Author Archives: Andy Atkins

The Independent View: Lib Dems must defend UK climate targets

Flooding in Cedar Rapids, IAThe past months have seen an upsurge of environmental concern. Following the wettest winter ever, and the starkest warnings yet from scientists about the perils of climate change, 23% of the public named ‘the environment’ as the most important issue facing Britain – higher than at any time since the late 1980s.

But, rather astonishingly, despite mounting evidence of the urgency for acting on global warming, there are moves within Government to weaken UK climate targets.

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The Independent View: Conference 2013: Lib Dems must stand up for the environment

For a fleeting moment in May 2010 there was genuine optimism that the environment might be put at the heart of Britain’s political agenda.

With a coalition of Liberal Democrats, praised by many, including Friends of the Earth, for their manifesto’s prioritisation of environmental issues, joining forces with a ‘vote blue, go green’ Tory party, fresh from championing the Climate Change Act, it looked as if yellow and blue really could produce green.

But three and a half years later Cameron’s pledge to lead the “greenest Government ever” now seems little more than a cynical sound bite.

Perhaps less expected is the …

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The Independent View: Energy Bill – time for Lib Dems to show their true colours

Our electricity system is broken – soaring fuel bills, an over-reliance on overseas fossil fuels and an urgent need to tackle climate change highlight the severe energy crisis the nation faces.

So the inclusion of an Energy Bill in this week’s Queen’s speech to overhaul the UK’s failing electricity market was long overdue.

The Bill is a once in a generation opportunity to secure our long-term opportunity to make our power system cleaner, more affordable and less reliant on increasingly imported fossil fuels.

Such a move would be popular, too. A recent YouGov poll Friends of the Earth published to mark the

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The Independent View: Final Demand – it’s time to end the power of the Big Six

News last week that the Big Six energy firms are raking in bumper profits while the nation struggles with soaring fuel bills was just the latest electric shock to hit cash-strapped families.

Ofgem’s revelation that energy firm profit margins have risen to £125 per customer per year, from £15 in June, will crank up pressure on the Government to act – and rightly so.

But if Ministers really want to get to grips with soaring fuel bills we must also tackle the root cause – our nation’s reliance on increasingly expensive gas, coal and oil and the failure of the Big Six

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The Independent View: Lib Dem green credibility in crisis

The environmental credibility of the Liberal Democrats is under threat.

Its general election manifesto was easily the most ambitious of all the main parties, with the environment firmly at the heart of every policy area.

So our hopes were high when the party joined forces with Cameron’s Conservatives last year  – and higher still when one of the new Prime Minister’s first acts was a promise to lead the greenest Government ever.

Twelve months on the picture looks much bleaker.

Friends of the Earth asked the former chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, Jonathon Porritt, to review the Coalition’s first year in office. His assessment was pretty damning.

Little or no …

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