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Being an election candidate is a wonderful privilege, but at times it’s frustrating.  Whether on the doorstep, or at a hustings or in a leaflet, it’s difficult to get the full message across.  I’ve found that in relation to planning reform, so I thought I’d elaborate here. There is no doubt that the failure of the planning system is the number one issue coming up on the doorstep. I agree that the… Read More

Enjoying the September sun amongst the sun-kissed bourgeois of Biarritz, it’s easy to forget that France has a Socialist government. But you only have to turn on the power to see the light of the left is still shining. Electricite de France (EDF) is still 85% owned by the French state and has grown to be the world’s largest producer of electricity. Yet, even with this enormous low-carbon monopoly under its control… Read More

The conclusion of the government’s consultation on planning guidance for onshore wind farms in England has thrown up some significant changes.  Here are my initial thoughts: – the idea of discounts on energy bills for communities living near wind farms is logical, simple, and personal.  It is a shame that it has taken so long for developers to offer this incentive.  But it will set an interesting precedent in planning  – should… Read More

There is a radical idea doing the rounds. So radical in fact that in years gone by, earlier forms of the idea have brought down governments, destroyed political parties, even brought the country to the brink of civil war. It’s explosive stuff.  Political dynamite. Being too technical to fit into an abusive UKIP tweet means it has passed the local elections by. But if the Kippers only knew it was about a… Read More

Last week’s by-election result has thrown the cat amongst the political pigeons, and the spirit of revolution has made it through to the Observer’s business pages.  Citing the refusal of Centrica to use its enormous profits to build more gas-fired power stations in the short term,  today’s Business Leader asks the surprising rhetorical: “Should not public money go into….a publicly owned utility?”. I had thought that agitating for nationalisation was something the Guardian… Read More

When cap-and-trade was introduced as the primary policy tool to drive emission reductions in Europe in 2005, it marked something of a policy revolution. From the ancien regime of command-and-control regulation here was something that represented a brave new world of efficient and flexible controls on pollution.  Old rules which had been watered-down, manipulated and evaded by vested interests would be guillotined by the unwavering blade of the EU Commission’s cap. The… Read More

We are only three weeks into 2013 and there is already a feeling of a revolution in the world of climate policy. Led by a courageous and unexpected inauguration speech by Obama, the world’s second biggest polluter is finally awakening from its long apathetic slumber over emissions reductions. Years of hard ground-work have led to the successful launch of the California Carbon Trading Scheme and moves by the Environmental Protection Agency to… Read More

White Out in Carbon Market as Auction Fails Could the 18th January be the day that national governments and legislators were finally jolted into action to rescue the EU carbon market? On the day that most of London was snowed in with the heating on full blast, there was a major shock as a large carbon auction being run by the German government on the new EU platform failed for the first… Read More

The annual summit of the UNFCCC (the international body charged with coming to agreements on action against climate change) has ended with some progress.  Rejoice! The commitment from developed nations to compensate the developing world for ‘loss and damage’ caused by climate change is a positive step.  It hard-wires the repayment of the ‘climate debt’ owed by the industrialised global ‘north’ to the developing global ‘south’ into the negotiating text.   What it… Read More

Tony Blair arrived back in the UK to thrust his well worn stick into another bee’s nest issue over the weekend – this time Europe.  I hope our leaders were listening.  Blair’s cosy relationship with Europe may not have been the handbag swinging that would have pleased everyone, but it is the right way to ensure the UK’s voice was heard in our biggest trading block.   Blair is bringing the right… Read More