Irish Times

BILLIONAIRE GEORGE Soros, looking to address the “political problem” of climate change, said he will invest $1 billion in clean-energy technology and create an organisation to advise policy makers on environmental issues.

Mr Soros, the founder of hedge fund Soros Fund Management LLC, announced the investment in Copenhagen on Saturday at a meeting on climate change sponsored by Project Syndicate.

The group is an international association made up of 430 newspapers from 150 countries.

“I want to apply rather stringent criteria to the investments,” said Mr Soros in an e-mail.

“They should be profitable but should also actually make a contribution to solving the problem.”

Mr Soros, whose own wealth accounts for much of the approximately $24 billion his New York-based money-management firm oversees, did not provide any details in his speech on the type or scope of investments he might make.

Mr Soros (79), also will establish the Climate Policy Initiative, a San Francisco-based organisation to which he will donate $10 million a year for 10 years.

“It will be part advisory service, part policy developer and part watchdog,”
said Thomas Heller, who is heading the initiative. Heller is a professor at Stanford University Law School whose expertise is in energy law and regulation and environmental law.

Its goal is to look after the public interest as policies and programs are created to address climate change. The group will work in the US, Europe, China, India and Brazil, he said.

“The problem of global warming is primarily a political problem at this point,” Mr Soros said.

“The science is beyond dispute, but how do we achieve the objectives we all know are necessary? That is a political problem.”


By Louise Gray

Road pricing ‘should be used to help meet carbon targets’

Road pricing, rigid 70mph speed limits on motorways and mandatory, eco-driving lessons should be introduced to help country meet legally-binding carbon emissions targets, a key Government advisory committee has said.

Ministers first floated the idea of a national road pricing scheme as a “stealth tax” to pay for upgrading roads and improving public transport.

However it caused a massive backlash among motorists who were concerned the payments, that could be made at toll booths or through satellite technology, would make freedom of travel prohibitively expensive.

Now the idea has reared its head again as part of a number of measures to help the UK meet ambitious climate change targets.

The Committee on Climate Change said the Government is unlikely to be able to meet the target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 34 per cent by 2020 unless there is a radical step change in power generation, transport and homes.

In its first annual report the expert committee led, that was set up to make sure the Government stays on track to meet its own targets, recommended a series of radical measures.

IN TRANSPORT: Subsidies for the car industry should encourage 1.7 million electric cars onto the roads by 2020. Petrol cars can be made more efficient by keeping to 70mph on motorways and teaching people to drive in higher gears and rev the engine less in “eco-driving” lessons. People should also be encouraged onto public transport or “smarter choices” like car sharing by making driving more expensive, for example by introducing road pricing.

IN HOMES: Homeowners will have to do their bit by better insulating homes and turning off appliances. The current plans to let energy companies lead the way should be replaced by a Government led “street by street” refurbishment programme that would see 10 million lofts and 7.5 million cavity walls insulated by 2015 and all 12 million inefficient boilers in people’s homes replaced by 2022.

David Kennedy, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change, said reductions in carbon emissions will have to triple to three per cent per annum by next year.

He said Government policy needs to start introducing policy to change lifestyles, including road pricing, in order to encourage lifestyle change.

Full article


Daily Mail
By Daily Mail Reporter

‘£1 a mile toll’ to drive in London: Boris Johnson plans new levy on top of C-charge on busiest roads

Motorists face being charged for every mile they drive under radical new plans by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

The extra charges would come in addition to the congestion charge, which costs £8 per day or more if not paid on time, and could be up to £1.34 a mile if previous government proposals are followed.

A commuter making a 12-mile round trip into central London by car during the day could therefore pay more than £20.

The busiest areas in London would be targeted. These include Edgware Road, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Embankment and busy suburban areas such as Croydon and Greenwich.

Vehicles would be tracked by satellite and charged for using the most congested roads.

The proposals were outlined in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, released today, which sets out his vision for the future of roads, Tubes and buses.

The news came as the Government’s climate change committee recommended road pricing across the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Government has previously drawn up its own road pricing plans, under which cars would be fitted with a satellite receiver to calculate charges, with prices including fuel duty ranging from 2p per mile on uncongested roads to £1.34 on the most congested roads.

The Mayor’s transport strategy document says: ‘The Mayor may consider managing the demand for travel through pricing incentives (such as parking charges or other charging regimes) in order to meet the overall objectives of the transport strategy.

‘The Mayor may consider road user charging schemes… The Mayor will also consider imposing charges or tolls to support specific infrastructure improvements, such as river crossings.

‘You would generate huge amounts of revenue which could transform TfL and there would be a lot less people on the roads.’

Full article


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