UK policy

Credit: istock/RistoArnaudov

A key strand of our work is focused on engaging decision-makers in the UK on policy issues related to climate change and the environment.

The Institute produces policy analysis drawing on research from both the Institute and beyond, with the aim of communicating clear, evidence-based insights through produce policy reports and briefs. These span a broad sweep of issues including energy policy, sustainable finance, and clean growth, among others.

The Institute’s engagement with decision-makers ranges across government departments and agencies, and includes active participation in consultations and parliamentary inquires.

10 years of the UK Climate Change Act

10 years of the UK Climate Change Act

a policy report by Sam Fankhauser, Alina Averchenkova, Jared J. Finnegan  30 March, 2018

This report summarises lessons from the Climate Change Act, for the UK and other countries, on how climate change legislation is best structured to be effective. read more »


Social Discount Rates for Cost -Benefit Analysis: A Report for  HM Treasury

Social Discount Rates for Cost -Benefit Analysis: A Report for HM Treasury

a policy report by Mark C. Freeman, Ben Groom, Michael Spackman  6 March, 2018

A summary report from two workshops on recent advances in social discounting practice and theory. This paper was prepared as a summary of a workshop held in April 2016 on … read more »


The Committee on Climate Change at 10: achievements and challenges ahead

a commentary by Sam Fankhauser  1 March, 2018

Sam Fankhauser, who was a founding member of the UK Committee on Climate Change looks back over its achievements and considers the challenges it may face in the coming years. read more »


terrace houses

What are green mortgages and could they increase the energy efficiency of UK homes?

a commentary by Sini Matikainen  17 January, 2018

The Government’s Clean Growth Strategy included plans to use green mortgages to incentivise people to make their homes more energy efficient but what are green mortgages and what evidence is there that they work? read more »


Consultation response: ‘Industrial Heat Recovery Support Programme’

Consultation response: ‘Industrial Heat Recovery Support Programme’

a briefing note by Isabella Neuweg, Misato Sato  16 January, 2018

This paper responds to a question on overcoming potential barriers to the uptake of recoverable heat technologies in industry in the UK Government’s call for evidence on the Industrial Heat Recovery Support programme. read more »


Consultation response: ‘Building a market for energy efficiency’

Consultation response: ‘Building a market for energy efficiency’

a briefing note by Samuela Bassi, Daire McCoy  9 January, 2018

This paper provides responses to selected questions in the UK government’s call for evidence on ‘Building a market for energy efficiency’. read more »


Consultation response: ‘Cost of Energy Review’

Consultation response: ‘Cost of Energy Review’

a briefing note by Bob Ward, Sini Matikainen  8 January, 2018

This is a submission to the consultation on the UK government’s ‘Cost of energy’ review by Professor Dieter Helm, addressing areas including the phase-out of coal and cost of renewable energy. read more »


New projections confirm Clean Growth Strategy cannot currently achieve Carbon Budgets

New projections confirm Clean Growth Strategy cannot currently achieve Carbon Budgets

a commentary by Bob Ward  4 January, 2018

The UK Government has this week released new projections which confirm that its Clean Growth Strategy cannot currently achieve the Fourth and Fifth Carbon Budgets through reductions in domestic annual emissions of greenhouse gases between 2023 and 2032. read more »


Consultation response: ‘Clean Growth Strategy’

Consultation response: ‘Clean Growth Strategy’

a briefing note by Bob Ward, Sini Matikainen  4 January, 2018

This is a submission to the consultation on the UK Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, with comments on the overall strategy and key sections. read more »


Consultation response: ‘Call for evidence on the reform of the Green Deal Framework’

Consultation response: ‘Call for evidence on the reform of the Green Deal Framework’

a briefing note by Daire McCoy, Isabella Neuweg  22 November, 2017

This is a submission in response to a call for evidence on the reform of the Green Deal framework. The Green Deal was the UK’s flagship programme to improve energy efficiency of the building stock. read more »


What does the Helm Review teach us about climate policy?

a commentary by Sam Fankhauser  27 October, 2017

Professor Dieter Helm’s Cost of Energy review was greeted in parts of the press with headlines like “excessive green taxes force up energy bills”. Sam Fankhauser analyses the review in the context of UK efforts to tackle climate change. read more »


Clean Growth Strategy: Much to praise but many aspirations rather than tangible policy commitments

a commentary by Sam Fankhauser  13 October, 2017

Mobilising private sector funding and implementing a strong industrial strategy will be critical to the sucess of the UK Government’s Clean Growth Strategy says Sam Fankhauser. read more »


offshore wind turbines

GIB going, going, gone! The future of the Green Investment Bank and sustainable investment in the UK

a commentary by Sini Matikainen  18 August, 2017

The sale of the government-backed Green Investment Bank (GIB) for £2.3bn to a consortium led by Macquarie Group Limited has been completed this week. The sale has been met with criticism, … read more »


The climate impact of quantitative easing

The climate impact of quantitative easing

a policy paper by Sini Matikainen, Emanuele Campiglio, Dimitri Zenghelis  30 May, 2017

Note that an 8-page policy brief for decision-makers that draws on the full 36-page paper is available.  Headline issue Both climate change and the low-carbon transition are likely to have … read more »


Environment researchers gagged during General Election

Environment researchers gagged during General Election

a commentary by Bob Ward  22 May, 2017

Environment researchers at UK universities are being wrongly gagged during the General Election campaign because of inconsistent and over-zealous applications of ‘purdah’, which began at midnight on 21 April. The … read more »


Consultation response: ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’

Consultation response: ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’

This paper was submitted in response to the UK Government’s industrial strategy green paper: ‘Building our industrial strategy‘.


UK export opportunities in the low-carbon economy

a policy report by Maria Carvalho, Sam Fankhauser  24 April, 2017

This policy brief outlines the opportunities and threats to trade in low-carbon goods and services in the UK. read more »


International carbon markets, linking and post-Brexit UK options

International carbon markets, linking and post-Brexit UK options

a policy presentation by Luca Taschini  30 March, 2017

Presentation given at ‘The impact of Brexit on the UK and European energy markets’ conference organised by Florence School of Regulation, European University Institute on 30 March 2017.


Submission to inquiry by the House of Commons Select Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee on ‘Leaving the EU: negotiation priorities for energy and climate change policy’

Submission to inquiry by the House of Commons Select Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee on ‘Leaving the EU: negotiation priorities for energy and climate change policy’

a briefing note by Bob Ward, Maria Carvalho  24 January, 2017

This submission to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee’s inquiry on Leaving the EU looks at which aspects of EU policy should be retained and the potential impact of Brexit on Paris Agreement pledges. read more »


Muddled and inflated figures about power decarbonisation

Muddled and inflated figures about power decarbonisation

a commentary by Bob Ward  21 December, 2016

It is vitally important that the public debate about the UK’s options for managing the risks of climate change is based on reliable and authoritative information about the costs. Unfortunately, … read more »


Building 21st century sustainable infrastructure (part 1): time to invest

a policy report by Dimitri Zenghelis  12 August, 2016

The new UK Government under Prime Minister Theresa May has committed to boosting UK productivity, to addressing the widening wealth gap, and to supporting the transition to low-carbon … read more »


Strengthening the UK’s flood insurance partnership in the face of rising risks: what role for property developers?

a commentary by Florence Crick, Swenja Surminski  6 July, 2016

Florence Crick and Swenja Surminski outline ways in which property developers could help reduce flood insurance premiums. read more »


The competitiveness impact of a UK carbon price: what do the data say?

a policy paper by David Grover, Ganga Shreedhar, Dimitri Zenghelis  11 January, 2016

This paper explores the potential impact of a uniform £20 per tonne carbon price on fuels and production costs across all 106 industries that comprise the UK economy. read more »


Consultation response: ‘Reforming the business energy efficiency tax landscape’

a policy paper by Samuela Bassi, Chris Duffy, Sam Fankhauser, Bob Ward, Dimitri Zenghelis  23 November, 2015

This policy paper was submitted to HM Treasury in response to its consultation on ‘Reforming the business energy efficiency tax landscape’. read more »


Flood insurance in England – An assessment of the current and newly proposed insurance scheme in the context of rising flood risk

a research article by Swenja Surminski, Jillian Eldridge  18 November, 2014

By applying our analytical framework we find an absence of formal incentive mechanisms for risk reduction in the existing and proposed Flood Re scheme. We identify the barriers for applying insurance to risk reduction and point to some possible modifications in the Flood Re proposal to deliver a greater link between risk transfer and risk reduction. read more »


Burden or opportunity? How UK emissions reductions policies affect the competitiveness of businesses

a policy paper by Dimitri Zenghelis, Samuela Bassi  6 July, 2014

The ongoing review of the UK’s Fourth Carbon Budget is closely linked to the debate over the impact that domestic climate change policies can have on the competitiveness of businesses. … read more »


Walking alone? How the UK’s carbon targets compare with its competitors’

a policy paper by Samuela Bassi, Sam Fankhauser, Fergus Green, Michal Nachmany  18 March, 2014

The UK Government is reviewing the fourth carbon budget for the period  2023-27. The Committee on Climate Change has recommended that the budget, which was originally legislated in … read more »


Greening the Recovery – The report of the UCL Green Economy Policy Commission

Greening the Recovery – The report of the UCL Green Economy Policy Commission

a policy report by Dimitri Zenghelis  15 February, 2014

Paul Ekins, Will McDowall, and Dimitri Zenghelis, UCL, 2014. External link to report  


Flood insurance in England – an assessment of the current and newly proposed insurance scheme in the context of rising flood risk

Flood insurance in England – an assessment of the current and newly proposed insurance scheme in the context of rising flood risk

a working paper by Swenja Surminski, Jillian Eldridge  1 January, 2014

Flooding is the largest natural disaster risk in England and it is expected to rise even further as we experience a changing climate and continue putting … read more »


Flood insurance and the Water Bill

a briefing note by Florence Crick, Sam Fankhauser, Swenja Surminski, Bob Ward  14 November, 2013

Through the Water Bill, the Government is seeking powers to establish a new scheme for the provision of flood insurance. The proposed scheme, Flood Re, offers … read more »


Energy use policies and carbon pricing in the UK

Energy use policies and carbon pricing in the UK

a policy report by Samuela Bassi, Alex Bowen, Sam Fankhauser  4 November, 2013

Energy use policies and carbon pricing in the UK read more »


Climate change policies and the UK business sector: overview, impacts and suggestions for reform

a policy paper by Samuela Bassi, Antoine Dechezleprêtre, Sam Fankhauser  1 November, 2013

The UK has a complex system of energy taxes which affect the business sector. Overlaps between taxes mean that carbon prices are uneven across sectors and fuels, and … read more »


The British Feed-in Tariff for small renewable energy systems: Can it be made fairer?

a policy paper  1 October, 2013

The British Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme, which launched in April 2010, pays £500 million each year to the owners of small scale renewable energy installations for the clean … read more »


UK energy policy

UK energy policy

a commentary by Bob Ward  1 October, 2013

Private investors need to be persuaded to spend billions of pounds to create a cleaner and more efficient power sector for the UK. The Times – subscription is required.


The Climate Change Act

The Climate Change Act

a briefing note by Samuela Bassi, Bob Ward, Dimitri Zenghelis  1 September, 2013

The Climate Change Act received Royal Assent on 26 November 2008 and set an overarching target to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by … read more »


Climate change policy UK

Climate change policy UK

a briefing note by Chris Duffy, Alex Bowen  18 August, 2013

The Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change and the Environment and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) have published a policy paper, originally commissioned as a working paper … read more »


Submission to inquiry on ‘Climate: public understanding and policy implications’ by the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology

Submission to inquiry on ‘Climate: public understanding and policy implications’ by the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology

a policy paper by Bob Ward, Naomi Hicks  1 June, 2013

Submission begins with a summary of the importance of public understanding of climate change, before considering some of the latest research on the state of public understanding of the science … read more »


An Independent National Adaptation Programme for England

An Independent National Adaptation Programme for England

An Independent National Adaptation Programme for England read more »


Conflicting duty for government? The UK’s new Green Investment Bank

Conflicting duty for government? The UK’s new Green Investment Bank

a research article  2 December, 2012

Reference Grover, D. December 2012. Conflicting duty for government? The UK’s new Green Investment Bank. Comment to WJS Europe.


The Future of Green Infrastructure Investment

The Future of Green Infrastructure Investment

a policy report by Dimitri Zenghelis  18 November, 2012

All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group Panel presentation, House of Commons, November 2012 – External link to presentation


Rapid Responses

Rapid Responses

a commentary by Bob Ward  8 October, 2012

[Re: We just need the political will to reduce destructive energy prices, Friday] Matthew Sinclair’s long rant against climate change policies showed a remarkable ignorance of the economics of energy…. … read more »


Why is Boris Johnson promoting climate change “sceptics”?

Why is Boris Johnson promoting climate change “sceptics”?

a commentary by Bob Ward  1 August, 2012

On Thursday, Boris Johnson will host the second of the Mayor of London 2012 Debates, which he claims are “London’s intellectual contribution to the [Olympic] Games”, and “will help define … read more »


Green investments can overcome the paradox of thrift

Green investments can overcome the paradox of thrift

a commentary by Dimitri Zenghelis  7 June, 2012

The New Statesman, June 2012


Reports spell double trouble for the climate

Reports spell double trouble for the climate

a commentary by Sam Fankhauser  21 November, 2011

There have been two sobering climate change statistics recently. First we learnt that despite a sluggish economy, global emissions of carbon dioxide grew by a whopping 6 per cent between 2009 … read more »


Advisory workshop on the British Investment Bank conference

Advisory workshop on the British Investment Bank conference

a policy report by Dimitri Zenghelis  18 November, 2011

Contributor, Westminster, 2 November 2011 – External link to publication


Government discounting controversies: changing prices, opportunity costs and systematic risk

Government discounting controversies: changing prices, opportunity costs and systematic risk

a working paper by Michael Spackman  1 November, 2011

The conceptual basis and numerical quantification of the time discount rate (or rates) to use for public sector analysis have been debated for over half a … read more »


Labour could start a green industrial revolution

Labour could start a green industrial revolution

a commentary by Michael Jacobs  18 July, 2011

Michael Jacobs: The coalition’s proposed electricity market reform is radical, but Labour could go further with a green growth strategy the Guardian


British election results show climate change denial is not a vote winner

British election results show climate change denial is not a vote winner

a commentary by Bob Ward  11 May, 2011

Last week’s election results in England, Scotland and Wales demonstrated that climate change denial is still not a vote winner, and remains an issue that lies at the extreme fringes … read more »


Why science is a vote winner

Why science is a vote winner

a commentary by Bob Ward  6 May, 2011

Fewer than one in six people think that government funding for science should be cut in favour of other areas of expenditure, according to a survey published earlier this week, … read more »


Inflation erodes UK science budget

Inflation erodes UK science budget

a commentary by Bob Ward  29 March, 2011

Last week’s budget presented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not mention the science budget allocations, but among the figures published by the government was an admission that research … read more »


China gets serious about curtailing its carbon emissions

China gets serious about curtailing its carbon emissions

a commentary by Sam Fankhauser  28 March, 2011

Britain’s carbon budgets are domestic emissions objectives, adopted because they make sense for the UK. But climate change is a global problem. Committee on climate change – blog


More investment needed in UK’s research base

More investment needed in UK’s research base

a commentary by Bob Ward  5 February, 2011

Sir, The closure of Pfizer’s research centre in Kent (Reports, February 2) will deal yet another blow to the UK’s international competitiveness. Financial Times – registration required.


UK science allocation: more gloom

UK science allocation: more gloom

a commentary by Bob Ward  20 December, 2010

You might be forgiven for thinking that today’s announcement of how the science budget will be divided up is good news. The chair of Research Councils UK, Alan Thorpe, says: … read more »


UK research spend: cuts could reach 17 per cent

UK research spend: cuts could reach 17 per cent

a commentary by Bob Ward  28 October, 2010

The gushing responses from the some members of the British science community over the past week may have led you to believe that the government’s comprehensive spending review has done … read more »


We need to protect blue-sky research

We need to protect blue-sky research

a commentary by Bob Ward  17 May, 2010

One of the biggest challenges facing David Willetts, the new minister for universities and science, is to ensure that the UK remains a global leader in scientific research over a … read more »


Tiny steps in a marathon

Tiny steps in a marathon

a commentary by Nicholas Stern, Alex Bowen, Sam Fankhauser  24 April, 2009

Nicholas Stern, Alex Bowen and Sam Fankhauser: We still have a long way to go, but this week’s climate decisions inch us towards the big target the Guardian


Nicholas Stern’s reaction to green budget measures

Nicholas Stern’s reaction to green budget measures

a commentary by Nicholas Stern  22 April, 2009

Author of the Stern review gives his verdict on the green measures announced in Alistair Darling’s 2009 budget the Guardian