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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Is green growth an oxymoron?

Is green growth an oxymoron?Our series of seminars with economic experts kicked off last July with a discussion on green growth with Dimitri Zenghelis, co-head of climate policy at the Grantham Research Institute at the LSE.

In our discussion I took the role of a sceptic, looking at critiques of the notion of green growth from different perspectives, ie environmental: challenging the need for growth; and economic: whether greening policies will actually stymie growth. In response Dimitri took the role of a proponent, making the positive case for how we can grow our economy and be green at the same time, so that green growth need not be an oxymoron. (1.55 mins) Continue reading

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Scotland could use the oil price crash to kick-start CCS

Offshore oil platform, North ScotlandThis post first appeared on Guardian Sustainable Business.

Such was the shock of the oil price’s precipitous decline in recent months that tongues were set swiftly wagging about what the explanation could be. Killing off electric vehicles, US shale producers, or Iran’s and Russia’s economies, were all put forward as the real reason behind OPEC’s public explanation that keeping the taps open and so depressing prices is about protecting market share. Continue reading

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The challenge: keeping the taps running and water bills affordable

This post is written by Alex Townsend, economic advisor, Adaptation, Committee on Climate Change. It first appeared on the CCC blog.

Green Alliance launched a report on Wednesday 12 February to promote greater water efficiency as a way to reduce water bills, particularly the benefits for low income households. Water bills are set to fall slightly in the next five years.  Over a longer time period, climate change and population growth will put upwards pressure on bills if appropriate action is not taken. Managing water demand, and adopting more flexible approaches to improving resilience, will help maintain affordable bills and secure water supplies over a longer period. Continue reading

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