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Budget 2018 doesn’t live up to government’s clean growth ambitions

29th October 2018

Reacting to the Budget presented to Parliament today by the Chancellor Philip Hammond, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “Despite some positive announcements on industrial energy efficiency and plastics, today’s budget – and the way in which it was presented – did little to match the commitment to clean growth the government showed during Green GB Week. The creation of an industrial energy transformation fund is welcome and targets public funding at an essential part of the economy that needs support to cut its emissions, but it would be made even more effective if combined with measures to support a renewed roll-out of onshore renewable energy to lower power prices for industry [1].”
Nick Molho added: “As the red book recognises today, ‘the economy of the future will be low carbon and green’ and the UK is well positioned to compete in this global transition. It is essential that the government backs its commitment to clean growth in the next Spending Review and upcoming legislation. Priorities should include introducing new regulations and fiscal incentives to accelerate energy efficiency investments in domestic and commercial buildings, accelerating the phase out of polluting vehicles and roll out of electric vehicles, providing clear visibility to investors on carbon pricing and introducing an ambitious Environment Bill with legally binding goals that drives improvements in the natural environment.”


[1] UCL (2018) UK industrial electricity prices: competitiveness in a low carbon world


Aldersgate Group reactive to Green GB Week green finance announcements

17th October 2018

Alex White, Policy Manager at the Aldersgate Group, welcomed government’s announcements on green finance today, saying: “It's positive to see that the government is driving forwards the green finance agenda. In particular, we're encouraged that government is supporting work on the development of green finance standards and that it is considering how the growth of green finance can have real impacts on infrastructure funding. Today’s announcement on quantifying the UK’s pipeline of green infrastructure will help to demonstrate the size of the investment opportunity to the private sector, as well as the gap in planned UK infrastructure we still need to build to remain within 1.5 degrees of global warming.”

Alex White added, “Once we’ve established just how green the infrastructure pipeline is, government must provide more clarity in the coming months on the regulations and incentives that will be introduced to encourage even more green projects to fill that infrastructure gap and meet our carbon budgets, such as investment in the energy efficiency of buildings, low carbon heat, electric vehicles and the natural environment. The new Clean Growth venture capital fund announced today will be a useful tool to support investment in these less mature and complex areas. We're also pleased to see the planned engagement at regional level, to really deliver the gains from green finance across the country.”  


UK shows welcome leadership on net zero emissions

15th October 2018

Reacting to the UK government’s announcement today that it is commissioning independent advice from the Committee on Climate Change on the setting of a net zero target, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “Just a week after the publication of the IPCC report highlighting the importance of limiting temperate rises to 1.5°C, the Prime Minister and her government deserve credit for making a formal referral to the CCC to investigate how a net zero emissions target could be set in the UK. The development of such a target, which is receiving growing public and cross-party support [1], could provide significant supply chain growth and export opportunities for the UK if it is accompanied by a clear plan of action.” [2]

Nick Molho added: “In parallel with the CCC developing its advice, it is essential that the government continues progress on its Clean Growth Strategy to deliver on current climate targets. Greater policy detail is urgently needed to drive energy efficiency improvements in commercial and domestic buildings, increase the take-up of zero emission vehicles and support the growth of onshore renewable energy which is key to deliver affordable industrial power prices [3]. Targeted innovation support will also increasingly be needed to support businesses in sectors where emission cuts are more complex to achieve such as agriculture, heavy industry and long-distance transport.” 


[1] Bright Blue (2018) Hotting up: Strengthening the Climate Change Act ten years on

63% of UK adults when the UK to be a global leader in tackling climate change and 64% of UK adults agree the UK should aim to cut its carbon emission to zero in the next few decades.

See also Cross-party MP joint letter on net zero emissions target ahead of 2050:

[2] The UK cut its emissions by 43% since 1990, leading the G7, and grew its economy by over 70% in the same period. With strengths in areas such as offshore wind and electric vehicle manufacturing, energy efficient building design, green financial and legal services, and ICT solutions, UK businesses have a strong basis from which to accelerate emission cuts and be at the forefront of the development of the new clean technologies and services which the world economy will increasingly demand. See Committee on Climate Change (2018) Reducing UK emissions – 2018 Progress Report to Parliament

[3] UCL (2018) UK industrial electricity prices: competitiveness in a low carbon world

Big ben

Aiming for net zero emissions is a major opportunity for UK plc

8th October 2018

Reacting to the publication today of the International Panel on Climate Change’s special report on 1.5 degrees, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “This report from the world’s leading climate scientists is clear that there are compelling environmental, economic and social benefits to limiting the increase in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees as envisaged in the Paris Agreement. Whilst achieving such a target will require challenging emission cuts across the economy, important progress has already been made and an increase in ambition would unlock a significant innovation and investment opportunity.

The UK cut its emissions by 43% since 1990, leading the G7, and grew its economy by over 70% in the same period. [1] With strengths in areas such as offshore wind and electric vehicle manufacturing, energy efficient building design and green financial and legal services, UK businesses have a strong basis from which to accelerate emission cuts and be at the forefront of the development of the new clean technologies and services which the world economy will increasingly demand.”

Nick Molho added: “Major economies now need to increase their existing emissions reduction pledges under the Paris Agreement and adopt net zero emissions targets in line with the conclusions of the IPCC report. The Prime Minister made the right call when she announced at the UN General Assembly that the UK will be joining the Carbon Neutrality Coalition, especially as this follows growing public backing [2] and cross-party support for a net zero target. [3]

The government must now begin work towards legislating for such a target in the UK, by rapidly acting on its commitment to seek the Committee on Climate Change’s advice on how the UK can ensure its climate targets are aligned with the 1.5 degrees goal. Backed by detailed policies, such a target would accelerate investment in ultra-low emission goods, services and infrastructure and support the innovation needed to tackle emission cuts in more challenging sectors such as land management, agriculture, long-distance transport and heavy industry.”

Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Aviva Investors, said: "Aviva Investors understands the business imperative of tackling climate change. The Economist Intelligence Unit estimated that, left unabated, climate change will cost the global economy $43tn in today’s prices. This is not a risk we can afford to take.

Keeping global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees will help safeguard our investment portfolios and protect our customers savings. The long term negative financial consequences of climate change are far, far greater than the short term financial risks of transitioning to the Paris Agreement. Today’s report reiterates the need for policymakers to accelerate action to reduce carbon emissions and meet the agreed aims of the Paris Agreement.”

Gabrielle Ginér, Head of Environmental Sustainability, BT, said: “Recognising the need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, BT set a science-based target in line with a 1.5 degree trajectory in September 2017. Our target is to reduce the carbon emissions intensity of our operations by 87% by 2030 against a 2016/17 baseline. We welcome this report by the IPCC and hope that other organisations and policymakers will follow suit in setting 1.5 degree targets.”

Pia Heidenmark Cook, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group, said: “This latest IPCC report on climate change reinforces the urgent need for action from every part of society. The science and facts are clear and that is why IKEA has set an ambition to be climate positive by 2030, reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than what the IKEA value chain emits.

Setting stretching science based targets is essential for achieving this. We will contribute by decarbonising our energy use including electricity and heating, using zero-emissions deliveries, moving to a circular business model and enabling millions of customers and co-workers to take climate action in their everyday lives.

We firmly believe that together with other businesses joining the climate action movement, we can help to create a positive future and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.” 

Benet Northcote, Director, Corporate Responsibility, John Lewis Partnership, said: “The Paris Accord was a great moment of hope as countries came together to tackle the challenge of climate change. Today's IPCC report confirms that it is possible to achieve what we need to, but only if everyone responds with speed and ambition. It is not too late, but there can be no delay.  

Fortunately, we know what is needed and I am pleased that the John Lewis Partnership is responding in our operations and through our supply chains. We have already cut our operational emission intensity by nearly 70% since 2010 and over the coming months we will be unveiling the next stage in our plans to reduce our environmental impact and emissions even further. Waitrose & Partners continues to lead in its commitment to truly sustainable agriculture, while John Lewis & Partners is pioneering circular economy solutions that will lessen humanity's impact on the environment."

Meryam Omi, Head of Sustainability and Responsible Investment Strategy, Legal & General Investment Management, said: “Climate science is unequivocal in showing the benefits of action to finance a low-carbon future. But we have to act now. From large investors to individuals who choose their own pension fund, our option must be the one that makes sense financially and for the planet.”

Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business, Plan A, Marks & Spencer, said: “The IPCC continues to provide the sound science we need to make profound decisions about how we run the economy globally. It’s a powerful reminder that business as usual is unsustainable and even climate action 1.0, as inspired by COP21, is insufficient. We need to take bolder, faster action and shift our mind-set to one of embracing the inevitability and opportunity of the low carbon economy.”

Nicolas Beaumont, Senior Vice President Sustainable Development and Mobility, Michelin Group, said: “Michelin is firmly committed to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and the subsequent necessity to limit the increase of temperatures to 1.5 degrees. Fighting climate change is essential and not an option and it is only by working together that we will be able to face this challenge. That’s why Michelin has set up its annual global summit Movin’On which aims to go from ambition to action while bringing together all stakeholders from the transport sector to invent the mobility of the future.

We welcome any initiative by the UK government to decarbonise the transport sector, by encouraging electric and hydrogen powertrains, and by ensuring the effective pricing of carbon. This will help us ensure we continue to bring to market the most effective products and services, through our continuous R&D efforts and by reducing the CO2 impact of our offerings. Now more than ever, our aim is to ensure that transport is safe, green, efficient and accessible.”

Sarah Handley, Carbon Neutral Programme Manager, Siemens plc, said: "By providing innovative technologies, Siemens is a leading partner for decarbonisation for our customers and society. We welcome the IPCC’s report on the benefits of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees which supports the urgency of delivering the Paris Agreement goals. Siemens has set targets to achieve net zero-carbon status by 2030. We urge the government to review the UK Climate targets to help shape the low carbon economy."

Danielle Lane, UK Country Manager, Vattenfall, said: “Vattenfall strongly welcomes the IPCC’s new special report on the Paris Agreement. We are seriously concerned that the combined effect of the pledges for reduced GHG emissions in national plans to date may cause the temperature to continue to rise above 3 °C. It is vital that governments take heed of the IPCC report and let it guide them when updating their respective pledges under the Paris Agreement to ensure that these conform with global objectives.”

David Symons, UK Director of Sustainability, WSP, said: “Ambitious carbon free strategies drive business innovation and growth. That’s why the UK must continue to be a leader and why we’re challenging all our colleagues to design Future Ready buildings and transport networks – ready for the future as well as today. And business has to lead too. At WSP we’ve set a target to be carbon neutral by 2025 – because we want to do the right thing and because our colleagues want us to lead.”


[1] Committee on Climate Change (2018) Reducing UK emissions – 2018 Progress Report to Parliament

[2] Bright Blue (2018) Hotting up: Strengthening the Climate Change Act ten years on

63% of UK adults when the UK to be a global leader in tackling climate change and 64% of UK adults agree the UK should aim to cut its carbon emission to zero in the next few decades.

[3] Cross-party MP joint letter on net zero emissions target ahead of 2050:

UK expertise to help developing countries tackle climate change and move to cleaner energy:

Labour announces zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050: