The UK may see itself as a climate leader, with cross-party support for a net zero goal. But, last week, local politicians granted planning permission for a proposed coal mine on the West Coast of Cumbria. Burning the coal from the mine, to make steel, will release nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. That’s more than double Cumbria’s total current emissions. (There’s more on the background to the mine in this briefing.)Read more
This is not the blog I expected to write to launch my book. As I sit at my desk, on a Monday morning, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting home. My kids are adjusting to a much smaller world, without school or friends. My older teen is giving my younger teen a maths lesson, while I agonise about whether it’s safe to let them go to the park. In the space of a few weeks, everything has changed. Read more
Green Alliance and I grew up together. We’re both children of the 1970s, a decade which, according to the New Economics Foundation’s happiness index, included Britain’s happiest year, 1976. Though incomes have risen since then, so have environmental impacts and social inequality, hence their argument that Britain peaked in the mid-seventies. Read more
As the UK heads to the polls once more, there’s something different this time round. In previous elections, climate change barely got any airtime. Now, as poll after poll shows that people want action, politicians are talking about the climate crisis, and offering voters their prescriptions for action. Read more
What a week for the climate. With impeccable timing, just as a temporary Brexit ceasefire took hold, activists from Extinction Rebellion occupied the streets of London. There followed an incredible week-long display of peaceful determination and optimism, in the face of a mounting climate crisis. Throw in an Attenborough documentary and an unseasonably hot Easter weekend, and the climate message is crystal clear. Read more
This post is by Green Alliance associate Dr Rebecca Willis. It first appeared on her blog.
I can’t stop thinking about sixteen year old Greta Thunberg, speaking with quiet determination to rooms full of powerful people in Davos.
I think that Thunberg has an incredible gift. She summarises, with simplicity and eloquence, what climate scientists have been telling us for a long time: that climate change threatens our future on this planet; and that drastic cuts to emissions are needed, starting now. Read more
It was great to celebrate the birthday of the Climate Change Act last week, much admired and copied round the world since its inception ten years ago. The UK climate community deserves a moment of satisfaction that we brought about, and have sustained for a decade, a brilliant piece of legislation. Read more
Scientists are clear that urgent action is needed on climate. At the Paris Summit in 2015, world leaders agreed to limit rises in global temperatures. And yet climate change barely troubles domestic politics. Since then, I’ve interviewed over 20 members of the UK parliament, and one message has emerged with striking clarity: the electorate are not asking their representatives to act. Read more
I’m in a café in the House of Commons, talking to a newly-elected MP about climate change. He’s under no illusions about likely impacts. He points out that where we’re sitting, beside the River Thames, could be under water in decades to come. He calls climate change ‘catastrophic’, and looks for every opportunity he can to raise the issue. But his commitment has come at a price: speaking out on climate is, he tells me, a ‘career-limiting move’.
This post is by Green Alliance associate Rebecca Willis, it is based on research presented in a paper published by the journal Environmental Politics.
While climate deniers on both sides of the Atlantic attract media and public attention, the overwhelming majority of politicians in the UK support the scientific consensus on climate change. Just five out of 650 MPs voted against the Climate Change Act in 2008, and major parties in Westminster have all pledged their support for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, signed in December 2015. Read more