You can’t reach net zero without resource efficiency

Earlier this week, the climate minister, Claire Perry, asked the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to investigate a pathway for the UK to become a net zero emissions economy. This followed the publication of a major International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warning that the world must make deep cuts in carbon emissions. These, the scientists say, are necessary to keep warming below 1.5 degrees and ensure the planet remains inhabitable for future generations. For this to be possible, it’s clear that the UK’s, and the rest of the world’s, pathway to these deep cuts has to include resource efficiency. Read more

Brexit deal must safeguard environment standards on the island of Ireland

Antrim coast_ PixabayThis post is by Mike Walker, Brexit advisor to the Irish Environmental Pillar and Donal McCarthy, senior policy officer at the RSPB and member of Greener UK’s ‘EU-UK negotiations group’. 

The past few days have seen a frenzy of activity in Brussels as negotiators have burrowed deep in the ‘tunnel’ (the term used to describe intense negotiations without third party disclosure) to seek agreement on the controversial Ireland/Northern Ireland backstop, seen by the EU27 as essential to preventing the re-emergence of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland post Brexit in the absence of other solutions. Read more

Why the UK’s ageing infrastructure might be an advantage in the digital revolution

Kings Cross redevelopment_Matt Kieffer via FlickrThis post is by Chris Fry, director of infrastructure and regeneration at the engineering, design and consultancy company Ramboll. It first appeared on BusinessGreen.

As a global company with a strong Scandinavian heritage, we have long focused on sustainable buildings and infrastructure.  Being based in the UK arm of the business, I am in a uniquely privileged position as we embark on the next technological revolution in infrastructure.   Read more

The Environment Act should be a Sustainable Economy Act

Two adorable kids, feeding the seagulls on the beachThis post is by Michael Jacobs, director of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice and former Downing St adviser (2007-10) on environment and climate change.

Crunch time is coming. Over the next few months the government is likely to publish a draft Environment Bill to replace the core principles and institutions of EU environmental policy making which will be lost after Brexit. Though such a bill is unlikely to be passed into law until 2020, most observers expect its core content to be agreed in draft form before next year’s 29 March departure day. Read more

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

The pivotal year ahead for UK water management

water squareMost of us probably only think about our water company when we pay the bill, when there’s a hosepipe ban or when we see news stories about how much water bosses are getting paid. Labour’s proposal to renationalise the water industry highlights some of these popular concerns. With all this noise it is easy to forget that the water industry is a hugely significant player in environmental protection. Whatever the future ownership of the water industry looks like, we urgently need to improve the state of our waterways, increasing resilience and restoring nature. 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

How not to solve plastic pollution

plastic bottles square“As petroleum came to the relief of the whale,” said an 1878 promotional pamphlet for the world’s first industrial plastic, “so has celluloid given the elephant, the tortoise, and the coral insect a respite in their native haunts, and it will no longer be necessary to ransack the earth in pursuit of substances which are constantly growing scarcer.” Read more

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