Letwin Settles Up – Bins Carbon Reduction Global Agreement

Another nail in the husky coffin as Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin concedes defeat to Nigel Lawson and accepts that the Kyoto Treaty is dead and nothing will be following it. Back in 2008 the two men made a bet, the details of which were published in a Standpoint interview:

Oliver Lewtin: I’d be very happy to have a wager, and I offer you a £100 bet that before either of us is dead, whichever is the first — our estates can pay — we will see a very substantial agreement on carbon reduction.

Nigel Lawson: But I don’t think I want the bet to be “in my lifetime” because I’d like to get the £100. I’m sorry it’s such a modest amount you’re prepared to wager — it shows how unconfident you are — but I would like to be able to collect before I die. So I think we should say “by the time Kyoto runs out”, because there is meant to be no hiatus; there is meant to be a successor to Kyoto. So “by 2012 we will have the agreement” — maybe I’ll die before then, of course —but 2012 is the acid test.

Oliver Letwin: On the same basis, Nigel, I’m perfectly willing to take that bet too. The reason I’m willing to take the bet is that I know that the only way it can be made to happen is if we try to make it happen and if we build up the moral authority to make it happen by taking the steps ourselves.

Letwin has apparently now agreed to settle the bet. Lord Lawson is on a bit of victory lap this afternoon:

“Oliver is one of the nicest people in politics, and one of the cleverest. It is, however, disconcerting that UK climate change policy – which makes no conceivable sense in the absence of a binding global agreement – has been based on the advice of someone so totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities.”

Well quite.




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The FT’s Wolfgang Munchau on the “fake maths” of economic forecasts:

“The truth is that our ability to forecast the future beyond the current quarter is limited… The curse of our time is fake maths. Think of it as fake news for numerically literate intellectuals: it is the abuse of statistics and economic models to peddle one’s own political prejudice… The fakeness of the maths lies in an exaggerated inference. Economic models have their uses, as do opinion polls. They provide information to policymakers and markets. But nobody can see through the fog of the future.”

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