Category Archives: articles & commentary

These are generally shorter pieces published variously in non-academic journals, magazines, newspapers and websites (NB. several of the commentaries have not been published elsewhere).

To meet international commitments – emissions must reduce by over 10% each year

Nov 2012  To meet international commitments – emissions must reduce by over 10% each year – SvD
Opinion piece published in Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) – “the Swedish daily paper”. A translation is available at: Opinion Piece by Anderson for SvD – Swedish Daily Newspaper – Nov 2012
“The one thing we know about the future is that it will be different. If we do nothing, we will be hit by devastating impacts and unmanageable adaptation needs. If we choose to act to avoid the worst, the mitigation will have to be very significant, which itself will lead to major social change. Therefore, our role now is to think differently, to achieve greater clarity, to foster a greater imagination and stop saying that it is impossible. There remains real hope to instigate meaningful and timely change, but each day we choose apathy over action that hope diminishes.”

A new paradigm for climate change

Aug 2012  A new paradigm for climate change – Nature Climate Change
A Pre-edited version of the piece is also available.
Many scientists who interface with policy makers run scared of suggesting emission reductions that challenge the veracity of the contemporary economic Zeitgeist. However, times are changing and the pronouncements of market economists increasingly fail to describe the complex world within which we live. This commentary concludes that it is time to leave these astrologists “to fight among themselves over the right price of carbon — let them relive their groundhog day if they wish. The world is moving on and we need to have the audacity to think differently and conceive of alternative futures … Ultimately, decisions on how to respond to climate change are the product of many constituencies … science is important among these and needs to be communicated clearly, honestly and without fear.”

The authors’ views of contemporary economics is similar to that expressed by Will Self in his BBC Radio 4’s A Point of View: Economics Priesthood – available both in audio form and as a transcript


Small steps offer no respite from climate effects – Cancun failure?

Dec 2010  Small steps offer no respite from climate effects – Cancun failure? – BBC Viewpoint
“Kevin Anderson … evaluates the outcome of the UN climate summit in Cancun and argues that success at next year’s negotiations will not compensate for “failure” at previous talks.” He argues it is “time for those of us who work in climate change to refrain from finessing our analysis, and instead be as blunt and direct publicly as we are prepared to be privately? Until such time, policymakers will remain ill-equipped to embrace the science and escape the astrology; and next year’s negotiations in Durban and those the following year in Rio will be doomed to failure before they even start.” 

A 2°C target? Get real, because 4°C is on its way

Dec 2010  A 2°C target? Get real, because 4°C is on its way – Parliamentary Brief
“Whatever we choose we need to be clear and candid about the situation we have got ourselves into and plan accordingly. Currently, we’re heading for the worst of all worlds, aiming for 4°C whilst planning for 2°C. In 2010 and with the worlds great and good of climate change converging on Cancún, now is the time to acknowledge openly that the mitigation Emperor remains naked.”

Response to Nature paper showing inextricable rise in emissions

Nov 2010  Response to Nature paper showing inextricable rise in emissions
Anderson argues “we need to be clear and candid about the situation we have got ourselves into and plan accordingly. Currently, we’re heading for the worst of all worlds, aiming for 4°C whilst planning for 2°C. Friedlingstein’s analysis makes clear the mitigation Emperor remains naked, and at the risk of mixing metaphors, until we’re prepared to recognise such Rome will continue to burn and we’ll continue to fiddle.”

Point of no return – the Copenhagen Summit

Sept 2009  Point of no return – the Copenhagen Summit – The Independent
The importance of the international climate summit to be held in Copenhagen later this year cannot be over- emphasised; … after almost two decades of increasingly heated debate on how to tackle climate change, and notwithstanding the current recession, emissions of global greenhouse gases … are rising at a faster rate now than they have done throughout our history. … We have all the necessary policy tools and technologies to rise to this challenge. What we need now is political integrity, scientific candour, a public and business community that acknowledges they are part of both the problem and solution, and a press that resists the temptation for polemic headlines instead of honest reporting.”