Tag Archives: politics

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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Conference diary: signs that Labour is coming out of the silo

Labour party conference smallWhat a difference two years makes. The Labour party conference in Liverpool in 2016 saw a party at war with itself: division between the majority of members and the majority of parliamentarians, and a front bench at odds with the mainstream media. Liverpool in 2018 still had these issues, but the party looked like it was doing a much better job of dealing with them. This year’s conference saw Jeremy Corbyn and, by association, the Labour Party, much more at ease. The leader’s speech on the final day was reported as “his best address to date”. Read more

#Budget2017: From green to grey in 6 weeks

DPPHh0bW0AEuGEpIn British politics, governing is as much performance art as it is accounting. Even ‘Fiscal Phil’, that most studious scrutiniser of the spreadsheet knows this. Perhaps this is why his green headlines ahead of the budget were about a single use plastics tax, a clampdown on dirty diesels and a push on EVs. These followed a green October, with Michael Gove ditching neonicotinoids and consulting on a bottle deposit scheme, and Claire Perry producing a Clean Growth Strategy that sees huge opportunities too irresistible for a business department to ignore. But the big reveal on budget day showed that, as far as the Treasury is concerned, the future is still grey.

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MPs’ scrutiny of the Withdrawal Bill is crunch time for the environment

DSC_8618As Greener UK has already highlighted, the EU (Withdrawal) Bill is crucial in ensuring the protection of the UK’s environment. So we will be on high alert when MPs begin their detailed scrutiny of the bill in a little over a week.

It has some major deficiencies, including the omission of the environmental principles which underpin many of our strongest protections. We are also concerned about what we’ve called the governance gap: if we break off relations with some or all EU institutions, we have to replace their functions in the UK to be able to operate to the highest of environmental standards. Read more

Why the clean growth plan will be important to young voters

15308764271_4ef1786a7b_kClimate and the environment have been steadily making their way up the political agenda of the British public, and younger voters are leading the march.

In 2012, when the then Department for Energy and Climate Change carried out the first wave of its energy and climate change public opinion tracker, only two per cent of the people asked felt that climate change was the biggest challenge facing Britain.

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Brexit: time to get serious

European Union and British Union Jack flag flying in front of Big Ben and Westminster Palace, London, in preparation for the Brexit EU referendumOne of Mrs Thatcher’s governments’ most enduring achievements was the European single market, steered into existence by the Conservative European Commissioner, Lord Cockfield. In his memoirs, Cockfield recalled the time he had to tell the prime minister that introducing the single market would entail a degree of tax harmonisation to prevent trade barriers.

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What does climate change look like through the eyes of a politician?

hop 2I’m in a café in the House of Commons, talking to a newly-elected MP about climate change. He’s under no illusions about likely impacts. He points out that where we’re sitting, beside the River Thames, could be under water in decades to come. He calls climate change ‘catastrophic’, and looks for every opportunity he can to raise the issue.  But his commitment has come at a price: speaking out on climate is, he tells me, a ‘career-limiting move’.

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What are the manifestos promising on the environment?

14749841802_5d8c28456f_kNext Tuesday for the first time in this election campaign, the public will get the chance to put questions directly to the major parties on their ambitions and aims for the environment in the next parliament at the Greener UK Hustings.

The debate will include issues like air quality and pollution, nature protection, international leadership, farming and fisheries, climate change and, perhaps most pertinently, what the UK’s exit from the EU will mean for all of the above. Read more

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