Category Archives: Political leadership

Metro mayors: a real chance to think global and act local

aerial view of modern and older houses and bungalows with solar panels on the roofThis post is by Polly Billington, director of UK100, a network of UK cities committed to 100 per cent clean energy by 2050.

The results are in and metro mayors across the land are hitting the ground running. From the West of England to the Tees Valley, new leaders have a massive opportunity to reshape their local economies and improve the health and well-being of their residents. The question is – will they seize it?

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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

What environment and development communities can learn from each other on achieving political impact

22780192163_5b7e9e62c3_kThis post is by Matthew Spencer, former director of Green Alliance and now Oxfam’s director of campaigns and policy.

Before the end of the first week of the UK election campaign, to widespread surprise, Theresa May agreed to the development sector’s main demand to maintain the UK’s 0.7 per cent overseas aid commitment. In contrast, the following week, the government had to be forced to publish its plan to reduce air pollution by a judge so fed up with its delaying tactics that he instructed ministers to ignore election purdah rules. The first decision helps people who live thousands of miles away, the other obstructs action to address something proven to be killing British voters. It should, therefore, be easier to get political leadership on environmental health than on international development, but the reverse appears to be true. Why? Read more

Metro mayors are a chance for new green leadership

Fotolia_9704004_SThe general election may be the immediate focus of political commentary, but elections in six city regions will bring an important new tier of political decision making to England that will be worth watching. The election of new metro mayors will unlock the devolution of powers and budgets to the city region level, giving Westminster the confidence to hand power down.

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The government should publish its environment plans without further delay

traffic, light, london, UKThis post is by Richard Benwell, head of government affairs at WWT.

The government has published its Industrial Strategy, its Housing White Paper and its Digital Plan, but three flagship environmental promises remain mired in Whitehall wrangling: the 25 year environment plan, the 25 year food and farming plan and the clean growth plan are all delayed. Read more

Solutions to air pollution have to work for everyone

transport_blogThis post is by Helen Hayes MP for Dulwich and West Norwood.

It’s estimated that toxic air pollution from diesel vehicles in London is responsible for over 9,000 premature deaths a year, and it disproportionately affects school children and the most vulnerable members of our communities. Brixton Road, in my constituency, exceeded its annual air pollution limit just five days into 2017. The Mayor of London has made the battle against this invisible killer a top priority for his term and has succeeded in getting it onto both the national and local political agendas. Read more

We must tell the truth to safeguard the environment

7220178646_40acaa8401_kThis post is by Lord Chris Smith, who was chair of the Environment Agency from 2008-14.

One of the most distressing things about the prospect of Brexit is the impact it could have on the range of environmental protections we currently have in Britain. Virtually every piece of safeguarding we have – of habitats, sea water and rivers, of air quality and against polluting emissions, of agricultural quality and cross boundary impacts – derives from European directives and common European policy. Many of these are already enshrined in UK law, of course, and the so-called Great Repeal Bill that will supposedly transpose everything into domestic legislation will, perhaps at the outset, ensure this.

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The bad and the good news: climate change under Donald Trump

8739510627_72e56a9e93_kThis post is by Vrinda Manglik, campaign representative with the Sierra Club’s International Climate and Energy campaign

Eight years ago, and again four years later, I stood on the US National Mall in the bitter cold to watch Barack Obama get sworn in for his respective first and second terms as president. Particularly at the dawn of his first term, the mood among progressives was one of joy, excitement and, yes, hope. To our great disappointment, his first term brought crushing setbacks on climate change: a failed climate bill in Congress and the collapse of the UN climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. Read more

Are politicians ‘taming’ climate change with the language they use?

wordcloud-2This post is by Green Alliance associate Rebecca Willis, it is based on research presented in a paper published by the journal Environmental Politics.

While climate deniers on both sides of the Atlantic attract media and public attention, the overwhelming majority of politicians in the UK support the scientific consensus on climate change. Just five out of 650 MPs voted against the Climate Change Act in 2008, and major parties in Westminster have all pledged their support for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, signed in December 2015. Read more

In parliament, environmentalists still seem like a minority

2701153820_0f29d46bf4_b.jpgThis post is by Richard Benwell, head of government affairs at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.

In his blog for Green Alliance last week, Lord Deben argued that environmentalists must mature into the mainstream, set aside fringe tactics and speak with a constructive voice. He is surely right that we need to offer credible solutions to the threats of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.  Read more

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