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Green Alliance has been influencing environmental policy since 1979

Our recent achievements:

Showing the value of a greener economy

Throughout 2011-12 we concentrated on making the case that a green economy is a more sustainable and resilient model for the future. Our Catalyst Debates gave panels of leading thinkers the chance to interrogate specific questions around the subject in detail, from the role of green growth in recovery to the impacts of localism and the Eurozone crisis .

In March 2012, the Rt Hon Ed Davey MP gave his first major speech as secretary of state for energy and climate change at Green Alliance’s annual debate, in which he made a clear commitment to the pursuit of a low carbon economy. We produced a popular infographic to coincide with this debate, revealing some surprising comparisons between the UK and German low carbon economies. Another Green Alliance infographic report has had a strong influence on debate and campaigning around the green economy: Green economy: a UK success story, published in August 2012, showed clearly how, despite the economic downturn, the UK low carbon sector has been flourishing both at home and abroad.


Providing policy options for a low carbon power sector

We produced the first non-governmental report into electricity market reform (EMR) in November 2010, ahead of a government consultation in December 2010. Since, we have led the commentary on the environmental dimension of the reform, particularly around the need for a power sector carbon target.

Our work has also convinced government that it needs to support electricity demand reduction, not just pay for new low carbon supply. In May 2011 we advised that existing policies were not sufficient to drive down energy demand, leading to government commitment to incentives for efficiency in the EMR white paper in July 2011 and the launch of a formal electricity demand reduction project.

Since early 2011 we have called for an electricity efficiency feed-in tariff (FiT) and we are delighted that the government is now seriously considering this policy option and is consulting on energy demand reduction in a revision to the Energy Bill.


Highlighting the need for better public communication on energy

As one of the only environmental organisations working on the environmental potential of smart meters, in 2011-12 we reviewed the government’s plan to roll them out across the country and made recommendations to ensure public uptake

In May 2012 our report Neither sermons nor silence showed that a nationally branded, publicity campaign on energy was necessary for government schemes encouraging energy saving, such as the Green Deal, to be successful. The report drew lessons from campaigns aimed at wide scale change in other sectors, like Change4Life and the digital switchover.

In response to these insights, the government has lifted its restriction on marketing spend and announced a £2.9 million communications campaign for the Green Deal in autumn 2012.


Promoting a circular economy for resource stewardship

With our consortium of businesses from the waste, manufacturing and retail sectors we have worked on policy solutions for a more resilient economy through better resource use. Our report, Reinventing the wheel, looked at the policy changes necessary to make the UK economy more circular. Our conference Building Resilience, in December 2011,  hosted jointly with CBI, discussed the business benefits of better resource stewardship. It was addressed by BIS secretary of state Vince Cable and attended by nearly 200 representatives of government and business.

This work influenced the government’s Resource Security Action Plan and, in June 2012, we were pleased to launch the Circular Economy Task Force. The task force, which will report in June 2013,  includes major businesses. It is working closely with government to understand what a circular economy in the UK could look like and how to progress it.



Climate leadership for MPs

In 2011 and 2012 Green Alliance’s Climate Leadership Programme worked with MPs in local constituencies, reporting on how the Green Deal will work locally and perspectives from coalition MPs on local leadership on climate change. These reports showed by example that climate and energy are live constituency issues.


Analysing the impact of localism on environmental action

As the coalition's localism agenda took shape, we initiated the debate on what it means for the environment. In February 2011 we organised Power Shift – the UK’s first major conference on sustainability, localism and the Big Society. And in October we published Is localism delivering for climate change?, revealing that two thirds of local authorities were either scaling back or failing to carry out any action on climate change.

This work was widely reported in the media and referenced by the Committee on Climate Change in its advice to government in May 2012.


Assessing government performance

Climate Check, published in September 2011, was an analysis in collaboration with WWF, RSPB, Greenpeace and Christian Aid, assessing the coalition government’s progress against its low carbon commitments across all departments. It analysed both the quality of policies and the timeliness of delivery and made recommendations on improving performance and tackling major barriers to action.

Climate Check received excellent media coverage and acclaim from government, including a personal endorsement by the prime minister. It has been useful since for the groups as a framework for discussions with government.


Shaping the debate on environmental policy and politics

The Green Alliance blog took off during 2011-12, providing our own commentary and guest contributions from leading thinkers, and becoming a source of essential reading on issues of environmental policy and politics.

In July 2011 we hosted the debate What have the arts ever done for the environment? at the Royal Opera House, in collaboration with the award-winning Opera Group and featuring a performance from the opera Seven Angels. A debate featuring a panel of prominent artists and thinkers focused on art’s importance in emphasising the intrinsic value of nature and the environment.

2011 opera house debate

Securing an historic future carbon target for the UK

We reacted quickly to the threat that the Committee on Climate Change's recommendation on targets for the Fourth Carbon Budget period (2023-27) might not be accepted by government, co-ordinating a letter from 15 environmental groups to David Cameron. The letter urged him to step into the row between his ministers and accept the committee's recommendation. The prime minister subsequently intervened and the target was finally agreed in May 2011. This was a historic commitment and means the UK now has the most ambitious legislated emissions reduction target in the world.


Find out more about our work

Fresh thinking: Green Alliance's strategy 2012-15
Annual Reviews
Inside Track: our journal

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