Environmental campaigners and clean air groups have warned that the government’s green credentials are in tatters after a flurry of “disastrous decisions” that they say will be condemned by future generations. The government’s plan to expand Heathrow won overwhelming backing in the Commons on Monday – with more than 100 Labour MPs joining the majority of Tory politicians to back the plan – despite grave concerns about its impact on air pollution and the UK’s carbon emissions. On the same day, the government rejected plans for a £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, dashing industry hopes of Britain leading development of a new source of renewable energy. Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green party said it had been a day “of government-induced environmental disaster”. “First they plough ahead with Heathrow expansion, and now they put a nail in the coffin of the tidal lagoon. They really have taken a wrecking ball to the UK’s climate policies.” The growing concern around the government’s environmental strategy was highlighted by two new developments on Tuesday. Firstly, a coalition of clean air campaigners, green transport groups and environmentalists – including WWF and Greenpeace – has warned that “repeated delays” in the publication of the government’s strategy for sustainable road transport risks undermining the UK’s electric car industry and entrenching dangerous levels of air pollution for decades to come.
Guardian 27th June 2018 read more »
Many of those MPs who marched through the lobbies to vote in favour of expanding Heathrow this week – Labour parliamentarians among them – will speak eloquently, if pushed, about the threat of climate change. Unfortunately their words have been rendered meaningless by their vote. You cannot truly fear the impact of climate change and then opt to raise aviation emissions by 7.3m tonnes of carbon dioxide – a figure that, as Greenpeace notes, is equivalent to the annual total output of Cyprus. The talk of promoting jobs and economic growth that swirled around the vote is self-destructive short-termism. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the floods, droughts and heatwaves that climate change will bring will cost the economy tens of billions of pounds, as well as hundreds of thousands of jobs, by 2050. By focusing on high-carbon infrastructure as a means to create jobs, we distract ourselves from exploring how we can create hundreds of thousands of skilled, well-paid, secure jobs in the renewable energy sector, as Germany has done. A disastrous vote then, but also one that offers a revealing insight into what the Tory approach to Brexit means. According to her spokesman, Theresa May believes that expanding Heathrow “sends out an important message about global Britain and making the most of the opportunities which lie ahead of us”.
Guardian 28th June 2018 read more »
BusinessGreen unveils a blueprint for seizing the clean tech opportunity and honouring the Paris Agreement’s most important clause. How can governments and businesses ensure they make a full and fair contribution to the Paris Agreement’s overarching goal of achieving “a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century”? The answer is through the adoption of credible net zero targets and strategies that chart a path towards a genuine net zero economy. To mark the launch of BusinessGreen’s Net Zero Now campaign we are today publishing a Net Zero Manifesto, sketching out how governments and businesses can best deliver the coherent goals, policies, and actions that will drive the emergence of net zero economies by mid-century. The intention is not to source signatories or endorsements for the below manifesto, but rather to help shape debate in a field that is as fast-moving as it is critically important.
Business Green 26th June 2018 read more »
The question asked in the Guardian leader: “Hinkley Point C got the go-ahead despite its cost. So why not Swansea Bay?” has a number of credible answers. Firstly, you cannot warheads for nuclear weapons of mass destruction form any by-products of a tidal lagoon as you can from Hinkley C’s plutonium. Indeed, when Hinkley A was being developed in the late the Ministry of Defence issued clear statement on: “the production of plutonium suitable for weapons in the new [nuclear ] power stations programme as an insurance against future defence needs…” (17 June 1958)
David Lowry’s Blog 27th June 2018 read more »