How to build a framework for a greener government

Big Ben in LondonThis post is by Duncan Brack, freelance researcher, former DECC special adviser and Green Alliance associate.

‘What does it take to get green policies implemented in government?’ was the question I posed three years ago on this blog, shortly after my departure as special adviser at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. One of my abiding memories of my government experience was the inordinate amount of time I’d had to spend arguing with special advisers in other departments over green policy. It wasn’t that we always lost the arguments – far from it, thanks to my boss Chris Huhne – it was that there was no overall mechanism to require anyone else in government to aim to be ‘the greenest government ever’. Continue reading

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What have we learned from the financial crisis?

Lucrezia Reichlin

Lucrezia Reichlin interviewed by Julian Morgan

The fourth in our series of seminars with economic experts took place on 4 March. It was a discussion on the lessons from the financial crisis with Lucrezia Reichlin (professor of economics and chair of the economics department at the London Business School). Below is a brief overview of our stimulating discussion, with short audio clips.  Continue reading

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Why using CCS for industry as well as power makes sense

Cemex_Works_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1082996The case for carbon capture and storage (CCS) is increasingly confused. The IPCC suggests CCS makes quick, low cost decarbonisation much more feasible, and the prime minister recently declared the technology “absolutely crucial.” But a recent UCL study found that CCS makes little difference to the proportion of fossil reserves that cannot be burned. Less than a quarter of people support CCS in the UK, compared to the 80 per cent supporting renewables, and activists led anti-CCS protests at the recent Lima climate conference because they fear it will be used as a  smokescreen for additional unabated fossil fuel use. Continue reading

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Big questions for a Greener Britain from Green Alliance

Greener BritainMy biggest fear for the environment in this coming election is not that it won’t feature as a major issue. That may be a blessing given the quality of the debate so far. It’s that our next government won’t have a plan for what it wants to do. So my big question to the parties is ‘What’s your green programme for the first year of government?’ Continue reading

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Big questions for a Greener Britain from the RSPB

Great TitThis post is by Mike Clarke, CEO of the RSPB.

When governments put their minds to protecting our environment, they can achieve some extraordinary things.

Climate change action has the potential to be one of them. It was a small triumph of global co-operation that 195 countries ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Even though there’s still a long way to go before we have a fair, ambitious and binding new deal, it is testament to strong international leadership that countries are willing to act together. The UK’s cross party pledge on climate change, brokered by Green Alliance, demonstrates that climate commitment continues even in challenging economic times. Continue reading

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Big questions for a Greener Britain from CPRE

Aerial view of housing estateThis post is by Shaun Spiers, chief executive of CPRE, in advance of the Greener Britain hustings. It is also published on CPRE’s blog

One of the myths of British politics is that people do not vote on green issues. In fact, seats are won or lost on the environment, albeit generally the local environment. Local politicians know the intensity of feeling about litter, street cleaning and the state of public parks. In national elections, housing is a big issue, particularly new housing in the countryside when more sustainable alternatives are available.  Continue reading

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Big questions for a Greener Britain from WWF UK

Deforestation in the PhilippinesThis post is by David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF UK, in advance of the Greener Britain hustings. It also appeared on the WWF UK blog.

It feels, at last, as though we are into the final straight of what has seemed like a very long General Election campaign.  The horses – perhaps a broader field than we might have expected at the beginning of this parliament – are approaching the finishing line, though only the rashest of pundits would risk a flutter on who might cross it first. Continue reading

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Low resource prices are no reason to go slow on better productivity

Abfüllung von GetränkedosenA version of this post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

Resource prices have been in the news again of late, although this time for the refreshing reason  that they’ve been tumbling instead of skyrocketing. Falls in food and transport prices have led to the lowest inflation rate since records began and underpinned the first steady rise in real wages in five years. Continue reading

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Time is short to get a public consensus on new infrastructure

Ed Davey SSEKeadbyThis post is by Tony Burton, founder of Civic Voice and member of the National Infrastructure Planning Association’s Council. 

Power, money, scale, legacy and to die for photo opportunities; it’s hardly surprising that politicians find big infrastructure projects irresistible.  Now everyone’s at it.  Continue reading

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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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