Category Archives: Political leadership

Is Theresa May a climate leader?

37321447925_722215f265_bIn her speech in Ottawa yesterday, Theresa May reiterated the UK’s commitment to phasing out unabated coal (ie where emissions are not captured) by 2025. This was the prime minister’s first public statement on climate policy since taking office after the Brexit referendum last year. Although the Conservative manifesto mentioned it, the prime minister has been worryingly tight lipped, leading to concerns about her commitment to climate leadership. Brexit has slowed down domestic policy making, but this statement asserts the UK’s aspiration to be a global climate leader, even as it prepares to leave the EU. Read more

What does climate change look like through the eyes of a politician?

hop 2I’m in a café in the House of Commons, talking to a newly-elected MP about climate change. He’s under no illusions about likely impacts. He points out that where we’re sitting, beside the River Thames, could be under water in decades to come. He calls climate change ‘catastrophic’, and looks for every opportunity he can to raise the issue.  But his commitment has come at a price: speaking out on climate is, he tells me, a ‘career-limiting move’.

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Who’s afraid of the ECJ? Let’s debate environmental governance

ECJ (3)This post is by Prof Andrew Jordan and Dr Viviane Gravey, co-chairs of the Brexit and Environment network of academic experts, co-funded by the ESRC’s UK in a Changing Europe Initiative.

Among the many proposals in Michael Gove’s thoughtful speech on the environment, one received less attention that we think it deserved.  It was his invitation to debate how the UK can “design potentially more effective, more rigorous and more responsive institutions, new means of holding individuals and organisations to account for environmental outcomes”. This creates a welcome opportunity to debate what kind of governance system the UK should have outside the EU.

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We need the Clean Growth Plan to avoid an epic fail on climate change

Day view UK Motorway Road Wind TurbinesCredit where credit’s due, the UK has shown strong leadership in tackling climate change. We were the first major economy to commit to phasing out coal fired power and we’ve set ambitious, legally binding carbon budgets up to 2032. We’ve also made strong progress towards meeting these carbon targets, having achieved our 2020 target five years early in 2015. Read more

How green is Sadiq Khan’s new London environment strategy?

London Highgate Hampstead ParkAccording to the RSA, we are living in The Age of the City, where urban areas “are increasingly powerful in national and global politics and are driving economic growth”. In the UK, urban political power has historically been limited, but the rise of directly elected mayors has given strategic powers over wide areas to local politicians, not least in the realm of the environment. Read more

Why the UK should stick with the EU’s world leading chemical protections

Shopping till receiptThis post is by Andrea Speranza, Brexit campaigner at CHEM Trust.

Like everyone, I receive a lot of receipts each week. I drop them dismissively into my bag. When I tidy up at the start of the week, I notice how many there are and, until recently, the only risk I saw was financial.

But now I know better and I am starting to worry. If I handle a lot, what about the cashiers who handle them every day? Read more

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

Island nations mustn’t pay the price for Trump’s stance on climate change

Tropical caribbean island in open oceanThis post is by Matthew Perks, CEO of New Energy Events LLC, the organisers of the annual Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF). which will take place in Miami from 18-20 October, 2017.

A little over a month ago, on 1 June 2017, the day that Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement, the New York Times speculated that the impact of the withdrawal would be determined by the global response to the decision. Read more

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