Category Archives: Political leadership

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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Leaving the EU will surrender our sovereignty

union jack flag and big ben in the background, London, UK - general elections, London, UKThis post is by Andrew Adonis and is based on his book Saving Britain: how we must change to prosper in Europe, co-authored with Will Hutton.

Brexit is the antithesis of the Conservative Party’s pro-European tradition, exemplified by Churchill’s post-war commitment to a united Europe, Heath’s passion for taking Britain into the Common Market and, indeed, Mrs Thatcher’s early enthusiasm for the single market. Brexiters pretend that once outside the EU, the world becomes an economic Eden raining down free fruit. There are no hard decisions or trade-offs. Britain, long thwarted by its dalliance with the EU, can freely gorge. This is cynical dishonesty based on willful ignorance. It is time to get real. Read more

A new Environment Bill is momentous; the hard work begins now

Eurasian OtterSomething quite momentous happened on 18 July. The prime minister announced the first dedicated environment bill for over twenty years. Have no doubt that this is as major a policy announcement as they come, although it might easily have been missed as it was tucked away in an answer to a question on air quality when Theresa May was grilled by select committee chairs on their subject areas. Luckily this tweet sealed the deal and the announcement is now common knowledge and an important platform from which to build.

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What is the future of environmental governance in Northern Ireland?

northern ireland.jpgThis post is by Ciara Brennan, Mary Dobbs, Viviane Gravey and Attracta Uí Bhroin, authors of  a recent report on what Brexit means for Northern Ireland environmental governance.

The influence of EU membership on environmental governance in Northern Ireland has been profound. Now Brexit raises the very real possibility of major environmental governance gaps right across the UK. A risk which is exacerbated in Northern Ireland where environmental decision making and the implementation of environmental law is notoriously problematic.

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