Big manifesto ideas: on sustainable development and upland protection

Uhrturm Big Ben in LondonThere has been no shortage of great proposals in our series of big manifesto ideas for the parties going into the next election.

Leading thinkers have contributed ideas, alongside our own, for achievable actions to make the UK a greener, more prosperous country, on areas like low carbon infrastructure and innovation, and community involvement in energy supply and planning. Continue reading

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From megawatts to negawatts: will the government’s pilot work?

Negawatts_websiteThis post is by Katherine Watts, Green Alliance’s head of energy.

The full potential of reducing electricity demand is still far from being realised in the UK, despite being a low cost, low pollution and health improving way to reduce reliance on imported fossil energy.

The UK has considerable scope to turn megawatts into ‘negawatts’. Very conservative government figures suggest that almost 39TWh could be reduced, amounting to ten per cent of the country’s predicted total electricity demand for 2030. Continue reading

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Big manifesto ideas: sustainable fishing, negawatts and business accounting

Westminster securityWith the next general election approaching, we’ve asked leading thinkers to give us their one big manifesto idea for a greener Britain, alongside some of our own.

There’s no shortage of great ideas, with fifteen strong proposals already under the belt covering a wide range of subjects, from infrastructure to pensions. Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Low carbon energy, My big idea, Nature and wildlife, Policy, Politics, Sustainable Business, Sustainable Economy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The huge wasted economic opportunity of inconsistent recycling

müllOur new report, Wasted opportunities, marks the end of the second year for the Circular Economy Task Force of leading businesses. It reveals that outdated recycling systems are losing the UK economy £1.7 billion in wasted plastics, electronics and food.

The report comes at a time of transition for the circular economy. Our work over the past year has uncovered positive signals. Alongside task force members, we’ve talked to businesses ever keener to take up the idea and make the circular economy part of their values and their business model. With them are policy makers in Brussels, Edinburgh and Cardiff, talking of ambitious targets and policy support. In Westminster, enlightened politicians from all parties are beginning to explore the concept and seeking to incorporate the ambition to be more circular into their manifestos. Continue reading

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Why Miliband and Cameron shouldn’t be shy about climate change

Climate ChangeA version of this article was first published on Labour List.

At last year’s party conference, Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna said to a public meeting that he had recommended Labour’s electoral team to make a television broadcast around Ed Miliband’s work at the Copenhagen summit in 2009. It would have shown the Labour leader as someone operating comfortably and in a statesmanlike way with the world’s most powerful. But it didn’t happen and, instead of showing how Labour could stand strong on the international stage they focused on domestic energy policy, launching the prize freeze at the same conference. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Political Leadership / NGO Engagement, Politics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Don’t take politics out of infrastructure planning

Image courtesy of National RailIf you start talking about infrastructure, few will accuse you of playing to the gallery. The term conjures up images of civil engineers, hard hats and a lot of concrete. Yet the choices we make about infrastructure in the coming years will have profound consequences for the UK’s future, influencing our ability to grow the economy, improve quality of life, protect against flooding and reduce CO2 emissions.

Voices across the political spectrum have highlighted our failure to deliver on infrastructure. Whoever wins the next election, it is likely there will be steps to enhance our ability to deliver major projects. Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Sustainable Economy | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Big manifesto ideas: responsible pensions, help to heat and a resource target

Big Ben in LondonWith the 2015 general election on the horizon, we’ve asked leading thinkers and experts for their one big manifesto idea. The one they think will make a real difference to a greener Britain. Today we’re posting ideas 13,14 and 15. (Read the other twelve.)

These three proposals, including one of our own, would harness the power of pension funds, boost support for the fuel poor and steer industrial strategy to help businesses and reduce the cost of living. Continue reading

Posted in Circular Economy, Energy demand, Low carbon energy, My big idea, Politics, Resource Stewardship | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are new eco technologies fit for a circular economy?

Rendered Image of Chiral Carbon Nanotube TwineBrighton’s Eco Technology Show is fast rising up the list of ‘must go to’ events for anyone in the resource stewardship arena.

Aimed particularly at local authority thinkers, doers and buyers, it showcases green transport solutions, all the latest building technologies and renewable energy, from off-grid to big kit.

Material efficiency is a growing strand and, this Friday (27 June), Green Alliance is hosting a ‘Big Debate’ at the centre of the show on the circular economy. Continue reading

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Interconnection is the solution to the energy trilemma

Network development mapThis post is by Paul Arwas who has over 20 years’ experience as a professional consultant, specialising in renewable energy and energy services.  Paul has advised governments on energy policy and some of the leading global energy companies on strategy and technology issues.

No doubt you will have heard about the energy trilemma.  Experts say we can have one or two out of a choice of secure, cheap or low carbon energy, but not all three.

But they are missing an obvious way of securing all three.  Sources of secure, cheap and low carbon energy exist and they are closer to London than Glasgow. These sources lie outside the UK, and because they don’t feature in economists’ models and are outside the ken of many vested interests, they are the Cinderella of energy policy. Continue reading

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How to respond to Euroscepticism? Start by ending the CAP

Wiltshire countrysideThis post is by Miles King, senior ecologist at Footprint Ecology, and a regular blogger about nature and the environment.

If there was any doubt before, the local and euro election results have confirmed that the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU now hangs in the balance. Euroscepticism has shown its face.

From its inception, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been central to the EU. Its original purpose was to ensure that the food shortages which haunted post war Europe would never happen again. But, from rational beginnings, a monster was born. Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Europe, Nature and wildlife, Policy | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments