Saturday, November 24, 2012

Environemntal Economics: A Very Short Introduction

This term I wanted to learn how emission trading schemes and carbon taxes work.  What economic tools are available to reduce pollution?  So I bought from my local bookstore Stephen Smith's Environmental Economics: A Very Short Introduction, an slightly expensive, wonderfully designed book in the Oxford UP's Short Introduction series. Smith is a professor of Economics at the University College London. This little book took me a while to get through but I think that I now have basic understanding of 'externalities', 'abatement', 'cost benefit analysis' and types of environmental 'value' as defined by economics.  I've learnt that an effective use of the market can be more efficient than the state applying a simple 'command and control' regulatory regime because the market can provide incentives to reduce pollution.  Did you know that a carbon tax does not necessarily mean more tax if other taxes are reduced at the same time that the tax is introduced?  It's good to know that Emission Trading Schemes played an important role in reducing the incidence of acid rain in Europe in the 80s and 90s.  It was also a wake up call to be reminded of the horrors of pre-regulation. In 1953 at least 4000 people died as a result of the London 'pea soup' fog.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tuesday Poem: 'Our Children Have Run Away to Fiji' by Hinemoana Baker

More poems at Tuesday Poem.  

I heard a great reading by Hinemoana Baker tonight at the Poetry Society meeting at Thistle Inn.  I read a new poem 'Apparition' at the Open Mike. There's a resonance, an openness, a tenderness, a slight edge to her work.  It is as if we are about to arrive somewhere not quite here; as if all we took for granted were the masks given to us and we have yet to learn to see our own faces in the eyes of others.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece

A friend at work hands me Annabel Pitcher's My Sister Lives on the Mantle and says 'You've got to read this.'  I'm in the middle of writing reports so I want to be distracted and open the novel to read the first ten pages.  I'm hooked in so I put the book away till home time.

This is a gripping book about a young boy, no more than ten, with a mother who leaves and a father who drinks and a dead sister, killed in the London September 9 bombings, whose ashes are worshiped by his father.  Years have passed and his dad can't get over the senseless murder.  This is a violent, almost merciless book, about grief, racism, alcoholism, bullying and strength.  Without giving away the plot all I can say is that the boy has a hard time of it. It's real. And I'm glad I don't drink: who needs a pissed dad?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tuesday Poem: Mrs Aesop by Carol Ann Duffy.

Great pace: go for it and stuff the la de da.
More poems at Tuesday Poem

Monday, November 05, 2012

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Ukulele Anthem: Amanda Palmer

A brilliant anthem!  Even I can play it.