Author Archives: Green Alliance blog

The government is backsliding on the Environment Bill before it even becomes law

This post is by Hatti Owens, Client Earth lawyer. It was originally published on Business Green.

After a delay of over six months, the Environment Bill is finally back. Having just completed review by a committee of MPs in Parliament, we expect its enactment during the first part of next year.

But the Bill is soon to be finalised and problems remain that must be urgently addressed.

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It’s time for nature to be at the heart of climate strategy

This post is by Matt Williams of the National Trust, Melanie Coath of the RSPB and Shirley Matheson of WWF UK, the co-chairs of the NGO Climate and Land Use Group.

This Saturday, the UK will host an international summit on climate change. It will mark five years since the Paris Agreement was signed and less than a year until the UK hosts the delayed UN climate talks in Glasgow.

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There are signs of hope for England’s marine protected areas

This post is by Gareth Cunningham, RSPB’s principle marine policy officer

The Isles of Scilly are internationally important for seabirds, and one of only two places in England where Manx shearwater and storm petrel breed. Over the past decade a huge amount of work has been done to boost the numbers of these two burrow nesting species through the eradication of rats on the islands of St Agnes and Gugh.

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Agroforestry has been ignored for too long as a solution to farming and environmental problems

This post is by Helen Browning, farmer and CEO of the Soil Association.

The nature-based approach to tackling climate change is, more often than not, trees. Perhaps for simplicity as much as anything. And of course, it is true, trees do offer huge potential to both mitigate climate change and adapt to it’s worst effects, as well helping to make space for nature and provide livelihoods. But our efforts to get them in the ground have so far proven disappointing to say the least, and my view is that we have overlooked the key implementers in the tree revolution that we need: farmers. So, with the Committee on Climate Change’s sixth carbon budget and the England Tree Strategy imminent, as well as new farm payment schemes gearing up, now is the time to initiate a farmer-led tree revolution. 

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Is the government able to achieve its environmental goals?

This post is by Katy Losse, manager of environment studies at the National Audit Office (NAO).

It is now nine years since the government set an ambition to be the first generation to improve the natural environment in England. The NAO’s experience of auditing large scale, longer term or cross government projects and programmes makes us ideally placed to examine how well set up the government is to achieve this particular aim. In our review this year, we concluded that, although its arrangements are developing, there is still a long way to go before the government can be confident that it has the right framework to deliver on its environmental aspirations.

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Why the government can’t continue to ignore international aviation and shipping in its climate plans

This post is by Ryan Leung, policy assistant at Green Alliance

The UK is about to set its 2030 climate target (otherwise known as its Nationally Determined Contribution, or NDC) as part of the UN COP process in which countries increase their ambitions on national plans to tackle climate change. 

Currently, emissions from international aviation and shipping are not included in national targets like NDCs and carbon budgets because they are covered by international processes. But there are good reasons for the UK to have domestic targets for international aviation and shipping too, and now is it the time to put them in place.

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Why the Environment Bill’s so called ‘triple lock’ isn’t the safety mechanism the government says it is

This post is by Philippa Goodwin, senior policy officer at the RSPB

Anyone tuning in to parliamentary debates on the Environment Bill will have heard Environment Minister Rebecca Pow refer to the ‘triple lock’ mechanism, which she says is key to driving short term environmental progress. She has already used this analogy during the bill’s second reading and twice during the bill’s committee stage on 10 March and 3 November, and we are promised that we will hear a great deal more about it as the bill progresses. So, does it stand up to scrutiny and will it deliver the legal certainty that the minister is clearly hoping for? Here are our responses to the triple lock mechanism.

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Tax reform for climate justice: are we ready for it?

This post is by Sara Hall, head of movement and partnerships at Tax Justice UK

The climate crisis is intensifying and the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing levels of inequality in the UK. This highlights the urgent need for a just and green recovery and, more specifically, for the tax and climate justice agendas to go hand-in-hand. But we need to get our act together quickly to make sure they do.

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