We can have resource security without protectionism

resource 250This post is by Dan Byles MP, it was first published on ConservativeHome.

The UK has a long history as a global trading nation. For centuries we have viewed free trade and an open economy as the route to prosperity, and history has proved us right: Britain is the second largest exporter of services after the United States, and according to government analysis every ten per cent increase in trade openness raises national income by four per cent. Continue reading

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A little more conversation, a lot more action: getting infrastructure right

Centre span of the new Severn Bridge , UKThis post is by Huw Irranca-Davies MP. It first appeared on Labour List.

The infrastructure we use to travel, talk and power our homes and businesses is constantly being renewed and improved. When we get it right, it delivers outcomes that society hugely values such as easier and quicker commuting, allowing people more time to spend with their families, clean, plentiful water supplies and access to affordable energy. The best infrastructure is also future proof and helps to tackle climate change.

But infrastructure can also be a source of huge frustration and contention as debates erupt over new projects and interest groups get pitted against each other. Continue reading

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Stern’s gone global, but is the Treasury still listening?

6852339529_58fdb0b41a_zThis week, the New Climate Economy (NCE) project published its report spelling out the compelling economic logic behind moving to a low carbon world. In contrast to the earlier Stern Review, there has been a focus on large and fast growing developing countries, which are expected to generate the largest growth in CO2 emissions in the coming decades.

But, here at the home of Stern’s original report, is the UK – and in particular the Treasury – still heeding its advice? The latest scaling down of ambition for the deployment of renewable energy in the Treasury’s Infrastructure Pipeline will inevitably raise doubts. Continue reading

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Why the New Climate Economy report isn’t just another report

Modern office exteriorThis post is by Michael Jacobs, senior adviser to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.

The publication of the long awaited report of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate marks an important moment in the gathering global politics of climate change.

The New Climate Economy report provides the first major, authoritative account of the economic case for acting on climate change since the seminal Stern Review of 2006. Backed by an impressive array of current and former global leaders from 19 countries  – including six former heads of government and finance ministers, the head of one the largest private banks in China and the former head of its biggest public one, the heads or deputies of seven international economic institutions, the mayors of two of the world’s largest cities and the heads of four of the world’s largest corporations – it brings together a huge compendium of evidence that acting on climate change is not only compatible with economic growth, it can actually improve it. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Green economy, Political Leadership / NGO Engagement, Politics, Sustainable Business, Sustainable Economy | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A review of new EU and UK ambitions for a circular economy

12_CETFA version of this post was first published on BusinessGreen.

It’s only years after its 1970s inception that the circular economy concept is really beginning to gain traction. The publication this summer of a clutch of policy proposals and recommendations from governments, business organisations and NGOs alike show that the idea is really gaining momentum.

But the catch-all title ‘circular economy’ belies a diverse set of complementary but distinct processes and activities. Some of these, such as improved recycling, could be achieved through tweaks to current regulatory and financial systems. Others, such as the more ambitious and valuable ‘inner loops’ of a circular economy – reuse, remanufacturing and servitisation – require more fundamental changes in the frameworks that shape business strategies and investments. Continue reading

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Why it’s worth taking the party manifestos seriously

open bookHave you spent the last four years “fired up to play your part in the nation’s future”? No? You didn’t accept your invitation from David Cameron to join the government of Britain? Is that because you wanted “a future fair for all” offered by Gordon Brown?

Or perhaps you didn’t spot the sunny uplands on offer at the last election because you didn’t read the manifestos. Most people don’t. If they are remembered at all it tends to be for the promises not met, rather than the policies delivered. In this context and against the backdrop of public disillusionment with Westminster politics that I want to persuade you that manifestos really do matter. Continue reading

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Why the Prime Minister is going to the New York climate summit  

Global deal_CoverA version of this post was first published by the New Statesman.

A new joint report from Green Alliance, WWF, Christian Aid, RSPB and Greenpeace believes we will have a global agreement on tackling climate change by the end of next year. If we do, it will be an exceptional event. Nations working together is no longer the fashionable way to deal with  problems. The UN is looked upon as indecisive, the EU is seen as technocratic and even the United Kingdom is barely living up to its name. And yet the prime minister has just announced he will be heading to New York later this month to meet with other world leaders to discuss getting a global agreement. Why would he bother?

Continue reading

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After the floods: are we ready for climate change?

floods2cropThis post is by Lilian Greenwood, MP for Nottingham South

Last winter’s storms and floods, during the wettest winter on record, put the reality of climate change at the top of the political agenda. At the same time that Ed Miliband was tackling David Cameron on the issue at prime ministers’ question time, local areas around the country were asking how they could be better protected in the future. Continue reading

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What should be the state’s role in developing a green economy?

Wind Turbine and sun from belowMany of us believe that the development of a vibrant green economy is vital to Britain’s economic as well as environmental future. But how should we best foster the green economy and is there a role for government intervention? Should the state try to actively stimulate green innovation and industrial development? Or should the ‘bumbling bureaucrats’ simply get out of the way and leave it to the dynamic venture capitalists and entrepreneurs?  Continue reading

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A challenge to all UK parties to make Britain greener

GB imageThis post is by Dr Mike Clarke, chief executive of the RSPB.

Manifestos are sometimes important for their differences, but it’s when they’re the same that they’re really powerful.

This is especially true for cross-cutting issues like the environment, which affect us all. Continue reading

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