Author Archives: Paul McNamee

Is decarbonising our energy system right… or left?

JCcropIt isn’t a good time to be a private provider of public services. So far, 2018 has seen the collapse of Carillion; the government intervening on the east coast mainline franchise due to imminent failure; and a public debate on the negatives of private finance initiatives. As such, it is understandable that coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech earlier this month focused so much on the nationalisation of the UK’s energy providers and the national grid. Or, as he put it, not 20th century nationalisation, but 21st century public ownership. Read more

Conference diary: policy ideas are more than a simple chant

765239170_ad46f37973_b“My MP is a shepherdess. What can I do to get her to ensure the Withdrawal Bill protects the environment?” Not the most obvious question you expect a panel to be asked at a Labour fringe event, but one that was indicative of the new energy that permeated through this year’s conference in Brighton. Everywhere you looked there were new members and activists, buoyed up on the wave of Corbynism, eager to change the world and asking the best way how.

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A green Brexit?

5469476825_0d0df886db_bThe fact that the summer of 2017 is turning out to be one of the hottest on record was not apparent in WWF’s Living Planet Centre today as Michael Gove set out his first public speech on the environment since becoming secretary of state. As one of the most energy efficient buildings in Europe, heat pumps are engaged to transport cooler air from underground whilst window features reflect sunlight in summer to prevent excess heat. A perfect atmosphere for delivering a much anticipated speech.

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Will the Withdrawal Bill work for the environment?

Early morning London:  Houses of Parliament, Westminster BridgeThough the triggering of Article 50 occurred just over 100 days ago, it has felt like the Great Repeal Bill has been coming for a lot longer. And this is the first big change we will have to make: the Great Repeal Bill is no more. As it passes through parliament it will now be known as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. A title not quite as eye-catching but a lot more practical, and possibly an early indication of the government’s new approach. Read more

What are the manifestos promising on the environment?

14749841802_5d8c28456f_kNext Tuesday for the first time in this election campaign, the public will get the chance to put questions directly to the major parties on their ambitions and aims for the environment in the next parliament at the Greener UK Hustings.

The debate will include issues like air quality and pollution, nature protection, international leadership, farming and fisheries, climate change and, perhaps most pertinently, what the UK’s exit from the EU will mean for all of the above. Read more

100 days of May: how have green issues fared with the new PM ?

30307280212_3e859da54f_z2016 has proven to be one of the most politically tumultuous years in recent memory, with a history-making referendum, a change of government, leadership elections in several of the opposition parties and Ed Balls dazzling the nation on live Saturday night TV. As such, last Friday should have been Theresa May’s 40th day as prime minster but, thanks to the unexpected termination of the Conservative leadership contest in July, saw her celebrate her 100th day in office. Read more

Conference diary: a bird’s eye view from Birmingham

birminghamI used to work for a conservation charity famous for protecting birds and once, on a call, a woman used the phrase “let’s kill two birds with one stone, here”. I barely noticed what she’d said (it was water off a duck’s back to me) but the caller got so embarrassed that she garbled an apology and then hung up, mid-call. Phrases, and their use, can be quite important to some people, which was a running theme at the Conservative party conference this week. Read more

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