Why weren’t there more women at the climate talks?

3964028704_b8d7bcca3c_b“Could you elaborate on how women can access the respective climate funds that your organisations manage?” It was a straightforward question from a Togolese woman after a panel discussion on climate finance for small island developing states, hosted on the sidelines of last week’s UN climate conference (COP23) in Bonn. The all-male panel, consisting of representatives of finance organisations and international development ministries, wasn’t able to answer. Instead, they collectively resorted to awkward laughter and some head shaking. After being pressured by the, also male, moderator, one of the panellists muttered a soft “no…”, while the others looked away.

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This parliamentary debate was a significant moment for the UK’s environment

Little owl_James West via Flickr Creative Commons_smlIt’s so often the case that environmental issues are overlooked in parliament, squeezed in time and overshadowed by other priorities. But last night saw something rather special: three hours of uninterrupted parliamentary debate on the environment in which politicians from all parties were competing to speak and make and seek commitments about future environmental protection. Read more

Conservatives need new climate policies to attract young voters

UK Power Shift '09, ©Robert vanWaardenThis post is by Sam Hall, senior research fellow at Bright Blue

One of the most striking features of the government’s recently published Clean growth strategy is its unashamed embrace of the political and economic opportunity of decarbonisation. The opening pages praise the UK’s world-leading record on climate action: since 1990, the UK has cut its greenhouse gas emissions faster, at the same time as achieving higher per-capita economic growth, than the rest of the G7.

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Why Michael Gove should be worried about the UK’s recycling crisis

plastic-bottles-115082_1280Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation Red Dragon, Liberty Shield, National Sword and Green Quest. They all sound like the names given to military interventions of recent years. And, in fact, they all are, apart from one, which is a Chinese government programme aiming to improve the quality of recycling. And, no, it’s not Green Quest (a short lived American operation investigating terrorist financing sources). Rather, the programme seeking to prevent imports of poor quality recyclates is National Sword, a surprisingly aggressive title for such an environmentally beneficial endeavour.

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Let’s use the digital revolution for resource efficiency to raise UK productivity

blue geometric  shape abstract technology backgroundThis post is by Angela Francis, chief economist at Green Alliance, and Caterina Brandmayr, policy analyst at Green Alliance.

UK productivity hasn’t grown for nine years. Investment in digitalisation, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, is one way to kickstart the economy and end economic stagnation. Read more

MPs’ scrutiny of the Withdrawal Bill is crunch time for the environment

DSC_8618As Greener UK has already highlighted, the EU (Withdrawal) Bill is crucial in ensuring the protection of the UK’s environment. So we will be on high alert when MPs begin their detailed scrutiny of the bill in a little over a week.

It has some major deficiencies, including the omission of the environmental principles which underpin many of our strongest protections. We are also concerned about what we’ve called the governance gap: if we break off relations with some or all EU institutions, we have to replace their functions in the UK to be able to operate to the highest of environmental standards. Read more

Why we need to talk about GM again

6850390469_85e52637c5_b (1)Between 1990 and 2005 I was heavily embedded in the genetic modification (GM) debate, as a member of one of the key regulatory committees for ten years, and then as deputy chair of the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission (AEBC).  AEBC recommended a public debate on GM crops, which reached 37,000 people through a variety of routes and excited a good deal of press attention. The result? Most people are uneasy, most scientists are not, and the economists thought there was little of consequence either way for the UK at that time. The effect on policy? Almost none.

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What will happen to UK chemicals policy post-Brexit?

6189526157_62eb6e93b7_bThis is an extract from a presentation given by Nigel Haigh, honorary fellow and former director of IEEP, to a recent conference ‘Post-Brexit options for UK chemicals law’, organised by Chemical Watch, techUK and CHEM Trust. A version of this piece was first posted on the Brexit & Environment blog.

As a way of understanding the challenges Brexit poses in the area of chemicals, here I look at the origins of chemicals policy, its place in environmental policy and also its peculiarities.

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What Heidegger and astronauts tell us about the 25 year environment plan

36662929062_9c51190591_kThis article was originally published on WWT’s website.

Here’s an idea (which I’ve borrowed from the German philosopher, Heidegger): nature challenges us. History shows us that we humans have devised, over the centuries, more and more ingenious technologies, which have enabled us to live longer, more interesting lives. In doing so, we have challenged nature, transforming it to meet our own ends. But this process has challenged humans all the more, because, being the ones who reorder nature, we are responsible for it, changing its very existence. In changing nature, we change ourselves.

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Let’s not be losers when it comes to resources

Backstreet BritainThis article was originally published on Business Green.

It’s been more than six months since the prime minister triggered Article 50, what’s commonly referred to as “the starting gun” for our departure from the EU. If you imagine Brexit as a race, then, that means that we’re over a quarter of the way through the process that will, in theory, conclude on 30 March 2019 at the latest. At that time, EU treaties – all 750+ of them – and the various laws and regulations that have accumulated over the past 40 odd years – including more than 1,100 pieces of environmental law – will cease to apply here.

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