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Michael Gove: ‘conservative instinct’ helps safeguard the environment

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Conservative instinct” is at the heart of environmental stewardship, the education secretary Michael Gove said in a speech at Westminster on Wednesday.

He added that conservatism was about “passing on what we’ve inherited to the next generation”, and that his role at the Department for Education was not only about getting children to read and write, but also to “appreciate the value and the beauty of the environment around them”.

His comments followed those of David Cameron in parliament on the same day about the severity of the threat posed by climate change. The prime minister called it “one of the most serious threats this world faces”.

Gove was speaking at a launch event for the Conservative Environment Network (CEN), a London-based forum set up to “reinvigorate” the conservative environmental agenda.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Bloomberg and 12 other influential centre-right figures – including Gove – have contributed to a collection of essays, collated by the CEN, called Responsibility & Resilience: What the Environment means to Conservatives.

Gove writes about the relationship between education and the natural world, in an article titled, Nature belongs at the heart of school life.

Introducing the education secretary’s address at Westminster, Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith – whose brother Ben is chair of the CEN – echoed the fact that environmental stewardship and conservation were “core conservative values”.

Logically, I would say it is impossible to be a true conservative without also being a true environmentalist. They are one and the same. Somewhere along the line, unfortunately, this became lost”, he said.

Goldsmith, the MP for Richmond Park and a former editor of the Ecologist magazine, said there had been an “exciting reversal” around the time of the last general election within the Conservative party – presumably pointing towards the Tories’ “vote blue, go green” campaign.

However, he added, “Despite that early enthusiasm, it would be dishonest, I think, of me to pretend that I don’t believe that the momentum is slowing. Much of that is down to the really unhelpful rhetoric that we’ve seen at all levels of the party.”

Taking questions after his speech, Gove said it was “unarguable” that man has an impact on the climate – perhaps in a gesture towards the members of his party who seemingly reject or are sceptical about the scientific consensus on climate change, such as the environment secretary Owen Paterson. He also described the Prince of Wales as a “natural conservative environmentalist”.

Gove concluded, “It’s conservative instinct – for example, over property rights – which safeguard the environment better than a bureaucratic or collectivist approach. It’s celebrating those people who live and work in the natural environment, like our farmers, which is central to making sure that the environment is stewarded totally – rather than always in the default mode, looking to bureaucrats and quangos to celebrate what is beautiful and right.

And above all, one of the reasons I’m so glad to be here is that… the little platoons that start organisations, from the RSPB to the – in my constituency – Chobham Common Preservation Society, are natural conservatives.

It seems to me that all those platoons there are part of an army that we should enlist to ensure that our country and our world is passed onto the next generation enhanced – that should be core to what we, as a Conservative party and a Conservative people, believe in.”

Further reading:

Schwarzenegger, Bloomberg and senior conservatives rally for the environment

Owen Paterson should get with the conservation programme

Conservatism and conservation: why Tories are born to be green

Former MP Peter Ainsworth: I worked in the City, but I’m pleased I didn’t stay

Coalition’s green fatigue is a ‘betrayal of conservatism itself’

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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