Category Archives: Politics

The demise of DECC: some thoughts on moving the furniture

s300_3wp_nameplate3This post is by Green Alliance associate Rebecca Willis. It was first posted on her blog.

Goodbye, DECC. I’ve known you for eight years. In that time, you created a world-leading system of national carbon budgeting, and oversaw an impressive growth of renewable energy. It wasn’t always easy – you were a minnow in the Whitehall ocean, and the site of many a pitched battle during the Coalition years. But you fought hard to demonstrate the benefits of a low carbon transition for the UK. Read more

Why the IN campaign is bringing out the big (green) guns

which way now? Two little owls on an old farm gateThe Prime Minister’s latest intervention in the EU referendum campaign illustrates how the environment is taking its place in the modern political canon. Speaking from the RSPB’s Rainham Marshes nature reserve, Cameron noted how our EU membership underpins crucial environmental protections, and talked about the importance of nurturing Britain’s countryside and wildlife. At the same time, his speech, if not his words, demonstrated that environmentalists are important too.

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Is environment the biggest hole in the referendum campaigns?

Missing puzzel in green color. Selective focusThis post is by Andy Jordan and Viviane Gravey of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.  They recently co-led an expert review of the environmental implications of Brexit funded by the UK in a Changing Europe Initiative.

Last week’s statement by a cross party group of environmental politicians was important, less for what it contained and more for what was behind it.  Launched with the backing of Britain Stronger in Europe, it marked the first attempt by either of the two official referendum campaigns to capture the environmental vote.  Having seized the initiative, the eyes of the environmental movement are now on Vote Leave to see how – and, indeed, if – it responds. Read more

Can city leaders succeed where national politicians fail?

Victoria Square BirminghamThis first appeared in Breakthrough Birmingham: outputs from the UK Green Building Council city summit 2016.

If you despair about the lack of sustainability leadership from Westminster, you may have higher hopes for what city leaders can achieve. London’s mayoral candidates are currently competing to be greener than each other. We haven’t seen this in national politics since 2010 when Cameron ran for election on an explicitly green ticket. But that’s the rub. It proved only a short term boost to UK sustainability. So, are green promises from city leaders likely to be any longer lived? Read more

Dig in, the devolution revolution is down to all of us

Castlefield, Manchester, EnglandThis post is by Steve Connor, founder of Creative Concern, a sustainability communications agency based in Manchester. He is also a trustee of the Community Forests Trust. He writes here in a personal capacity.

 

When he wasn’t being a Dharma Bum with the rest of the Beats, the poet Gary Snyder had a thing or two to say about the state of the environment and our need to tread lightly upon the Earth. Read more

What motivates politicians to act on climate change?

Climate ChangeThis post is by Green Alliance associate Rebecca Willis who is working with us on a new research project, in collaboration with Lancaster University.

How often have you heard the lament amongst environmentalists, “what’s lacking is political will”? If only politicians understood enough, and cared enough, to confront and act on environmental issues like climate change, the argument goes, they could implement the solutions (green the economy, fine the polluters) and lead the transition to a sustainable society. Read more

Low carbon infrastructure is vital to UK investment ambitions

Boat in offshore windfarmGeorge Osborne has two main objectives for government expenditure as chancellor: eliminate the deficit by cutting day to day spending and increase investment by prioritising capital spending.

As public expenditure has been reduced the chancellor has looked to the private sector to make up the shortfall.  So far, this strategy has worked: 2010-14 saw cumulative growth in GDP of seven per cent, helped considerably by £40 billion growth in the private sector investment component of GDP over the same period, a rise of 16 per cent.  This level of business investment was one of the strongest sources of growth the last parliament. Read more

Letter from America: Washington and the art of compromise

The capitol building in WashingtonAlastair Harper is head of politics at Green Alliance. He’s participating in the US State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Programme on climate change and will be sending dispatches over the next couple of weeks based on his experiences.

Washington is a city that changes startlingly from block to block. Take the Capitol Building, which looms over its surroundings like the younger, stockier brother of St Paul’s Cathedral, reflected in the water landscaped in front with the Washington monument in the distance. Dotted around it are countless police, tourists and lobbyists. You are vividly aware of where you are. Read more

Can the Prime Minister deliver his climate pledges?

climate planThis post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

Many didn’t believe the Prime Minister would ever agree to make a pledge on climate change. Not in the middle of a general election. And not when Lynton Crosby was so busy getting any barnacles off the boat to ensure that nothing distracted from the long term economic plan. Colleagues inquired what we would do when he didn’t sign. Did we have we a backup plan? Read more

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