Eric Lonergan, Corinne Sawers
“A manifesto ... that turns the greatest threat we face into the greatest opportunity.” – Mark Blyth, William R. Rhodes ’57 Professor of International Economics, Brown University
“The hunger for fast, effective policy solutions to the climate threat is deep. Fund manager Eric Lonergan and sustainability adviser Corinne Sawers go a long way to satisfying it in Supercharge Me: Net Zero Faster. Their short, readable book is a polite rebuke to the economists who have dominated climate policy thinking, especially those focused on the idea that the best way to fix a negative externality such as carbon pollution is to tax it. The trouble is carbon taxes are easy to demonise and slow to produce results. Also, carbon pricing alone may not change behaviour fast when there are no obvious alternatives to, say, petrol-fuelled cars or beef burgers. The answer, say Lonergan and Sawers, is to relentlessly prioritise green electrification, which could cut up to 75 per cent of emissions, and use carbon taxes to complement what they call EPICs: extreme, positive incentives for change. These are measures that 'supercharge' behavioural change, such as the fixed-price energy contracts in Germany that drove a global solar power boom. Weak inducements won’t do: if a plant-based burger is only priced 3 per cent lower than a regular burger no one will change behaviour, but if it’s 30 per cent cheaper who wouldn’t give it a try?” – Financial Times, Best New Books on Climate Change
"Lonergan is probably the finest, and certainly the most thoughtful, Irish economist of his generation." – The Irish Times
"The challenge of getting to net zero is not primarily budgetary but structural: how do you design politically viable policies to ensure the transition actually happens? That is the question Eric Lonergan, an economist and fund manager, and Corinne Sawers, a climate consultant, take on in their new book Supercharge Me: Net Zero Faster. The authors are not kind to economists, who typically want to put a price on emissions and then let the market do the work ... they argue that getting people to make the big leaps needed to decarbonise instead requires 'extreme positive incentives for change' (EPICS) ... a more politically viable route to doing so than raising the carbon price ... Lonergan and Sawers are right that some EPICS are needed to make the journey politically easier ... The path to net zero will involve more than set-it-and-forget-it carbon pricing." – The Economist
"... [a] positive response to the challenge of climate change. The authors are well qualified for making this case. Eric Lonergan is an Irish economist and co-author of the superb Angrynomics. Corinne Sawers is an advisor to governments and businesses on environmental sustainability ... The authors interrogate difficult issues thoroughly. The questions are relevant and the answers are clear and succinct ... their concept of supercharging is central to how decarbonisation can be radically accelerated ... We need books like this." – Paschal Donohoe, The Irish Times
Almost everyone agrees on the need to transition the global economy to net zero. But how do we do it? And how do we do it faster? If you feel demoralized, depressed or confused about the climate crisis this book will provide answers – and ones that don’t involve punishing lifestyle changes, the end of capitalism, or a much higher tax bill.
Supercharge Me is grounded in relentless realism about how governments, businesses and individuals actually behave. It draws lessons from what has worked so far: extreme positive incentives and smart regulations. Through a series of fast-paced dialogues, the authors introduce practical ideas for change that will embolden activists, reinvigorate the disheartened, and reframe the climate crisis as an opportunity.
Introduction: a failure of the mind 1. Supercharging: what is it? 2. Corporate philosophers 3. Money gets the message 4. Supercharge the individual 5. Supercharge the nation 6. Supercharge the world 7. Why this is not a book about trees Conclusion: speaking with one voice
Eric Lonergan is a policy economist and author, with over twenty years' experience in financial markets. He is co-author with Mark Blyth of the international bestseller, Angrynomics. He has written extensively on innovations in monetary policy and frequently contributes to the Financial Times.
Corinne Sawers has spent the last decade advising global business and governments on climate and sustainability. She is co-founder of More United, a not-for-profit tackling tribalism in UK politics.