Let’s not shop till we drop

This is flawed. From an economic perspective, generalised spending on mostly imported goods is a highly inefficient way to reflate the UK economy. Most of the spending benefits just leak away. It will do little to combat what Richard Holbrooke, former US ambassador to the UN, called an "existential threat to the planet", managing to conjure the curious image of chainsaw wielding French philosophers converging on a rainforest. Exhorting a rebirth of binge consumerism on the high street may be less exotic, but it is equally destructive.

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Royal Bank of Scotland announce \“breathing space\” for homeowners

The housing charities have been fairly positive about RBS's move - although other banks have dismissed it as marketing spin. It is clearly an inadequate concession, but it also demonstrates that RBS are beginning to recognise their culpability in this mess.

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Government calls for protests, protestors call for government action

Amid the calls for "No New Coal", "No Airport Expansion" and "No to Unsustainable Agrofuels", the calls for a Green New Deal sounded an unusually positive note. For too long global warming activists have been forced to campaign against the climate-wrecking industries that are jeopardising our common future. Now, the Green New Deal meme might just provide the iconic, populist cause which is so necessary for the success of any social movement.

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The Newspaper Crunch

But there is a piece of news today that is up there with those breath-catching facts. It's in the Financial Times:

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Climate picks

The Guardian has just put up a fantastic Carbon Atlas, which represents countries by the size of their emissions. It's a very effective way of making the stats accessible - and astounding. Compare the United States with one our favourite little countries here at nef, the kingdom of Bhutan.

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Local Authorities are banking it for themselves - and not before time

But as we have seen since September, there is little national governments can do to encourage lending when the Banks are locked in to a global credit crunch with plenty more steam in its engine. The reality is that these behemoth banks, through successive rounds of deregulation and mergers, are no longer structured in a way that properly serves the needs of local communities and businesses. More

We need a first-class post

It was asked to:

  • Assess the impact of liberalisation (de-regulation) on the UK postal services market;
  • Explore trends in future market development;
  • Consider how to maintain the Universal Service Obligation (delivering mail from John O'Groats to Land's End and everywhere in between).

In its interim review in May this year Hooper said some extremely interesting things. It found that there have been "no significant benefits from liberalisation for smaller businesses and domestic consumers. More

Recession won’t stop climate change

If you hoped that the recession might buy us some time to combat climate change, you're likely to be disappointed. That's according to figures from the UK's Committee for Climate Change which predict that even a serious fall in GDP would only deliver a fraction of emissions reductions. The Guardian has the full story here, including some perspectives from nef's Policy Director Andrew Simms. Andrew explains:

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Green New Deal Round-Up

Happy New Year, blog readers! 2009 is going to be a key year for us here at nef, and probably a make-or-break year for climate change and energy policy. Naturally, our politicians will remain preoccupied with the world's economic woes. Which is why the Green New Deal - a series of joined-up solutions to the triple crunch of peak oil, climate change and recession - still matters. More

Green New Seoul

Until now, that is. A couple of days ago the government of South Korea announced that it would invest 50 trillion Won - £25.2 billion - over the next four years on environmental projects which will create nearly a million jobs. According to the Associated Press, the money will be directed to "energy conservation, recycling, carbon reduction, flood prevention, development around the country's four main rivers and maintaining forest resources".

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