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Remember ‘Vote Blue, Go Green’?  David Cameron promised to bring a progressive environmental agenda with him into Downing Street.  After four years in government Cameron has been reported to want to ‘cut the green crap’ and has allowed the Treasury to act accordingly. Quite a turnaround. The latest evidence of the complete abandonment of the green agenda by the Tories is the announcement that they would place a moratorium on onshore wind… Read More

What has happened to progressive ideas on energy policy?  Politicians seem to be locked in a rhetorical battle to go further and further backwards. There’s talk of a windfall tax which we tried in the noughties; some want a pool which we ditched in the nineties; and some want direct price manipulation which was the fashion of the seventies.  Nationalisation is a word that keeps getting cheers on Question Time.  The debate… 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

As the Energy Bill  hots up this week, it is essential that the government keeps its head and resists calls for a new target of 50gCO2/kWh by 2030.  Here’s how I see it: Why now? – targets that attempt to centrally mandate a rapid scale-up of renewables should not be set until there is more certainty on grid resiliance, energy storage, CCS and demand management. – the problems of the UK’s planning… Read More

It was no lesser authority than Kenny Rogers who revealed in his 1978 country classic that ‘Every gambler knows; the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep’.   It is a logic that has been whispered around card tables and hollered at barn dances from Kent to Kentucky ever since.  But today saw perhaps its most unusual application to date.  Forget the precautionary principle or sustainable… Read More

You don’t need to buy The Daily Mail to get hold of the priceless banter on its opinion pages;  it shouts abuse at you across the newsagent; it bellows out bile from petrol station forecourts; it downloads its distress onto your smartphone.  It’s an addictive dose of comedy, parody and parallel reality.   One editorial column caught my eye recently, included the following line: ‘in the depths of this rapidly worsening economic crisis……this…….. 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

I’m finding talk of 2030 a little unnerving.  In 17 years I will be nearing 50 and my 3 month old daughter will be learning to drive. I’ll be into corderoys, Christmas-jumpers and Classic FM, she’ll have swapped her baby gro for a onesie, her dummie for a tongue piercing and her BCG jab for a tattoo. Yet, there is hope that some things will be brighter in 2030.  And (to a… Read More

Decarbonisation is an ugly, overweight word.  On twitter it is cut to ‘decarb’; like a statutory pasta rationing regime.  But for green groups, it’s the rationing of targets not tagliatelle that is causing stomachs to rumble. Not satisfied with emissions targets for 2050 and 2020, binding carbon budgets, EU renewables targets and global emissions pledges, some environmentalists are demanding another helping of targets.  Or perhaps this is the icing on a layered… Read More

Air travel makes the world smaller – connecting businesses and allowing individuals to travel the world – adding to GDP as well as bringing pleasure into people’s lives. But  jet engines don’t run on thin air. Aviation emissions currently account for approximately 2% of total CO2 emissions with significant aviation demand growth expected in the short and medium term, particularly in Middle East and Asia. The World Economic Forum calculates that CO2… Read More