This post is by Chris Huhne, former UK energy and climate change secretary from 2010 to 2012 and current co-chair of ET Index which analyses the carbon risk of worldwide quoted companies. He advises Zilkha Biomass Energy and the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association.
One criticism of British energy and climate change policy over the past few years is that it has involved a ‘dash for renewables’ predicated on high oil and gas prices. That is not true. During my time as secretary of state for energy and climate change, and subsequently, we were careful to balance all three families of low carbon electricity generation: renewables, nuclear and fossil fuels, with carbon capture and storage. The reason? We could not predict the future, and did not know which would turn out the cheapest (or, indeed, what the oil and gas price would be). In a time of great uncertainty, energy policy should be akin to investing in a portfolio of shares for retirement: however good one share looks now, do not put all your eggs in one basket. Read more
This post is by James Traynor, director of architecture at ECD Architects.
Is it right that people live in homes they can’t afford to heat without taking out a loan, and which cause them health problems from excessive humidity and mould? Why is the UK’s housing stock in such poor condition and how can it be improved to meet the needs of both current and future generations? Above all, what are the implications of a failure to act? Read more
With the 2015 general election on the horizon, we’ve asked leading thinkers and experts for their one big manifesto idea. The one they think will make a real difference to a greener Britain. Today we’re posting ideas 13,14 and 15. (Read the other twelve.)
These three proposals, including one of our own, would harness the power of pension funds, boost support for the fuel poor and steer industrial strategy to help businesses and reduce the cost of living. Read more
This post is by Will Straw, associate director for climate change, energy and transport at IPPR. It is taken from the collection of essays, published today by Green Alliance, Green social democracy: better homes in better places. This pamphlet, alongside similar collections on ‘Green liberalism’ and ‘Green conservatism’ (to be published next week), are part of our Green Roots programme, aiming to stimulate green thinking within the three dominant political traditions in the UK. A version of this piece has been published on Labour List.
Britain’s communities are facing three big challenges: a living standards crisis, a jobs crisis and a climate crisis. Improving Britain’s homes to make them more energy efficient is a significant part of the answer to all three but the government’s market-driven approach looks inadequate. Instead, greater shared responsibility between government, the market and civil society should be encouraged to address this triple crunch. So what does the British public think about these three problems and is there a solution for all three? Read more
This is a guest post by Andy Nolan, Director of Sustainable Development at Sheffield City Council.
Eight core English cities including my own have now signed City Deals to boost their economies. Work is already underway on putting the deals into practice, but there are many ways we can strengthen and build on what has been achieved so far.
The low carbon emphasis of the deals, for example, would be be much stronger if a number of things were to change: Read more
This post is by policy adviser Hannah Kyrke-Smith.
On Monday 25 June 2012, we brought together the residents from an inner London high rise estate and three of their local councillors to take part in the first of three workshops we’re holding in estates across the city under our Towering Ambitions project.
We are looking into the sustainable living challenges faced by people in tower blocks. Visions of a greener, cleaner future often involve people living and working happily in tall, shining towers, taking advantage of the benefits they offer of saving space, reducing waste and maximising efficiency. Sadly though, the reality of tower block life is a long way from this vision and they can be among the least green places to live. And this problem is acute in many parts of London where nearly half the population lives in high density accommodation. Read more
This is a guest post by Olly Lawder of sustainability communications agency Futerra.
Nothing is more engaging, distracting, entertaining or compulsive than video games. Don’t believe me? Then you either haven’t played them or you simply haven’t found the right one yet. And, if you’re one of those people who thinks that video games (and the people that play them) are stupid, then this post might change your mind, because video games could hold the answer to engaging millions in sustainability issues. Read more
This is a guest post by energy and climate change consultant Paula Owen
Update: Our embedded version has now expired, but you can still watch the video here.
The government’s Green Deal for energy efficiency is a bit of a tricky one to describe to the uninitiated. Indeed, it’s sometimes hard to explain to energy savvy folk too!
So myself and the guys from explanimation.net created an ‘explanimation’ – a short animated film that explains a complex idea simply – about the Green Deal. We had our work cut out trying to explain the scheme in this way, puzzling over a simple way of explaining that the loan is attached to a house rather than the householders, or that people pay through their electricity bill for scheme that generally saves money on gas.
This is a guest post by Solitaire Townsend, co-founder of sustainability communications agency Futerra
When Clement Atlee was asked how Churchill won the war, the answer was “He talked about it”.
This quote opened last Monday’s launch of Green Alliance’s new report Neither Sermons Nor Silence: The Case For National Communications On Energy Use. The report has a single clear theme: it’s time for government to get back to communicating. Especially on energy and climate change. Read more