Summer 2022 Newsletter


CBAM Another acronym … but what is it?

CBAM – short for Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism – is seen by many as crucial to achieving our climate change targets. As rich countries increasingly care about climate change and impose higher prices or restrictions on carbon emissions, there is a risk that heavy polluters just move production somewhere else with lower standards and environmental regulations. To stop this so-called carbon leakage from happening, the EU wants to introduce CBAM to create a level playing field for domestic and foreign producers.

CBAM looks to ensure that imported products in specific sectors face the same carbon price as domestic producers. Other rich countries, including the UK, are coming up with their own variants of this policy, which could eventually lead to the formation of carbon clubs – a group of (most likely) richer countries with similar climate change ambitions. For some it will be about saving the planet, for others it will be about keeping out cheap imports to protect domestic jobs. In most cases it will be a mixture of both. Watch this space as the US debates its own take on this new policy.

Chargers for the environment

In June EU lawmakers agreed to legislate for a universal charger standard for all mobiles, tablets, and cameras, starting in 2024. Laptops would come next in 2028. The EU wants to make life easier for consumers and protect the environment by curbing e-waste – think boxes under the bed with dozens of old cables and charges going into landfill. Standards are an interesting topic in economics. They can lead to greater convenience and possibly lower prices for consumers. They can also, as in this case, help to reduce waste and play an important role in helping markets develop in the first place. Green finance or 5G come to mind. But they can also stifle innovation. Apple, for example, has opposed this move, arguing that its own charger technology is superior. Sometimes setting a standard will be the right thing to do, at other times it might be best just to leave the market find its own solutions.

Gas rations

We are all used to rising prices when demand outstrips supply and we are also used to forms of rationing, for example in the NHS with waiting lists. But we are not used to the supply of something important literally drying up, which cannot be fixed by more money. We are just experiencing this in European energy markets, with European countries preparing for the possible shutdown of Russian supply of natural gas in the run up to winter. Germany has just moved to Stage 2 of its three-stage emergency gas plan (yes, they have a plan). Stage 2, for example, involves greater freedom for firms to pass on higher energy prices to consumers. Stage 3 could follow soon. It involves gas rationing if there was a severe shortage of gas, with provisions to protect households and institutions such as hospitals. But how would you decide which businesses to ration? Energy-intensive businesses might have to stop or severely reduce production. Sounds scary. Decisions will partly be based on what is politically feasible, but how to decide who gets what in the most equitable and most efficient way possible is at the heart of economics.

Strategic Career Development

What not to say in a job interview

Most of us have come out of a job interview wishing we had answered some questions differently. But are there things you should never say? I found this amusing clip 11 things you should never say in a job interview by Richard McMunn. Richard’s tips include never saying ‘My last boss was terrible’ and “What’s the title of the job, again?”. I’ve definitely heard both when interviewing – I’m hoping I haven’t said them myself! While there is an amusement factor here, what is useful for any interview is preparation. Clips like this are a fun way in.

Upcoming events and courses

Courses are currently delivered both online and in person.

Cost-benefit analysis for non-economists 9.30am–12pm 11th, 12th and 13th July 2022

Ideal for government analysts (outside economics), and policy and finance professionals who are involved in preparing and reviewing business cases and impact assessments. The course will give participants the skills to critique CBA analysis quickly and effectively. This course is run online. To book: Cost-benefit analysis for non-economists

Strategic Career Development for Analysts 10am-1pm 15th, 21st September, and 8th December 2022

This course is designed to support strategic career development for experienced analysts. Whether you are considering promotion, looking to deepen your knowledge as an expert in your analytical field or simply deciding what to do next, the course will provide you with tools to develop a fulfilling career. This course is run online. To book: Strategic Career Development for Analysts

SPE Courses Cost-benefit analysis with applied example 9.30am–12.30pm 27th, 28th and 29th September 2022

This course is ideal for analysts wanting an overview of cost-benefit analysis This course is run online over three half days. The third session brings the theory to life with an applied example conducted in excel. To book: Cost-Benefit Analysis with Applied Example

SPE Courses Introduction to Green Finance 9am-1pm Monday 10th October 2022

The capital markets are playing an increasingly important role in facilitating the shift towards a low-carbon economy. This course gives participants an understanding of what Green Finance is, why it matters, and what the future might hold. No prior knowledge of economics or financial markets is required. This course is run online. To book: Introduction to Green Finance

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