Monthly Archives: October 2013

City Power Play: 8 Ways Local Energy Policies Can Boost the Economy

October 2013: Really interesting new report by US-based organisation, the  Institute for Local Self-Reliance, describing how “dozens of cities are boosting their local economies while dramatically reducing greenhouse gasesCity Power Play:  8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy provides case studies on various US cities which have used the following routes to help promote energy efficiency and renewables through the following actions:

  1. Municipal utilities
  2. Community choice aggregation
  3. Building energy codes
  4. Building energy use disclosure
  5. Local tax authority
  6. Solar mandates
  7. Permitting
  8. Local energy financing

A lot to learn from this excellent analysis, which can be downloaded here.

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Cities & Biodiversity Report Released

October 2013: A new study released by the UN Environment Programme focussing on how “Increasing urbanization over the next decades presents not only unprecedented challenges for humanity, but also opportunities to curb climate change, reduce water scarcity and improve food security, according to the world’s first global assessment on the relationship between  urbanization and biodiversity loss” was released earlier this week in New York. The full news release can be read here. The study – Cities and Biodiversity Outlookhere.  A short film – An Urbanising Planet – based on the study can be seen here.

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When Boris met Ed…

October 2013:  In the most recent of his weekly columns in the Daily Telegraph, the Mayor relates a story of a meeting he had with Labour leader Ed Miliband a few years ago, when Ed was the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The Mayor’s account is in part a response to the announcement Mr Miliband made at last week’s Labour Party Conference that, if Labour were to come into government after the 2015 general election, they would enact a 18 month ‘energy price freeze’ on energy company tariffs.

The Mayor account prove interesting reading: “I don’t think I have ever told you about my last official meeting with Ed Miliband. I must have somehow blanked it out, as one of those experiences that is just too harrowing to relate. It took place a few years ago, and my City Hall team was very excited in the run-up. We had an absolute corker of a plan, you see. We had the spreadsheets, the data, the options – and all we really needed was for Government to get behind it, and make sure that London got its fair share of the funding.

“We were going to launch a huge drive to improve the energy efficiency in the capital’s homes. We were going to hit all sorts of nails pretty smartly on the head: we were going to cut CO₂ emissions, and thereby stop the polar bears from plopping off the ice floes. We were going to cut NO₂ emissions from our noisome old boilers, and so improve air quality. We were going to help get thousands of people into work as retro-fitters – people who went around helping to insulate homes.

“As I told my team during the preparations, Britain might be lagging in some respects, but once our programme was under way we would certainly not be lagging in lagging. Above all, we were going to achieve the number one objective of the scheme: we were going to help cut the cost of heating people’s homes and help stabilise fuel bills.

“I was interested in the plan as a way of helping the planet and helping people in tough times. As for Ed – well, it was, frankly, a bit disheartening. He wasn’t remotely interested. He didn’t want to talk about retro-fitting and, as I gabbled away about a new legion of “boiler bunnies” bouncing up to your door, I was aware that a deep tranquillity had settled on the minister.

“He didn’t want to talk about cutting the cost of living. He just wanted to trade jokes about the forthcoming general election; and as one of my team put it later: “He was only vaguely in command of his brief and had no interest in achieving anything.” We wrote a long and optimistic follow-up letter, hoping that perhaps he had been taking it in. Nada. Not a peep.”

It would be great to read a response from the Labour leader of his account of this meeting…but it seems unlikely that one will be forthcoming anytime soon. It is true that national governments – of all political persuasions – have neglected to provide the tools to London-government to exploit in full its carbon-saving and sustainable energy potential. And a recent letter from the Secretary of State for Energy to the Mayor suggests a similar indifference continues today…

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