Tag Archives: climate

Why we need low carbon infrastructure, not “shovel ready” zombie roads

Cutting road works with hydraulic driven angle grinderThis post was first published on the New Statesman blog.

After three years of vigorous disagreement the political and economic commentariat seem to have found common ground. Infrastructure. Left and right now agree that it’s vital for the UK’s economic renewal, requires much greater infrastructure investment, and the Chancellor looks set to move it closer to the centre stage in the Budget. Read more

Reasons to be cheerful

virunga national parkUnlike most people working on environmental issues, I spend most of my time finding and telling good news stories. When not editing the Green Alliance blog, I work on earthrise, an environmental TV show on Al Jazeera English that features promising solutions to environmental problems.

While I think we need to be realistic about the scale of the challenge, evidence suggests that there’s no quicker way to turn off your audience (whether they’re sitting on a sofa or in parliament) than being a full time purveyor of bad news.

So to lighten up your Friday afternoon, I thought I’d give you three reasons to be cheerful, gleaned from my experiences on earthrise. Read more

Trams, solar panels and enlightened self interest in Nottingham

nottingham-tram-006This post is by Councillor Graham Chapman, deputy leader of Nottingham Council. A longer version will appear in the Spring issue of Green Alliance’s journal, Inside Track

Two to three times a week I cycle to work, not primarily to reduce my carbon footprint but because it helps me to keep fit and saves money. I have solar panels on my house because the financial rate of return is far higher than I get in a savings account. I am also pleased that a by-product of these two acts is a reduction in my carbon footprint. Read more

Are fuel prices the nation’s greatest concern?

fuel rightThis post by Federica Cocco first appeared on Full Fact on March 4th 2013.

In today’s politics roundup, the Sun reports that three quarters of the British public are concerned about one big national issue. If you think it’s the economy or crime, think again. It’s fuel prices.

The source is a poll conducted by an organisation which campaigns to – you guessed it – cut fuel costs. Ahead of the March 20th Budget, Fair Fuel UK ran an internet survey on their website in a move to “send a clear message to the Chancellor” that fuel duty should be cut “for the sake of the UK economy”.  Read more

The circular economy: big in Japan

12481442_sThis post is by Jonny Hazell, policy assistant on our Resource Stewardship theme.

When it comes to the ways in which stuff is made, consumed, and disposed of, there’s a lot the UK could learn from Japan.

Japanese recycling rates are extraordinary:  98 per cent for metals for example and, in 2007, just five per cent of Japan’s waste ended up in a hole in the ground, compared with 48 per cent for the UK in 2008. Japan’s appliance recycling laws ensure the great majority of electrical and electronic products are recycled, compared with 30-40 per cent here.  Of these appliances, 74-89 per cent of the materials they contain are recovered. Perhaps more significantly, many of these materials go back into the manufacture of the same type of products from which they were reclaimed . This is the ‘closed-loop’ holy grail of recycling essential for a truly circular economy.

So how has Japan managed it and can we do it too? Read more

Can wine, quizzes and advice help reduce people’s energy use?

Roundtable Puzzle Solving TeamThis is a guest post by Graham Smith, professor of politics at the University of Westminster, and principal investigator of a project on community-based initiatives for energy saving

It’s a widely held assumption on the part of policy-makers and activists that community engagement will lead to improved domestic energy saving. But does this assumption hold water? A three-and-a-half year research project funded under the UK Research Council’s (RCUK) Energy and Communities Programme, involving academics from the Universities of Southampton, Reading and Westminster, is testing this assumption through an innovative field experiment. Read more

Don’t turn off the future

This article first appeared in the New Statesman.

There is a sector where our economy is not dying, but flying. Somewhere that the UK continues to dominate the global stage, creating the deals, skills, services and products in an area the whole world is desperate to embrace. It will take until 2014 (at best) for our GDP to return to the pre-financial crisis level of 2007. In the same period, this sector will have grown by 40 per cent.

Unfortunately, this sector is the green economy. That means that, as far as some are concerned, it doesn’t count. Because green stuff isn’t meant to be about growth, only bills. In an oddly moralising way, many people seem to feel that something that does good can’t also bring economic benefits. Read more

Twitter list: top green economics tweeters

Hot on the heels of our recent list of green political tweeters, here’s one focusing on economics.

These are people to follow if you’re interested in the relationship between the economy and the environment – from green growth and sustainable investment to re-thinking consumerism.

This is a work in progress and suggestions are very welcome. I’ll be updating Green Alliance’s green economy list with your additions Read more

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