Combine ecology with market forces for a greener and pleasanter post-Brexit Britain

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Bright Blue's senior associate fellow Ben Caldecott has written for the Telegraph about the launch of our new report, A greener, more pleasant land, in which we propose a new, market-based commissioning scheme for rural payments after Brexit. 

Here's an excerpt:

There are significant benefits of a market-based approach to commissioning ecosystem services. Not only can competition improve value for money, it can improve the quality of ecosystem services and introduce new non-public sources of funding into rural activity. The approach we propose is adaptable and can be modified in response to changing priorities, needs and budgets.

Read the full article here.

Ditch subsidies to rich farmers after Brexit, urges Bright Blue think tank

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Bright Blue's senior associate fellow Ben Caldecott has been quoted in the Times in an article covering the release of our new report, A greener, more pleasant land.

Speaking about our proposals, Ben said:

"Commissioning ecosystem services effectively using market-based approaches will bring significant benefits, including a more sustainable farming industry, enhanced natural beauty, greater biodiversity, increased carbon sequestration, improved natural flood defences, better water quality, better mental and physical health, and better air quality".

Read the full article here.

How to reform rural payments and make a ‘green Brexit’ a reality

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Bright Blue's researcher Eamonn Ives has written for BrexitCentral about the release of our new report, A greener, more pleasant land

Here's an excerpt:

Rather than having different bodies paying for different things using different methods and overlapping approaches, we propose the creation of a single rural payments budget that commissions farmers and land owners to deliver ecosystem services.

Read the full article here.

Reaction: Dieter Helm's 'least cost' ideas for meeting the UK's climate targets

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Bright Blue's senior research fellow Sam Hall has been referenced in Carbon Brief, presenting his thoughts on the economy-wide carbon price, called for by Dieter Helm in the recently published Cost of Energy Review.  

Here's an excerpt:

Sam Hall ... argues an economy-wide carbon price is a volatile and uncertain price signal for investors, subject to short-term political and economic forces, that would struggle on its own to drive the required investment in the low carbon economy

Read the full article here.

Cost of Energy: What might the Helm review mean for UK clean growth?

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Bright Blue's senior research fellow Sam Hall has been quoted in Business Green, giving his verdict on the recently published Cost of Energy Review from Dieter Helm.  

Here's an excerpt:

"An economy-wide carbon price would effectively internalise the social and environmental costs of carbon emissions, but is a volatile and uncertain price signal for investors, subject to short-term political and economic forces, that would struggle on its own to drive the required investment," said Hall.

Read the full article here.

Tories urged to tackle reputation for 'weakness' on climate change

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Bright Blue's senior researcher Sam Hall has been quoted in Business Green discussing what the Conservative Party can do to attract younger voters. Citing recent Bright Blue polling, Sam argued that the Conservatives should reconnect with its history of environmental stewardship and advocate for policies to tackle climate change. 

Here's an excerpt:

The party should adopt ambitious new policies that younger people would be proud of. Our polling suggests their top priority should be to develop and champion policies to tackle climate change, like generating more electricity from ever cheaper renewables like solar and wind

Read the full article here.

Green Brexiteers see environmental boost from quitting the EU

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Bright Blue's senior researcher Sam Hall has been quoted in Politico discussing how leaving the EU could be a blessing for renewable projects in the UK as the Government would no longer be constrained by EU derived state aid rules. He also played down the idea that Brexit would pave the way for Government support for fracking and North Sea oil exploration, arguing that there have no mention of such intentions. 

Read the full article here.

An offshore wind of change is blowing

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Bright Blue's researcher Eamonn Ives has written for ConservativeHome about the tumbling price of offshore wind in the most recent Contracts for Difference auctions. He discusses how the competitive, market-based process of awarding subsidies has saved consumers an estimated £528 million. 

Here's an excerpt: 

Solar and wind have respectively outshone and breezed past their competitors to become the best-value clean energy technologies for bill payers.

Read the full article.

France's grandstanding on petrol cars belies the revolution that is already underway

Bright Blue's senior researcher Sam Hall has written in the Telegraph about the French Government's decision to ban all petrol and diesel cars by 2040. He argues that the UK Government should support a market-driven electrification of transport, rather than opt for blunt or intrusive regulations. 

Here's an excerpt:

We are on the cusp of a profound disruption that will unlock many potential benefits, from lower air pollution and greater energy security, to cheaper maintenance requirements and fuel costs. But this transition will be delivered by consumers, not government edicts.

Read the full article.

 

The Tories must modernise or face defeat

Bright Blue's senior researcher Sam Hall has written for CapX about the need for the Conservative Party to modernise or face defeat at the next General Election. He argues that the Conservatives must offer concrete ideas on how to improve the living standards of the lowest paid in society, and to re-establish the party's reputation for social liberalism. 

Here is an excerpt:

Theresa May was right to try to bolster the Conservatives’ support among working-class voters, a portion of the electorate they’ve historically struggled to convince, by talking about economic insecurity and low incomes. Indeed, these ideas appeal to younger voters, too. But her manifesto contained too few substantive solutions.

Read the full article.

Focus on issues that the young care about and the Tories can earn their vote

Bright Blue's senior researcher Sam Hall has written in the Times about how the Conservatives can increase their support amongst younger voters. He argues that the Conservative Party needs to improve its policies on the environment and housing, as well as how it communicates them to the public.

Here is an excerpt:

There was no positive, liberal conservative pitch for young people. But here are some initial ideas for how they can rectify this. 

Read the full article.

UK could ditch its important role in global fight against climate change, environmentalists fear

Bright Blue's associate fellow Ben Caldecott responds to the general election result in the Independent. He argues that the cross-party consensus on climate change is strong, and so in a hung parliament collaboration should be possible.

Here's an excerpt:

"It is also important for the Conservative Party to lead on this issue, not least because of its importance to younger voters, who have belatedly made their voice heard in our electoral system."

Read the full article.

The world doesn't need the US to lead climate change action – China will do it instead

Bright Blue senior researcher Sam Hall has written in the Telegraph about Trump's impending decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement. He argues that efforts to combat climate change will continue, with huge economic and political momentum around the world.

Here's an excerpt:

Trump is swimming against the tide. There is little chance of a reprieve for old king coal in the US, which is being outcompeted by renewables and shale gas.

Read the full article.

Poll: Brits overwhelmingly back Paris Agreement and Climate Change Act

Bright Blue associate fellow Ben Caldecott was quoted in response to new polling showing strong public support for climate action. He argues that the UK's climate sceptic fringe is out of step with mainstream public opinion.

Here's an excerpt:

"This is not at all surprising, despite what the small, but vocal climate denier brigade would like to try and have us believe," he said of the latest survey results.

Read the full article.

Election 2017: Conservatives back fracking 'revolution' in the party manifesto

Bright Blue senior researcher Sam Hall is quoted in the Independent on the Conservative manifesto. He argues that the benefits of fracking were oversold in the manifesto, and that the priority should be renewables.

Here's an excerpt:

However, Sam Hall, of the 'liberal conservative' think tank Bright Blue, said the manifesto "oversells the benefits of fracking". 

Read the full article.

Conservative manifesto commits to climate targets and clean tech investments

Bright Blue senior researcher Sam Hall is quoted in Business Green on the launch of the Conservatives' manifesto. He welcomes the Conservatives' re-commitment to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than it inherited it and criticises the lack of detail on air pollution.

Here's an excerpt:

Sam Hall, senior researcher at the conservative think tank Bright Blue, said the manifesto should be "applauded for reaffirming [the Conservatives'] ambition for this to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than it inherited it".

Read the full article.

Could fierce opposition to fracking make life difficult for certain Tories?

Bright Blue senior researcher Sam Hall is quoted in the New Statesman about fracking. He is sceptical of further development of new carbon-intensive infrastructure that may soon become stranded.

Here's an excerpt:

Even Sam Hall, a senior researcher at Bright Blue, a liberal conservative think tank, is not entirely convinced by the development of more carbon-intensive infrastructure, "at a time when we should be rapidly reducing our consumption of fossil fuels".

Read the full article.

Brexit is an opportunity to reinvigorate our woodland – the Conservatives should seize it

Bright Blue senior researcher Sam Hall has written for the Daily Telegraph about our tree planting campaign. He argues that Brexit gives us the opportunity to redirect subsidies towards a reformed grant scheme for tree planting.

Here's an excerpt:

Tree planting would be one popular way, including among the people who elected a majority Conservative Government in 2015, to make a success of Brexit, using the powers and funding which currently reside with the EU to improve the way we support British farmers and improve the natural environment.

Read the full article.

Clean transport boost promised as government unveils plan to tackle toxic air pollution

Bright Blue's senior researcher Sam Hall is quoted in a Business Green article on the Government's new air quality strategy. He welcomes the Government's new strategy on the grounds it gives more powers and more responsibilities to local authorities to design and implement a scheme to suit local needs.

Here's an excerpt:

However, Sam Hall, senior researcher at Bright Blue, a centre right-leaning think tank that has campaigned for more action to tackle air quality, said the draft plan should help accelerate the transition to cleaner forms of transport.

Read the full article.

It can’t all be about Europe, Tories must have a plan for the environment

Bright Blue's senior researcher Sam Hall has written for Times Red Box about the Conservative manifesto. He argues that Theresa May should make a bold offer to liberal Britain on the environment in order to win over Remain voters.

Here's an excerpt:

In this regard, the environment would make a particularly strong Conservative pitch: it appeals to all varieties of Conservative voters, as well as to liberals in the centre-ground.

Read the full article.