Carbon offsetting is controversial, but unfortunately we need it

intext-blubell-forestAs an environmentalist, I’m not a big fan of offsetting. Not only does it probably lead to increased pollution, absolving us of responsibility for our emissions, but carbon credits have also been notoriously poor at actually delivering the carbon reductions they claim. I’ve not set foot on a plane since 2011 as I struggle to justify flying, even with a carbon offset. Read more

Covid-19 and the parliamentary process: initial observations


intext-blog-ruth-wesminster-emptyThe Covid-19 virus, our personal health and safety and the response by the government and public health authorities are rightly occupying much of our work and home life at present. A rapid metamorphosis in how parliament operates is underway to deal with the threat. This could lead to both opportunities and challenges for how we engage with parliamentarians, how laws will be scrutinised and how the government will be held to account. Read more

What is the relationship between state and citizen in a time of crisis?

intext-blog-becky-willisThis is not the blog I expected to write to launch my book. As I sit at my desk, on a Monday morning, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting home. My kids are adjusting to a much smaller world, without school or friends. My older teen is giving my younger teen a maths lesson, while I agonise about whether it’s safe to let them go to the park. In the space of a few weeks, everything has changed. Read more

What the Heathrow ruling means for future government decisions with a climate impact

This post is by Katie de Kauwe, lawyer at Friends of the Earth.

intext-heathrowThe government’s policy giving the green light to Heathrow expansion and establishing the need for more airport capacity in the south east was ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal on climate grounds last month. This ruling follows years of work by the legal team at Friends of the Earth (myself included), along with our external solicitors at Leigh Day, and barristers (David Wolfe QC at Matrix Chambers, Peter Lockley at 11KBW and Andrew Parkinson at Landmark Chambers). And, of course, the absolutely tireless work, campaigning and commitment from local residents who are the unsung heroes of the piece. Read more

Why energy efficient buildings should be a top climate policy priority

blog-builings-smallThis blog is by Dr Peter Mallaburn, a researcher from the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions. It is part of a series reflecting on the need for energy demand reduction in the UK.

We spend most of our lives inside buildings, and the energy we use to light, heat and cool them is responsible for a third of UK CO2 emissions. So, now we need to take more action to tackle climate change and bring down emissions, and buildings are an important target for government policy. Read more

People should talk to their MPs about the importance of COP26

intext-blog-mpsThis post is by Georgina Collins of Hope for the Future

The significance of the UN conference COP26 cannot be underestimated; this is the deadline for countries to update their climate plans and set out their Nationally Determined Contributions in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement (where 195 countries agreed to limit global warming to 2°C, and a greater ambition to pursue limiting warming to 1.5°C. Read more

What will it really take to get to net zero before 2050?

intext-blog-strikeThe BBC ran a story this week with the headline ‘The UK can’t go climate neutral before 2050’, citing an important report from the independent research body, the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC). That report details a set of pathways to getting the UK to net zero by 2050 and is careful to highlight that it is not prescriptive. While we cannot expect nuance in a news headline, suggesting that it is impossible to hit net zero carbon before 2050 belies the very nature of innovation. Read more

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