Think Tanks

Energy & Climate Change

11 Mar 2010 08:00:55

The Conservative Environment Network is launched

Screen shot 2010-03-11 at 07.47.15 Yesterday saw the formal launch of the Conservative Environment Network. It's an independent group within the party but supported by shadow cabinet ministers, Nick Herbert and Greg Clark, who both attended last night's launch party.

On its homepage it announces its mission:

"Our aim is to “fight the good fight” within the conservative movement by making the case that climate change and other environmental issues are critically important and need to be tackled by effective government policy, private enterprise and Britain’s entrepreneurial spirit."

A fuller statement of the CEN's aims can be found on this page.

Retiring Tory MP Peter Ainsworth explains the CEN's purpose on Platform 10. He takes on the climate change sceptics:

"Disputes about the science of manmade climate change may be rife, but they are entirely irrelevant.  It might be suggested that only a brave or very foolish person (or a publicity-seeker) would take issue with the consensual opinion of the world’s leading scientists – but in the end this too is irrelevant. The point is this:  waste of any kind is a bad thing, so we must stop wasting energy, food and material resources.  Fossil fuels are finite, so we must find ways of being less dependent upon them, and sooner rather than later.  Natural resources are limited, not limitless as we in the West have implicitly regarded them for two-hundred years, so we must start trying to obey the laws of Nature.  If Nature goes bust, there will be no bail out."

The rest of his piece argues that capitalism and conservatism are the true friends of the planet. Mr Ainsworth concludes with these words:

"The true friends of the Earth are gradually emerging, and they are not those who spend their time screaming at the capitalist system. They are those who respect our duty of stewardship over the natural environment we have inherited, and embrace capitalism as the most powerful tool for change on the planet."

> Today on CentreRight: Conservatives and the environment – the next step in a long tradition

31 Oct 2009 17:39:00

Delivering a first class infrastructure for the UK


"Road to Recovery"(PDF)

Authors: Professor Nick Bosanquet, Thomas Cawston, Andrew Haldenby, Patrick Nolan, Lucy Parsons and Elizabeth Truss

Publication date: October 2009

This report details the damning state of Britain's current infrastructure which is ranked 34th in the World (behind Namibia and Spain) and which receives less spending than any other OECD country. While the report's authors admit public finances are tight they argue that infrastructure spending represents good value for the taxpayer due to the consequent economic growth. The report encourages more use of the private sector in infrastructure projects and calls for the total withdrawal of the public sector from infrastructure projects in road, rail and renewable energy by citing successful projects such as the M6 Toll Road which have been financed through the private sector.

31 Oct 2009 11:56:00

The damaging impact of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme


"The Expensive Failure of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme"(PDF)

Author: Matthew Sinclair

Publication date: October 2009

The report is highly critical of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which according to the author has increased the cost of energy for households, businesses and other organisations. The report estimates that the ETS cost British consumers nearly £3billion in 2008 alone and that the total cost to European consumers since the implementation of the ETS could be as high as £67billion. The report claims that the ETS is a particular burden on the poor and the elderly as it is raising their energy bills and it should be abolished.

1 Sep 2009 15:17:00

The cost of replacing Britain's crumbling infrastructure

Policy Exchange

"Delivering a 21st Century Infrastructure for Britain"(PDF)

Authors: Dieter Helm, James Wardlaw and Ben Caldecott

Publication date: 1 September 2009

According to the report Britain's current infrastructure is inferior to many of its competitors such as France and it is damaging Britain's profitability. The authors predict the cost of repairing and replacing Britain's infrastructure will be around £500 billion by 2020 and in straitened economic times it is clearly going to be difficult to find this amount of money. Some of the radical suggestions for finding this amount include using money from ISA's and pension funds to address the likely shortfall. The authors also recommend setting up an infrastructure bank as has been done in Australia, Germany and Ireland.

31 Aug 2009 17:24:00

The future of British energy policy


"Re-energizing Britain - Promoting investment in our energy future" (PDF)

Author: Nigel Hawkins

Publication Date: August 2009

The report calls for the Government to be pro-active in securing planning approvals and the necesary funding for the construction of new nuclear power stations. The report argues for greater diversification of fuel sources and suppliers given the expected dependence on Russian gas supplies in the next few decades.

22 Jul 2009 17:38:00

Promoting bio-jet fuels for greener aviation

Policy Exchange

"Green skies thinking - promoting the development and commercialisation of sustainable bio-jet fuels"(PDF)

Authors: Ben Caldecott and Sean Tooze

Publication date: 22 July 2009

The report calls for more emphasis on the development and commercialisation of sustainable bio-jet fuels as, in the opinion of the authors, bio-jet fuels are the only option to significantly reduce carbon emissions from aviation without cutting the number of flights. The report calls for an EU Sustainable Bio-Jet Fuel Blending Mandate to be in place by 2020 and increased financial support for companies conducting research and development into the production of sustainable bio-jet fuels.

31 May 2009 14:03:00

Roger Helmer MEP blasts EU's policies on climate change

Bruges Group

"Cool Thinking on Climate Change - Why the EU's climate alarmism is both mistaken and dangerous"(PDF)

Author: Roger Helmer MEP

Publication date: May 2009

Conservative MEP Roger Helmer argues that governments should be focussing more on energy security and less on climate change which the author argues is consistent with natural long-term climate cycles.The paper claims that the EU's alarmist actions on climate change are damaging prosperity and obscuring the more important issue of securing the energy supply network.