Author Archives: James Fotherby

It’s time the government took metro mayors seriously as partners in meeting national climate goals

This post was first published in London Government Chronicle.

Since their introduction in the mid-2010s, it is fair to say that metro mayors have never enjoyed greater public and political visibility than they do currently after a series of recent political dramas. These include Andy Burnham’s spectacular showdown with Number 10 over compensation for three tier restrictions, Tracy Brabin’s victory in becoming the first mayor of West Yorkshire, triggering a hard fought by-election in her former seat of Batley and Spen, and the prime minister seemingly forgetting the name of the then sitting Conservative mayor of West England, Tim Bowles. Together with the day-to-day management of the regional pandemic response, these moments have demonstrated the capability of metro mayors, as well as their potency in influencing Westminster politics. 

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Is the government’s response to the Dasgupta Review a watershed moment?

This post is by Paul Morling, principal economist at the RSPB, and James Fotherby of Green Alliance.

It is difficult not to see the government’s response to the Dasgupta Review, published this week, as a significant moment. In accepting two of the most fundamental arguments of the review: that nature is what ultimately sustains our economies and that reversing biodiversity loss is foundational to achieving a nature positive economy, the government has taken the first bold steps towards tackling the nature crisis.  

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New climate targets won’t solve old problems without more action 

The UK’s announcement that it will accept the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation to set a new legally binding climate target to reduce emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 should be welcomed with open arms. This target, which will sit alongside the 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) promise to cut emissions by 68 per cent by 2030, is especially significant as it includes international aviation and shipping (IAS).

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Was 2020 a green ‘super year’ for the UK?

At the start of last year, 2020 was heralded by world leaders, green campaigners and businesses alike as a ‘super year’ for the environment and a ‘make or break year’ for lining up climate and nature action in the new decade. The coronavirus pandemic, of course, has severely disrupted how we hoped the year would pan out, namely in the postponement of the UN biodiversity summit (COP15) and the Glasgow climate summit (COP26). However, despite those COP shaped holes, there has still been movement on climate globally, with Japan, China, the EU and South Korea – covering almost half of global emissions – following the UK’s lead to make mid-century net zero targets, and the US is likely to follow suit once President-elect Joe Biden takes office. 

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Chalk streams are England’s rainforests and they need help fast

Just over a year ago, representatives from government agencies, water companies, regulators and voluntary sector organisations gathered at a conference hosted by the Chilterns Society to discuss the state of the area’s chalk streams. It followed an intense drought which caused a shocking 63 per cent of it’s chalk stream habitats in the Chilterns to dry up. 

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