How cheaper negawatts are made to look more expensive than watts

Negawatts_websiteThis post is by Nic Craig, Green Alliance policy intern, Amy Mount and Dustin Benton

The capacity market, which provides payments to ‘keep the lights on’, is one of the energy policies still surviving after a summer of scrappages and watering down. The bidders for the second auction were announced at the end of last week, and, as before, the list is dominated by carbon heavy power stations: 48 per cent gas plants and 19 per cent coal plants (including Aberthaw, which raises the worrying prospect of public money supporting a power station that’s currently breaking pollution laws). Continue reading

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How to get UK energy and climate policy back on track

21660736191_b33a880c4d_zSometimes it takes an outsider to reveal an uncomfortable truth. In his speech this week to Green Alliance’s Beyond Paris event, held in association with the CBI, Al Gore held up a mirror to the UK and it wasn’t pretty.

He described a UK out of step with the new found ambition of China and the US on green growth, a welter of low carbon energy policies being cancelled and a prime minster who is not providing public leadership on climate action. An audience of over 400 studiously phlegmatic business and NGO leaders got to their feet and gave him a standing ovation. It must have been a first for a buttoned up London policy audience. Continue reading

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The climate case against shale gas

fracking3This post is by Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth’s energy campaigner.

It’s no surprise that a task force funded by the shale gas industry has produced a report saying fracking can help tackle climate change. But its arguments – repeated in the blog here this week by Stephen Tindale, an advisor to the task force – doesn’t present the whole picture and glosses over some vital issues. Continue reading

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The climate case for shale gas

shale gasThis post is by climate and energy consultant Stephen Tindale. He blogs at

UK climate campaigners should support fracking for shale gas. Shale gas would enable the UK to reduce the burning of coal, and also the import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Continue reading

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Why government spending decisions need to account for nature

lapwing - credit marie haleThis post is by Richard Benwell,  parliamentary programme manager at RSPB and director of communications at Westmill Solar Co-operative.

If you’ve been following the to and fro of international financial markets over recent weeks, like me you might have been amazed by how ephemeral and unpredictable financial wealth can be. Not so the economic wealth that underlies those markets. While trade, production and employment are influenced by turns of confidence, and even luck, they all depend on people and assets. Continue reading

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Devolution is a chance for more democratic infrastructure planning

Opening up infrastructure planning-7This post has been written by Amy Mount of Green Alliance and Andrew Wescott of the Institute of Civil Engineers. It first appeared on the ICE blog

In the run up to the general election, there was a clamour of calls for a more strategic national approach to infrastructure planning, in expert reports, workshops, and conference speeches. In this context, ‘strategic’ means long term and evidence based,  with measures to shape demand as well as the supply of big kit, and considering green alongside ‘grey’ infrastructure. Continue reading

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Banks are waking up to the advantages of a circular economy

the bankGreen Alliance was among the first organisations to recognise the potential of the financial sector to drive sustainability.   In 1992, alongside the Rio environment summit, UNEP brokered a Statement by Banks on Environment and Sustainable Development, and Green Alliance encouraged UK institutions to get involved.

Four years later, Green Alliance assessed progress against the pledges: it was discernible, but slow.  Twenty-odd years on, we see the seeds sown at Rio yielding results, as financial institutions start to act on the risks and opportunities presented by environmental challenges. Continue reading

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Scotland starts to ask the big infrastructure questions

Train entering a tunnel, Forth Rail Bridge, ScotlandWorking on UK climate and energy policy in our office in London, it’s easy to regard with envy the politics north of the Scottish border. The Scottish government has adopted far more ambitious targets than the UK as a whole, aiming at a largely decarbonised electricity sector by 2030, almost complete decarbonisation of road transport by 2050 and a largely decarbonised heat sector by 2050. Continue reading

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What’s holding business leaders back on sustainability?

This post is by Justin Keeble, managing director, Accenture Sustainability Services in Europe, Africa and Latin America. It is one of five expert essays featured on our microsite Business strategy for a better world, which explores how businesses can go further on sustainability.

In 2013, Accenture and the United Nations Global Compact produced the largest ever global study of CEO opinion on sustainability. We found that more than 90 per cent of CEOs don’t think the global economy is on track to meet the demands of a growing population. Furthermore, 83 per cent didn’t think business was doing enough to address global sustainability challenges. Continue reading

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Business sustainability strategy: is collaboration outcompeting competition?

This post is by Matt Prescott, chief executive of Robertsbridge. It is one of five expert essays featured on our microsite Business strategy for a better world, which explores how businesses can go further on sustainability.

Environmentalists are never happy. We wanted companies to do something about environmental degradation and social inequity. Now, when most of the big corporations have, we are upset that sustainability has become fertile ground for competition, causing good ideas to be branded or jealously guarded. The new game in town is collaboration. Will it cheer us up? Continue reading

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