Category Archives: Political leadership

Is the government going from green to grey?

no deal smallA month into the new government and the prospects for the environment look increasingly grim.

It is not just that a no deal Brexit now seems probable, though that is bad enough. Crashing out of the EU carries great dangers for air pollution and loss of countryside as lorries queue around our major ports. Its impact on farming could be devastating. Read more

Conversations at citizens’ juries are constructive, sensible and often brilliant

citizens jury featuredThis post is by Lucy Bush, research director at BritainThinks

Deliberative research has been part of policy-making in the UK since the ’90s when BritainThinks’ founding partners, Deborah Mattinson and Viki Cooke ran the first-ever UK Citizens’ Jury. This jury, commissioned in 1994 by IPPR, explored the citizens’ take on health rationing. We’ve been using deliberative methodologies at BritainThinks since we were set up over nine years ago, helping government, businesses and not-for-profits put the citizen centre-stage to revitalise the public debate and bring fresh perspectives to complex policy challenges. Read more

Renegotiating the Brexit deal as if there were an environmental crisis

thermometer-4294021_1920This is an Inside Track long read.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he plans to renegotiate the Brexit deal. He has described the current deal as “dead”, for reasons I won’t go into. But there are other reasons why the deal and, in particular, the political declaration, which sketches an outline of the future EU-UK relationship, could stand some re-examination. Read more

Michael Gove believes in a bold green agenda, but what about the next PM?

gove cropIn what could be his last days as environment secretary, Michael Gove has delivered an agenda setting speech in which he lamented the catastrophic loss of biodiversity across the globe and at home, highlighting that the UK is now one of the most nature-depleted nations in the world. He drew attention to the many other environmental threats we face, including the scourge of plastic pollution, toxic air and threats to water quality. Michael Gove’s self-confessed conversion from ‘shy green’ to ‘full-throated environmentalist’ is now complete. Read more

Can the UK rise to the global leadership challenge on climate?

This post is by Thomas Hale, associate professor of global public policy and director of China engagement at the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University

lake district hikingAlthough final approval is needed, the UN will likely tap the UK to host next year’s critical climate summit. COP26, as the conference is called, will be the first test of countries’ appetite to raise their climate pledges under the historic Paris Agreement adopted in 2015. With success far from being certain, the UK will need to go beyond traditional state-to-state diplomacy and mobilise all of society. Read more

Why aren’t Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt talking about the environment?

Uk smallLast week, Green Conservatism came of age. The Conservative Environment Network launched a manifesto, supported by 41 MPs including senior backbenchers and members of newer intakes. This is significant because, at this time, it seems that parliament agrees on very little. But it is also significant as it is bursting with solutions to the environmental crisis and is a positive statement of intent on what can and must be done to preserve and restore our planet for future generations. Read more

To attract green-minded voters, Labour must be consistent on the environment

jeremy corbyn smallThis blog was originally posted on LabourList for the FEPS-Fabian Summer Conference 2019. 

Our climate has benefited from Theresa May’s shift into legacy mode, with her hugely welcome announcement that the UK government will follow the advice of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and legislate for a net zero emissions target. But she was pipped to the post by the devolved administrations: the SNP government in Scotland had already adopted a more ambitious net zero emissions target, while the Labour government in Wales pledged to achieve net zero five years ahead of the target advised by the CCC.

Game on. But, as the UK parliament recognised in its May 1st declaration, we face a wider environmental crisis beyond climate change – as if the latter weren’t terrifying enough. A few days after the debate, a colossal global assessment of humanity’s impact on nature made headlines with its finding that one million species are facing extinction. Read more

Hope and optimism are the guiding lights in the fight for new environmental laws

climate emergency smallI 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

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