Category Archives: Political leadership

Plans for new Rivers Authorities are flawed and threaten our environment

rivers smallThis post is by Tom Lancaster, acting head of land use policy at the RSPB.

The world of flood and coastal erosion risk management (FCERM) is complex, and at times niche. But it is something that affects the lives of millions, and will become an increasingly pressing priority as the impacts of climate change get worse.

We all have a stake in the decisions to protect communities, businesses and nature from floods, whilst making the best use of the nation’s resources. They should be debated openly, both locally and nationally. Above all, managing flood risk should take place within a long term strategic framework, rigorously assessed to ensure maximum bang for our FCERM buck. Read more

Why the chancellor’s statement could imperil UK climate ambitions

Philip Hammond smallThis post is by Dimitri Zenghelis, senior visiting fellow at the Grantham Research Institute at LSE and Green Alliance associate. It was first posted on LSE’s Grantham Institute blog. 

Chancellor Philip Hammond’s assertion that the cost of transitioning to a net zero carbon economy in the UK will exceed a trillion pounds by 2050, made in a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday, is simply incorrect. The evidence for this is set out clearly and in detail in the Report of the Advisory Group on Costs and Benefits of Net Zero for the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which was drafted by a panel of experts including a senior economist from Shell International and the chief economist of the Confederation of British Industry. Read more

Tim Beaumont: Green Alliance’s first director defined our unique purpose

Song Thrush - Turdus philomelos

This post is by Nigel Haigh, former director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy and chair of Green Alliance from 1989 to 1998.

Of all the talented directors that Green Alliance has had, Tim Beaumont – or, to give him his full title, the Reverend Lord Beaumont of Whitley – was surely the most extraordinary.  He was one of three people connected with the Liberal Party who joined with others across the political spectrum to create and launch Green Alliance in 1979.  Maurice Ash was to become its chairman, Richard Holme its treasurer, and Tim was its  ‘convenor’ or ‘co-ordinator’.  He never called himself the director, though he ran the show and gave it its sense of direction. Read more

Four decades of getting an ‘ecological perspective’ into politics: we are 40

PrintAccording to an early promotional leaflet, Green Alliance was set up “by a group of individuals concerned that Britain’s political parties were failing to understand or respond to environmental issues”. Plus ça change. With an emphasis on “ideas more than issues”, the organisation aimed “to introduce an ecological perspective into British political life”.

This has been our aim ever since and is needed now more than ever as the scale of the climate and ecological emergency we face becomes clearer. Over our history we have used various methods to achieve it, from poetry and the arts to analysis, thought leadership and brokering historical political pledges.  One ‘softer’ way we do it is by getting people together to talk, to understand the relevance of environmental issues and to catalyse action. Read more

We need to worry about what Theresa May’s speech means for our environment

Ruth's blog smallIn her Mansion House speech in March 2017 the prime minister said “As we leave the EU we will uphold environmental standards and go further to protect our shared natural heritage”. But her speech yesterday appears to ignore the government’s commitments to improve and not just maintain standards.

On the face of it the commitment that “there will be no change in the level of environmental protection when we leave the EU” should be reassuring as the government has repeatedly said that standards will not be weakened by Brexit. But no change infers no improvement which, when facing an environmental crisis, seems very wide of the mark. Read more

Could Theresa May be remembered for anything other than Brexit?

Theresa May smallLegacy is “planting seeds in a garden you never get to see” rapped one of America’s founding fathers on the day of his death, at least according to the musical Hamilton. Thoughts of legacy are likely to start rising up the UK political agenda over the coming weeks as the big question in Westminster becomes who will replace Theresa May? Candidates are already publicly throwing their hats into the ring, with interventions, speeches and candid pictures in kitchens aplenty. Some of these interventions have rightly identified climate and environment issues as vital to the future of the Conservative party. But will Theresa May be remembered for anything other than Brexit? Read more

How citizens’ juries can help to create a mandate for climate action

citizens jury smallToday, a pub landlady, a student and a retired police inspector will be amongst those sitting in a church hall in the Lake District, debating the future of climate policy in the UK.

Green Alliance’s second citizens’ jury on climate change comes to Penrith. It is a chance for a community to come together, in the wake of parliament’s national climate emergency declaration, and make decisions on what it wants to see the government do to tackle climate change. Read more

Nature is in crisis: now the UK government must respond

nature in crisis smallIt’s hard to ignore the findings and recommendations of the hard-hitting global assessment of  nature led by the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Its stark finding is that nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history and the health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. Read more

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