Environmental Affairs – The Geopolitics of Climate Change

Environmental Affairs is Policy Exchange’s quarterly journal, which explores the implications of the growing role of environmental policy. As environmental questions are increasingly felt in other areas, from economics, to security, to foreign affairs, we look at what these overlaps will mean. Our contributors are world leaders, distinguished thinkers and experts in their fields, drawn from the UK and around the world.

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Capital Shift

In 2021, the UK will host the G7 and COP26 and take a key part in other major summits, giving it a unique opportunity to lead the global diplomatic agenda. This report argues that he UK should use its position to drive a programme of green finance reforms that will enable a fundamental shift to a sustainable global economy.

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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.

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Charging Up

The UK’s commitment to phase out new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 was at the heart of the Prime Minister’s recent ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’.  This commitment reflects both sharp reductions in the cost of electric vehicles (EVs) and the urgent need to clean up the transport sector, which is now the UK’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

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Powering Net Zero

The UK Government’s commitment to quadruple offshore wind capacity by 2030 will transform Great Britain’s electricity system. However, it poses serious challenges for the electricity market. Market conditions during the summer lockdown showed that the Government needs to make reforms, otherwise costs will rise and customers won’t benefit from the falling cost of wind and solar.

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The Future of the North Sea

The North Sea is strategically central to meeting the UK’s target of Net Zero emissions by 2050. By fully developing offshore wind, the North Sea could provide one-third of the UK’s energy needs, and this proportion will grow if low-carbon hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) are also fully developed.

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Latest Environment & Energy Publications

Powering Net Zero

Powering Net Zero

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The UK Government’s commitment to quadruple offshore wind capacity by 2030 will transform Great Britain’s electricity system. However, it poses serious challenges for the electricity market. Market conditions during the summer lockdown showed that the Government needs to make reforms, otherwise costs will rise and customers won’t benefit from the falling cost of wind and solar.

The Future of UK-EU Energy Cooperation

The Future of UK-EU Energy Cooperation

Since the 1980s, UK and EU energy markets have become increasingly intertwined. Brexit doesn’t have to set back the development of a secure, affordable, low-carbon energy system in the UK and the EU, but new approaches to will be needed.

In this paper, Policy Exchange explores new models for UK-EU energy cooperation based on shared interests in competitive energy markets, robust carbon pricing, and the sharing of renewable energy resources across borders.

Latest Environment & Energy Blogs

Reform energy market to ensure supplies when it’s not windy.

Reform energy market to ensure supplies when it’s not windy.

New figures show that 2020 was the greenest year yet for the UK’s electricity supply, with nearly 60% of electricity produced by low-carbon sources. Offshore wind is now the driving force behind the UK’s greener grid, growing by around a quarter annually and already providing 17% of our electricity.

Four negative emission technologies (NETs) that could get us to Net Zero

Four negative emission technologies (NETs) that could get us to Net Zero

Reaching Net Zero requires more than just reducing emissions. To account for processes that will be exceptionally difficult to decarbonise completely (such as steel or cement making), we actually have to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, thereby balancing out at ‘net’ zero.

‘Negative emissions’ technologies (NETs), also known as Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) technologies, allow us to do that. They remove greenhouse gases – usually carbon dioxide – from the atmosphere and they are needed to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

Latest Environment & Energy News

Michael Taylor gives evidence to Environment Committee

Michael Taylor gives evidence to Environment Committee

Farmers should be rewarded for land stewardship and public goods, and removing tariffs will increase consumer choice and keep prices down, helping the poorest most. That was the message Policy Exchange’s Economics Research Fellow Michael Taylor gave to the EFRA Select Committee when discussing Farming Tomorrow, our seminal report on opportunities for replacing the Common Agricultural Policy after Brexit.

Policy Exchange report on Small Modular Reactors features in Financial Times

Policy Exchange report on Small Modular Reactors features in Financial Times

Policy Exchange’s report on Small Modular Reactors featured in a Financial Times article on the challenges faced by the nuclear industry. Energy and Environment Research Fellow Matt Rooney commented that SMRs are “among the best options for meeting the “previously unthinkable levels of new low-carbon electricity” that will be needed in coming years to charge electric vehicles and replace coal and gas”.

Latest Environment & Energy Events

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A clearer vision of India’s place as a leader has helped to move India towards climate action but requires action from the West to keep it there, argues Mihir S Sharma in our new journal, Environmental Affairs. policyexchange.org.u…