Natural capital: if we look after the stocks, will the flows look after themselves?

dieterThe notion of ‘natural capital’ is gaining traction among economists and policy makers. To discuss this I was joined by Dieter Helm at the third in our series of economic seminars. Dieter is both an academic and a practitioner, with a substantial record of applied economic policy analysis in fields such as energy and the environment. He also chairs the Natural Capital Committee (although he spoke in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the committee).

Below is a brief overview of our stimulating discussion, with short audio clips . You can also listen to the full discussion (1 hour 4 mins).  Continue reading

Posted in Green economy, Nature and wildlife, Sustainable Economy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Unpicking the modernisation of the UK economy one step at a time

Infrastructure_info_homeIt generally pays to remain sanguine in the face of the ups and downs of the public policy debate, because it’s usually driven by short term concerns that don’t have a lasting effect in the real world.

Last week, however, I found myself looking at data from one of the dustiest corners of Whitehall and feeling shocked that the reverse had happened: a series of short term decisions is unpicking long term plans to modernise our economy. Continue reading

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Think we have cleaner seas? Why the UK still has a pollution problem

polluted sea CornwallThis post is by Andy Cummins, campaigns director at Surfers Against Sewage.

Britain is and always will be heavily influenced by its coast.  The furthest we can get from it on our beautiful island is a little over 70 miles.  And the coast has always been more than a bucket and spade destination.  It feeds us and powers our homes.  It supports healthy tourist economies, fisheries and various other maritime and offshore industries. The coast is ingrained in the very fabric of our society. Continue reading

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How to make high rise homes fit for the future

Wilmcote house new balconyThis post is by James Traynor, director of architecture at ECD Architects.

Is it right that people live in homes they can’t afford to heat without taking out a loan, and which cause them health problems from excessive humidity and mould? Why is the UK’s housing stock in such poor condition and how can it be improved to meet the needs of both current and future generations? Above all, what are the implications of a failure to act? Continue reading

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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

Posted in Environment, Low carbon energy, Political Leadership / NGO Engagement, Resource Stewardship, Sustainable Business, Sustainable Economy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Climate change, Low carbon energy, Policy | Tagged , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Circular Economy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment