4 degrees and beyond: Part I

Trying to set co-ordinated global policy is hard enough. It’s even more challenging when the the goal posts keep moving, as new facts about the matter in hand come to light. Then you have to consider the different actors involved, each with their own interests to protect. Different sets of policies have different sets of consequences. Some may lose. More

Time for motorists to get on their bike

In Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy first broadcast as a series of radio plays in the late 1970s, Douglas Adams derides the UK’s growing car-centric society. One of the leading characters, extra-terrestrial Ford Prefect (also a British car manufactured in the 1950s), we are told has chosen his name carefully to blend in with Earth society. But in fact, Ford Prefect had simply mistaken the car as the dominant life form – and who could blame him?

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It’s not easy being Noah

Joseph Fourier proposed the existence of a 'greenhouse effect' way back in 1824. And at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, scientists have been measuring CO2 levels in the atmosphere since 1958. When Charles Keeling first set up Mauna Loa, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was between 312 and 313 parts per million by volume (ppmv). More

Prevention is the cure

As local authorities and government departments scale back spending, there is concern from those on the front-line that cuts to “non-essential” and non-statutory services will have negative long-term impacts. Preventative interventions  - those with intrinsically inivisible impact in the short term – are particularly vulnerable. Simultaneously, at the frontier of state retrenchment, the Big Society is scheduled to blossom to fill the voids created.

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Why the cap won’t fit

The introduction of the migration cap in the UK has unleashed a Pandora's box of questions for Secretary of State, Theresa May. Who exactly should be restricted from entering the UK? At what limit should the cap be set? Will this tool really help to restrict migration? Is a cap beneficial for the UK economy? More

Cloned meat and the Daily Mail

We have an unusual relationship with the Daily Mail here at nef.  The politics of many, though not quite all of us, would rule out giving Lord Northcliffe’s offspring house room.  On the other hand, the Mail – and the Mail alone – has run with many of the most important new economics campaigns, including the ghost towns and small shops.

The Northcliffe Press’s Save Our Small Shops campaign was imaginative and genuinely indicative of what people really want – not just what the politicians say they want. 

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72 months and counting

Organised expectation-management has become the politics of the climate talks in Cancún.

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David Fleming, 1940-2010

David was always inspirational, and quietly innovative, and I was always excited after conversations with him.  As well as the role he played in developing the organisation that eventually became nef, he was one of the founders of the Green Party and its economic spokesman in the late 1980s.

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Chicken Licken and the trouble with home ownership

Agonised estate agents are on the Today programme most mornings at the moment, worrying about the state of the housing market.  Is it stagnating?  Is it actually falling?  Aaaaah! There is just a hint of Chicken-Licken about it.

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Cameron’s well-being index could help transform lives for the better

Last week’s news that the government is to start measuring subjective well-being sounded, as Jules Peck argued at Left Foot Forward last week, like very good news for progressives. Yesterday we heard more of the details of what is being proposed – with a vision that just might start to transform the business of policy-making. More

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