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Spending Review: reaction from Friends of the Earth and WWF-UK

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On Wednesday afternoon Chancellor George Osborne delivered the first Comprehensive Spending Review of this Parliament. This is the reaction of Friends of the Earth and WWF-UK.

Responding to the Chancellor’s speech Friends of the Earth senior economics campaigner David Powell said: “The Chancellor’s green-bashing is a further reminder that our environment is not safe in his hands.

“With critical climate talks in Paris just around the corner, George Osborne has shown he couldn’t be less interested in green investment and building a low-carbon future.

“A huge gaping hole remains in the Government’s flood defence budget – until that’s plugged, people will increasingly be put at risk of flooding as climate change takes hold.

“And, on the day that new figures revealed over 43,000 excess winter deaths last year, the Chancellor’s callous cuts to home insulation schemes is an attack on the most vulnerable people.”

Responding to the reductions to DECC and Defra funding, WWF-UK Chief Executive David Nussbaum said: “Failure to invest in the natural environment that underpins our economy means the UK will lose out on growth, jobs and international competitiveness – the very issues that George Osborne is so exercised about. It’s good that the Chancellor has protected budgets for forests and national parks but it’s now vital that the Government sets out how it will work with businesses and communities to protect our natural resources, including our seas and rivers, through its 25 year plan for nature.

“Today’s cuts will imperil the environment and undermine the economy. And as we approach the Paris talks, an extensive road building programme sends a depressing signal about the gap between what the UK says on the international stage and what it is prepared to invest in at home.

“How will a depleted Defra have the muscle within Whitehall to stand up for our natural world, at a time when 60% of UK species are in decline? How will a disempowered DECC accelerate the essential transition to a low-carbon economy? And how can the UK lead internationally if we are cutting funding to improve the energy efficiency of our homes? The Government must do better than this if it is to live up to its aspiration to leave nature in a better state than it was when it took office.”

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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