Category Archives: Low carbon future

Scotland says it wants net zero but unfairly penalises micro hydro generation

This post is by Hugh Raven, managing director of Ardtornish Hydro.

Scotland, we are told by our government, is good at hydro. “We are committed to making Scotland a ‘Hydro Nation’ to bring the maximum benefit to the Scottish economy,” says the Scottish Government website. Hydro would include hydroelectricity, you might think, in a nation that provides 85 per cent of the hydropower connected to the UK grid.

The country’s topography and climate are certainly well suited. In 2020 hydro provided around a fifth of Scots’ power needs, with scope for further expansion yet. But, for that to happen, the Scottish Government needs to show some love.

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Covid has shown us the consequences of not taking systemic risk seriously

Laurie Laybourn-Langton is an associate fellow at IPPR and lead of the Cohort 2040 project.

A central lesson of the Covid-19 pandemic for environmentalism is that it needs get more serious about risk. The pandemic has proven a classic example of a systemic shock: a health crisis graduated into a financial crisis, an economic crisis, a social crisis, a political crisis and so on. Last year, worsening environmental shocks met the cascading consequences of the pandemic. The stable natural conditions in which our globalised world developed is now ending and a new era of systemic risk is emerging.

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A funding cliff edge is threatening local bus services across the country

This post is by Silviya Barrett, head of policy and research at the Campaign for Better Transport.

Buses are essential. They account for more than two thirds of all public transport journeys and are an environmentally friendly option for local trips. People with no access to private vehicles, including many younger, older or disabled people, and those on low incomes, rely on good and affordable bus services.

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What will 2021’s new transport policies mean for action in 2022?

This post is by Helena Bennett, senior policy adviser at Green Alliance.

For those of us working hard to make sure that transport, the biggest emitting sector, is fit for a low carbon world, 2021 was a year of ups and downs. Although some may think that little actual progress was made towards cutting transport emissions, the Department for Transport (DfT) did significantly change its tone and ambition, and the government is at least starting to set out how it will deliver on its climate promises in the coming years.

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Will green tech save us or must we all change our behaviour?

This post is by Toby Park of the Behavioural Insights Team.

The UK’s Net zero strategy paints an optimistic picture of job creation, levelling up and technological advancements. Keen to avoid any hint of abstemiousness, the prime minister promises a future in which “our cars will be electric, gliding silently around our cities, our planes will be zero emission allowing us to fly guilt-free, and our homes will be heated by cheap reliable power drawn from the winds of the North Sea”. 

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Electric vehicles and disabled people: another case of sustainability vs accessibility?

This post is by Dr Kay Inckle, campaigns and policy manager at Wheels for Wellbeing.

Electric vehicles (EVs), especially shared e-cars, e-bikes and e-scooters are increasingly presented as the panacea of sustainable transport and active mobilities. And, indeed, they all have potential for disabled people: e-cars have automatic transmission and are, therefore, accessible to a range of disabled drivers. E-bikes allow those with a limited capacity for physical exertion to use a bicycle and e-scooters, especially those with seats, can create easy movement for those who might struggle to walk a similar distance.

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ULEZ expansion will improve Londoners’ health, but it will also reduce climate risks for all of us

This post is by Varya Clark, co-founder of the Climate Acceptance Studios.

Today, the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expands dramatically. It will be eighteen times the size of the previous ULEZ, stretching all the way from the North to the South Circular roads. As Auto Express says: “If you’re unfamiliar with London, that’s most of it.”

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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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