It’s so often the case that environmental issues are overlooked in parliament, squeezed in time and overshadowed by other priorities. But last night saw something rather special: three hours of uninterrupted parliamentary debate on the environment in which politicians from all parties were competing to speak and make and seek commitments about future environmental protection. Read more
Category Archives: Political leadership
This post is by Sam Hall, senior research fellow at Bright Blue
One of the most striking features of the government’s recently published Clean growth strategy is its unashamed embrace of the political and economic opportunity of decarbonisation. The opening pages praise the UK’s world-leading record on climate action: since 1990, the UK has cut its greenhouse gas emissions faster, at the same time as achieving higher per-capita economic growth, than the rest of the G7.
As Greener UK has already highlighted, the EU (Withdrawal) Bill is crucial in ensuring the protection of the UK’s environment. So we will be on high alert when MPs begin their detailed scrutiny of the bill in a little over a week.
It has some major deficiencies, including the omission of the environmental principles which underpin many of our strongest protections. We are also concerned about what we’ve called the governance gap: if we break off relations with some or all EU institutions, we have to replace their functions in the UK to be able to operate to the highest of environmental standards. Read more
This is an extract from a presentation given by Nigel Haigh, honorary fellow and former director of IEEP, to a recent conference ‘Post-Brexit options for UK chemicals law’, organised by Chemical Watch, techUK and CHEM Trust. A version of this piece was first posted on the Brexit & Environment blog.
As a way of understanding the challenges Brexit poses in the area of chemicals, here I look at the origins of chemicals policy, its place in environmental policy and also its peculiarities.
This article was originally published on WWT’s website.
Here’s an idea (which I’ve borrowed from the German philosopher, Heidegger): nature challenges us. History shows us that we humans have devised, over the centuries, more and more ingenious technologies, which have enabled us to live longer, more interesting lives. In doing so, we have challenged nature, transforming it to meet our own ends. But this process has challenged humans all the more, because, being the ones who reorder nature, we are responsible for it, changing its very existence. In changing nature, we change ourselves.
The journey of the government’s decarbonisation strategy, announced today, is a key to how it should be read: it started as the carbon plan, was downgraded to a compliance-focused emissions reduction plan, then transformed into a clean growth plan to match a shift in how government now sees green growth and, at the last moment, it has metamorphosed into the Clean growth strategy.
Climate and the environment have been steadily making their way up the political agenda of the British public, and younger voters are leading the march.
In 2012, when the then Department for Energy and Climate Change carried out the first wave of its energy and climate change public opinion tracker, only two per cent of the people asked felt that climate change was the biggest challenge facing Britain.
One of Mrs Thatcher’s governments’ most enduring achievements was the European single market, steered into existence by the Conservative European Commissioner, Lord Cockfield. In his memoirs, Cockfield recalled the time he had to tell the prime minister that introducing the single market would entail a degree of tax harmonisation to prevent trade barriers.
The overwhelming atmosphere at Conservative Party conference this week was one of anticipation. Throughout the fringe events and the hotel bars, even in the main hall, a sense that something big was about to happen seemed to pervade everything.
“My MP is a shepherdess. What can I do to get her to ensure the Withdrawal Bill protects the environment?” Not the most obvious question you expect a panel to be asked at a Labour fringe event, but one that was indicative of the new energy that permeated through this year’s conference in Brighton. Everywhere you looked there were new members and activists, buoyed up on the wave of Corbynism, eager to change the world and asking the best way how.