All Posts by ‘Paul

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What do we mean when we talk about democracy?

Democracy is defined as a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. Typically through elected representatives, but not always. In ancient Athens, democracy was direct rather than representative, with citizens selected by lot to sit in the assembly, the same selection process we …

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Facebook and identity politics

Is it a coincidence that the rise of identity politics coincides with the rise of the Internet and in particular of social media? Identity politics has been around for a while and predates the internet, but it’s become particularly impactful in the last few years. Facebook is centred on the personal profile. It encourages people …

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Carbon pricing after Brexit

The Government has been asking people to submit ideas for what kind of carbon pricing we should put in place when we leave the European Union. At the moment we are part of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and we also have our own carbon tax, the Carbon Price Floor (CPF), that comes into play when the fluctuating EU ETS price drops below £18 per tonne.

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CCL UK »

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Politicians don’t listen

But then, we don’t really talk to them. Some of us do though. It’s very easy now with social media. You can even tweet animated gifs at your MP. There are plenty to choose from, but it might be better to DM them, or email them. If you really want to go overboard, you can go out and buy a pen and some paper from WH Smith or some other stationery outlet. You’ll also need an…

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CCL UK »

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Should we subsidise fossil fuels?

This is what I’m thinking of asking my MP after getting a reply to my email asking for her and her party’s position on carbon pricing that just lists a load of things her party, Labour, will do to tackle climate change, but doesn’t mention carbon pricing at all, and I’ve barely heard any mention of it from Labour. It’s hard to imagine any MPs saying yes to that question. Some might I suppose.

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CCL UK »

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The IMF on fossil fuel subsidies

In a new paper the IMF estimates global subsidies for fossil fuel energy implied by the underpricing of supply and environmental costs at a staggering $5.2 trillion in 2017, or 6.5 percent of world GDP What they mean by underpricing is our failure to include in the price of fossil fuels the costs of the damage we know that burning them is doing to our country and to the world. When we buy fossil…

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CCL UK »

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Why price carbon?

That may sound like a stupid question, but when governments are failing to price carbon pollution at anywhere near the cost of the damage caused to society, it’s a question worth asking, though maybe it would be better to ask the reverse question: why aren’t we are pricing carbon? Why are we effectively subsidising fossil fuels? If you’re a government and there&#8217.

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CCL UK »

Eastern Bluebird
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Twitter to introduce pronoun field

With many users already displaying their preferred pronouns in their profiles, Twitter has decided to introduce a pronoun field which all users will be encouraged to fill. Robots will be required to use the it/its pronoun, with humans having to pass an “I am not a robot” captcha test before being allowed to enter their …

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The political polarisation of climate change

Climate change is often seen as a leftwing issue. Those on the left are more likely than those on the right to see climate change as a major problem. Labour voters are twice as likely as Conservative voters to be very concerned about climate change and to accept that it is caused by human activity. Conversely, Conservatives are twice as likely to be unconcerned, feel that climate change has been &#

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CCL UK »

Steven Pinker during a lecture for Humanists UK
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Enlightenment Now

I went to see Stephen Pinker on Monday night, interviewed by Decca Aitkenhead of the Guardian, talking about his latest book, Enlightenment Now, an argument for science, rationalism and humanism. Bill Gates’ new favourite book apparently, knocking his previous favourite, Pinker’s  Better Angels of Our Nature, off the top spot.