20. 04. 2009

Sustainability on the political agenda

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This is going to be one hell of a week. Big announcement on industrial policy from DECC today, followed by the Budget on Wednesday. And despite the fact that most of the discussion will – understandably – be focussed on the state of the public finances, budget cuts and projected rates of growth and unemployment, the whole sustainability agenda is hanging in there and may even be rising in significance. Not least because the Tories are back into “proactive mode” on sustainability issues. Last week, the Shadow Chancellor George Osborne laid down his marker as to what a Green Budget would need to look like to create any kind of real forward momentum. The ten main action points (some of which bear an uncanny resemblance to some of the principle recommendations in the SDC’s advice to Government on building a low-carbon, sustainable economy!) cover a wide range of energy efficiency, renewable energy, green technology and transportation ideas – and if any Chancellor really did deliver all of that in one fell Budget swoop, it would indeed represent a serious step change.

With one massive caveat: not one of the £30 billion identified as the level of investment required would (according to George Osborne) by a taxpayers’ pound. So the totality of the funding required for a new high-speed rail link (circa £5 billion) will come from the private sector, and the totality of the £20 billion required to retro-fit 1 million homes a year over the next 10 years (at £6500 a house) will be liberated through a new mechanism to recoup the cost of the improvements made through a charge on future fuel bills. To be honest, that strikes me as privatised pie-in-the-sky.

That said, it’s great to have the Tories mixing it with Labour on this particular territory – and the Lib Dems have also got a thing or two to say.

As to what Mandelson and Darling come out with this week, watch this space.

Read the Sustainable Development Commission’s advice to Government on how to bring about a sustainable economic recovery package that has the environment and sustainable development firmly at its heart and could create around 800,000 new jobs.

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18. 07. 2012

If what I've read is accurate, in 500 miollin years the Sun will have warmed enough that the inner boundary of the habitable zone will move out past Earth, which will then be uninhabitable.So, a lot sooner than 10 Billion years.And then there are the extinction level impact events, which will likely have occurred more than once in 500 miollin years.Expand off of Earth, or die.

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