Category Archives: Low carbon future

WHO’s air quality guidelines need to be used now by the UK

Dr Maria Neira, director of environment, climate change and health at WHO.

WHO’s new global air quality guidelines remind us that much of what we think of as environmental policy is actually health policy. They pull health back into the heart of discussions on air quality and prompt the question, “how much risk of damage to the electorate’s health from air pollution are we willing to live with, given what we now know?”

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Where are the whistleblowers for the climate crisis?

This post is by Elizabeth Gardiner, chief executive of Protect.

As Belinda Gordon reported in her recent blog, the largest criminal investigation ever conducted by the Environment Agency led to  Southern Water being fined a record £90 million for 51 pollution offences over a five year period (2010-15).  What was striking was that these events were with corporate knowledge. This wasn’t accidental leaks or damage to sewage pumps, this was premeditated environmental damage. Yet, as with so many disaster stories whether in the public or private sector, someone, somewhere inside the organisation knew something was wrong, but were not heard.

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Why local areas need to be given more power to move to net zero

This post is by Amy Norman, senior researcher at the Social Market Foundation.

Over the next three decades, the pursuit of net zero will transform localities throughout the UK. This will bring opportunities for creating businesses and jobs in new green technologies like hydrogen, carbon capture and renewables on land and at sea. The good news is that many of these projects are already underway, like the recent approval of major decarbonisation plans for six industrial clusters from South Wales to St Fergus.

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Rebalancing energy levies is a practical way to increase the electrification of heat

This blog is by Jan Rosenow and Richard Lowes of the Regulatory Assistance Project.

Every year households in the UK install about 1.7 million gas boilers. In May, the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council reported that 2021 looks to be a record year for gas boiler sales, with year to date sales up 41 per cent from 2020. So far, low carbon heating occupies a small – although growing – niche in the heating market.

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Fair transport policy means more than just going electric

Becca Massey-Chase, co-deputy head of IPPR’s Environmental Justice Commission.

The transport sector is the number one contributor to the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, with cars causing the lion’s share of surface transport emissions. The money and energy going into tackling the urgency of decarbonisation creates a once in a generation opportunity to shift our transport system away from the status quo.

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The UK should end new fossil fuel projects for good and show the world what leadership looks like

This post is by Adam Barnett, political affairs manager at Friends of the Earth.

The COP26 climate summit in Glasgow is just 50 days away and negotiations between the major powers are already reaching an impasse. The UK needs any boost it can get to help ensure that this conference has the best possible chance of ending in success. 

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It’s time the government swapped blue sky thinking on aviation emissions for a frequent flyer levy

This post is by Alethea Warrington, campaigns manager at climate action charity Possible.

Although the government’s recognition of the need to tackle aviation emissions is welcome, its scenarios to achieve net zero aviation by 2050 are fatally flawed. It relies on undeveloped, extremely expensive or unworkable technologies, and refuses to implement an essential part of the solution: policies to fairly reduce the demand for flights.

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Our traffic reduction laws don’t work, but a small amendment could change that

This post is by Roger Geffen, policy director at Cycling UK.

The UK government’s recent transport decarbonisation plan (TDP) has had a mixed reception. The consensus seems to be that it contains plenty of positive ideas but that it is very weak on a clear overall direction for the transport sector. Commentators have voiced frustration at its lack of a plan to reduce the demand for travel, so that the UK transport sector can play its part in averting the unfolding climate crisis.

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