Category Archives: Plenary One

Peter Mandelson talks about the Politics of Climate Change

Speech  delivered by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson at the Policy Network event: ‘The Politics of Climate Change: Overcoming the political challenges of climate change – from economic crisis to business revolution’ London School of Economics, Friday 5th June, 2009

I think we’re entering a precarious time for mainstream politics in the UK. Cynicism and scepticism about politicians and politics in the UK is obviously pretty high. We badly need a core of positive ideas about the future in this country and for me climate change is at the heart of that.

Rebuilding political trust in Britain matters for its own sake. But it also matters because politics is the only way that we will be able to legitimately make the huge decisions that need to be made now to face up to challenges like climate change, or our global economic future. Politics is the mulitplier for the sense of collective renewal and endeavour. This morning I would like to say just a few things about how we do that, particularly in industrial policy.

The core challenge of climate change politics is getting people to connect their choices now with outcomes in the relatively distant future and in different parts of the world. It’s going to cost in the short term, there is no way around that. Continue reading


Matthias Machnig, State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment

Matthias Machnig, State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nuclear Safety and Nature Conservation, talks to Policy Network.

Terry Leahy – CEO Tesco plenary session one

In his speech, Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco,  calls for an approach that empowers people to lead a low-carbon transition. People are far to often seen as part of problem and blamed for over consumption. Leahy, maintains that we need to encourage people to start doing things not to stop.

He argues that rewarding behaviour is crucial.  Consumers want to go green, but they need help.  Part of the solution must be to empower and motivate consumers to go green and make green choices, give them the information and this will allow businesses to  green their supply chains. This in turn can be underpinned by new technology investment.

 Leahy concludes with a new announcement that, Tesco has put in place plans to build the world’s first zero carbon store near Manchester, adding that collaboration is vital and consumers are a force for good.

*Live notes – not verbatim

John Podesta – plenary session one

Taking the podium, John Podesta, President of  the Center for American Progress and Co-Chair of the Obama Transition team, opens with the observation that there has been a sea change in attitude in America with regard to climate change and environmental policy. Clean energy, he asserts, is at the heart of the economic recovery plan and clean energy finance and clean energy development are leading drivers in this sea change.

A big problem at the moment is financing.  It is pointed out that there has been dramatic reductions in investments in renewables, both in the US and globally in first quarter of 2009. This needs to be addressed. 

The creation of a public green bank for new technologies is one new idea in America, that Podesta calls to mind, going on to maintain that this idea has traction on Capitol Hill , while predicting that it could find its way through the House  in the Summer and the Senate in advance of Copehagnen. This he concludes will put the US in a position to be a on the transition to a low-carbon society.

*Live notes – not verbatim

Anthony Giddens – plenary session one

Anthony Giddens has opened the conference with some introductory remarks, calling for a revolution in our thinking about climate change, led by a positive message of hope and opportunity. Giddens also asserts that business must be on board. Environmental progressivism must be aloud to succeed in business, and must be incentivised. Political polarisation needs to be avoided, especially with regard to the assertions that “green is the new red” – this polarises and dissuades other political parties from engaging with cimate change.

*Live notes – not verbatim