I am inspired and brimming with hope. Yesterday I was part of the biggest ever environmental lobby of parliament. I felt a small cog in a big wheel of change as around 12,000 people travelled from across the UK to parliament to urge their MPs to take action on the environment and climate emergency. Surfers, farmers, countryside rangers, school children, students, firefighters and medics all joined forces to deliver this message to their MP: we care passionately about the environment and we want you to listen and do something now.
I spent some of the day walking the mile-long lobby queue to find out why so many people had given up their time. Here are some of the things I learned. Read more
When did Brexit become a ‘thing’, an end in itself? During the 2016 referendum campaign, Brexiteers promised a bright future for the UK outside the EU. Now, that promise has largely dwindled to delivering Brexit and fulfilling the “will of the people”, regardless of any consequences. It is as if Brexit has become a medicine we must take, even if it half kills the patient. Read more
This post is by Ruth Chambers, senior parliamentary associate, and Maddy Carroll, campaign coordinator for Greener UK. It was first posted on Business Green.
Earlier this month, experts at Kew Gardens and Stockholm University highlighted the extinction epidemic facing many vital plants, reminding us that all life on earth depends on plants. This echoes the stark finding of the UN’s recent global assessment that nature is declining 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
This 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
This 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
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
According 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
In 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
Legacy 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
Today, 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