Carbon Pricing

Government to explore Policy Exchange’s 2018 recommendation for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

This week the Government announced that it is considering taxing imports from countries that don’t match the UK’s carbon emissions standards – a measure known as a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). That would be a major change to customs and trade policy, and suggests a fundamental shift in the UK’s strategy for addressing climate change.

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We should be preparing for a Russian gas shut-off

Over the weekend, long-held policy positions fell like dominoes in Berlin. Having already blocked his country’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia, Olaf Scholz committed to two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipping terminals and a review of Germany’s anti-nuclear power policy. He is decoupling his economy from Russian gas.

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For Levelling Up to succeed a green industrial policy is needed: this requires the right sort of government intervention

In the eyes of many, 2021 was an extraordinary year for environmental politics. Within hours of becoming president, Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would be re-joining the Paris agreement. Meanwhile, in Glasgow, a twelve-day summit on climate change was wound up with promises on all sides, including a commitment to phase-down the use of coal. Globally, these events took place against a backdrop of record-breaking fires, heatwaves and floods.

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What does the Levelling Up White Paper mean for Energy and Environment policy?

The Secretary of State’s foreword to the Levelling Up White Paper starts by praising the redevelopment of Teesside under the guidance of Mayor Ben Houchen. Central to Houchen’s strategy is to revitalise Teesside’s manufacturing industry with new factories building offshore wind turbines, new carbon capture projects, and new hydrogen technologies.

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More trees in cities will make us healthier, happier and more resilient

Edward O. Wilson, the famous naturalist who wrote Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, died on Boxing Day at the age of 92. Recognised as an influential if controversial ecologist and the world’s leading expert on the behaviour of ants, Wilson was among the first biologists to argue that human beings have an innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes. The object of this reflection was summarised by a single word, “biophilia”, which served as the title of Wilson’s 1986 book.

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“Electric petrol stations” are important, but don’t forget “slow” chargepoints.

Last week (Thursday 13th January), a new electric vehicle charging hub opened in London, replacing an existing petrol station. Ultra-rapid charging hubs like this will be extremely important to support EV drivers who need to charge up quickly on the move.

However, the Government must not overlook the role of “slow” chargepoints (circa 5kW). These chargepoints take several hours to an electric vehicle (EV), but can be installed cheaply in homes and businesses, often without requiring expensive new electricity cables or digging up roads.

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Latest Environment & Energy Publications

Great Restorations

Great Restorations

Polling for Policy Exchange that finds each policy measure within the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution receives moderate or strong support. The results appear to vindicate short-term government strategy, with 73% supporting the use of public money to invest in residential energy efficiency measures and a majority of the population backing the ban of petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

Reforming Australia’s electricity market

Reforming Australia’s electricity market

Following a regional blackout in 2016, the Australian Governments established review of their electricity market. In October this year, Ministers approved a package of reforms to Australia’s National Electricity Market. This report explores the Australian reforms and looks for lessons for the UK.

Nature and the City

Nature and the City

Following periods of lockdown in 2020 and 2021, many people discovered a renewed appreciation for local green spaces, particularly in urban areas.
However, over the last 20 years, the amount of urban green space in England fell by 8%, with a corresponding decline in some species, particularly bird.
This report explores measures to increase access to nature in urban areas, for example by planting trees and by requiring new homes to include specialist bricks that can provide habitats for birds and bees.

Latest Environment & Energy Blogs

We should be preparing for a Russian gas shut-off

We should be preparing for a Russian gas shut-off

Over the weekend, long-held policy positions fell like dominoes in Berlin. Having already blocked his country’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia, Olaf Scholz committed to two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipping terminals and a review of Germany’s anti-nuclear power policy. He is decoupling his economy from Russian gas.

For Levelling Up to succeed a green industrial policy is needed: this requires the right sort of government intervention

For Levelling Up to succeed a green industrial policy is needed: this requires the right sort of government intervention

In the eyes of many, 2021 was an extraordinary year for environmental politics. Within hours of becoming president, Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would be re-joining the Paris agreement. Meanwhile, in Glasgow, a twelve-day summit on climate change was wound up with promises on all sides, including a commitment to phase-down the use of coal. Globally, these events took place against a backdrop of record-breaking fires, heatwaves and floods.

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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  • Thursday, 31 March, 2022
    12:00 - 13:00

Policy Exchange invites you to a keynote speech Sir Dieter Helm, CBE, Professor of Economic Policy, University of Oxford, Fellow in Economics, New College, Oxford.

Venue:  

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

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  • Thursday, 10 February, 2022
    11:30 - 12:30

Policy Exchange invites you to a panel discussion with Huw Merriman MP, Member of Parliament for Bexhill and Battle, Chair, Transport Select Committee. Meera Vadher, Director, Flint Global, Former Special Advisor to the Transport Secretary. Ben Southwood, Senior Fellow, Policy Exchange.

Venue:  

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

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  • Thursday, 20 January, 2022
    11:00 - 12:00

The UK’s commitment to Net Zero emissions by 2050 will impact the whole economy. In this event, the panel explored the challenges and opportunities for small businesses as the economy transitions to lower-carbon technologies such as electric vehicles, lower-carbon heating systems, and more sustainable supply chains.

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  • Friday, 5 November, 2021
    10:30 - 11:30

Hon Angus Taylor MP Australian Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Introduction by  Hon Alexander Downer AC Chairman of Policy Exchange Chaired by Dean Godson Director, Policy Exchange (more…)

Venue:  

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

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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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  • Thursday, 21 October, 2021
    12:45 - 13:45

Rt Hon Dr Thérèse Coffey MP
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Chaired by

Ed Birkett
Senior Research Fellow, Energy and Environment

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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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