Tag Archives: climate change

Andrew Stunell MP writes… The Building Regulations: Taking the next step towards zero carbon homes

As some of you may know from my previous postings, one of my responsibilities in Government is the Building Regulations. So far, so dull, right? On the face of it, you might be forgiven for thinking so, but the building regulations offer a number of key tools and levers to tackle the carbon emissions produced from our buildings. Yesterday, I announced a Government Consultation on the latest proposals for upgrading the building regulations, and they contain a number of key proposals to significantly improve the sustainability of our built environment.

The upgrading of the building regulations

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Opinion: If Cameron won’t attend Rio+20 then Clegg should

The Rio ‘Earth’ Summit in 1992 was the “world’s biggest ever political gathering” with 108 heads of state or government. Its successes and failures on the environment and development continue to shape those debates.

In June, Rio de Janeiro will host the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, a.k.a. Rio+20. A very early draft document suggests it will cover a wide range of topics, including access to food, water and energy; marine litter and pollution; eliminating “market distorting and environmentally harmful subsidies including those on fossil fuels, agriculture and fisheries” (I’ll believe it when I see …

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LibLink: Mark Pack – The three stories that really matters – even to Britain

Over on his work blog, the Voice’s Mark Pack has a post looking at three important stories which have been largely overshadowed by the domestic political ramifications of the prime minister’s veto.

Here’s the first issue Mark identifies:

The actual significance of the summit was the latest, most extensive and more desperate attempt to save the Euro. Judging from initial reactions by economists and the financial markets, this time a Euro summit may just have pulled it off. It has not already been written off as a failure which, compared to other summits on the same theme, already makes it more successful

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Chris Davies MEP writes… Slipping deeper into the tar sands

Last week we published Liberal Democrat minister Norman Baker’s defence of his approach to the tar sands issue. Here Chris Davies MEP explains his view…

The weak and obfuscating position on tar sands being taken by the Coalition Government is an embarrassment to every Liberal Democrat who wants to believe that having our representatives in office will advance the environmental agenda.  It may stem from nothing more than Whitehall’s traditional “Brits know better than Brussels” arrogance, but it is wrong-headed nonetheless.

The EU’s Fuel Quality Directive encourages oil producers the world over to lower the carbon intensity of their products in …

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Norman Baker responds to tar sands campaigns

Over the last week or so, visitors to the Lib Dem Voice may have seen articles purporting to outline my position, and that of the government’s, on the EU Fuel Quality Directive and the treatment of tar sands within it.  These articles have been misleading to say the least.  We in the Lib Dems have a proud history of fighting climate change and campaigning for environmental causes.  This is no different in the coalition and no different to the approach I am taking on the Directive.  I wanted to take this opportunity therefore to provide some facts which

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Revealed at last? Labour’s low carbon policy thinking

There’s one less blank sheet of paper at Labour HQ as the party gets ready to reveal how its policy review is progressing.

Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary Meg Hillier is to give a keynote address to green executives and industry leaders which will “for the first time offer a detailed insight into the opposition’s low carbon policy thinking.”

Looking forward to finally hearing what Labour think, 9 months and 7 days after first appointed as Chris Huhne’s shadow!

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Chris Davies MEP writes: Conservatives and climate change – Tuesday’s revealing vote in Strasbourg

While Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is at the fore of efforts in the European Council to raise EU ambitions for reducing CO2 emissions, Conservative MEPs are refusing to back the Government’s position, and look set this week instead to demonstrate their real views about efforts to curb global warming.

At issue is a vote due to take place in Strasbourg on Tuesday that will determine the Parliament’s stance on the European Commission’s strategy to promote a low carbon economy. The result is on a knife edge.

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Chris Huhne writes… The economics of low-carbon

We Liberal Democrats need no convincing of the urgent need to tackle climate change. Indeed, that’s why there’s a Liberal Democrat minister heading the Department of Energy and Climate Change – one of the most important contributions we bring to the coalition government.

Not everyone in the UK, however, is yet so persuaded, and we also face problems in pressing the case abroad. Last summer, together with my French and German counterparts, I opened a debate in the EU over adopting a more ambitious emissions reduction target for 2020 (of 30 per cent, instead of the current 20 per cent), but …

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Huhne and Clegg launch government’s Carbon Plan

Yesterday Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne launched the Government’s Carbon Plan, setting out in draft form the steps the government will take to cut carbon emissions. The plan is now going out to consultation, with the final version due in the Autumn.

There are three priority areas in the plan for change in the way we do things: electricity generation, heating of homes and workplaces and transportation. The plan also commits the government to working for tough international agreements on tackling climate change.

Reflecting Chris Huhne’s eagerness to see environmental action as being good for the economy as well as the environment, the plan was accompanied by a scheme to train at least 1,000 Green Deal apprentices. That would both help implement environmental improvements and provide people with the skills to get jobs.

Nick Clegg said at the launch that,

Nick CleggWe want to be the greenest government ever. We will reshape the economy, change the way we power our transport, heat our homes, and generate our electricity. We must put the development of the green economy at the centre of our ambitions to rebalance the economy.

The Green Deal is about the future – and it is important we ensure that future generations have the skills they need to take advantage of the opportunities of the green economy. These apprenticeships are a perfect example of how government and business can work together towards a low carbon future.

There is a noticeable difference between the comprehensive environmental action in the climate change plan (coming from a Liberal Democrat led department) and the government’s sustainability policies (coming from the Conservative-led Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

Key proposals in the plan include:

  • Legislating to create a floor in the carbon price by April 2011
  • Awarding the contract for the first UK Carbon Capture and Storage demonstration by end of this year
  • Getting the Green Investment Bank operational by September 2012
  • Reducing central government’s emissions by 10% in twelve months to May 2011

Nick Clegg talked about the plan on a visit to B & Q, one of the firms which has been at the forefront of building environmental considerations into its work. Here’s a short video from his visit:

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Denmark backs Chris Huhne’s push for tougher emission cut targets

A quick follow up to our story about the lively debate within the European Commission over the push from Chris Huhne and others for bigger emission cut targets – Denmark has now backed Chris Huhne’s position, as The Guardian reported:

The Danish government has stepped into the fray over Europe’s climate change targets, boosting the attempts of a group of member states to opt for more ambitious emissions cuts.

Denmark on Thursday set out its own vision for energy supplies in 2050, showing how the country could meet its aim of becoming independent of coal, oil and natural gas by

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European Commissioners debate as Chris Huhne pushes for tougher environmental targets

The Guardian reports,

Europe’s climate chief insisted on Monday that tougher greenhouse gas targets would improve the EU’s economic performance, rather than push businesses overseas, as companies and green campaigners tussled over whether current emissions goals were too weak…

Her words came as a row flared between Chris Huhne, the UK’s climate change secretary, and Günther Oettinger, the EU’s energy commissioner, over whether to toughen the European climate target from a cut of 20% in emissions by 2020 to a 30% cut.

Last week, Oettinger warned: “If we go alone to 30%, you will only have a faster process of de-industrialisation in

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Opinion: Climate change – what can you and I do and the Government won’t?

Now that the UK’s 1400 top scientists have spoken (“Climate Change, A summary of the science” from the Royal Society), there’s no longer any doubt that human activity is a significant cause of the steady warming of the planet over the last hundred years. So, unless we change our habits, we face an increasingly unstable climate, with rising sea levels and worsening floods and droughts leading to major disruption to food production. With the predicted rise in world population from six to ten billion by 2050, it is clear that humanity is in serious trouble.

So …

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So, what did Chris Huhne achieve in Cancun?

After the hype and disappointment over Copenhagen, the climate change talks in Cancun were also going to be much lower profile – a gentle attempt to have some successful preparatory work and build up momentum ahead of the next round of talks. However, with the tuition fees vote this week, Chris Huhne’s presence at the talks got rather more publicity than usual. But what actually happened at the talks?

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Chris Huhne announces ‘The Green Deal: Putting our ideas into practice’

Chris Huhne, Lib Dem secretary of state for energy and climate change, earlier this week emailed party members with the following message, illustrating how the party is putting green policies at the heart of the Coaltion:

Today I am announcing details of the Green Deal, a new and radical way of making energy efficiency improvements available to all, whether people own or rent their properties. Through the Green Deal everyone will have a chance to save energy, cut their bills and tackle climate change, just as we promised in our manifesto.

Initially, over the next two years, we will almost double

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Flip-flops, u-turns and how not to welcome converts

I was pleased to see the news this morning that Bjorn Lomborg’s views on climate change have shifted, particularly as his scepticism has often been rather thoughtful. In particularly, he opened up an important debating by pointing out that money spent on stopping global warming needs to be judged against not only global warming’s likelihood and likely impact but also against the benefits that could be got from spending the money in other ways, such as improving basic health services across the developing world.

Reading the coverage today closely, it does seem as if the extent to which he has changed …

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The Independent View: The government must go further on climate change

Colin Challen was Labour MP for Morley and Rothwell 2001-2010 and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group:

I am living in hope that Chris Huhne has not been handed a poisoned chalice. From my time in parliament I know Chris to be a dedicated environmentalist who understands the issues as well as being open minded. Of course, as a former Labour MP I had differences of opinion, but on the substantive issues like the need for a proper global framework on climate change or the uselessness of nuclear power we were agreed. It is also true that on legislation …

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Lib Dem pressure succeeds as European countries push for tougher action on global warming

Britain, France and Germany have joined forces this week to call for a major toughening of the EU’s target for greenhouse gasses. They have called for the current target of a 20% cut by 2020 to be increased to 30%.

In a statement they also played up the potential economic benefits of the move, “If we stick to a 20 per cent cut, Europe is likely to lose the race to compete in a low-carbon world to countries such as China, Japan or the US, all of which are looking to create a more attractive environment for low-carbon investment.”

As the

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LibLink: Chris Huhne and Vince Cable – The green economy is still viable

Over at The Independent today, Lib Dem cabinet ministers Vince Cable and Chris Huhne argue that the Coalition Government’s plans to set up a Green Investment Bank, announced in the Budget, are of huge significance for establishing a successful green economy in this country. Here’s an excerpt:

… there is much to be decided about how this might work. Bob Wigley’s comprehensive review of the issue, published last week, sets out one possible model – a commercially independent bank given clear overarching goals for green investment in new technologies and infrastructure. Innovative green financial products could give an opportunity for individuals,

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Duncan Hames MP’s maiden speech

Back when Cix was the main way of talking to other Lib Dems online, a tradition emerged of posting Lib Dem MPs’ maiden speeches so that people could read them and respond – a tradition LDV would like to continue. Earlier today, we read Simon Wright’s speech, and tomorrow we will bring you David Ward.

Duncan’s speech is also available to view here at the Parliament website until 1 June 2011.

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make my maiden speech so early in this Parliament. I congratulate the hon. Members for Harlow (Robert Halfon) …

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Daily View 2×2: 10 April 2010 – featuring a Monty Python political broadcast

It’s Sunday. It’s 9am. It’s time for some Monty Python, but first the news.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Katyn touches another Polish generation

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Tackling climate change debates via YouTube

Peter Hadfield, formerly of the New Scientist, has taken to YouTube to tackle climate change sceptics as he recently explained on the Guardian’s Environment Blog:

After questioning and listening to hundreds of climate change “sceptics,” I have found that not all are conspiracy theorists or religious fundamentalists. Many are keen to learn about the science of climate change, but they have been learning about it from rather dubious sources.

So two years ago I began a series of videos on YouTube to explain the science, and rebut urban myths that spin round the internet and end up on the opinion pages of the Daily Express and the Wall Street Journal. The result has been astonishing. My channel, Potholer54, now has over 27,000 subscribers. The videos have been mirrored by others all over the internet, and several university lecturers have asked if they can use it in their environmental science classes. Most importantly, former sceptics tell me the videos have changed their minds about the reality of climate change.

That success, however, comes at a price. It means looking at the science – not scary and unrealistic images of submerged cities. It means accepting the fact that Al Gore is not always right, and he should not be defended when he’s wrong. It means acknowledging that while sceptics like Christopher Monckton and Martin Durkin fabricate a lot of their facts, many environmental activists tend to exaggerate theirs.

You can read the full piece here or view his YouTube channel here. But here’s his film addressing the claim that climate change is natural and always happens:

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Daily View 2×2: 18 February 2010

Welcome to my second Daily View of the week, as Alex continues his Caledonian cultural capers.

On this day five years ago, the ban on hunting with dogs came into force. As a long-term campaigner against blood sports, I don’t think it’s been the most successful piece of legislation ever. Today is also the anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s u-turn of 1981, when she withdrew plans to close 23 pits and agreed to reduce coal imports from eight million to five-and-a-half million tonnes over the next year. As we know, it was only a short reprieve.

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Daily View 2×2: 31 January 2009, presenting RISO: The Movie

It’s Sunday. It’s 9am. It’s time for RISO: The Movie, but first the news.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

It’s nearly time for RISO: The Movie. Nearly, but not quite…

2 Big Stories

India keeps Copenhagen pledge on emission cuts

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Three “disgusting, eco-fascist, bullying” questions for Conservatives

Cast your world-weary, battle-hardened, politico and political eyes over this disgusting filth spewing from the keyboard of swivel-eyed maniacs working through the night on behalf of some disreputable campaign to send vile messes to hard working Tory PPCs:

Can you clarify that:

You accept that climate change is caused by human activity?

Do you support the target to achieve 15% renewable energy by 2020?

Do you support the EU imposing tougher regulation to combat climate change?

Hardly the worst questions a campaigner will receive.

In my brief time working in politics both as an elected representative myself and for MEPs and MPs, I have seen some …

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Daily View 2×2: 21 December 2009

Morning, all, and welcome to the 355th day of the year, a date which marks the 21st anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing, and the 47th anniversary of the British decision to buy nuclear missiles from the US. Today is also, you may like to know, the birthday of Thomas Becket, Jane Fonda and Tina Brown.

2 Must-Read Blog-Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:


And a very Merry Christmas to you too Eurostar & BA … (Lisa Harding)

So, to the people that run and work

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Daily View 2×2: 20 December 2009

It’s Sunday. It’s 7am. It’s time for a singing Christmas dog, but first the news.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Copenhagen climate deal meets qualified UN welcome

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D-Day -1: Confusion in Copenhagen

This is the third article for LDV by Fiona Hall, Lib Dem leader of the European Liberal Democrats, giving her account of the Copenhagen climate change summit. You can read Part I here, and Part II here.

What a mess.

After yesterday afternoon’s impasse on an international agreement, President Obama took matters into his own hands, struck a deal with China, India, Brazil and South Africa – and promptly left the country. It’s leadership of a sort – but, sadly, in the wrong direction.

The rest of the world has been offered a watered-down Accord which – as it …

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D-Day in Copenhagen … Part II: More news – and it’s not good

To read Part I, please click here.

Spirits are rather low here this evening.

America and China produce over 50% of the world’s carbon emissions: any deal here tonight will require them to play ball. Unfortunately, there appears to be stalemate.

Fiona Hall MEP and George Lyon MEP at the Copenhagen Climate ConferencePrior to today the Americans had shown us a bit of ankle, suggesting that they might come forward with an offer of more money and concrete commitments. Unfortunately that looks like it was all a bit of a tease. President Obama instead used his speech simply to assert that the US is ready to do a deal if China and others are prepared to be transparent.

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Daily View 2×2: 13 December 2009

It’s Sunday. It’s 7am. It’s time for feline table tennis, but first the blogs and news.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Untouchable: Blair to give Iraq War evidence in secret

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LDVideo … Nick’s PMQs, ‘Unparliamentary language’ and Jon Stewart’s take on ‘Climategate’

Welcome to the latest LDVideo instalment, featuring three of the most memorable video clips doing the rounds on the blogosphere.

I missed covering this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, so here to make up for it is Nick Clegg’s contribution – taking to task (with some passion) Gordon Brown for Labour’s failures to put fairness at the heart of their policies:

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRadical Liberal 19th Apr - 3:26pm
    Stephen Howse writes 'Far too polarising a figure'. But, of course, Clegg isn't. One rule for the right wing leadership, another rule for everyone else...
  • User AvatarJoe Otten 19th Apr - 2:57pm
    Simon, I believe non-taxpayers can already get tax relief on pension contributions up to a limit of £3600 a year after relief. Aimed at non-earning...
  • User AvatarRoland 19th Apr - 2:48pm
    @JohnTilley You raise an interesting and important points about what units people use and take note of: Firstly, your observation about cars. I suspect that...
  • User Avatarpeter tyzack 19th Apr - 2:18pm
    .. they can't announce the shortlist yet as there are at least two appeals to be sorted out first...
  • User AvatarRoland 19th Apr - 2:07pm
    Jenny, I'm not sure which bit of my point you were referring to in the first part of your comment. My understanding is that wind...
  • User AvatarStephen Howse 19th Apr - 2:04pm
    Far too polarising a figure. As for this: "Given the dominance of white men in the party leadership – our leader, deputy leader, party president...