This post is by Emma Atkins of Repowering London.
“Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope. I want you to act.”
When 16 year old Greta Thunberg spoke to the World Economic Forum in January 2019, it was five months after her first school strike to protest the inaction around the climate emergency outside the Swedish parliament. Millions of school children followed in her footsteps, sparking the movement Fridays for Future. Last Friday was the world’s biggest climate strike ever; and, this time, the adults were there too.
This post is by Greg Archer, UK director at Transport and Environment
Measures to reduce CO2 emissions from cars have so far failed. Minimal improvements in the efficiency of new cars have merely offset the steady rise in vehicle mileage, causing UK car emissions to effectively flatline over the past 30 years. There are several causes: the failure to invest in alternatives to car use; the falling cost and increased level of car ownership; and the focus of the car industry on maximising profits, selling ever bigger and more powerful cars, whilst limiting the choice and availability of low and zero emissions electric models. There are no silver bullets but there are positive signs that a revolution is underway that will drive a sharp reduction in emissions.
“Beef is like a loaded gun, pointed at the living world.” So began George Monbiot’s response to the publication of the IPCC’s report on land use, which cited dietary change alongside 28 other interventions that could end the roughly one third of total greenhouse gas emissions that come from the food system. Read more
This blog was first posted on CityMetric.
Amidst a gloomy series of announcements pointing to car manufacturers pulling out of the UK, there are still some signs that the future could be bright for the UK’s automotive industry. Read more
The closing of the feed-in tariff scheme (FiT) in March this year caused dismay, inviting accusations that it was a retrogressive step for an aspiring low carbon economy and unfair to community energy groups. FiTs had underpinned the growth of this sector over the past decade. It was the means by which small scale renewable energy generators, including households, were paid for surplus energy they fed in to the grid. Read more
This post is by Shea Buckland-Jones, project co-ordinator of Re-energising Wales at the Institute of Welsh Affairs.
The potential benefits of local and community involvement in energy range widely. One report on small and community hydro in Wales suggested that local and community ownership could almost double local economic impact, compared with national, commercial developments. Read more
Imagine a future where you have control over energy. You can make it, store it and sell it from your home, feeding the profits back into your local area. Actually, some people don’t have to imagine it. They’re already doing it and this model could spread, because change is coming. Read more
This post is by Sam Hampton of the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford
There are nearly six million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, including a wide variety of business types, ranging from fairly large manufacturing companies to small family firms, social enterprises and micro-businesses. Altogether their energy use produces enormous quantities of carbon emissions. Read more
This post is by Nick Robins, professor in practice for sustainable finance at the Grantham Research Institute.
At the UN climate conference last December, 53 countries including the UK, signed the Silesia Declaration fleshing out the commitment to implement the Paris Agreement, by taking into account “the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs”. For the Polish host the case was clear: “considering the social aspect of the transition towards a low carbon economy is crucial for gaining social approval for the changes taking place.”
The need for a strong social dimension to climate policy has also been displayed on the streets of Paris, with the initial protests by the gilets jaunes prompted by an increase in carbon taxes. Read more
This post is by Sarah James, a volunteer and trustee of Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust.
I’ve shown a lot of people around Westmill Wind Farm in Oxfordshire and its neighbouring solar farm. Thousands of people have visited the wind farm for tours and open days in its ten year life, wanting not just to see the wind turbines, but to get up close and touch them, hear them and sometimes even lie under them, watching the blades whirl overhead.
The media and politicians have described onshore wind as controversial and unpopular in the UK. And yet our experience at Westmill is quite the opposite. It is a popular local asset that people like to visit, are curious to understand and view affectionately. Is there some reason that Westmill is unusual? Read more