A question of standards

parliament-intextGreener UK rates the latest Brexit withdrawal deal as a high risk to the environment. Theresa May’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement guaranteed that environmental standards would not fall below their current level (“non-regression”). That guarantee has gone from the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by Boris Johnson. Aspirations to uphold “common high standards” are relegated to the non-binding Political Declaration and it is made clear that they must be compatible with the UK’s desire to develop an independent trade policy.

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The State of Nature has shown us the problem, now we need legal action

intext_hedghog-stateof-nature_blogA comprehensive study of the state of the UK’s natural environment shows no let up in the decline of our natural world. Experts from more than 70 wildlife organisations have joined with government agencies to present the clearest picture to date of the health of our species across land and sea. It’s pretty grim.

No part of our precious ecosystem is untouched. Many of our most loved species are threatened, including hedgehogs, wild cats, hares, bats, butterflies and birds.

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Is Twitter indicating a change in MPs’ views on climate change?

intext-twitter-blogThis post is by Rhian Ebrey. It is based on her research as a masters student at the University of Leeds.

I think that, writing this following the biggest global climate strike ever, it’s safe to say I’m not alone in feeling a growing dread with each successive IPCC report predicting the urgency of the global climate crisis. And yet, this urgency does not appear to be shared by everyone. I feel helpless and frustrated as world leaders appear hesitant to commit to the necessary changes needed to save our future and the planet. But the growing awareness of shared alarm and frustration, embodied through Greta Thunberg’s refreshingly direct speech at the UN’s COP24 climate conference last year, has sparked a social revolution, with prominent grassroots movements, including Extinction Rebellion and the Youth Strikes, growing around the world.

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The environmental sector won’t win unless there is a clear win for everyone

melissablog-intextIn 1996, the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice hosted forty people of colour and European American representatives in Jemez, New Mexico as part of the ‘Working group meeting on globalization and trade’. The aim was to find commonalities between the forty participants, representing different cultural and political backgrounds, and organisations. By the end of the meeting, six Jemez Principles for democratic organising were adopted. All six principles are worth reading, but for the purpose of this post, I will particularly focus on the fourth: work together in solidarity and mutuality. It reads: Read more

While leaders debate, community energy is tackling the climate emergency

Blog_commenergy-intextThis post is by Emma Atkins of Repowering London.

“Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope. I want you to act.”

When 16 year old Greta Thunberg spoke to the World Economic Forum in January 2019, it was five months after her first school strike to protest the inaction around the climate emergency outside the Swedish parliament. Millions of school children followed in her footsteps, sparking the movement Fridays for Future. Last Friday was the world’s biggest climate strike ever; and, this time, the adults were there too.

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It’s time for government to set a new environmental baseline

BigBen-blogimageThis blog was first posted on Business Green.

The government’s environment legislative programme is in disarray. Earlier this month, bills that were halfway through their passage, including on agriculture, fisheries and trade, were lost as parliament was prorogued. The Environment Bill meanwhile is yet to appear in full. Read more

It looks like ecodesign is one area where the UK will be keeping up with Europe

In-text-image-Kitchen-applicanesThe government indicated last week that it still plans to honour a commitment to match or go further than EU green product rules after Brexit. The evidence – a rather dry draft Statutory Instrument (SI) on power supplies for electrical goods – shouldn’t come as a surprise: the commitment was set out just two years ago in the Clean Growth Strategy. Read more

How to shift the UK from also ran to winner in the electric car race

in-text-image-corsa-eThis post is by Greg Archer, UK director at Transport and Environment

Measures to reduce CO2 emissions from cars have so far failed. Minimal improvements in the efficiency of new cars have merely offset the steady rise in vehicle mileage, causing UK car emissions to effectively flatline over the past 30 years. There are several causes: the failure to invest in alternatives to car use; the falling cost and increased level of car ownership; and the focus of the car industry on maximising profits, selling ever bigger and more powerful cars, whilst limiting the choice and availability of low and zero emissions electric models. There are no silver bullets but there are positive signs that a revolution is underway that will drive a sharp reduction in emissions.

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The government isn’t putting its money where its mouth is on the environment

Dormouse wikimedia commons_Danielle ShwarzThis post is by Alistair Taylor, senior policy officer at the RSPB.

The news that substantial areas of the Amazon rainforest have been set on fire crystallised opinion on the need for urgent and effective action to protect our environment and climate. Prime Minister Boris Johnson went as far as stating:

“In a week where we have all watched, horrified, as the Amazon rainforest burns before our eyes, we cannot escape the reality of the damage we are inflicting on the natural world.

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