In 2013, China sent shock waves through the recycling world in the west by launching Operation Green Fence, a campaign that rejected at least 800,000 tonnes of substandard recyclable waste imports and withdrew 247 import licenses. This focused minds in the UK, because we have grown dependent on exports of low quality recyclate, which our producer responsibility system accidentally encourages. Unfortunately, no lasting action was taken to fix the problem, and now things look set to get much worse. Read more
Should we trust Michael Gove? That’s the question lurking underneath all of the commentary about the environment secretary’s protestations of love for the planet. He gave a barnstormer of a speech at WWF’s Living Planet centre last week, declaring that marine plastics would be tackled, the ivory trade would be halted and eleven million trees would be planted. Read more
This post first appeared on BusinessGreen.
At 11am, on 14 July 2017, eight per cent of UK’s total electricity demand was generated by offshore wind, more than any other country in the world. Proactive policy and industrial innovation have crafted the UK’s success story on offshore wind but another significant part of the story has been the lending from the European Investment Bank (EIB) that has accelerated the sector’s growth. Roughly £2.6 billion has been invested in wind farms and transmission networks since 2012, part of an overall £8 billion investment in energy infrastructure in the UK. As we leave the EU, cheap EIB loans will not flow as easily, raising concerns about the future growth of our renewable energy industry. It is, therefore, critical that we negotiate to be a major shareholder and benefactor of the EIB and the other European investment bodies that support innovation and growth in low carbon technology. Read more
The government’s smart power strategy, Upgrading our energy system, unveiled yesterday, is the ultimate under the radar approach. It contains 29 deeply technocratic changes (such as “developing a Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC) modification, P344”), which are combined seamlessly with the neutered language of “removing barriers” and “making markets work”. It looks boring. But don’t be fooled: if it works, this strategy will deliver radical change. But this is a big if. Read more
The fact that the summer of 2017 is turning out to be one of the hottest on record was not apparent in WWF’s Living Planet Centre today as Michael Gove set out his first public speech on the environment since becoming secretary of state. As one of the most energy efficient buildings in Europe, heat pumps are engaged to transport cooler air from underground whilst window features reflect sunlight in summer to prevent excess heat. A perfect atmosphere for delivering a much anticipated speech.
This post is by Griffin Carpenter, senior researcher at the New Economics Foundation.
Michael Gove has purportedly shown us what ‘taking back control’ really means, by drawing a 12-mile line around the UK for exclusive fishing access for British vessels. Now he has his sights set on an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 miles (or the median line). On a map, this looks like a win for British influence in the world, reminiscent of times past and conquering new territory. But the nature of influence and the transboundary movements of those pesky fish mean that this drive to etch battle lines has the notion of control completely backwards. Real control requires co-operation and shared management. Unfortunately, the idea of control offered by the most buccaneering Brexiteers does not seem to involve much co-operation at all. Read more
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has warned in its latest annual progress report that the UK is significantly behind its 2030 targets to reduce carbon emissions and, without additional policy and new strategies, we will fail to meet our legally binding commitments. Here are five highlights worth drawing out from the report:
Though the triggering of Article 50 occurred just over 100 days ago, it has felt like the Great Repeal Bill has been coming for a lot longer. And this is the first big change we will have to make: the Great Repeal Bill is no more. As it passes through parliament it will now be known as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. A title not quite as eye-catching but a lot more practical, and possibly an early indication of the government’s new approach. Read more
This post is by Richard Benwell, head of government affairs at WWT.
Every stretch of river has its own character. Here are a few of the personalities I’ve got to know over the years:
- Beverley Brook – small, beautiful, prone to outbursts; a Richmond river with a film star name
- Byron’s Pool – tranquil, romantic, deep and surrounded by wildlife (but no bears)
- Thames at Lechlade – the first point where Old Father Thames gives a hint of his power
- The Severn Estuary – the last point of the UK’s longest river; a famous bore
Each has its own charms and needs. It’s this diversity that can help to inspire communities to love and protect their rivers and it’s the reason why every portion of every river needs to be given its own care. The attention that will calm the bursting banks of Beverley Brook might be a drop in the ocean elsewhere.
This post is by Matthew Perks, CEO of New Energy Events LLC, the organisers of the annual Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF). which will take place in Miami from 18-20 October, 2017.
A little over a month ago, on 1 June 2017, the day that Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement, the New York Times speculated that the impact of the withdrawal would be determined by the global response to the decision. Read more