Flaming June? We need leadership at the Paris climate summit

Sunscreen, sun, beachThis post is by Eddie O’Connor, co-founder of Mainstream Renewable Power, it first appeared on his blog.

We used to think that ‘Flaming June’ was rose-tinted nostalgia for long lost summer holidays, but this year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed that, in June 2014, the average global temperature was 16.2C (61.2F), 0.7C higher than the 20th century average. May 2014 also broke the record. Continue reading

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Big manifesto ideas: get rid of the Lobbying Act & have a new Act for nature

Big Ben (Houses of Parliament) in LondonWith less than a year to go until the next election, we have sought ideas for the next parliament from a range of leading organisations and thinkers on environment, business and politics.

Here we post the final two ideas in the series, both focused on legislation: a proposal for major new Act to protect nature from The Wildlife Trusts, and Friends of the Earth wants to see a repeal of the Lobbying Act to allow the full participation of civil society in democratic debate. Continue reading

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What Wales and Scotland can teach us about the circular economy

recyclingA version of this post was first published on BusinessGreen.

With memories of the world cup fading fast, something that has stayed with me are the many scenes of jubilant fans, perhaps because these reminded me of happy times spent in Brazil during its famous carnival celebrations. But it also brought back less happy memories of street children weaving their way through the partying crowds scooping up the beer cans that fuelled the revelry. Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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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

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