Author Archives: Green Alliance blog

What will Brexit mean for the UK’s trade in electricity with Europe?

26954793856_a891ff7d7f_h (1)This post is by Jonathan Bosch, research postgraduate at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London.

The internal electricity market (IEM) is one of the major achievements of the European single market, allowing electricity to be traded and transmitted seamlessly across national borders. The UK has played a crucial role in the IEM’s development, working with EU energy regulatory agencies to help achieve ‘market coupling’, whereby power station operation and interconnection capacity are allocated simultaneously to achieve more efficient outcomes. The IEM relies on the physical interconnection infrastructure across the continent, and current plans see an expansion of interconnection between the UK and the European mainland in the coming years.

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Who’s afraid of the ECJ? Let’s debate environmental governance

ECJ (3)This post is by Prof Andrew Jordan and Dr Viviane Gravey, co-chairs of the Brexit and Environment network of academic experts, co-funded by the ESRC’s UK in a Changing Europe Initiative.

Among the many proposals in Michael Gove’s thoughtful speech on the environment, one received less attention that we think it deserved.  It was his invitation to debate how the UK can “design potentially more effective, more rigorous and more responsive institutions, new means of holding individuals and organisations to account for environmental outcomes”. This creates a welcome opportunity to debate what kind of governance system the UK should have outside the EU.

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Why the UK should stick with the EU’s world leading chemical protections

Shopping till receiptThis post is by Andrea Speranza, Brexit campaigner at CHEM Trust.

Like everyone, I receive a lot of receipts each week. I drop them dismissively into my bag. When I tidy up at the start of the week, I notice how many there are and, until recently, the only risk I saw was financial.

But now I know better and I am starting to worry. If I handle a lot, what about the cashiers who handle them every day? Read more

Why home energy improvements are a natural fit for conservative values

Aerial View of UK HousesThis post is by Sam Hall, senior researcher at Bright Blue and author of Green conservatives? Understanding what conservatives think about the environment

From the great housebuilding programme of Harold MacMillan in the 1950s to Anthony Eden’s and Margaret Thatcher’s championing of a property owning democracy, conservatives intuitively value the home. It embodies and animates central conservative ideas of personal responsibility, family and aspiration.

Home energy improvements should be a natural fit for this vision. After all, they are a renovation that adds value to a property, increases its comfort levels and reduces its running costs. And attractive and innovative consumer products like solar photovoltaics, smart meters and battery storage enable households to take responsibility for their home’s energy and environmental impact.

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How plastic bags helped us grasp the bigger picture

7791437584_617626e707_kThis post is by Dr Colin Church, CEO of CIWM, the leading institution for resources and waste management, and the chair of the Circular Economy Task Force.

In the resource management sector, when a group of ‘strategic colleagues’ meets up, one of the conversations I’ve often heard around the table is a lament as to why politicians and the media are so focused on carrier bags, or plastic bottles, or coffee cups, or any other single product or waste stream in the news that day. They argue that this is deflecting attention from the holistic and more important bigger picture around resource productivity and the circular economy. Given that several of these specific issues featured in Michael Gove’s first keynote speech on the environment recently, I imagine this conversation is live once more. Read more

Three simple ways European product design can help eliminate poverty abroad

5241715320_e3246875fb_bThis post is by Richard Gower, senior associate for economics and policy at Tearfund. This post first appeared on Tearfund’s policy blog.

In poor nations, millions of people already make their living from ‘circular’ trades such as repair and recycling. The way we design our products in the EU – the toxic chemicals we permit and the ease of repair that we require – has a strong influence over their livelihoods. But these impacts are not currently considered as part of the process for setting design standards.

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A border won’t be enough to control fish – only co-operation can

6926612069_923fe1576c_bThis post is by Griffin Carpenter, senior researcher at the New Economics Foundation.

Michael Gove has purportedly shown us what ‘taking back control’ really means, by drawing a 12-mile line around the UK for exclusive fishing access for British vessels. Now he has his sights set on an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 miles (or the median line). On a map, this looks like a win for British influence in the world, reminiscent of times past and conquering new territory. But the nature of influence and the transboundary movements of those pesky fish mean that this drive to etch battle lines has the notion of control completely backwards. Real control requires co-operation and shared management. Unfortunately, the idea of control offered by the most buccaneering Brexiteers does not seem to involve much co-operation at all. Read more

Will Brexit break down or expand the new approaches that have been improving our rivers?

4725930223_ff9367f2fa_b - CopyThis post is by Richard Benwell, head of government affairs at WWT.

Every stretch of river has its own character. Here are a few of the personalities I’ve got to know over the years:

  • Beverley Brook – small, beautiful, prone to outbursts; a Richmond river with a film star name
  • Byron’s Pool – tranquil, romantic, deep and surrounded by wildlife (but no bears)
  • Thames at Lechlade – the first point where Old Father Thames gives a hint of his power
  • The Severn Estuary – the last point of the UK’s longest river; a famous bore

Each has its own charms and needs. It’s this diversity that can help to inspire communities to love and protect their rivers and it’s the reason why every portion of every river needs to be given its own care. The attention that will calm the bursting banks of Beverley Brook might be a drop in the ocean elsewhere.

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Island nations mustn’t pay the price for Trump’s stance on climate change

Tropical caribbean island in open oceanThis post is by Matthew Perks, CEO of New Energy Events LLC, the organisers of the annual Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF). which will take place in Miami from 18-20 October, 2017.

A little over a month ago, on 1 June 2017, the day that Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement, the New York Times speculated that the impact of the withdrawal would be determined by the global response to the decision. Read more

Greener UK is tracking Brexit risks so you don’t have to

European Union flag in front of Big Ben, Brexit EUThis post is by Gemma Wells, RSPB’s Brexit project officer.

It’s been a tumultuous time in UK politics since we voted to leave the EU a year ago. The overriding mood of the year has been uncertainty which has permeated all sectors, not least the environmental sector.

Since the majority of the laws, principles and resources that protect our environment come via the EU, the Brexit process poses a risk to our current levels of protection. Read more

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