In 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
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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
Although 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
This post is by Greg Archer, UK director at Transport and Environment.
The UK’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 is a milestone in the battle against climate change and an important signal to other EU members still debating whether to match the goal. However, setting targets is the easy part. The devil will be in the detail about how to meet them. This is particularly the case with transport, where emissions have been virtually unchanged since 1990 and now account for a third of UK total greenhouse gas emissions. 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 Gwen Buck, policy adviser at Green Alliance, and Rebecca Willis, Green Alliance associate and professor in practice at Lancaster University.
In the same week parliament has announced a national Citizens’ Assembly on climate change, we are analysing the findings of our pilot deliberative democracy project, which brought citizens together with MPs to discuss, debate and deliberate ways for the UK to cut carbon across all sectors and get us on the path to net zero. Read more
This post is by Andrew McCloy, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority. He writes here in a personal capacity.
Melanie Haiken recently outlined the dire implications of climate change on North America’s national parks if drastic action isn’t taken soon. US parks are warming at twice the national average and, without significant action, the outlook for their fragile ecosystems and varied biodiversity is bleak. Iconic parks like Sequoia, Glacier Bay and Joshua Tree could lose their namesake features altogether. Read more
What a week for the climate. With impeccable timing, just as a temporary Brexit ceasefire took hold, activists from Extinction Rebellion occupied the streets of London. There followed an incredible week-long display of peaceful determination and optimism, in the face of a mounting climate crisis. Throw in an Attenborough documentary and an unseasonably hot Easter weekend, and the climate message is crystal clear. Read more
We’ve asked three women working in the environment sector about how it fares on gender balance and diversity, and which women inspire them.
While today is International Women’s Day, these issues are relevant every day, for everyone, everywhere. We’d love to hear what you think too. Read more
This post is by Sarah James, a volunteer and trustee of Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust.
I’ve shown a lot of people around Westmill Wind Farm in Oxfordshire and its neighbouring solar farm. Thousands of people have visited the wind farm for tours and open days in its ten year life, wanting not just to see the wind turbines, but to get up close and touch them, hear them and sometimes even lie under them, watching the blades whirl overhead.
The media and politicians have described onshore wind as controversial and unpopular in the UK. And yet our experience at Westmill is quite the opposite. It is a popular local asset that people like to visit, are curious to understand and view affectionately. Is there some reason that Westmill is unusual? Read more
This post is by Green Alliance associate Dr Rebecca Willis. It first appeared on her blog.
I can’t stop thinking about sixteen year old Greta Thunberg, speaking with quiet determination to rooms full of powerful people in Davos.
I think that Thunberg has an incredible gift. She summarises, with simplicity and eloquence, what climate scientists have been telling us for a long time: that climate change threatens our future on this planet; and that drastic cuts to emissions are needed, starting now. Read more