Great Britain’s carbon emissions from electricity generation fell by two-thirds between 2012 and 2019, providing an important example for other nations. This rapid transition was driven by a complex interplay of policies and events: investment in renewable generation, closure of coal power stations, raising carbon prices and energy efficiency measures. Previous studies of the impact of these simultaneous individual measures miss their interactions with each other and with exogenous changes in fuel prices and the weather. Here we use Shapley values, a concept from cooperative game theory, to disentangle these and precisely attribute outcomes (CO2 saved, changes to electricity prices and fossil fuel consumption) to individual drivers. We find the effectiveness of each driver remained stable despite the transformation seen over the 7 years we study. The four main drivers each saved 19–29 MtCO2 per year in 2019, reinforcing the view that there is no ‘silver bullet’, and a multi-faceted approach to deep decarbonisation is essential.
Providing universal access to basic utilities is justified on human rights grounds and also because of the positive externalities involved. Adequate provision of water, sanitation and electricity contributes to the achievement of the other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Access to these services, however, is still unequal in the developing world. Services do not adequately reach the poor. This Poverty in Focus brings together a mix of policy issues and some country experiences.
Ashley C. Brown discusses the externalities involved in supplying basic infrastructure to those who can least afford it. He argues that, contrary to established views, cross-subsidy schemes actually benefit all users and not only the targeted population.