Why old tower blocks should be included in new city visions

Block towers in Kennogton Park, London.UK cities have been growing in influence for some years now. This looks set to continue as the devolution debate rumbles on in the wake of the Scottish referendum.

At Green Alliance we’re interested in the potential of cities to add dynamism to the low carbon economy. They are well placed to realise the tangible benefits: through public transport improvements, growing low carbon industries and green jobs, and developing sustainable, liveable communities. Continue reading

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A new strategy for the next era of green policy

Strategy 2015-18-1A lot has changed since Green Alliance was founded 35 years ago. Most of the people who partied with us at our celebration last night were still at school, and some hadn’t been born.  So let’s just remind ourselves: in 1979 we had one lumbering energy giant – the Central Electricity Generating Board– providing electricity to all of our homes and offices, the majority of which was generated by coal. Continue reading

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The 2020s loom large for the UK’s offshore wind industry

Boat in offshore windfarmThis post was first published on BusinessGreen.

A week may be a long time in politics, but a decade is short in the world of infrastructure. The 180 months remaining between now and 2030 only get us to the early years of operation for the biggest rail or energy generation projects currently on the cards.   Continue reading

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If concern about climate is a religion, Margaret Thatcher was its founder

Margaret-Thatcher-UN-speechThis post is by Peter Franklin, editor of the DeepEnd on ConservativeHome and a contributor to The Times. It first appeared on Conservative Home.

Saturday, 8 November marked the 25th anniversary of one of Margaret Thatcher’s most consequential speeches. It was delivered to the United National General Assembly and, in the time honoured fashion, she began by telling her audience what she was going to tell them: Continue reading

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How new cycling policy could transform London

TxirrindulariakThis post is by Rosie Downes, campaigns manager at the London Cycling Campaign (LCC).

In 2013, the mayor of London Boris Johnson published his Vision for Cycling, a document which we described as “one of the most ambitious plans to promote cycling ever produced by a major UK political leader”. Johnson himself described it as a “profound shift in my ambitions and intentions for the bicycle in London”.  It promised an increase in the total cycling budget to almost £400 million over the next three years; a commitment to delivering future cycle superhighways to international standards, and the development of a London cycling network.

Continue reading

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City devolution is exciting for the circular economy

19- three buildings and bridge salford quaysA version of this post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

The 21st century has been widely heralded as the century of the city. 2008 was the tipping point when half of all people lived in urban areas for the first time. This gives cities power, and city governments are asserting their role as international leaders: just compare the ambition and commitments to combating climate change of global city networks like the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group with the lacklustre efforts of their host nations (fingers crossed for Paris 2015 though). Continue reading

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Why the EU2030 climate agreement is progress

Coal powerplant view - chimneys and fumesThe new EU 2030 climate package is a messy compromise, just like every other negotiated agreement in history, but it constitutes real progress.

It is progress because we now have the most ambitious regional agreement on emissions reduction anywhere in the world. At the start of this week, five members of the European Union had a 2030 target for greenhouse gasses. At the end of this week, all 28 members had one.  Continue reading

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Is the US outclassing the UK on climate statesmanship?

obama green economy speech 2010_2Al Gore is the famous what-if of US climate politics, given the controversial near miss that was the presidential election of 2000, combined with his subsequent activism.  His film, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, won two Academy Awards, and the man himself won a share of the Nobel Peace Prize (along with the IPCC) for his efforts to wake the world up to climate change.

But current Secretary of State John Kerry, the second contender to lose a presidential election to George W Bush, has started to nudge Gore out of the climate action spotlight.  Continue reading

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Five items for the next PM’s in tray

Big Ben & Houses of ParliamentThis article features in the latest issue of Green Alliance’s journal Inside Track which focuses on priorities for the next parliament.

The fog surrounding the next government’s priorities couldn’t be thicker. We are heading into an election that no one can call, with a possible EU referendum that could obscure all other issues. Nevertheless, it is useful to consider what, in normal weather, the political landscape would look like, and what will be in the next PM’s in tray irrespective of the party they represent.

At Green Alliance we have identified five areas of action which we think will be central to successful green outcomes in the next parliament and which we would expect ministers to resolve within a year of coming to power: Continue reading

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Five ways to stop the world’s wildlife vanishing

lorisThis post is by Paul Jepson, course director, MSc Biodiversity, Conservation and Management at University of Oxford. It was first published by The Conversation.

Full marks to colleagues at WWF and the Zoological Society of London for the Living Planet Report 2014 and its headline message which one hopes ought to shock the world out of its complacency: a 52 per cent decline of wildlife populations in the past 40 years.

Over the summer I re-read Fairfield Osborne’s 1948 classic, Our plundered planet, the first mass readership environmental book that detailed the scale of the damage humanity wrought on nature. Faced with the figures in this report it is easy to slip into despondency and to blame others. But this would be a mistake. At the time, Osborne’s report must have been equally alarming, but the eclectic conservation movement of which he was part responded with confidence, hope and vision. Continue reading

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