Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to get from a cottage industry to a million heat pumps a year

This post is by Jan Rosenow, director of European programmes at the Regulatory Assistance Project, Pedro Guertler, programme leader at E3G, and Richard Lowes, research fellow at Exeter University.

The UK has made incredible strides in decarbonising its power system beyond what many thought was possible. Carbon emissions were at a record low over the recent Easter weekend. While heat pumps have been seen as a strategically important sustainable heat technology for years, the rapid progress in the power sector offers an urgent opportunity to decarbonise heating whilst supporting the integration of renewables.

Read more

Is the promise of waste based aviation fuel sending us down a blind alley?

This post is by Cait Hewitt, deputy director of the Aviation Environment Federation.

Scientists in America have found a way to massively reduce emissions from flying by using a new fuel made from waste, a BBC news headlines announced on 15 March. It sounded like the kind of scientific breakthrough that almost everyone would want to see: tackling waste and reducing emissions while allowing people to carry on flying. In fact, the story went on to report, the new fuel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 165 per cent suggesting that one way to lower emissions would be to fly more.

Read more

A tale of two developments: why new planning reforms threaten to entrench unsustainable lifestyles

This post is by Steve Chambers, sustainable transport campaigner at Transport for New Homes.

In 2018, Transport for New Homes produced an initial report that revealed the deep flaws in the planning system which leave new housing developments with inadequate walking, cycling and public transport connections to surrounding areas. With limited facilities locally, residents are, for the most part, forced into car dependency.

Read more

Why Birmingham chose a comprehensive clean air zone

This post is by Steve Arnold, head of the clean air zone at Birmingham City Council.

Everybody, regardless of age, geographic location or personal wealth, has a right to breathe clean air. It is a basic, fundamental entitlement and one that is vital to our survival. Yet every year, up to 36,000 people across the UK die from conditions linked to poor air quality, including up to 1,000 people in Birmingham alone.

Read more

Defra’s new farm payment scheme shouldn’t hold back private markets for nature

This post was originally published by Business Green.

The rapid decline of nature in the UK isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s undermining our economic prosperity, as the Treasury’s recent Dasgupta Review on the economics of biodiversity and research by Cambridge University and the RSPB have shown. And turning around this crisis will only be achieved by concerted, co-ordinated action from both the public and private sectors.

Read more

Why the government must rethink its approach on environmental principles

Our dynamic, living planet is on a journey: the UK government has made it clear it wants the destination to be an environment in a better state than we found it, a welcome ambition which is embedded in the government’s long term environment strategy. But clear signposts will be needed to ensure that we don’t lose our way and we can navigate the choices and challenges that lie ahead.

Read more

Government should be helping to transform protected landscapes for the good of nature, climate and people

This post is by Abi Bunker, director of conservation and external affairs at the Woodland Trust; David Hampson, sites policy officer at the RSPB; Ben McCarthy, head of nature conservation and restoration ecology at the National Trust; and Jo Smith, CEO at The Derbyshire Wildlife Trusts.

In 2019, the Glover Review concluded that England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are uniquely placed to drive nature’s recovery, deliver nature-based solutions to the climate crisis and connect people with nature. It also found that these protected landscapes are falling a long way short of their potential. Successive surveys, such the one conducted by the Campaign for National Parks in 2016, have highlighted that the public wants them to play these roles and the review proposed the changes needed.

Read more

After the Dasgupta Review: what the Treasury should do next

This post is by Beccy Speight, CEO, and Paul Morling, principal economist of the RSPB.

Silent Spring triggered a new era of awareness of the harm we can do to nature when it was published in 1962. Its author, Rachel Carson, said, “The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road the one ‘less travelled by’ offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of our earth.” 

Read more

Why Europe doesn’t need Cumbria’s coking coal

This post is by Valentin Vogl, an academic working on sustainability transitions in the global steel industry.

This was supposed to be the UK’s climate leadership year. In November, global leaders will gather in Glasgow to try to tame and temper humanity’s climate disruption. Meanwhile, a mere 137 miles south in Cumbria, the UK is set to do the polar opposite and open up a new coal mine.

Read more

Kunming: what’s needed to make this year’s biodiversity summit a success

This post is by Stanley Johnson, international ambassador for the Conservative Environment Network.

The date of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) has still to be confirmed.  It was originally scheduled to be held in Kunming, China in the second quarter of this year (having been postponed from 2020), but it seems increasingly likely that an autumn date will be preferred in view of the continuing disruption caused by Covid 19. At the moment, the second half of October this year seems to be the favourite option, but the final decision must obviously rest with the host country, China.

Read more
« Older Entries