I told you back in August that I was going to take a break and fully expected to be back in September. Here we are, three weeks into the month and you've heard nothing from me.
I’ve decided to put the podcast into suspense; initially to suspend it for a full 12 months until September 2024. I'm now aiming to restart in January.
It’s tempting to comment on today’s news which indicates that the UK Government is likely to roll back on its Net Zero2050 commitments, but I will resist the temptation and leave you to follow it up for yourself. I'm sure there will be plenty of stories when I come back in January.
Why suspend at all? Well, I've been having a lot of pressures, not least from problems with my email account. Messages were bouncing back or were just not being delivered and I have spent hours trying to get to the bottom of the problem and to field the misunderstandings and missed calls that the problem caused. Not only that, my Webmaster and three technicians at the mail hosting company have also scratched their heads over several weeks trying to find a solution. I had three extensive calls with Apple Support. The first one was very dismissive and the advisor told me that she was one of the most expert members of staff, and this was clearly a third-party issue. Really? It affected my brand new iMac, but not my iPhone, my iPad or my MacBook.
My final conversation with Apple lasted 90 minutes and eventually came to a workaround which solved the problem. I won't go into great detail, but a system which had worked perfectly well for years had now been corrupted by an Apple Operating System update. Finally, they admitted that they were looking into a problem like this and hoping to resolve it with future updates.
OK, well that explains time pressures, but it's more than that. I need to have a clear theme and one of my listeners has said that the interviews which I offer you often don't really fit into a clear theme. The reason for that is that the majority of my interview guests are proposed to me by PR agencies, rather than being people that I have invited personally. That means that the topics which are offered come in random order. I need to get a grip on that in the future. I also need to get a grip on giving you quality content because a number of people have said that they prefer the sustainability news and the various topics covered in each episode rather than the interviews. Such episodes require a lot more work, so should I cut back to twice a month? Probably not, because you’ll never be sure when to expect a new episode.
As far as the theme for future episodes is concerned, I've got that under consideration. No definite ideas yet, but it'll probably be more towards the futures than sustainability, although sustainability will remain very much part of it. Maybe we'll do some scenario planning. Maybe we'll look at some alternative futures and look at the steps which need to be carried out between now and then in order to realise those scenarios. We can look as well at what experts think is the likelihood of those scenarios being achieved.
One thing I will do during this break between episodes is to create an index to the topics covered in the 475 episodes of the Sustainable Futures Report which have been published to date. At least I'll aim to have the last three years indexed by the time we meet again in January. That will enable you to go to the website and select episodes by topic or to pick an interview guest that you'd like to hear again.
Well, that's more or less it for this very short episode of the Sustainable Futures Report. I want to thank you all for listening and for your feedback and your ideas. Special thanks to my patrons. As patrons, you may wish to suspend your support for the moment because as I've indicated you're not going to get any more episodes before next year. If you continue to subscribe, then I think it's only fair if I pass on your donations to charity, so I will think about doing that for the rest of the year.
And that is it!
I’m Anthony Day.
That was a message from the Sustainable Futures Report.
I'm Anthony Day, and this is an unexpected bonus edition of the Sustainable Futures Report for Thursday 17th August. Last Saturday, I was asked if I would appear on TalkTV to talk about the Greenpeace action when they sat on the roof of the prime minister's country house in North Yorkshire. You can hear what I said, what the other panellist said and what the public said as well.
There’s a transcript on the website. Apologies that it’s not up to the usual standard but I’m afraid it had to be done in a bit of a rush.
A very determined message from Sharon Lashley, Managing Director of Climate Action North.
“Like I say, Anthony, it's more about, I've been through all of that. I've been through the doom and gloom. I think we've all been through doom and gloom through COVID. We don't need to be sucked back into that. What we need to do is try and move around where we can. We might be moving sideways. We're not necessarily moving up, but we might be moving in all these different directions. But we have to try. We can't not.”
This week brought the expected announcement from Rishi Sunak, the UK prime minister, that the government would authorise 100 new licences to exploit oil and gas in the North Sea. He went so far as to say that they would “max out” the North Sea, claiming that this would help the U.K.'s energy security and have a much lower carbon footprint than if we had to ship oil and gas in from other countries.
Just Stop Oil. Are they getting it right or are they getting it wrong? I have a view from inside the oil industry. Can protest and free speech survive in the face of new laws, and legal procedures which can bankrupt protesters without even taking them to court? And a minister resigns just before the PM sacks him, but he claims it’s for a completely different reason
This week I'm talking about transitions with a webinar from Business Green and a warning from energy company, Ithaca. There's a report and a letter to the prime minister from the Climate Change Committee, and what did happen at that Paris Finance Summit? More worrying news about climate tipping points and a new film to cheer you up. Or not.
There are still many people who are determined to deny the dangers of the climate emergency with refusal to face facts or even by supporting censorship. There are lots of stories at the moment about the climate, principally about soaring sea temperatures, but also about the legacy of wildfires in Canada and the effect of temperature on solar panels. Are we counting the cost of the climate crisis correctly? A paper in Nature Sustainability suggests that we are counting the money cost and ignoring the human cost. How will we achieve a transition to net zero? Is Just Stop Oil the answer, or will it make things worse? And finally how good are you at thinking on your feet, when faced with tricky climate questions? There’s a new online club to help you with that.
First, though, let's look at some political policy issues.
Today we have a follow-up on last week’s methane story, a reminder of World Refill Day and I reveal why we’re burning more coal this week. In other news I ask who’s in the driving seat, or is the seat driving? If you think that's got anything to do with Holly or Phil or even Boris or Nadine you've very definitely come to the wrong place. All will be revealed in due course. And finally, a podcast about the end of the world.
Today, I'll bring you items about electric cars, about Western Australia's personality of the year, and about the controversy over the President of COP 28. First, though, I'm going to talk about methane.
Today I'm bringing you an interview with James Murray, editor-in-chief of Business Green,https://www.businessgreen.com/, the website for green business news and analysis. He had the idea of Business Green about the same time as I had the idea for the Sustainable Futures Report, so we've both been going for about 16 years.
Yes, the King’s coronation has taken place and we’ll hear more about that a bit later. Well, not so much about the coronation itself as about what went on on the sidelines. If you can't stand the heat take it out of the kitchen with new technology which may not be quite as new as some reporters suggest. We hear from Naomi Klein on the hallucinations of artificial intelligence, and from Zoe Cohen, friend of the Sustainable Futures Report, addressing the annual general meeting of Barclays Bank. Nuclear fusion is the immense reaction which powers the sun. Now some Israeli scientists want to replicate it in a shipping container. And there’s advance notice of the Net Zero Festival which takes place in London next October.
The consumer is king, or queen, when it comes to choosing purchases on the basis of environmental credentials. In a moment, I'm going to talk to Tim Clover, who knows about these things. Just before that, let me catch up on a couple of points.
Today we’re talking about food. Not the sort of food that you're probably used to. As the world population gets larger, we have to look at more efficient sources of nutrition, efficient both in terms of the input/output ratio and the hectares or acres of land that are needed for each unit of nutrition. Today's episode is an interview so here’s a man who can talk about food of the future.
This week I planned to look at micro-mobility and you'll find my report below. Suddently I'm beginning to wonder if Arificial Intelligence could be a bigger threat than the climate crisis. Could this be true?
The climate crisis grabs the headlines. Well, no, actually it doesn't. I had to take my favourite newspaper for the task for featuring a failed politician on its front page while reporting on the latest IPCC report on page 4. “Fate of failed politician page one,” I wrote, “fate of humanity page 4. Get a grip!” Surprisingly, they didn't publish it or respond.
Yes, of course the climate crisis is a crisis, because if we let things continue as they are, the whole of our world, and our environment will be damaged irretrievably. But much of our environment is at risk from more than Climate Change. It is at risk from human activity damaging biodiversity, and in some cases driving parts of it to extinction. Who cares and who is responsible? Well increasingly governments care and shareholders care and those who lead major corporations may be at risk if they don't recognise their actions or the actions of their organisations are damaging biodiversity. That brings us to this week’s interview.
“Humanity is on thin ice, and that ice is melting fast.
As today's report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) details, humans are responsible for virtually all global heating over the last 200 years. The rate of temperature rise in the last half century is the highest in 2000 years. Concentrations of carbon dioxide are at their highest in at least 2 million years.. The climate time bomb is ticking…..”
I particularly wanted to welcome today all those people who have signed up this week as patrons. But I'm still waiting. However if you would like to support the Sustainable Futures Reportby becoming a patron you can do so at patreon.com/SFR . Many thanks to all existing patrons for your loyalty and support.
This week I'm talking about the power of the press, about how the rich view the climate crisis and what are they doing about it, how NASA is saving the world and a different perspective on one of the oil majors. First, we are back to carbon offsets.
The truth is that offsets can be complex. Done right they do indeed reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Done wrong they can be exposed as no more than greenwashing, damaging the reputations of the organisations that bought them, usually in good faith.
I promised you more detail on the carbon offset controversy which was started by a report in the press last month. Here's an interview with someone with firsthand knowledge of the market.
Each week I write between 2,000 and 4,000 words to bring you an episode of the Sustainable Futures Report. I also write to the paper from time time and sometimes I get published. Today I’m going to share with you a couple of those letters and a letter written by someone else. I’ll also share the words of a judge in a recent case against Just Stop Oil activists. A very different judge from the one I mentioned last time.
Finally I present my guide to dealing with denial. You can listen here or you can watch me on YouTube.
Last week I brought you news of the sentences handed down to the seven women who cracked the glass at the Barclays Bank building in Canary Wharf, London. How is the law treating people who demonstrate to warn and demand action on the climate crisis?
Before we start let's remember the people caught up in the terrible earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Sustainability news doesn’t stop, nor does the weather, nor do GHG emissions. I’ve a bit of catching up to do, including XR, more extreme weather, wood burning stoves, the government’s environmental plan, FOMO and FOFO, the controversy over Verra and carbon offsets, the future for podcasts, the financial climate, the unlawful arrest of journalists, biodiversity and the cost of Twitter, a comment from Greta and a whole lot more that I’m going to have to hold over until next week.
Nothing much is achieved without leadership and the ruinous consequences of bad leadership are all around us, from Ukraine to Iran to Haiti to Russia to China, and, well, the list just goes on. And we haven’t mentioned the consequences of the shortest-serving prime minister of the UK.
Success requires firm leadership, but it requires leaders who fully understand the issues they must address. Without this knowledge they cannot inform and enthuse the teams who work for them. And we are by no means talking only about politicians. Leaders are vital in all organisations.
If we are to preserve a habitable environment and successfully meet the challenge of the climate crisis our organisations need competent, sustainable leadership. I spoke to Clarke Murphy, who knows about these things.
On Friday of this week Zoe Cohen comes up for sentence. You’ll remember that she is one of the Barclays Seven found guilty at the end of last year of causing criminal damage to the glass panels at the front of the Barclays Bank HQ in Canary Wharf, London. Their complaint was that Barclays is one of the biggest investors in the oil industry, investing hundreds of billions since the Paris Agreement and since the IEA warned that we could not achieve net zero unless all new oil exploitation was stopped now. Zoe and her companions face up to 18 months in prison.
This week I’m looking back on 2022. I’ve published 62 episodes over the year - about 150,000 words. Thank you for listening and thank you for your feedback.
In this episode I’m going to look at what concerned us this time last year and what progress we’ve made since then.
In December last year we were talking about COP26, which had just ended in Glasgow. There were complaints about fossil fuel subsidies, an Insulate Britain protester on hunger strike, profound wisdom on climate mitigation from Allegra Stratton (Yes, I can see you remember her) and Certified Greenwash.
Last week we heard from the Shubhi Sachan of the Materials Library of India about how to minimise waste and re-use and recycle what cannot be avoided. This week, from the other side of the world, Stacy Savage, Founder & CEO, Zero Waste Strategies, LLC, explains how she addresses such issues with her clients, some of them very big brands.
Optimising material use. Last week we spoke about the future and we agreed that whatever the future holds we shouldn't be prevented from doing everything we can to make the world a better place. There is an obsession with economic growth and increasing argument about whether it's possible. There is no doubt that growth requires more materials and that materials on earth are finite.
The idea of the circular economy is to use, reuse and recycle materials to minimise the amount that we have to take from virgin resources. In an ideal world there is no such thing as a waste. When something is finished with it becomes an input to a new process. We are very far from achieving that, but there are people working hard to make it a reality. People like those at the Material Library of India. And it’s about a lot more than just collecting things up after they have been thrown away.
Recently I spoke to Shubhi Sachan, founder of the Material Library of India.
To give you some pointers on how to control your carbon footprint I'm talking this time to John Cossham. After this there are only three more episodes until Christmas. I know! Don’t miss my review of 2022 coming up on 21st December. It’s likely to be a long one, but hey, you should have plenty of time to enjoy it between the turkey and the mince pies and more turkey and more mince pies.
It's over. Cop 27 has finished even though it ran on for several days after its scheduled closing on Friday the 18th. An agreement was reached at the last minute! But where have we heard all this before? Cop 27 is certainly not the first cop to overrun. Not the first to create an agreement at the last minute and not the first to cause disappointment when people staggered from the last late night session and reviewed exactly what the agreement amounted to in the Cold Light of Day.