Environmental Affairs – Unleashing Climate Capital

Environmental Affairs is Policy Exchange’s quarterly journal, which explores the implications of the growing role of environmental policy. In this edition, Unleashing Climate Capital, our contributors consider policies promoting green investments, including the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) investment agenda.

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Five options to reduce energy bills

Energy policy is back on the front pages, with stories about rising energy bills, energy suppliers going bust, and concerns over security of supply, with the UK’s electricity grid appearing to creak even before demand ramps up during the winter.

It’s a formidable in-tray for new Energy Minister Greg Hands, who will benefit from working alongside BEIS Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, a former Energy Minister himself.

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Policy Exchange

Planning for Net Zero

Two of the Government’s top priorities for reforming the planning system are: to deliver more and more- beautiful homes, and reducing carbon emissions so that Britain is emitting no more carbon than it is absorbing (‘Net Zero’). Though each of the priorities affects the other substantially, they are often considered in isolation. Due to a lack of published and timely work analysing this interaction, Policy Exchange convened a variety of experts in July 2021 for a roundtable discussion on the interactions between climate, environment and planning.

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Crossed Wires

The sheer number of new wind farms now planned in the UK means that there is increasing local concern over the number of new ‘grid connections’ required to connect offshore wind farms to the onshore electricity network. Without more coordination between projects, the impact of this new infrastructure on local communities and the environment risks similar local backlash to onshore wind farms and fracking.

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Beyond COP26: The UK’s Green USPs

This report launches Policy Exchange’s new programme, Beyond COP26, in the run up to the COP26 climate conference that the UK will host in Glasgow later this year. The programme is co-chaired by two former Energy Secretaries, Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP and Rt Hon Amber Rudd.

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Is Net Zero a “dangerous trap”?

Voices in the environment sector have long fired criticisms at Net Zero, the Government’s target for eradicating emissions by the middle of this century. Last year, Greta Thunberg argued that the world should ‘forget’ Net Zero, and an article recently posted by The Conversation argued it is a “dangerous trap”. However, the opposite is true; Net Zero is a practical and a political victory for the decarbonisation agenda, not a dangerous trap worth forgetting.

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Latest Environment & Energy Publications

Planning for Net Zero

Planning for Net Zero

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Two of the Government’s top priorities for reforming the planning system are: to deliver more and more- beautiful homes, and reducing carbon emissions so that Britain is emitting no more carbon than it is absorbing (‘Net Zero’). Though each of the priorities affects the other substantially, they are often considered in isolation. Due to a lack of published and timely work analysing this interaction, Policy Exchange convened a variety of experts in July 2021 for a roundtable discussion on the interactions between climate, environment and planning.

Crossed Wires

Crossed Wires

The sheer number of new wind farms now planned in the UK means that there is increasing local concern over the number of new ‘grid connections’ required to connect offshore wind farms to the onshore electricity network. Without more coordination between projects, the impact of this new infrastructure on local communities and the environment risks similar local backlash to onshore wind farms and fracking.

Latest Environment & Energy Blogs

Five options to reduce energy bills

Five options to reduce energy bills

Energy policy is back on the front pages, with stories about rising energy bills, energy suppliers going bust, and concerns over security of supply, with the UK’s electricity grid appearing to creak even before demand ramps up during the winter.

It’s a formidable in-tray for new Energy Minister Greg Hands, who will benefit from working alongside BEIS Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, a former Energy Minister himself.

Is Net Zero a “dangerous trap”?

Is Net Zero a “dangerous trap”?

Voices in the environment sector have long fired criticisms at Net Zero, the Government’s target for eradicating emissions by the middle of this century. Last year, Greta Thunberg argued that the world should ‘forget’ Net Zero, and an article recently posted by The Conversation argued it is a “dangerous trap”. However, the opposite is true; Net Zero is a practical and a political victory for the decarbonisation agenda, not a dangerous trap worth forgetting.

Good moves in the Government’s Trees Action Plan

Good moves in the Government’s Trees Action Plan

The Government’s tree strategy for England arrived this week, setting out a range of welcome measures designed to meet its manifesto promise of 30,000 hectares of new trees per year by the end of the Parliament. That’s about three times the current rate and it’s a tall order. Compared to places like France and Germany, which have tree cover upwards of 30%, the UK has a paltry 13%.

Latest Environment & Energy News

Charging Up

Charging Up

The Energy & Environment Unit at Policy Exchange launched a paper warning that the installation of electric vehicle chargepoints would have to be five times faster during the 2020s to make the petrol and diesel vehicle ban workable. The report was authored by Ed Birkett, Senior Fellow and William Nicolle, Research Fellow at Policy Exchange. The release coincided with the Government’s announcement of £20m additional funding for EV charging infrastructure. Read coverage of the report in The Telegraph, Sky News, Bloomberg and BBC News. Read the report here.

Latest Environment & Energy Events

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  • Friday, 29 October, 2021
    11:00 - 12:00

This event will launch the new edition of Environmental Affairs, Policy Exchange’s journal examining the overlap between environment and other policy areas. Our new edition, on the topic of ‘unleashing climate capital’, will feature leading policy thinkers including Dambisa Moyo, former Energy Secretaries Rt Hon Dame Andrea Leadsom MP and Rt Hon Amber Rudd, and Pensions Minister Guy Opperman MP.

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  • Tuesday, 13 April, 2021
    15:00 - 16:00

Launching Environmental Affairs, a new policy journal, General David Petraeus delivered a keynote speech presenting a framework for approaching geopolitical risks in an age of climate change. As environmental issues rise up the political agenda throughout the world, they increasingly touch on all areas of public policy.

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  • Thursday, 11 March, 2021
    16:00 - 17:00

The North Sea offers opportunities to decarbonise the UK economy while generating economic benefits for the regions that border it. It’s future development is therefore strategically central to delivering two of the Government’s flagship agendas: Net Zero, and Levelling Up. 

Policy Exchange examined these issues in its recent report, The Future of the North Sea. The report found that the basin could generate up to £20bn per year of investment in coastal regions and a net increase of up to 40,000 direct jobs connected to its energy industry.

Panel with Ben Houchen, Melanie Onn, Nicola Shaw CBE, Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Chaired by Benedict McAleenan.

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  • Tuesday, 26 January, 2021
    10:30 - 11:30

The UK’s Net Zero target requires all sectors of the economy to decarbonise, particularly electricity, transport, heating, and industry. At this event, the panel will discuss the main elements of the UK Government’s recent Energy White Paper, including any areas where the Government could have gone further.

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  • Wednesday, 17 October, 2018
    11:30 - 13:15

The concept of a ‘hydrogen economy’ has been put forward by proponents for many decades. In theory, this abundant element is a perfect solution to our clean energy needs. It does not produce greenhouse gases when burned, it can be stored in large quantities for long periods, and it can be used as a fuel in virtually every sector of our economy, from transport to heavy industry to home heating. Despite the notion existing for some time, and recognition of the environmental benefits that this entails, it is yet to materialise fully.

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  • Tuesday, 18 September, 2018
    12:00 - 14:00

About the event The UK energy system is undergoing a transformation towards a decarbonised, decentralised, and digitalised future. According to research by the Carbon Trust and Imperial College London, a smart flexible electricity grid could help the UK cut carbon more cheaply, saving up to £40bn between now and 2050. The National Infrastructure Commission concluded that a (more…)

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  • Tuesday, 14 November, 2017
    12:30 - 14:00

Policy Exchange invites you to a discussion of the role of business energy productivity in delivering clean growth. Despite policymakers actively considering what to do next, there is still a need for significant thinking to progress from the generic barriers identified to the concrete policy recommendations set out in this report.

Venue:  

Address:
Policy Exchange, 1 Old Queen Street, London, SW1H 9AJ, United Kingdom

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  • Monday, 25 September, 2017
    17:30 - 18:30

Speakers: Andy McDonald MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Lilian Greenwood MP, Chair, Transport Select Committee, Prof Marcus Newborough, Development Director, ITM Power, Marcus Stewart, Head of Energy Insights, UK Energy Strategy, National Grid, Mike Copson, Hydrogen Business Development Manager, Shell New Energies, Matt Rooney, Energy and Environment Research Fellow, Policy Exchange

Venue:  

Address:
Labour Party Conference, Hall 7, Clyde, Brighton Hilton Metropole, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 2FU, United Kingdom

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