There was a moment during the Prime Minister’s highly anticipated environment speech when something quite unexpected happened. For the majority of the 25 minutes, Theresa May attempted to communicate the contents and commitments of the 151-page Environment Plan (PDF, 11MB). Emphasis was given to the recent progress in banning microbeads as well as the nine billion fewer plastic bags used following the introduction of the 5p charge in retail outlets across the UK. Yet, what stood out was not so much the bedazzling spread of content. Instead, it was a rare admission.Seeming to go momentarily off script, May described how commonly today ‘we look back in horror at some of the damage done to our environment in the past,’ citing the historical dumping of toxic chemical into rivers. ‘In years to come,’ she added, ‘I think people will be shocked at how today we allow so much plastic to be produced needlessly.’The PM could easily have been talking … [Read more...] about Does the UK government’s 25-Year Environment Plan go far enough? Featured
Conservatives uk policies
There was a moment during the Prime Minister’s highly anticipated environment speech when something quite unexpected happened. For the majority of the 25 minutes, Theresa May attempted to communicate the contents and commitments of the 151-page Environment Plan (PDF, 11MB). Emphasis was given to the recent progress in banning microbeads as well as the nine billion fewer plastic bags used following the introduction of the 5p charge in retail outlets across the UK. Yet, what stood out was not so much the bedazzling spread of content. Instead, it was a rare admission.Seeming to go momentarily off script, May described how commonly today ‘we look back in horror at some of the damage done to our environment in the past,’ citing the historical dumping of toxic chemical into rivers. ‘In years to come,’ she added, ‘I think people will be shocked at how today we allow so much plastic to be produced needlessly.’The PM could easily have been talking … [Read more...] about Does the UK government’s 25-Year Environment Plan go far enough?
Pacific Tourism Leaders’ Forum, meeting in Sydney, are calling the tax ‘ill conceived and draconian’.Pacific Asia Travel Association, fear that such taxes act as a barrier to trade and development within the region, given its high dependence on the tourist dollar.“The UKAPD has raised alarm bells across the region’s tourism sector and catalysed the formation of the Forum. This tax is politically motivated and is clearly the result of poor policy making,” said Matt Hingerty, Managing Director of the Australian Tourism Export Council and a member of the PTLF. “It is difficult to understand that a global economic power such as the United Kingdom could act with such insensitivity. This draconian tax serves only to generate revenue with absolutely no benefit to the environment that it purports to protect.”“The impact will be even more severe if other European nations choose to adopt this type of tax on travel. Indeed, the effects of such … [Read more...] about Pacific tourism leaders slam UK ‘tax on travel’
Every major scientific body in the world, from the UK’s Royal Society to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, endorses the view that greenhouse gas emissions from human economic activity are warming the globe and altering our climate. The US National Academy of Sciences calls climate change a ‘fact’.Out of more than 14,000 scientific articles on climate change, all but a few dozen accept this consensus position, as do more than 95 out of every 100 climate experts. The latest IPCC report expressed 95 per cent certainty that human activity is responsible for the observed warming during the past few decades.Case closed? Within the scientific literature and at scientific conferences, such as the meetings of the American Geophysical Union, the answer is yes. There’s no scientific argument about the fundamentals of human-induced global warming, and the scientific debate has moved on to other, more specific, questions, such as whether or not the … [Read more...] about Mind over matter
The report, ‘Responding to a Changing Arctic’, states that without a specific Arctic representative, the UK is in danger of being ‘outmanoeuvred’ in the region by countries that do have them, leaving it powerless both in promoting its own interests in the Arctic (in sectors such as fossil fuel extraction and new shipping routes) and in decisions about conserving the region.It criticises the UK’s recent attempts at engagement with the region as being too hesitant and cautious, stating: ‘the UK’s approach needs to be more strategic, better coordinated and more self-confident and proactive, or the UK risks being outmanoeuvred by other states with less experience in the Arctic.’‘The Arctic is changing in front of our eyes. That change is momentous and unprecedented,’ declared Lord Teverson, chairman of the House of Lords Arctic Committee. ‘It will bring both difficulties and opportunities and it is vital that the UK takes … [Read more...] about Arctic ambassador advised for UK
Since the Ukraine crisis began there has been an increase in Russian military activity to test reactions across Europe, including Finland. In late summer, Russian naval and air units intercepted a Finnish research ship on two occasions. Russian Air Force aircraft have also violated Finland’s airspace on multiple occasions, according to a report into increased Russian military activity from the European Leadership Network, a UK-based think tank.Finland is a member of the EU, but not the NATO military alliance. Russia’s actions have led to speculation in the media that Finland will join the alliance to warn Russia off. The country's current policy is to reserve the right to join while having no plans to do so while at the same time remaining militarily non-aligned and seeking partnership with NATO.‘Finnish–Russian bilateral relations are characterised by stability with the emphasis on practical issues, primarily trade and business as well as … [Read more...] about Will Finland say ‘joo’ or ‘ei’ to NATO?
Both the Australian government and its Prime Minister Tony Abbott have been public critics of international efforts to heed warnings on climate change and to curb global greenhouse emissions – most noticeably by cutting Australia’s domestic carbon tax. But even so, Australia has had a poor year with regards to climate change prevention efforts, according to the 2015 Climate Change Performance Index by NGOs Germanwatch and CAN Europe. Abbott and his compatriots ranked just 60th out of 61 countries on the report, and were joined in the bottom five by Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Canada and Iran.The Index measures five different categories: emissions levels, emissions development, renewable energy, efficiency and policy. For the third year in a row, Denmark was at the top of the rankings, followed by Sweden, the UK, Portugal, and Cyprus.Notably, the top three places in the Index remain empty, highlighting that ‘no country is doing enough to prevent dangerous … [Read more...] about Australia vs the environment
The people have spoken, and what they’re saying – judging by the results of the European elections in May – is that the level of immigration into the UK is too high.No issue, it seems, is as politicised as that of inward migration. UKIP’s recent campaign was built around posters that declared that 26 million people in Europe were looking for work, before asking: ‘And whose jobs are they after?’. The Conservative party has promised an in/out referendum on Europe for 2017 should they win the next election and pledged to reduce annual net immigration to below 100,000 by next year. Independent think tank Migration Watch UK has declared that ‘we must build a new home every seven minutes for new migrants’. And who can forget the Home Office’s mobile adverts last year declaring that illegal immigrants should ‘go home or face arrest’?Given the heated nature of the political debate, it might come as a surprise to learn that … [Read more...] about Alien views
Tired of London, tired of life, as Dr Johnson so neatly put it. However, his further claim that ‘there is in London all that life can afford’ has likely raised many an eyebrow over the intervening years, not least by the millions who flocked to the surrounding suburbs following the birth of the railways, escaping the fabled dirt, grime and squalor of the city. While undoubtedly a place where culture, society and business thrive, London has never epitomised a popular vision of an ecological hotspot.In the recent 2016 Mayoral election, won by Labour's Sadiq Khan, the environment – from air pollution to green spaces to cycle lanes to solar energy – was very much on the agenda. This can be partially attributed to a 21st century world where ‘liveability’ and ‘green cities’ are increasingly en vogue, moving from mere buzzwords to genuine concrete policies. However, the city’s 8.6 million residents have also spent the past four years … [Read more...] about London: a walk in the park
The scale of the problem facing the need to keep the majority of known carbon reserves ‘in the ground’ has been exposed by a report jointly produced by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Oil Change International. Entitled Empty Promises: G20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production, it finds that despite committing to scale back the size of fossil fuel subsidies as far back as 2009, the G20 – the world’s biggest economies, including the US, China, India and the EU – paid out a total of $452billion to subsidise the production of coal, oil and gas in 2013 and 2014.This figure breaks down as $78billion delivered directly through spending and tax breaks, $286billion through investments by state-owned enterprises, and $88billion through payments from majority government-owned banks and financial institutions. It comes on top of a previous ODI/Oil Change International report, which found the G20 … [Read more...] about Dirty money