These days, renewable technologies not only generate 25 per cent of the UK’s electricity, they also generate plenty of data, giving us the chance to get a clear picture of what’s really going on.
We’ve pulled together our top ten resources as a quick reference guide, including stats, interactive tools and inspiration from the miscellany of initiatives that have taken root across the country. Read more
The Northern Powerhouse: everyone’s talking about it, but no one’s quite sure what it is, or where it is, for that matter.
Is it Manchester, where the phrase was first aired? Or all the northern cities, mapped out in a network, like atoms in a sheet of graphene? And what about the greenish bits in between: are the countryside and smaller towns simply blank space, to be passed through at high speed? Read more
1. Renewables are a UK success story. They have rapidly increased as a proportion of UK electricity supply since 2010.
The climate for renewable technologies in the UK has been notably inclement lately, ever since the summer’s soggy policy announcements resoundingly dampened investors’ and businesses’ enthusiasm. Now, even the usually resilient edifice of government is leaking.
Working on UK climate and energy policy in our office in London, it’s easy to regard with envy the politics north of the Scottish border. The Scottish government has adopted far more ambitious targets than the UK as a whole, aiming at a largely decarbonised electricity sector by 2030, almost complete decarbonisation of road transport by 2050 and a largely decarbonised heat sector by 2050. Read more
A version of this post first appeared on The Guardian’s Political Science blog.
The headquarters of Google in Mountain View, California is a confusing blend of the laid back, hi-tech, over achieving image the company likes to cultivate, mixed with an earnest schoolboy’s slightly clumsy eagerness to gain approval for doing well and doing good. Garish multi-coloured bikes are scattered around the ‘campus’ for staff to move from one building to another; there’s a Holodeck (a dizzyingly immersive experience of Google Earth); and two of the meeting rooms are called Flux and Capacitor. So far, so Google. Read more
A version of this post was first published on the Guardian’s Political Science blog.
Poets don’t often pop up at infrastructure conferences. But a few months ago, at a debate for infrastructure developers and policy makers, I began my remarks by quoting Wordsworth. Read more
Until 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. Read more
Al Gore is the famous what-if of US climate politics, given the controversial near miss that was the presidential election of 2000, combined with his subsequent activism. His film, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, won two Academy Awards, and the man himself won a share of the Nobel Peace Prize (along with the IPCC) for his efforts to wake the world up to climate change.
But current Secretary of State John Kerry, the second contender to lose a presidential election to George W Bush, has started to nudge Gore out of the climate action spotlight. Read more
By Amy Mount, policy intern at Green Alliance and coalition coordinator for the UK Youth Climate Coalition
“From a young age, I had always wanted to design computer games, but then, aged 17, I had the opportunity to visit the Tibetan Himalayas. There, in the middle of three remote huts, was the power source for an entire village: a black sooty kettle at the focus of a set of battered old parabolic mirrors. Read more