Why it’s worth taking the party manifestos seriously

open bookHave you spent the last four years “fired up to play your part in the nation’s future”? No? You didn’t accept your invitation from David Cameron to join the government of Britain? Is that because you wanted “a future fair for all” offered by Gordon Brown?

Or perhaps you didn’t spot the sunny uplands on offer at the last election because you didn’t read the manifestos. Most people don’t. If they are remembered at all it tends to be for the promises not met, rather than the policies delivered. In this context and against the backdrop of public disillusionment with Westminster politics that I want to persuade you that manifestos really do matter. Continue reading

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Why the Prime Minister is going to the New York climate summit  

Global deal_CoverA version of this post was first published by the New Statesman.

A new joint report from Green Alliance, WWF, Christian Aid, RSPB and Greenpeace believes we will have a global agreement on tackling climate change by the end of next year. If we do, it will be an exceptional event. Nations working together is no longer the fashionable way to deal with  problems. The UN is looked upon as indecisive, the EU is seen as technocratic and even the United Kingdom is barely living up to its name. And yet the prime minister has just announced he will be heading to New York later this month to meet with other world leaders to discuss getting a global agreement. Why would he bother?

Continue reading

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After the floods: are we ready for climate change?

floods2cropThis post is by Lilian Greenwood, MP for Nottingham South

Last winter’s storms and floods, during the wettest winter on record, put the reality of climate change at the top of the political agenda. At the same time that Ed Miliband was tackling David Cameron on the issue at prime ministers’ question time, local areas around the country were asking how they could be better protected in the future. Continue reading

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What should be the state’s role in developing a green economy?

Wind Turbine and sun from belowMany of us believe that the development of a vibrant green economy is vital to Britain’s economic as well as environmental future. But how should we best foster the green economy and is there a role for government intervention? Should the state try to actively stimulate green innovation and industrial development? Or should the ‘bumbling bureaucrats’ simply get out of the way and leave it to the dynamic venture capitalists and entrepreneurs?  Continue reading

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A challenge to all UK parties to make Britain greener

GB imageThis post is by Dr Mike Clarke, chief executive of the RSPB.

Manifestos are sometimes important for their differences, but it’s when they’re the same that they’re really powerful.

This is especially true for cross-cutting issues like the environment, which affect us all. Continue reading

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What will turn Generation Y onto sustainable investment?

The Stock MarketProfessional investors have been stubbornly resistant to the idea that climate change should have any bearing on their decision-making. They continue to sink money into high carbon industries while ignoring the returns available from green infrastructure like clean energy and sustainable transport. These low carbon developments face an annual global funding gap of $1 trillion dollars. As Martin Wolf said in the FT, “Investors are implicitly betting [that] the world will abandon its pledge to keep emissions below the level thought to produce a rise of 2C.” Continue reading

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Why Generation Y is turned off by investment in their future

geny2This post is by Saker Nusseibeh, chief executive officer of Hermes Fund Managers. It is the foreword to Green Alliance’s new report The future savings challenge, produced in association with Hermes.

In the debate about the future of the financial system and the reforms needed to ensure that it is better positioned to serve its proper purpose in society, what is often forgotten is that the investment industry is merely an agent for ordinary savers, who are often excluded from the discussion by the ‘professionals’ and the academics. Such exclusion reflects the disassociation of the ultimate asset owners from the actions undertaken by their agents, which in many ways has contributed to the dysfunctionality of the industry. Continue reading

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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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