Tag Archives: Climate change

Including flights abroad in the UK’s climate target is a huge step forward

This post is by Greg Archer and Matt Finch of Transport & Environment.

If holiday makers ignore the cost of flights they quickly max-out their credit cards and create a cash crisis. If countries omit their international aviation (and shipping) emissions from their national carbon budgets they run the risk of overshooting their climate targets and contribute to frying the planet. So the UK’s decision to include our international flights and shipping emissions in its sixth carbon budget is not just good accountancy, it is a huge step forward towards limiting these pernicious, invisible and, to date, largely unmanaged emissions.

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We can only get good infrastructure for a greener future if the public are involved

This post is by Dr Katy Roelich, associate professor at Sustainability Research Institute, Leeds University

In its 2015 report Opening up infrastructure planning, Green Alliance argued that “…public engagement is critical to finding common ground between different stakeholders and making infrastructure delivery successful in the UK.” Six years and three national lockdowns later, we’re even more aware infrastructure’s crucial role in our daily lives.

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There’s no doubt about government green intentions, but what about its ability to follow through?

This post is by Tom Burke, chairman and founding director of E3G and former director of Green Alliance (1982-91).

Fifty years ago, extending the rule of law over the then wild frontier of the British environment was the main challenge facing environmental campaigners. Post-Brexit, the challenge we now face is protecting the rule of EU environmental law from populist politicians.

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New climate targets won’t solve old problems without more action 

The UK’s announcement that it will accept the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation to set a new legally binding climate target to reduce emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 should be welcomed with open arms. This target, which will sit alongside the 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) promise to cut emissions by 68 per cent by 2030, is especially significant as it includes international aviation and shipping (IAS).

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Where failure is not an option: four tests for the Glasgow climate summit

This is an important year for the climate, culminating in the UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. The task for this conference is to close the emissions gap to arrest global warming; build the world’s resilience, especially as we recover from the Covid pandemic; and agree measures to compensate poorer countries for the damage climate change is already causing. All the evidence shows that time is running out to turn the tide on the climate crisis. So, as the hosts of COP26, as well as the G7, the spotlight is on the UK government to lead international efforts on climate change in 2021. That work began last year, it must now be significantly increased, starting today, in the run up to COP26, and will need to last well beyond the Glasgow summit in November.

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Was 2020 a green ‘super year’ for the UK?

At the start of last year, 2020 was heralded by world leaders, green campaigners and businesses alike as a ‘super year’ for the environment and a ‘make or break year’ for lining up climate and nature action in the new decade. The coronavirus pandemic, of course, has severely disrupted how we hoped the year would pan out, namely in the postponement of the UN biodiversity summit (COP15) and the Glasgow climate summit (COP26). However, despite those COP shaped holes, there has still been movement on climate globally, with Japan, China, the EU and South Korea – covering almost half of global emissions – following the UK’s lead to make mid-century net zero targets, and the US is likely to follow suit once President-elect Joe Biden takes office. 

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The US election and climate action: two very different scenarios for the future

An unprecedented number of mail-in ballots means we could be in for an uncomfortable wait for the result of the US presidential election. The polls suggest that Joe Biden is the frontrunner, although the race is too close to call in many battleground states. The significance of this election for global efforts to tackle the climate crisis cannot be overstated. This year is set to be the warmest year on record, while this summer saw wildfires ravage California and tropical storms hitting the Gulf Coast. The US has contributed more CO2 emissions than any other country and continues to generate the highest emissions per capita. This election is a pivotal moment. So what do the two possible scenarios have in store?

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The UK shouldn’t miss out on the full power of smart technology to build a greener future

After a successful few months since its launch in March this year, Tees Flex recently announced plans to expand to new destinations in the Tees Valley. This on-demand bus service has provided a convenient option for people to get to work or school, or visit their doctor, using a smart mobility app. This innovation is helping to get people out of their cars, reducing congestion and carbon emissions.

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Carbon pricing might not be trendy but it’s needed for a low carbon economy

This post is by Hannah Dillon, head of the Zero Carbon Campaign.

There are many things uncertain about post-Brexit Britain, but indecision around how pollution will be priced beyond December could have serious implications, both for the implementation of a green recovery from Covid-19, and the realisation of the UK’s 2050 net zero carbon target.

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