Five things we learned from the Greener Britain Hustings

16728491850_8f26167fe8_zAt the Greener Britain Hustings, senior party representatives debated with the general public what they will do, if they get into power at the next election, to create a greener Britain. Unlike some of the other election debates on offer, they did so in the same room and at the same time.

Here’s five things we learned: Continue reading

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Building a circular economy, one smartphone at a time

smartphone - highways EnglandSmartphones, tablets and laptops are ubiquitous in the wealthy world, and the makers of these devices have their eyes set on selling to the next five billion consumers in emerging markets. And why not? Access to the internet is a good thing, and digital technologies can enable better resource productivity, smarter conservation, and lower waste. The fact that smart devices have been selling like hotcakes for the past decade might lead business executives to think more growth is practically inevitable. Continue reading

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Why wildlife needs a youth movement

Toad, credit Erik PatersonThis post is by Matt Williams, a committee member of A Focus on Nature, the UK’s leading youth conservation organisation.

A few days ago I happened upon Some thoughts on the common toad, a little known essay by George Orwell. As toads slowly awake across the UK right now, Orwell’s celebration of the end of winter was a timely read. Continue reading

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Were the critics of austerity wrong?

The fifth in our series of seminars with economic experts took place on 11 March with a discussion on fiscal austerity with Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). Below is a brief overview of our discussion, with short audio clips.  Continue reading

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Will the next government lead the world in industrial CCS?

KraftwerkThis post is by Richard Black, director of the ECIU.

It was just over ten years ago that Sir David King, then chief scientific adviser to the British government, beckoned a small group of journalists into a conference room to extol the potential of carbon capture and storage (CCS). Continue reading

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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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