This post is by independent researcher and Green Alliance associate Rebecca Willis.
It’s obvious, when you think about it, that emerging industries and innovators have less of a voice in government than established players. Incumbents have a lot of advantages: they have a proven technology or system which regulators understand; they can afford to pay staff or consultants to engage and lobby; and policies and regulations are designed with them in mind. In contrast, innovators put all their effort into getting their new approach off the ground (with little time left for lobbying); regulations aren’t designed for them; and policy makers may not understand what they do. Read more
The EU is on the brink of setting its energy and climate future, and must agree a new policy framework for 2030 by March 2014, ahead of international climate talks in Paris this December.
In reaction to the European Commission’s green paper on options for the 2030 climate and energy policy framework last March, Europe’s largest trade association, Business Europe, suggested European manufacturing was being left behind. It stated, “Europe’s major competitors, the US and China are reindustrialising on the back of low energy costs. Meanwhile the current EU energy and climate policy is driving up costs through inconsistencies in EU policies as well as uncoordinated and heavy-handed national government intervention in energy markets.” Read more
This post is by Jonathan Gaventa, programme leader on European energy infrastructure at E3G. Jonathan is one of 20 experts Green Alliance interviewed as part of a review of European climate and energy policy which will be published next week.
There is no security in separatism, no innovation in isolationism, and nothing to be gained from walking away from our seat at the European table. Read more
Heat is responsible for a third of carbon emissions and around half of the energy we use in the UK. Whilst there is a range of views about how to achieve the deep cuts needed in carbon emissions from heating, all future scenarios indicate that there will have to be a significant rise in the uptake of heat pumps. Read more
Anticipating significant trends is a compulsive but risky habit. Last year I forecasted three, and whilst two did come good, one was spectacularly wrong. The Conservative Party did not follow a centrist strategy and did not reassert its support for a green economy. The challenge to the UK’s low carbon leadership which this reflects makes prediction harder than usual but, undaunted, I offer three more for the coming year: Read more
This post is by Dustin Benton, senior policy adviser at Green Alliance and author of our recent policy insight The CCS challenge: securing a second chance for UK carbon capture and storage.
Recent announcements on carbon capture and storage have made it clear that it is make or break time for the technology. CCS is controversial. Its detractors point out that it doesn’t deal with the problems of resource extraction, and may only buy us a few more decades of fossil fuel power generation. But its potential to enable rapid reductions in CO2 emissions, from the power sector and industrial emitters both in the UK and abroad, mean that we, at least, should establish whether or not CCS is possible. The starting point for doing this in the UK is a publicly funded, multibillion pound demonstration programme, which was relaunched a few weeks ago. Read more
This post is by Dustin Benton, senior policy adviser at Green Alliance. A version of this article originally appeared on the Guardian website.
Carbon capture and storage promises all the ease of continued use of fossil fuels without the carbon emissions. The UK should be a leader in its development. It has all the advantages of good geology, industry expertise, and public support, but as the National Audit Office reported two weeks ago, our demonstration programme has been plagued by delays, putting the whole programme back by half a decade. This has happened because the policy supporting CCS is based on outdated assumptions. Read more
This is a guest post by Rebecca Willis, a Green Alliance associate. It was first published on guardian.co.uk.
It is based on Demanding Less: Why we need a new politics of energy, by Rebecca Willis and Nick Eyre, which was launched at a recent Green Alliance catalyst debate (watch video).
A few years ago, Jeffrey Dukes, a US biologist, was driving through the deserts of Utah on his way to a research station. As his car ate up the miles, he began thinking about the fuel in the tank, and the plants that it had come from. How many ancient plants, he wondered, had it taken to power him across the desert? He asked around, but couldn’t find out. “The more I searched, the more frustrated I got. No one knew the answer.”
So he did the sums himself. He worked out that a staggering 25 tonnes of plant matter go into every single litre of petrol. “I realised,” says Dukes, “that nearly everything I do depends upon plants that grew millions of years ago; and that without them, my life would be completely different.” Read more
Heat accounts for just under half of UK energy demand and for 46% of UK carbon emissions, but has long been the Cinderella of energy policy. When Green Alliance started working on heat five years ago, the amount of energy used for heating space and water wasn’t even reliably measured. Read more