where fuel tax was meant
to go up every year. That was stopped. The Labour Party campaign very strongly on trying to control energy prices. Because the people that
increasingly are the focus of political activity, could be the Rust Belt
in the United States, could be the red wall voters in Britain and in North East Britain are often people who already feel that their incomes have stagnated, that there is extraordinary inequality, that they are really struggling to get by. And that basic things like running car or heating their house are taking a very large
amount of their income.

So many of the most
straightforward policies that we would want to pursue
will have an impact on them. And that's gonna also to relate to something at the heart
of Dieter's proposal. Dieter essentially is
proposing that there is a tax on our consuming of these products, right? So the more products that
we consume made in China, the more that we will pay. But of course the people
who will feel that most are the people that are driving a lot of the political discontent and they're defining a lot of the politics in Europe and the United States. Thank you. – Thank you, and on this point about, I think Rory, you teed it up nicely. It's not just about rich
versus poor countries, it's about poverty and
inequality within countries. I know that's something
Rohini can speak to. Do you wanna jump in on this? – Yeah, I'll just briefly jump in and maybe also be a little
bit more provocative. I think you can only go so
far if you think of this in terms of geography and countries. Because in the end, there
are many people in countries like India and Brazil and even China who are really not consuming very much.

And it may be that at the country level, that's where the costs are, but we have to recognize that
consumption of the poorest is still something that
needs to rise a lot. Recently I saw that was
interesting was a few years ago, Bronco Milanovich had
made very well-known, there's an elephant curve talking about global income inequality. I recently saw an Oxfam report that had what they call the dinosaur graph similarly showing how
emission's varied by income. And showed that basically if you try to do emission counting not to the level of countries, but at the level of individuals
you see the same pattern that there is the rich who
are really consuming a lot. So then what we need to
start thinking hard about when we think of this cuts is not to have all the
discussion at the country level, but move it down to again
what I think is happening in the income space
thinking about wealth tax or inequality tax.

And the one final point
just to think about that is we need to start thinking about
corporations and companies as a component wealth tax. So for instance, very often I talked about how solar providers are finding it hard to enter Indian states. Nick actually has an earlier papers showing how fossil fuel
companies tend to enter these 30 year contracts of its states and then renegotiate them. So there wouldn't be many cases where just as I think in
the income inequality space, there's now a very robust discussion about the need for wealth tax in the US, some kind of corporate taxation in the UK. We need to start thinking about
in the environmental space at the level of what we think
are the large individuals and corporations that are emitting, not make it just about countries.

– So I want to bring Sunil in here with a historical perspective. India has come up a few times. And as I mentioned earlier and
as many of you are following, I'm sure as this country faces
the second wave of COVID-19, it's a real crisis. And Sunil, over the course of this series, you and other historians have
linked different examples of South Asian history to
current policy decisions. And I wonder if you can
speak to whether it comes to responding to COVID,
emerging from COVID and tackling this issue of climate and making these hard decisions. What are examples from India's past that might inform policy decisions
that need to be made now? – I mean, it increasingly seems to me that what we need in India is in a sense nothing short of the kind of
foundational conversations that were had in the
middle of the 20th century which many of my colleagues
have been working on.

The sense of that
conversation in the mid '40s to the late '40s when the
fundamental questions we're asking what sort of politics,
what sort of society, what sort of economy is this going to be? I'm not optimistic that
political conditions are particularly propitious
for that kind of conversation, but I am struck by how much
of the unfinished business so that earlier moment
we are now dealing with. So that was a transformative moment. The universal franchise
was introduced in a country with profound levels of
social and economic inequality which many people at the time
said would be impossible.

One of the things that did
not happen in the 1940s and there's a very, very
interesting graduate student at Harvard called Karen Kumba who's working on this at the moment. One of the things that did not happen was nothing was done to address
the chronic underinvestment in public health that
had been a characteristic of the colonial state in India. And throughout 20th century
and into this century, India spends a smaller
proportion of GDP on health than just about any country in the world. We're seeing the consequences of that now. And I mean, in some
sense, one of my puzzles and this has been true
for many, many years is why health has never really
been a political issue in India. At the state level,
yes, from time to time, but never it's not something
that wins elections.

This is something that goes back to what Rory was saying earlier about the citizens of London
voting for their mayor were not perhaps willing
to spend even 15 pounds to address environmental questions. This is a much more puzzling question because health affects everybody, it affects the poorest most. And this has not been a topic
at least maybe until now for massive mobilization. The other connection that I
want to make in terms of India it goes to something
that Dieter was saying that is very interesting.

So the Lancet found that in 2019, air pollution was responsible for 1.6 million deaths in India. The year before, that nearly as many. We're talking over two
or three years in India as many people die from air pollution as had died through this terrible pandemic on a global scale. I don't think it's an
exaggeration to say that air pollution has not received nearly as much media attention or
provoked as much anxiety or concern as this pandemic. So I think this goes to
what Dieter was saying about there are no walls we can build in terms of carbon emissions, for example unlike perhaps some of what
we've seen with the pandemic. So there are questions. I'm not sure there are
lessons from Indian history, but more sort of unfinished business that we need to sort of
return to the fundamental going to what Rory you were
saying, institutional questions, political questions about how
to prioritize public health.

And from there to think
about public health in a way that goes beyond the emergency of COVID to the ways. The causes of bad condition, for example are far more aligned with
what we're talking about in relation to the climate
crisis and energy consumption. – Just very quickly say that. I mean, I think there's
something very important in Sunil's conversation about
that foundational moment in the 1940s and '50s in India because it's impossible to
get around the fact that there is an ethical dimension to this.

Ultimately in order to
make our way through this is going to involve some
very, very dramatic element of sacrifice, transformation
and difficult choices. And somewhere hovering
underneath the surface of this conversation is the fact that actually what Dieter and
Rohini have explained is the impossibility of generating massive
increases in consumption and controlling climate change. Which means that in the end, our societies, our
politics have to find a way of talking about morality. Even as a politician,
I'm very, very conscious of how easy that is to say and how very difficult that is to pull into an election campaign.

– Sorry, I'm jumping in a lot but let me just jump in on
one thing that Rory said. I think the implications
it also has for policy and I love to hear Dieter on this. We often have economists talk a lot about the most efficient policy. So for instance, we talk about carbon tax. I think Rory very clearly pointed out why something like a carbon
tax to fuel tax may not work. And so this suggests that even as we start designing policies, I think we need to think a lot more about distributional and fairness issues as part of this ethical issue which for instance may suggest
that sometimes rationing which we think of as quite
an inefficient policy may actually be one that
is perceived as fair, and we should get to it.

So economists quite often talk about what they would
call second best policies. But they often think of second best because there is some market missing. I think we might need to think about that what are the best
environmental policies need to take into account
kind of issues of ethics and morality of distribution, and may look quite different from what I think a lot of
economists right now are pushing as sort of the
technocratically best policies like carbon tax. – Great points. Quickly I'll just say we have
a lot of questions coming in on exactly this like what policies should
we see moving forward? So this is great.
Go ahead, Dieter. – So I very much agree there's
ethics at the heart of this.

And the way I kind of encapsulate that is you have to work out how future citizens are gonna have a seat at the table. And they're gonna have a seat at the table either because we haven't
made the sacrifices and their seat at the table
is to make the sacrifices or we're going to take into account their interests going forward. And my argument that we should ensure that each citizen
inherits a set of assets, natural assets at least
as good as they inherited is an ethical principle. But I also wanna pick up this point that Rory raised about
fuel taxes, et cetera and this link to carbon pricing, okay.

So it's very interesting. As I understand it, Mr. Biden doesn't want to
put off fuel taxes either. It's not just the kind of UK thing or a particular political party thing. You tell the public, you know what? It's better than a free lunch. The climate change we're gonna solve it 'cause isn't gonna cost much of GDP, it's all gonna happen, the cost of renewables are
cheaper than fossil fuels. It's like the 20 pound
loads lying on the ground and we just got to pick them up and it may actually be GDP positive, okay. And I said to myself, is this likely to which my answer is
absolutely no unfortunately. Is it likely that we can transfer from an overwhelmingly
carbon intensive economy to one that isn't carbon
intensive economy within 30 years? No. And therefore you get to this political what I call in inverted
commas lie which is tell them we're gonna do it, and tell them it isn't
gonna cost anything.

Mr. Johnson put this in Biden summit a couple of weeks ago was saying that he was going to have cakeism, you could have your cake and eat it too. That's morally irresponsible, right? And we will have to increase the price. And we can either do it
of carbon either directly or having a carbon price. And we do in Europe, we do in the UK, actually most people have carbon prices 'cause they have energy
taxes in some form or another or we can do it implicitly. We can say, we're not gonna
take the most efficient route because we don't like the politics of it. So let's find a route
that's less efficient. Well, the answer that is
gonna cost you even more than the first route did, okay. So I don't think carbon
pricing is impossible. It exists. Harmonizing energy taxes will
got us a long way towards it. But the bit of our carbon
pricing that I really want is the border adjustment so that we don't pretend
amongst the developed countries that when we reduce our
carbon territorial production to net zero, we're gonna
stop causing climate change.

UK is 80% services. We have no large energy
intensive industries left. We pride ourselves as being the leading country in the
world in reducing emissions. This is the way to go guys, right. And actually the truth is our carbon consumption is
displacing our carbon production, it's very much higher, and that's because we're just not paying for our true carbon footprint. And paying for your true carbon footprint is at the base of any
moral or ethical approach to climate change here and anywhere else. And since we're doing
most of the consuming, and by the way we put up 80%
of the stuff in the atmosphere that's already up there, it's natural but it's our consumption the developed countries that has to come first to this equation and not to tackle that by telling people you don't have to have
a higher fuel price, you don't have to pay for higher gasoline, it's not gonna cost you anything.

It's just delusional. And the consequence will be that we will have that climate change. And then back to the
early point of discussion, the people who really gonna suffer are in developing countries, some in developed countries too. But remember, as witnessed in the Indian
case with COVID at the moment compared with some of
the developing countries, even the less well off in
the developed countries have some kind of safety net which unfortunately doesn't exist in most of the world's population. – Very true. I wanna bring in some
questions from the audience and we have some great ones coming in. And I'd remind you all, please use the Q&A function on Zoom if you're joining us on
Zoom to submit those. There is a question related to technology.

And I think we kind of started
with technology as a given. Like we have the technologies. And so it's about
persuasion and incentives and hard choices, but a
question on that technology. So what global adaptation
to green energy only happen when cost-effective and
dependable technologies make that adaptation desirable without being forced
by government policies? In that regard, isn't research
into critical obstacles like energy storage and safe nuclear the most important thing to focus on now. So I appreciate the question because again we kind of just plowed through the technology point and this forces us to
return to that question. What more do we need
on the technology front even as we are tackling
all these other issues in terms of incentives
and ethics and persuasion? Any thoughts on technology please? – Can I have the go?
– [Catherine] Please.

– And I said technology
right at the beginning. The reason why economic growth as possible is because technology is pushing out. And aside from Robert Barrow's book, actually the evidence is the
speed of technical progress has never been greater. And this really matters for climate change not just for the emissions
for the sequestration too. So 25% of global emissions at
least come from agriculture, soil on average has four times
the carbon of the atmosphere. That's the biggest stock
of carbon is below our feet and agriculture rips that out
pretty quickly especially, unfortunately in some of
the developing countries. If you look at what's
going on in genetics, if you look at what's
going on in gene editing, if you look at the transformation that digital information
has created for agriculture, that's a revolution it's making.

When it comes to the energy side, there is of course great
technical progress. The problem is that almost
all the hope and aspirations are placed on two de-centralized low energy density technologies
which cannot in themselves produce the kind of power required for the economy of the
world as it is at the moment net loan what's coming. I'm talking about wind and solar. Solar by the way is much
more promising than wind. You need a lot of wind
turbines and a lot of backup and a lot of batteries
and a lot of storage and all that's important. But I think it's delusional to think that we're going to solve climate change with wind turbines and solar panels alone. We need quite a lot more. That requires an honest
discussion about technology.

First of all, the enormous resources that ought to go into genuine R and D which is a fantastically
on average good investment for publics to make even if the chances of each
one's accedence is quite small. And we have to make some choices about whether we're really
prepared to do this. And I'm not advocating we
should without big scale energy as well as small scale and that means hydrogen,
nuclear and things of that sort. And we're not there yet, but we will not crack climate change unless we have both the technology and the adjustment of
the consumption frame. Neither of them will do it on their own. – Thank you, and thanks
for that great question. Any other panelists want
to jump in on technology? Otherwise we have other questions coming. Go ahead, Rohini. – I just have one quick thing which it reminds me a
bit of sort of the focus in the West coast, for instance, in a lot of tech driven
for development policy. I think 10 years ago this was the thing that we were going to just
send money on mobile phones and that was going to
solve all the problems of redistribution.

I think one thing we discovered is it didn't get the whole way there not because mobile phones
are not an amazing good or that sending money didn't help people. But there were countries that
the regulatory agencies said they didn't want to allow for mobile money because they were worried about
risks to the banking system and so on. So I think my only note of caution is I completely agree with Dieter that we need, I think significant R and D. But I think we shouldn't do it at the expense of thinking that that technology you need to think about how are regulators going to react to it? And they're going to be
willing to put it in? And even technology can cause trade-offs between short-term as already described in a poverty reduction measures
and longer run returns. You may have a great technology but what it might ask the
country to do in the short-term may make it politically very attractable. And I think if we could start
having those conversations or even think about them at the time when you're
financing technology, I think we could learn a lot from at least what hasn't
worked up in development policy despite great technological advances.

– There's another question here related to the private sector. And I'm loving these questions because they're all very action oriented, the role of technology, the
role of the private sector, and I'll just preview in a
moment the role of universities. There's a question around that which I think would be fascinating for this group to take on. But let's talk about the private sector. So the question is almost
a thousand companies have signed on to the
science-based targets initiative pledging to set emissions
reduction targets consistent with the Paris trajectory along with major companies setting similar carbon neutrality goals.

So in what ways can
these ambitious targets in private enterprise help support and even spur governments to
step up their own commitments? Can the private sector help lead the way? Does it play a meaningful role? Thoughts on that. Rohini.
– Yeah, I can jump in. I mean, I think it's great. I think it's great to
see voluntary efforts but I think we should think
about kind of the hard questions at the heart of this.

But a lot of companies really taking climate change seriously is about losing money, right? If you are a fossil fuel company, there is no way that this is
actually good news for you. So we have to recognize that while voluntary actions
will get us some of the way, it's not going to be the only way in which private sector needs to be moved. Sometimes you do need the state
to come in as the regulator pushing private companies to take actions that they won't want to. – I think one other thing
to bear in mind also that it's very easy for companies to announce they're going to be net
zero by a certain date. It's quite another when
you look beyond the bonnet what they actually think
they're going to do. And there are two parts of that. First of all, remember
companies don't exist for the fun of being companies. They exist to sell stuff to you and me. So when companies pollute, the
customer who buys the product is actually the ultimate
polluter and this is facilitated.

So we castigate go companies, but we go and fill up the
car with petrol or diesel. You can't have it both ways, you've got to put it in the frame. But the bit I would just
want to illustrate is a lot of companies say, well, we're investing in
trying to get emissions out of our production plan. But you know what, we've
done a load of offsets. And you really have to look very hard at what constitutes an offset. And it looks like nearly half of what companies are claiming
to be their net zero path is actually just buying
into renewables projects many of which would have to happen anyway. You have to be very careful, this isn't the religious
version of buying indulgences. Let me go on doing what I'm doing but I'll play a side payment
to try to explicate myself.

And that doesn't in any
way detract from the need for companies to take
this stuff seriously. But I think this cascade of people declaring
themselves net zero needs just a little bit of cautious
and critical examination. – Agreed, and I throw out as a journalist, that journalism plays an important role. They're not just featuring
the announcements, but asking what's actually happening. Rory, did you wanna jump
in on this question? – Yeah.

I think that just to sort of step back the fundamentals that
we keep coming back to which I think everybody
keeps emphasizing is that if the scale of the problem is
as large as we're putting out and the forms of sacrifice
required are that extreme, and it's extremely unlikely that you're gonna be able to do this without a very significant impact on growth consumption, et cetera, it's intuitively very, very unlikely that private companies are
gonna be able to lead this for all the reasons that each revenue. – Thank you, I wanna actually
directly asked this question around universities especially
because we are wrapping up for this academic year the
Yale Development Dialogues. So the question is, what is the role of our
universities in this whole process as knowledge and as
dialogue with the world? So I think that's a good point. Why are we having this conversation? And what more can universities do in terms of helping to
carve the path forward? Rory, did you wanna jump in? – Yeah, well, let me comment quickly as the one person who
really isn't entitled to speak about this at all given that I've got three
distinguished professors on the call.

But for me as somebody
who was a politician until very recently and
I'm now at a university, it is unbelievably refreshing and valuable to be able to have these
types of conversation. I mean, the last 45 minutes conversation simply doesn't happen in
politics for 10,000 reasons to do with the way that elections work, the attention deficit of politicians, the general mode you're thinking. If one were able to take simply the last 45 minutes of conversation and actually embed it
in the way that Biden or Boris Johnson or Macron
thinks about the world but it makes the most
extraordinary difference. That's why for me at least universities are incredibly useful because it allows you to say
things which are totally brutal because I can also show you
as an ex working politician at least six things that everybody said which would ruin their political careers in the last 45 minutes.

– I love it, thank you, Rory. Do others want to jump in on
this, the role of universities? I guess a question for me is how do we pull these
kinds of conversations into the halls of government into the heads of policy makers as they're navigating
these hard decisions? – I goes both ways round, isn't it? I mean, give you an example, just a few hundred yards from here, a group of scientists got
hold of the genetic frame map of the coronavirus, and within just over a week
had invented a vaccine. You don't get that anywhere else because you don't get that
independent long-term research.

Do you know the ultimate
driver of economic growth and actually the ultimate driver of hope to address climate change is ideas. And ideas are not always
produced in universities, but it's damn hard to drive them forward without universities and without engaging
with the next generation who are gonna inherit this planet and hopefully with a few
more natural capital assets that we're currently
on course to lead them. – Sunil, go ahead.
– A few things. In terms of that interface between these kinds of discussions
and the world of policy, my main source of optimism
in general is our students. I mean, I think they are the main conduit between the kinds of conversations that we can have in the
classroom and many of them will go on to be
journalists and politicians and policymakers. And so that for me remains the
single most important thing that universities do is the teaching as well as research, of course.

As someone in the humanities, I've been involved with
a lot of conversations with so many of my colleagues about how we fold climate change completely into what we do. Not as a sort of just
another topic that we study, but how do we rethink the humanities. With the climate crisis sort of very foremost
of our consciousness, I think there are a lot of conversations happening around that.

But the last thing I want to say about universities and climate change picking up on many things that have been said in this conversation is we need some honesty about that too. I'm not sure that universities pay for that carbon footprints. I'm not sure particularly universities like Yale and others with
very large endowments have fully thought through
the responsibilities on that side of things. – Thank you, Sunil. And we just have a few minutes left. So I wanna close with one question and I'm sorry for those great questions we weren't able to get to. A lot of good questions coming in. But COP26 has come up a few times. And some of our panelists
have discussed that we have these meetings,
commitments are made, and yet as Dieter mentioned
earlier, emissions continue.

Like we start to lose hope in the process. So with COP26 around the corner taking place in the context of COVID-19, we only have about 30 seconds
or so from each of you. But what's one thing
you want to see happen. What could rich and poor countries do between now and November? Or I should broaden it
since we talked about it, it's not just a matter of geography. What should citizens do
between now and November? Whether it's citizens,
whether it's policymakers, what's one thing you want to
see to improve the prospects for real progress to be made at COP26. And maybe we'll start with our co-hosts and then conclude with
Dieter, if that's all right. Rohini can I begin with you? – Sure.

This is also trying to just
pick up on one of the questions in the Q&A. I think what can we didn't touch upon that I think is gonna be critical that we start seeing honest conversations on is the area of carbon
capture and storage. I think most models of growth right now that try to be sustainable
are built on large amounts of sequestration of CCS happening. We don't understand anything about I think of the economics of it, how it's going to be achieved,
how will this happen? A concern is in something like COP26 that can become the big
thing that everyone says. We will do a lot more carbon
capture and sequestration but this is not realistic at all.

So I think having kind of more
honest conversations on that would be very valuable. – Thank you, I'll go to Rory
next, if that's all right. – I think COP26 is really the opportunity for politicians to do something that politicians particularly
in an age of populism find very difficult which is to get away from cakeism, get away from having all
cake and being able to eat it and focusing instead on
detail uncomfortable truths. And if there's one message
that you want to try to get it is what we will have to
do is going to have an impact on our growth and assumption.

If you can just get that
single message through and suggest to people
that there will be pain and there will be sacrifice involved, that's probably the
most important beginning for this conversation. – Great point, thank you.
Sunil. – And honest conversation seemed to be the theme of our conversation now. And I think that is what is needed. As a humanist, I think narrative matters and what I would like to see citizens and scholars and activists do is to find a way of linking
what we've all been through with this coronavirus pandemic with a much longer term future. And the fact that the climate
crisis and the coronavirus crisis are connected in many, many ways. And we've been deeply conscious
of one of these crises and willfully ignoring the
other for the most part. So I would like to see
stories, narratives, ways of linking these things and ways that are meaningful to people.

– Absolutely agree with you. Dieter, we'll close with your thoughts on what needs to happen
between now and COP26 for this to really make
a meaningful difference. – Well, I think that whereas
the politicians all queuing up to make announcements about numbers many of which they don't understand and I'm not against that process, I would like the concentration
to be shining the torch on what's really going on. I would like a reconnection
between natural capital biodiversity and climate change. This is a global environmental crisis, not just a climate one. I would like the accounting done properly so we measure who is really
responsible for carbon and obviously like carbon pricing 'cause I want the polluters to pay.

And finally, I think what
I'd like individuals to do, citizens to do is write
their own carbon diary and look very hard into their own lives and write down how much during
the average day they think is the carbon emissions
that they are responsible through their consumption. And ask themselves how in 30 years time they're gonna write the same
carbon diary as a citizen with no carbon in it. Then they'll get a
measure of the sheer scale of the task in front of
us which we must address because if we don't, the
consequences will address us.

– Well, put in a powerful call
to action to close us out. So it's my task now to wrap up. This is a fascinating conversation, thank you to all of our panelists. And as our 2020, 2021 season of the Yale Development
Dialogues comes to an end, we're beginning to plan our series for the next academic year. And we would really love all of your input on the topics we should cover. So when you exit this webinar, you'll be linked to a feedback form. It shouldn't take more than
just a few minutes to fill out. And as a thank you, you'll be entered into a drawing
for a collection of books by different panelists we featured over the course of this series including Dieter's latest book, "Net Zero: How We Stop
Causing Climate Change." So thank you to all of our panelists and thanks to all of you for joining us.

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