Articles containing the tag ‘energy efficiency’

10 June 2011: Strengthening the EU’s climate and energy package

This summarizes a seminar held by Climate Strategies and the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations on why the EU should strengthen its climate and energy policies.

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11 March 2011: UK government takes lead on renewable heat

Yesterday, the UK government announced plans to introduce a Renewable Heat Incentive. So, it does seem to be taking seriously its promise to be “the greenest government ever”.

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11 November 2010: European Commission’s new energy strategy

The Commission’s proposal for a new energy strategy is disappointing – it lacks specific policy proposals.

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12 July 2011: The new EU budget – a missed opportunity

The European Commission’s proposals for the 2014-2020 EU budget are a missed opportunity. There should be a major reduction in spending on agriculture and a major increase in climate spending.

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13 April 2012: Energy efficiency – made in Denmark and exportable to the rest of the EU?

Denmark, the current president of the European Council of Ministers, should stand firmly behind the Commission’s proposals on energy efficiency and not give in to the demands of other member states.

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14 May 2014: A new narrative for European integration

Swiss paper Le Temps has now published (in French) my article on the need for a new narrative for European integration. Here is the English version.

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14 May 2014: My Economist Insight on why we need all clean energy sources

The Economist has published my short article on why we need energy efficiency plus all clean energy sources: renewables, carbon capture and storage and nuclear.

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14 September 2009: Is the ‘peak oil’ debate relevant?

Should we worry about oil and gas running out? No – for three reasons.

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15 July 2016: New British government: a step forward for climate strategy

The UK no longer has a department with the words ‘climate change’ in its title. Climate policy is now the responsibility of a new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This could be seen as a downgrading of climate action – and has been condemned by some green groups. But I think it is […]

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16 December 2011: Was Durban a significant step forward?

Durban was better than Copenhagen and a bit better than Cancun. However, it was basically just an agreement to keep talking. Policy makers must not allow international negotiations to exclude progress on national and regional measures.

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16 January 2012: Investment in clean energy increases

Global investment in renewables and energy efficiency increased 5% to $260 billion in 2011, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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16 March 2010: US weatherization work

This month, the US Department of Energy has announced a Sustainable Energy Resources for Consumers (SERC) programme. This will offer grants totalling up to $109 million.

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17 July 2009: UK low-carbon transition plan

On Wednesday 15 July 2009, the UK government published its plan to make the UK a low carbon economy. It is good on electricity, quite good on energy efficiency and heat, but bad on transport.

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17 November 2009: Hu and Obama talk climate

Presidents Hu and Obama met today in Beijing and climate change was high on the agenda. China and the US are now the two largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for over a third of total annual global emissions – though the US has caused 30% of the total historical contribution, whereas China has contributed just 7%, and US per capita emissions are 23.5 tons, whereas China’s are 5.5 tons.

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18 February 2010: Obama builds bridges through technology

In November 2009, 3% of OECD electricity was generated by renewables other than hydro. 14% came from hydro. And this was only 17% of what electricity was then used, not total energy used.

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18 February 2011: The EU budget 2014 – 2020

There is already substantial debate – much of it heated – about the EU’s Budget from 2014 to 2020, the Multiannual Financial Framework. Money on agriculture should be reduced, while money on rural development and redistribution to poorer regions should be protected or increased. Spending on climate protection should be increased, and all spending should be ‘climate proofed’ to ensure it is not making things even worse.

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18 January 2017: Why the Swansea tidal lagoon should be supported

Last week the former energy minister Charles Hendry published his review on tidal lagoons (https://hendryreview.wordpress.com/) I am a consultant to Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP), so not disinterested. But I think that anyone reading the report will recognise it as an extensive, evidence-based and therefore serious review. Hendry was in my view a good energy minister […]

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18 June 2010: Taxes better than targets

Once again, European governments have been debating whether the EU greenhouse reduction target should be increased, from 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 to 30%, also by 2020. 20% will be easier to achieve than expected, given the recession, but is not enough of a reduction, so the target should be increased to 30%.

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19 August 2010: Not all old people are poor

Winter fuel payments in the UK should be reformed to give more help to those in fuel poverty or off the gas grid. The government should be put under pressure to do much more to improve existing buildings, including regulating the private rented sector.

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20 January 2010: What the EU should do on energy efficiency

The Centre for European Reform has now published my short paper on what the EU should do on energy efficiency. This argues that there should be less emphasis on targets and more on specific policies, and on money.

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2015 General Election manifestos on climate change

Analyses what the parties standing UK-wide are promising to do about climate change.

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2015 Lancet Commission report on health and climate change

Key quotes from, and a few of my comments on, the excellent Lancet Commission report

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2026: Europe’s progressive climate policies

In less than two weeks’ time, the UK will vote on whether to stay in or leave the EU. I am doing all I can for the Stronger In campaign (http://www.strongerin.co.uk/#QkGoYymoqlkpWtIE.97). Opinion polls predict a very close result. Being Labour, I never believe opinion polls. Britain could well vote to leave. But I’m also an […]

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21 October 2011: What the EU should do at and after the Durban climate summit

Whatever the outcome of the Durban discussions, the EU should give priority to agreeing its draft energy efficiency directive, which will be good for human health and energy security as well as climate protection. It should also strengthen the Emissions Trading System by setting a floor price for the carbon permits.

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22 January 2014: Unambitious targets. Time to focus on policies

Today, the European Commission published its proposals for a 2030 climate and energy framework. The targets are not ambitious, but policy makers should now focus on measures rather than numbers.

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22 October 2010: UK Spending Review – not too bad, but open goal missed

The UK government has cut spending on climate schemes less than it has cut most other schemes. But is has cut local government grants by more than a quarter, so local government must play a greater role on energy efficiency schemes. In addition, the government should have made winter fuel payments means-tested.

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23 February 2012: Obama tries again to cut fossil fuel subsidies

President Obama has again asked the US Congress to agree a budget which cuts the more than $40 billion in tax breaks for oil, gas and coal producers over the next decade. The president’s budget proposals are sensible and should be passed by Congress. But they won’t be. The left-right divide on climate in US politics is unnecessary.

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23 February 2017: the patriotic case for climate action

My report on an impressive energy and climate speech from Lib Dem leader Tim Farron which I attended yesterday

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23 July 2009: Sweden pushes EU energy efficiency

A meeting of EU energy and environment ministers this week in the Swedish town of Are is discussing energy efficiency. It is certainly good news that politicians are focussing on this. Using energy wastefully makes no climate or economic sense, but many politicians regard the subject as too ‘unsexy’ to be worth much attention.

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23 November 2009: Copenhagen, targets and policies

Not surprisingly, the media discussion of climate change is dominated by the countdown to Copenhagen. EU environment ministers are meeting today to try to strengthen the European negotiating position, though they won’t be able to make progress on the key issue of funding, as this is up to finance ministers.

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24 February 2011: European Investment Bank increases lending to climate projects

The European Investment Bank increased its lending to projects to help control climate change to €19bn in 2010. This was a 19% increase over the 2009 figure and meant that climate projects accounted for almost a third of total EIB lending.

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26 April 2010: Climate event for UK General Election

This morning I attended an event called ‘Ask a Climate Question’ organised by a coalition of environment and development groups. The most striking aspect of the discussion was that, with the exception of nuclear power, there was broad consensus among the four parties.

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26 June 2014: Cameron and Juncker

You can read here my Sunday Express article on David Cameron’s attempt to stop Jean-Claude Juncker becoming President of the European Commission.

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26 October 2014: Europe needs policies to halt coal, not more debate on targets

My article for ‘Responding to Climate Change’ on European governments’ acceptance of Commission proposals for a 2030 climate and energy package.

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27 December 2011: Commission’s energy roadmap is a missed opportunity

The European Commission should focus on proposing specific policies, rather than modelling different scenarios. It has done well with its energy efficiency proposal; now it should propose strengthening the ETS and setting a 2030 renewables target.

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27 September: ‘Green Ed’ Miliband

Ed Miliband was a good Energy and Climate Change Secretary, so the UK now has a ‘green’ Prime Minister, ‘green’ Energy Secretary and ‘green’ Leader of the Opposition. Now for some delivery…

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28 October 2010: Islington Council’s progress

This week, I was taken on a tour of properties owned by Islington Council. Islington is an area of London with many council home. The borough council was run by the Liberal Democrats until May 2010. However, in the local elections, it reverted to Labour control – it has been run by Labour for most of the last few decades. The Liberal Democrat leader, Terry Stacy, was personally very committed to action on climate and fuel poverty, and the new Labour leader, Catherine West, appears to be the same.

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3 November 2010: A good Green Deal for the UK

The UK government’s announcement on a Green Deal for energy efficiency is good news and some movement is promised on regulating the private rented sector. However, there is too much delay and the threat of yet more consultation.

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30 April 2010: US wind to advance offshore

The Obama Administration has given the go ahead for a 468Mw wind farm in Nantucket Sound, off the coast of Massachusetts. This will be the US’s first offshore wind farm and has been delayed in the planning process for almost a decade.

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4 October 2010: Energy efficiency and Hungary

Last week, I attended a European Commission conference on the future of energy policy. Energy Commissioner Oettinger delivered a worthy though unsurprising speech, but did at least stress energy efficiency – “vast untapped potential” – and said that this was his first priority.

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5 May 2010: Energy efficient homes

This week, I attended a conference in Brussels organised by the King Baudouin Foundation. It was about how to control climate change while also increasing social justice. Therefore, the issue of making existing homes more energy efficient was central to the discussion.

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6 January 2011: €8 billion available for energy efficiency in Europe

EU governments are failing to use money available for improving the energy efficiency of homes – using it to build new roads instead. The EU budget discussion must focus on re-prioritising, not on the total size of the budget.

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6 January 2012: Response from Philip Lowe on Energy Roadmap

Philip Lowe, the Director General, Energy in the European Commission, has responded to my criticism of the EU’s Energy Roadmap.

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7 December 2015: UK climate and energy policy: small steps forward, large steps backwards

The advance represented by Energy and Climate Secretary Amber Rudd’s ‘reset’ speech on 18 November has been pretty comprehensively destroyed by Chancellor George Osborne.

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7 January 2014: Energiewende and schadenfreude

The German “Energiewende” is not doing as well as often claimed; but climate protection is too important for point-scoring or schadenfreude.

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7 June 2010: Subsidies should be switched

Low carbon energy sources – renewables, CCS and nuclear – all require public financial support. In the UK, the new government has said that there will be no subsidy for new nuclear power stations. Before the general election, the Conservatives said that there would be no subsidy and the Liberal Democrats remain anti-nuclear. Without financial support, no new nuclear stations will be built. Nor will any renewables or CCS – offshore wind and CCS are, in the view of many, going to be even more expensive than nuclear.

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7 October 2011: Has Europe given up fighting climate change?

The EU has long prided itself on leading international efforts to control climate change. Today, the issue is nowhere near the top of the EU’s agenda, having been eclipsed by the economic downturn and the eurozone debt crisis.

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8 November 2011: European Climate Foundation roadmap

Comment on the launch of the European Climate Foundation’s latest report, Power Perspectives 2030.

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9 August 2011: New US fuel efficiency standard

President Obama has unveiled a new US fuel efficiency standard, which isn’t good enough, but much better than nothing.

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9 February 2011: EU ‘energy summit’

The EU summit on 4 February, billed as an Energy Summit, said little new or unexpected. The forthcoming Energy Efficiency Action Plan must be much more ambitious.

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9 March 2011: European Commission’s Energy Efficiency Plan

The European Commission published its Energy Efficiency Plan yesterday. It isn’t bad, and calls for combined heat and power to be made mandatory in some cases. The plan should be implemented without delay.

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Cleaning the neighbourhood: How the EU can scrub out bad energy policy

The EU should not buy electricity from countries with highly-polluting coal power stations, and should instead support efficiency and clean energy in these countries.

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Climate powers, policy and performance in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and London

Green Union Jack

The Labour Party came to power in 1997 committed to devolving powers to Scotland and Wales, and re-creating a London-wide government. It was also determined to improve the political situation in Northern Ireland and was willing to use devolution to achieve this. Therefore, the last 12 years have seen considerable change to the constitution of the UK. Climate change was not a driving force behind any of this, but, nevertheless, the new tiers of government have had significant impact on what the UK is doing.

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Energy Efficiency Home Improvements

Four key things that individuals can do to improve energy efficiency at home

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EU energy – the big picture

The European Union cannot be accused of failing to see the big picture on climate change. The only problem, and it is major, is that Europe lacks followers of its lead. However, for years, EU policy on energy – responsible for around two-thirds of all greenhouse gases – has seemed remarkably narrow. It has focused almost exclusively on networks and, among networks, almost exclusively on electricity and gas.

In his new book, ‘The Rough Guide to the Energy Crisis’, David Buchan outlines the ways forward.

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Financing and delivering a new energy infrastructure

This is a summary of a longer paper by Prashant Vaze and Ed Mayo on how a new, low-carbon energy infrastructure can be financed at reasonable cost.

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General Election Manifestos 2010: Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens

Manifesto

All three main UK parties take climate seriously and promise to reduce emissions and expand low-carbon energy. They all recognise the energy security and employment benefits. This article includes direct quotations from the relevant parts of the manifestos of the three main parties on general climate policies, covering investment, taxation, land-use planning, adaptation, the EU, the developing world and forests.

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General Election Manifestos 2010: Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens on Electricity and Heat

Manifesto

All three main UK parties take climate seriously and promise to reduce emissions and expand low-carbon energy. They all recognise the energy security and employment benefits. This article includes quotations from the relevant parts of the manifestos of the three main parties on heat and electricity – energy efficiency, fuel poverty and energy production.

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Green policies of the US federal government and states

The US federal government passed energy acts in 2005, 2007 and 2008, each aiming to increase energy efficiency and expand renewables. The 2009 Recovery Act also had money for these, However, to get a clear picture of American energy policy, we need to look not just at federal programs, but also at what state governments are doing.

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How community benefits from shale gas could work

Consultancy Remsol has today published a constructive Blueprint for shale gas community benefits. (http://www.remsol.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Remsol-A-Blueprint-for-Shale-Gas-Community-Benefits-09082016.pdf ). I wrote the foreword: “UK shale gas production could and should be part of a low-carbon transition, enabling Britain to phase out coal more quickly while strengthening energy security. Domestically-extracted shale gas would be less climate-damaging than coal, but also than […]

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How to deliver energy efficiency in the EU

The EU should strengthen its CHP directive so that, whenever anything is burnt to generate electricity, the heat must be used. It should also require member states to do as the Swedes do and require energy efficiency improvements whenever a property is sold or rented out.

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How to reduce dependence on Russian gas

My CER blog on how Europe should reduce its dependence on Russian gas

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In Defence of Pragmatism

Climate campaigners should be more pragmatic and more prepared to make compromises. Pragmatism often delivers progress; idealism rarely does.

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Moving at an accelerated PACE in the USA

PACE

What is a pace? The length of a stride? The speed of activity? The pace that is attracting the most attention in the US in 2010 is Property-Assessed Clean Energy. Like many US trends and fads, it is worth understanding for its possible influence outside beyond North America.

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October 2015: Committee on Climate Change report on electricity scenarios

The Committee on Climate Change sensibly calls for an ‘all of the above’ approach to decarbonisation.

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Policies and performance in Obama’s first year

obama

How well have Obama and Energy Secretary Chu done so far on promoting energy efficiency, renewables, CCS and electric vehicles? A very positive assessment is made by the Center for American Progress.

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Policy and performance of the States in the USA

Map of US states

This article reviews the climate performance of different US states and is mainly based on Climate Change 101: state action published by the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change and on State of the States 2008: Renewable Energy Development and the Role of Policy published by the US Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Laboratory.

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Question: How expensive is a widespread district heating network for, say, 100,000 inhabitants?

Question: Just curious, but how expensive is a widespread district heating network for, say, 100,000 inhabitants?

Alessandro De Mida

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Repowering Communities case study: Babylon

How Babylon, New York used money raised from waste collection charges to overcome barriers to getting homeowners to make their properties more energy efficient.

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Repowering Communities case study: Berlin council’s energy efficiency programmes

This article summarises what Berlin has done on energy efficiency. The material will be used in the Repowering Communities book. Comments very welcome.

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Repowering Communities case study: Community-owned renewables in the UK

Community-owned renewables are quite rare in the UK, but extremely common – mainly wind farms – in Germany and Denmark. The UK is at least now moving in the right direction, albeit slowly.

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Repowering Communities case study: Freiburg

Freiburg has a well-deserved reputation as Germany’s green capital. It uses on about half of the energy that other European cities of 200,000 people do, and has become a world leader in solar. This article looks at what the city council has done to achieve this.

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Repowering Communities case study: Going to California

Lessons from California on what to do – and what not to do.

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Repowering Communities case study: Upper Austria

Austrian regions (Länder) play a significant role in energy, particularly regarding building efficiency and heating, including district heating. Upper Austria is one of nine regions, covering 12,000km2, with 1.4 million inhabitants. It is highly industrialised, with significant heavy industry (manufacture of steel and machinery).

This article is about how Upper Austria manages to get a third of its total energy use, and almost half its heat, from renewables.

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Repowering Communities case study: Vermont

Tiny Vermont is the second smallest state in the US by population and the fifth smallest by area. Its economic reconstruction efforts are understated. So too are its efforts to provide its homes and businesses with sustainable heat and power.

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Repowering communities: Local solutions to a global problem

This is a paper that the three authors of the Repowering Communities book discussed with UK government officials and other experts at a seminar on 1 November 2010. It covers examples of which local governments are doing best on energy efficiency and renewables, and makes some recommendations.

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Sustainability benchmarking for CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme success in the UK

The debate about climate change is still strong and prominent, and the ways we deal with it are discussed on a regular basis. Organisations need to overcome certain barriers more efficiently and focus on driving change within the working environment, influencing central government to take more actions and avoid a ‘climate summit abject failure’ such as Copenhagen.

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The case for a Clean Energy Alliance

The low-carbon energy sectors – efficiency, most renewables, CCS and nuclear – should work together more strategically

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The EU budget: the Union risks having the wrong debate

The EU should spend less money on agriculture and more on improving the econommies of poorer member-states and on climate protection.

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