Category Archives: Political leadership

Brexit deal must safeguard environment standards on the island of Ireland

Antrim coast_ PixabayThis post is by Mike Walker, Brexit advisor to the Irish Environmental Pillar and Donal McCarthy, senior policy officer at the RSPB and member of Greener UK’s ‘EU-UK negotiations group’. 

The past few days have seen a frenzy of activity in Brussels as negotiators have burrowed deep in the ‘tunnel’ (the term used to describe intense negotiations without third party disclosure) to seek agreement on the controversial Ireland/Northern Ireland backstop, seen by the EU27 as essential to preventing the re-emergence of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland post Brexit in the absence of other solutions. Read more

The Environment Act should be a Sustainable Economy Act

Two adorable kids, feeding the seagulls on the beachThis post is by Michael Jacobs, director of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice and former Downing St adviser (2007-10) on environment and climate change.

Crunch time is coming. Over the next few months the government is likely to publish a draft Environment Bill to replace the core principles and institutions of EU environmental policy making which will be lost after Brexit. Though such a bill is unlikely to be passed into law until 2020, most observers expect its core content to be agreed in draft form before next year’s 29 March departure day. Read more

Does the UK have the political will to lead the charge for a 1.5C world?

Greenland_Ice_Sheet_wikimedia commons.jpgThis post is by Chaitanya Kumar and Chris Friedler of Green Alliance.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) long awaited report is another strong and, some say, final warning on the deep cuts in carbon emissions necessary to leave a habitable planet for the coming generations. While its messages are not all gloomy, it consistently emphasises the significantly higher negative impacts of a two degree rise in global temperature, urging policy makers to plan now for early action.  Read more

Conference diary: signs that Labour is coming out of the silo

Labour party conference smallWhat a difference two years makes. The Labour party conference in Liverpool in 2016 saw a party at war with itself: division between the majority of members and the majority of parliamentarians, and a front bench at odds with the mainstream media. Liverpool in 2018 still had these issues, but the party looked like it was doing a much better job of dealing with them. This year’s conference saw Jeremy Corbyn and, by association, the Labour Party, much more at ease. The leader’s speech on the final day was reported as “his best address to date”. Read more

What the new green watchdog can learn from the Committee on Climate Change

This post is by Dr Ajay Gambhir, senior research fellow at Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment.

path in park squareThis year marks the tenth anniversary of the UK Climate Change Act, the first of a kind legislation to hold a country to a long term greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal. One of its central components, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), is actually a year older than the act itself, having been established in a non-legislated ‘shadow’ form in 2007, to prepare advice on what the act’s long term emissions goal should be and how it could be achieved. Read more

The new Agriculture Bill has no vision for food

This post is by Tim Lang, professor of food policy, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London. It has also been published by the Food Research Collaboration.

Tomatoes production line bodyThe Agriculture Bill published last week was long awaited. It’s mostly about money: those £3.2bn Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies which will start evaporating in seven months.

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Brexit means the UK can fully demonstrate its environmental credentials

Fotolia_71735338_M.jpgThis post is by Lord Howard, the former leader of the Conservative Party and former secretary of state for the environment.

The British people have voted to take back control of their money, their borders and their laws. This huge transfer of power back to the British people gives us the opportunity to fulfil the government’s ambition to be the first ever British government to leave our environment in a better state than we found it.

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The green watchdog is a sound investment for our future

1200px-Durdle_Door_Overview.jpgThis post is by Tom West, ClientEarth’s law and policy advisor.

A major lesson from ClientEarth’s air quality challenges is that we cannot always rely on the government’s promises to meet its legal obligations.

It wasn’t that long ago that the UK was known as the ‘dirty man of Europe’ for causing acid rain across the continent, dumping sewage straight into the sea and failing to control pollution from large power stations, cars and industry.

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Why we need an environment and climate watchdog

drought.pngThis blog was first published by Business Green.

The unprecedented, prolonged heatwave that Britain and much of the northern hemisphere is experiencing seems to have brought climate change, albeit temporarily, to the forefront of our public and political discourse. A timely report from the Environmental Audit Committee has warned there will be 7,000 heat-related deaths every year in the UK by 2050, triple today’s rate, if we do not take further action. Former energy and climate secretary Amber Rudd penned a Times op-ed stating climate change is here and rising global temperatures are already baked in. But the thrust of her argument was that a madcap approach to Brexit could unravel Britain’s ambitious climate goals. Addressing climate change, she said, requires “co-operation, shared sovereignty and internationalism.”

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