Voluntary approaches to policy making aren’t working

Policies Concept. Word on Folder Register of Card Index. Selective Focus.This post is by Paul Morling, principal economist for the RSPB.

UK and EU policy makers have increasingly favoured the use of voluntary approaches, like industry self regulation, as a low cost, more flexible alternative to binding regulations or market based instruments.

Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our best reads of 2015

When you’ve had enough of the Christmas TV specials and have given up trying to work out infuriating puzzles, we’ve got the very thing for you: a selection, in no particular order, of some of the reads, moments, infographics and campaigns we’ve enjoyed this year: Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How investors will drive up demand for renewables

Wind Turbine and sun from belowThis post is by Catherine Howarth, chief executive of ShareAction and Green Alliance trustee.

The focus of the investment community, in the run up to the Paris COP21, was on the financial risks of investments in fossil fuel companies. Understandably so, as these companies’ profits and valuation depend on activities that directly contribute to climate change. While the divestment movement has called for large institutions to move their money out of fossil fuels, others have chosen to engage with companies which have carbon heavy business models, challenging them on their preparations for the inevitable shift to a lower carbon economy. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Low carbon energy, Sustainable Economy | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Was Paris a success? ‘Yes’, ‘no’ and ‘it depends’

paris cop21This post is by Green Alliance associate Rebecca Willis, author of our 2014 report Paris 2015: Getting a global agreement on climate change. It is also published on her website.

Six years after the failure of the climate negotiations at Copenhagen, agreement has at last been reached in Paris. Can we call this success? Weighing up the outcome, the answer is emphatically “yes”, but in some senses “no”, and in large part “it depends”, on how the agreement is received, and what happens next. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Political Leadership | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

It’s time for a new Conservative narrative on low carbon

This post is by the Rt Hon Lord Barker of Battle, minister for energy and climate change from 2010 to 2014.

As we waited last week for the final agreement to emerge from COP21, David Cameron celebrated his tenth anniversary as leader of the Conservative Party, a position won in part because of his call for a fresh, ambitious approach to the environment. His government has now been at the heart of the international efforts that secured an historic climate deal in Paris. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Political Leadership | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

What does the Paris agreement mean for the UK?

1fe618a8-cbea-4c11-843b-acdd28e1d355Few political deals deserve to be called historic but, as President Obama tweeted a few minutes after the gavel came down in Paris, “this is huge”. It’s huge because it’s a global agreement which means every country has to review its effort every five years. Historic because it’s a one way street to net zero emissions, and it will accelerate the low carbon technology shift we are already seeing in the global energy economy. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Political Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Will beauty be the source of our salvation?

This post is by Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, master of Emmanuel College and chair of Green Alliance. It forms part of NOW’s Sharing Our World series. It first appeared on the Network of Wellbeing’s blog.

Until the floods this weekend I was feeling frustrated by the lack of news from the COP21 Paris Conference about climate change. Climate change seemed marginal to the more immediately pressing and vital concerns of Syria, refugees and terrorist attacks.   Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Nature and wildlife | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

No more nudges – only an entrepreneurial state can give us a green revolution

Nurturing UK cleantech enterprise-1This post is by Mariana Mazzucato, RM Phillips professor in the economics of innovation, SPRU, University of Sussex, author of The entrepreneurial state: debunking public vs private sector myths and Green Alliance trustee.

Speaking at the start of the COP21 meeting in Paris, President Obama told delegates:

“We have proved that strong economic growth and a safer environment no longer have to conflict with one another; they can work in concert with one another.”

He’s right that a green economy need not come at the expense of growth. Policy makers must also now recognise that we cannot rely on the private sector to bring about the kind of radical reshaping of the economy that is required. As Bill Gates recently acknowledged, only the state can provide the kind of patient finance and direction required to make a decisive shift.

Continue reading

Posted in Green economy, Infrastructure, Policy, Political Leadership, Sustainable Economy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

From Cumbria to Paris: when climate change gets personal

flood cumbriaThis post is by Green Alliance associate Rebecca Willis and also appears on her website.

I write this in the aftermath of Storm Desmond, which battered my home town of Kendal this weekend. I am lucky to live up a hill and, over the weekend, our house filled with flood refugees. We hunkered down to watch films as the wind howled outside. Today, a sizeable portion of my town is still under water. Schools are closed, which my kids obviously think is brilliant. But across the county of Cumbria, the devastation is truly terrible. It is only this morning, as the waters subside, that the extent of the damage to homes, livelihoods, transport and infrastructure is becoming clear. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Infrastructure | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Why the world must redouble efforts to tackle deforestation

Riau_palm_oil_2007This post is by shadow minister for energy and climate change, Barry Gardiner MP. It’s the message he will be taking to the COP21 Global Landscapes Forum in Paris this weekend.

Hovis, Persil, Ginsters, even Mr Kipling’s “exceedingly good” cakes, risk being exceedingly bad for the world’s forests. There’s hardly a domestic product that doesn’t use palm oil. It’s an incredibly useful and profitable natural product, but the relentless drive to plant more and more oil palm trees is devastating some of the most important and biodiversity-rich landscapes in the world. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Nature and wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment