Author Archives: Hannah Kyrke-Smith

The government wants a community energy revolution in the UK, but what’s needed for it to happen?

People on hillDuring community energy fortnight, which ended on Sunday, groups around the country showcased impressive projects and ideas. You could have visited a hydro scheme in Stockport, or learned about community heating in Oxfordshire, participated in an energy saving workshop in Dorset, or even taken a big red bus tour of Manchester’s green homes.

It was inspiring stuff. Unfortunately, these types of projects are few and far between. Many other interested and enthusiastic groups around the UK are still struggling to get their ideas off the ground. With the government devising its community energy strategy, there’s now a real opportunity to ensure that the successes are replicated. Read more

The four tests Cameron needs to apply to international development

Nacoes-Unidas-preparam-Agenda-de-Desenvolvimento-pos-2015_article_full_lWith the high-level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda meeting in Bali next week, civil society organisations around the world are making their case for what should be in the new development framework.

One thing that has united environment and development groups is trying to ensure that the next set of goals help nations develop for the long term, not just until the next extreme weather event or energy crunch. Given the increasingly serious threats facing the world’s poorest, and their dependence on the natural environment for their livelihoods and survival, the new set of goals must leave developing nations better prepared to manage the risks that they face. Read more

A new generation of climate leaders is emerging in parliament

plantarrow150As battles continue across government over the strength of environmental policies and the transition to a greener economy, here at Green Alliance we’ve been working with a number of convinced, committed and engaged MPs from all three main parties under our Climate Leadership Programme.

Since 2009 we’ve worked with over 50 MPs on the science, policy and politics of climate change, and how this links with key constituency issues. We’ve held dinners and workshops with climate science experts including Sir Brian Hoskins from the Royal Society and  Lord Adair Turner from the Committee on Climate Change, as well as businesses such as Unilever, Scottish Power and Good Energy.

We’ve created a process which helps them come to their own views on climate change and gives them the opportunity to develop their own  distinctive interest in the low carbon agenda. Many of them have begun to apply their understanding in their own constituency and some of them have already shown national climate leadership.

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Towering ambitions: bringing sustainable living to high rise homes

Towering ambitions picThis post is based on our new report Towering ambitions, which is launched today.

There are around 390,000 flats in high rise blocks in England, and they weren’t designed for low carbon living. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be transformed into sustainable beacons in our towns and cities.

Tower blocks have huge potential to be resource efficient and better connected, supporting stronger and more cohesive communities. There’s scope for shared low carbon heating systems, solar panels to power communal electricity needs, high quality recycling and food waste collections, increased water efficiency, well-loved green spaces, and safe, well-designed surrounding paths and streets to encourage cycling and walking. And tower block residents can feel a unique and strong sense of community, with the potential to support, engage with, and even run new green initiatives. Read more

How to get a good deal from the Green Deal

The government’s consultation on its Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) proposals ends today. These are the government’s flagship carbon reduction policies, aimed at reducing carbon emissions from homes and small businesses. They are both due to launch this autumn.

Under our Climate Leadership Programme, Green Alliance worked with three coalition MPs in their constituencies in late 2011, looking at what the current proposals would mean in practice and how they could be improved. We found that the Green Deal is at risk of very low uptake by the public, especially if the needs of local economies and the fuel poor are ignored. Read more

The DoNation: using friendship and commitment to cut carbon

An email flashes up in your inbox. It’s the same old story. Another friend is running a marathon, and asking for sponsorship… not only does it make you feel guilty as you’ve been meaning to dig your trainers out of the cupboard for months, but also as much as you see yourself as a charitable person, you’re starting to feel like these requests for money are coming in all too often, even if the causes are very worthy. But hang on – your friend isn’t asking you for money. They want you, and all their friends, to sponsor them by pledging to take simple actions to cut carbon.

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