3E Intelligence

Lawrence Summers presents in the Financial Times “four practical steps” to go beyond the “ineffective and perhaps even counterproductive” Kyoto approach. According to the Harvard professor and former Clinton advisor, the US should start putting real energy efficiency policies in place and developed countries should substantially increase research funds for energy technologies and make “intellectual property relating to clean energy available to developing countries on preferential terms”. Nothing new or revolutionary there.

More interesting is Summers’ third recommendation: “the World Bank, and probably the regional development banks, should be reconstituted by their shareholders as “Banks for Development and the Global Environment” and take on as a major mission the provision of subsidised capital for projects that have environmental benefits that go beyond national borders.”

And last but not least: “a goal should be set of eliminating by 2025 the more than $200bn the world spends each year on energy subsidies, and enforced through strategies such as those used for inappropriate subsidies in trade. This is a clear case where environmental and economic imperatives coincide and it is one where external political commitment is likely to be desirable in many countries, just as in the trade area. This will require considerable work on the definition of and measurement of total energy subsidies. Such work will lay a foundation for the more ambitious efforts that may be needed in harmonising world energy prices above market levels in the future.”
Is Summers applying for a post in the new Democrat administration after 2008?

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