How to involve the public properly in infrastructure planning

NoUntil just a few years ago, it would have been strange to hear environmentalists calling for new infrastructure. Put those two nouns together, and they’d have brought to mind images of unwashed protestors in trees. But climate change has overturned some tables in that respect.

Many environmentalists now agree that the transition to a low carbon economy requires concrete change on the ground: wind turbines, solar farms and extensions to the electricity grid. Railways, rather than runways. Continue reading

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Is green growth an oxymoron?

Is green growth an oxymoron?Our series of seminars with economic experts kicked off last July with a discussion on green growth with Dimitri Zenghelis, co-head of climate policy at the Grantham Research Institute at the LSE.

In our discussion I took the role of a sceptic, looking at critiques of the notion of green growth from different perspectives, ie environmental: challenging the need for growth; and economic: whether greening policies will actually stymie growth. In response Dimitri took the role of a proponent, making the positive case for how we can grow our economy and be green at the same time, so that green growth need not be an oxymoron. (1.55 mins) Continue reading

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Scotland could use the oil price crash to kick-start CCS

Offshore oil platform, North ScotlandThis post first appeared on Guardian Sustainable Business.

Such was the shock of the oil price’s precipitous decline in recent months that tongues were set swiftly wagging about what the explanation could be. Killing off electric vehicles, US shale producers, or Iran’s and Russia’s economies, were all put forward as the real reason behind OPEC’s public explanation that keeping the taps open and so depressing prices is about protecting market share. Continue reading

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The challenge: keeping the taps running and water bills affordable

This post is written by Alex Townsend, economic advisor, Adaptation, Committee on Climate Change. It first appeared on the CCC blog.

Green Alliance launched a report on Wednesday 12 February to promote greater water efficiency as a way to reduce water bills, particularly the benefits for low income households. Water bills are set to fall slightly in the next five years.  Over a longer time period, climate change and population growth will put upwards pressure on bills if appropriate action is not taken. Managing water demand, and adopting more flexible approaches to improving resilience, will help maintain affordable bills and secure water supplies over a longer period. Continue reading

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Climate change does not have to be a partisan issue

cameroncleggmiliband
Amidst the macho gun-slinging of the election campaign we’ve just seen something remarkable and unexpected:  an outbreak of wisdom and humility. The party leaders have put down their pistols and agreed to work together on climate change at home and abroad. Continue reading

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Why greens should embrace digital technology, but not abandon politics

Microchip in the HeadThis post first appeared on the Huffington Post.

Technological innovation is intoxicating. Digital technologies have evolved so quickly that technology prophets are predicting a ‘digital disruption’, in which vast material bounty is created at such low marginal costs that big business and government melt away to reveal a new, environmentally friendly collaborative commons.  Continue reading

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Labour’s infrastructure plans won’t tackle the biggest barrier to delivery

AirlinerThis post appeared first on BusinessGreen.

Heathrow was the elephant in the room at Tuesday’s Infrastructure Commission launch by Labour in Westminster. Most people there heard the shadow chancellor’s commitment to take early decisions on infrastructure as an indication that he’d approve a third runway if Labour gets back into power. Continue reading

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Lessons from Easter Island about why we need a circular economy

Osterinsel Moai StatueThis post is by Liz Goodwin, CEO of WRAP. It first appeared on Guardian Sustainable Business.

We hear a lot about how we are running out of resources but, for many people, it is hard to visualise. Sometimes I’m asked: “Could it really happen?” The simple answer is yes, it could. And a lot sooner than we might think if change isn’t initiated soon. In fact, we have examples of where it has already happened. Continue reading

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What’s the role of the environment in business success?

BuchenwaldThis post first appeared on the CBI’s The Great Business Debate.

The environment has been the bank that keeps on giving for business:  it is the source of materials, and the sink for waste products. The sheer size of our oceans and continents and the absorption capacity of the atmosphere has meant that this free business support service has been central to many companies’ success. Continue reading

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The cost of a food waste landfill ban? What the Treasury’s sums missed

Busy landfillEarlier this month, the Treasury released its analysis of the costs of opposition policy, including the effect of a landfill ban for food waste on government expenditure. It’s important to understand the costs of green policy, but these Treasury calculations have missed the big picture. Continue reading

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