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Dealing with the Climate Crisis

Anthony Day helps you plan a sustainable future with expert guests and reports on green technologies from across a warming world.

Don't want to know

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.


Labour plans

If you're based in the UK, I'm sure you're aware that there will be a general election in the next 12 to 18 months. There is more pressure on the opposition to explain what they would do if they achieved government, and Labour leader, Keir Starmer, has been talking about new green policies. He's been criticised for backing off from earlier promises and the suggestion that planned investment may start several years into the new Parliament rather than from day one. Some see this as a fundamental U-turn, but his argument is that the financial situation of the UK has changed dramatically, not least because of the financial experiments of the briefest prime minister in office, Liz Truss, which spooked the markets. 

Green Growth

Labour will go for green growth. Labour’s plans include sweeping changes to the planning system that will allow onshore wind farms, electricity lines, transport links and other low-carbon infrastructure to be built quickly. All regulators will be given instructions to prioritise low-carbon projects, and companies will be given assurances on long-term policy to encourage investment.

They will set up Great British Energy and establish its HQ in Scotland. This makes sense from two points of view. First, many of the skilled engineers who will need to transition from supporting the oil industry to developing renewables are based there, and secondly it puts a vital organisation in Scotland rather than London which may do something to quell the calls for independence.

Community Energy

The policy includes community energy, already widely established across Europe, with incentives for those who have wind farms, or solar panels installed close to their communities. Despite the present government’s claims that onshore wind is an option, the current regulations have made it effectively impossible to build any new turbines. 

Coal and community

For the present, the Conservative government remains in power. A new Energy Bill is currently going through Parliament. The House of Lords added a clause to outlaw the opening of any new coal mines. The opinion was that this seemed totally unnecessary in the face of climate science, but the government has recently approved the opening of a new coal mine in Northwest England, so the legislators decided that they would take action to prevent any more. However, the government has removed this clause from the legislation. It has also removed a clause which would have allowed small community energy projects to sell electricity directly to local homes. It sounds like more than a clear ideological divide between the parties. One side seems determined to ignore the science. 

Summit for a New Global Financial Pact

Things look more positive internationally. Later this week the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact opens in Paris, chaired by President Macron. He has published an open letter, signed by himself and European and other world leaders as well as some 140 economists and legislators from across the world. The letter begins:

Open letter

As climate disasters intensify and as more people than ever are being forced to choose between heating and eating, or transport and shelter, public pressure has pushed world leaders to hold the Paris “Summit for a New Financing Pact” in June 2023… as the first step in a two-year roadmap to overhaul our global financial architecture. The Summit’s stated goal is “building a new contract between the countries of the North and the South to address climate change and the global crisis.”

We, the undersigned economists and policy experts, believe that for the Summit to make progress towards this much-needed goal, the Global North leaders who hold both an outsized say in our global financial architecture and an outsized historic responsibility for climate change must come with serious proposals for public international reparations. 

It continues:

Charting a New Path

We propose that Global North leaders show they are serious about charting a new path by…

(1) Stop funding fossils — instead make companies pay for their damages…

(2) Cancel illegitimate Global South debts: The last few years of global crises have compounded already untenable debts in many developing countries, draining public funds that are critically needed to deliver both vital social services and climate action… 

(3) Tax the rich: The wealthiest 1% have captured two-thirds of new global wealth created in the last two years…

Global North leaders can show they are serious about this by starting with an initial “1.5% for 1.5°C” tax on extreme wealth and dedicating this to the new ‘loss and damage’ fund, and by agreeing to advance a universal and intergovernmental UN Tax Convention…


It will be interesting to see what is actually agreed at the summit. Will there be a commitment, or simply more warm words as we've heard at COP after COP after COP?



On the other hand, some people refuse to believe that there is a climate crisis. As long as you don't talk about it and don't let anybody else talk about it. Well, it doesn't exist does it? 

US censorship

In the United States the Ohio General Assembly has a proposal that would regulate higher education. The wide-ranging bill includes a provision that designates climate policy as a “controversial belief or policy” and says faculty must “encourage students to reach their own conclusions about all controversial beliefs or policies and shall not seek to inculcate any social, political, or religious point of view.”

“You can say gravity isn’t true, but if you step off the cliff, you’re going down,” said Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist who teaches at Texas Tech University and a well-known writer and commentator about climate change and responding to climate denial. “And if you teach other people that gravity is not true, you are morally responsible for anything that happens to them if they make decisions based on the information you provided.”

Cripple Renewable Energy Sector

Meanwhile in Texas, Republicans in the Senate are hoping to permanently cripple the renewable energy industry in the state with amendments on a must-pass bill. One amendment would require all electricity providers to have a minimum energy quota with penalties for falling under that number. This affects renewable energy more than fossil fuels because the sources are less consistent. The requirement would force wind and solar to pay when they aren’t producing, making them far less profitable. Another would spread the cost of transmission lines more evenly across customers’ electric bills. This affects wind and solar more because their sources tend to be in more remote areas and cost more to run lines. The amendment would impact the low cost of renewable energy, making it less attractive to customers. 

And then there’s an amendment which prohibits wind and solar generators from being within a few miles of a historic site, river, natural area, state park or wildlife management area. It’s based off a targeted campaign of misinformation about the environmental dangers of renewable energy, most of which is inaccurate, overblown, and far exceeded by the continued reliance on fossil fuels.


It’s unsurprising considering that much of the Republican Party in Texas is guided by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, itself funded by two Texas oil and gas moguls. The TPPF has repeatedly lobbied against accountability for fossil fuel generators and overstated the dangers of renewable power.

Lobbyists at COP28 

I mentioned last week that there is disquiet at the fact that COP28 in November will be chaired by Sultan Al Jaber, chief of the United Arab Emirates oil company. For the moment he remains president-designate.

Now the UN is targeting the lobbyists attending COP28. At COP26 in Glasgow, there were more delegates from the fossil fuel industries than from any single country: at COP27 there were more than 600. With registration for delegates to this year's COP28 summit in Dubai set to open soon, the UN will now put in place a mandatory question on affiliation.

"From now onwards, every single badged participant attending the event will be required to list their affiliation and relationship to that organisation," said UN climate chief Simon Stiell, speaking at the closing of a preparatory meeting in Bonn.

We’ll have to wait and see what effect that has.

Johnson’s peers

Still on the theme of denial, lobby group Open Democracy criticises some of the nominees on past Prime Minister, Johnson's resignation honours list. There has of course been widespread criticisms of the list as well as of the fact that he was allowed to have an honours list at all, given the way he was effectively expelled from Parliament. How he justified making a 29-year-old policy assistant a member of the upper house, and therefore a legislator for the rest of her life is questioned by many. 

Global Warming Policy Foundation 

Open Democracy is more concerned with the climate deniers who have been ennobled. Three of them are closely connected to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), which I’ve mentioned in previous episodes. It supports the continuing use of fossil fuels and refuses to reveal its financial backers. 


Last Thursday, the group published a report claiming there was “little to be alarmed about” in last year’s extreme weather in the UK, which led to an estimated 3,200 excess deaths and saw dozens of homes destroyed by fire.

“The UK climate remains absolutely benign,” said Paul Homewood, the accountant who wrote the report. “The changes we have seen have been small, and mostly thoroughly welcome. Who would complain that we are seeing fewer bitterly cold winters?”

A climate scientist told openDemocracy the report was so full of falsehoods that its pages were better off being used “to cover your windows and help keep your house cooler during the next blistering heatwave”


Andrea Jenkyns, now a dame, joined the board of Net Zero Watch in May.

“Westminster has been gripped by groupthink on climate and energy policy for far too long,” she said at the time.


Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary, told openDemocracy that it was “ridiculous” to describe heatwaves that cause devastating fires as “thoroughly welcome”. 

“Firefighters battling unprecedented wildfires across the UK right now understand this all too well,” he added.

Ruth Lea, also a member of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, now has a life peerage.

In Other News

Sea Temperatures

We spoke last week about sea temperatures and how they reached record levels in the north Atlantic just last week. On Monday an article appeared in the Met Office blog. Professor Stephen Belcher is the Met Office Chief Scientist. He said: “May 2023 has seen the highest temperatures of any May since 1850. But it doesn’t stop here. It has also been the highest month above average compared with any individual month in the series.”

Sahara Dust

Professor Albert Klein Tank is the head of the Met Office Hadley Centre. Commenting on the situation in the North Atlantic, he said: “Typically, airborne dust from the Sahara helps to cool this region by blocking and reflecting some of the sun’s energy; but weaker than average winds have reduced the extent of dust in the region’s atmosphere potentially leading to higher temperatures.

“Additionally, lighter-than-usual trade winds could be playing a role.”


The eastern tropical Atlantic is the principal spawning ground for North Atlantic hurricanes. Meteorological records show that during periods influenced by El Niño that the development of hurricanes is suppressed in the North Atlantic because wind shear – winds crossing at different heights – tend to blow fledgeling hurricanes apart. However, forecasters have had to take into account the rise in sea-surface temperature as tropical cyclones derive their energy from warmer waters. The forecast this year from the Met Office suggests an above average season for the number of tropical storms and cyclones in the North Atlantic basin.

Julian Heming is a tropical cyclone expert with the Met Office. He said: “We are getting indications from models of an Atlantic tropical storm development east of the Caribbean by the middle of next week. This would be highly unusual in this area so early in the season. June storms normally form further west in the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico. The high sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic would likely be one of the main factors if this development did happen next week.”


We're coming up to the second anniversary of the destruction of Lytton, a small community in British Columbia, Canada. A week earlier it suffered temperatures of 49.6°C - a record, and a truly unheard of temperature for that part of the world. The following week wildfires roared in from the surrounding forests and the town was totally destroyed. It largely remains a ruin. 

This year Canada is still hot and dry and it's only the beginning of summer. If wildfires return, there are doubts as to whether the country will be able to afford the rebuilding costs. 

Hot solar panels

You may remember that last week I reported that solar panels were having to be taken off-line because they could not survive the high temperatures. This seemed odd to me and I monitored the output of solar electricity throughout the day as I was writing the episode. I found that at one point solar provided the same output as combined cycle gas turbines, which are the U.K.'s major source of electricity generation. Since then, I've dug a bit further and I find the report came from a tweet from an ill-informed member of Parliament. Solar panels are not taken off-line when the sunshine is particularly hot. Their efficiency does decline, however. According to Solar Energy UK, solar panel performance falls by 0.34 percentage points for every degree that the temperature rises above 25C.

It also said that the longer days and clearer skies mean solar power generates much more electricity during the summer, even if the efficiency falls.

Counting the Cost

The cost of the climate crisis is immense as illustrated by the enormous amounts of money, promised by the developed world to alleviate the consequences of the crisis in developing nations. Are we accounting for it properly though? In a paper published in Nature Sustainability the authors say:

Ethical Issues

“The costs of climate change are often estimated in monetary terms, but this raises ethical issues. Here we express them in terms of numbers of people left outside the ‘human climate niche’—defined as the historically highly conserved distribution of relative human population density with respect to mean annual temperature. We show that climate change has already put ~9% of people (>600 million) outside this niche. By end-of-century (2080–2100), current policies leading to around 2.7 °C global warming could leave one-third (22–39%) of people outside the niche. Reducing global warming from 2.7 to 1.5 °C results in a ~5-fold decrease in the population exposed to unprecedented heat (mean annual temperature ≥29 °C). The lifetime emissions of ~3.5 global average citizens today (or ~1.2 average US citizens) expose one future person to unprecedented heat by end-of-century. That person comes from a place where emissions today are around half of the global average. These results highlight the need for more decisive policy action to limit the human costs and inequities of climate change.”

Meanwhile, the European Union pays places like Libya to detain people fleeing from regions made uninhabitable by Climate Change. The UK government tries to turn them back as well, or to deport them to far-off Rwanda. 

The Transition 

Business Green Webinar

The transition to net zero concerns us all. At the end of May, I brought you an interview with James Murray, editor-in-chief of Business Green. Next week Business Green brings us a webinar on net zero. I’ll be interested to see what they say.

Just Stop Oil

Over the weekend, I was talking to somebody who is adamant that Just Stop Oil was not the way to approach the net zero transition. 

Supporting Russia?

His thesis was that we were going to need oil as part of the transition and it made sense to exploit remaining reserves in the North Sea, rather than buying in oil from countries such as Russia. If we did so, he said, we would simply be financing Russia's adventures in Ukraine. He put his point across quite vociferously, and if it's true then what he says makes a lot of sense. But is it true? This is something I am going to investigate. Main question is how much more oil are we going to need to take us through the transition to net zero, and can we obtain it from existing sources without buying more from places such as Russia? 

Early Enough?

The second point is if we do agree to exploit new areas of the North Sea, will they come on stream early enough to help us through the transition period? And if we are going to keep the transition period as short as possible, this implies that these new oilfields will never be fully exploited and therefore how can it make economic sense for the oil companies to open them up? I'd love to have your ideas, but in the meantime I will see what I can find out. Any ideas, James?


And finally…

Thinking on your feet

If your mission is to inform people about the climate crisis, to spread the science and face down the denialists, how good are you at fielding tricky questions on the spot? Difficult, eh? Maybe you need Sustainable Speakers. It's a new international online club aimed at sustainability professionals and those with a deep interest in the issues. The objective is to help people speak clearly and cogently and to deliver a compelling, concise message.

The next meeting is at 17.45 BST on Monday 26th June and you’re invited. Find the link on the Sustainable Futures Report website and sign up now. It’s free to visit.

And that’s it…

Thank you as usual for listening. Tomorrow I am going through a whole raft of requests for interviews so that I can set up my programme for the coming weeks. There are all sorts of ideas lined up, so do tell your friends to search out the Sustainable Futures Report on their favourite podcast platform. 

And thank you of course to my loyal patrons. I am more than grateful for the contribution I receive each month towards keeping the Sustainable Futures Report independent and ad free via your support at .

And that's it for now, so 

That was the Sustainable Futures Report .

I am Anthony Day.

Until, next time.





Labour’s Green Growth 

Coal and Community Energy 

Paris Financial Summit

US Censorship 

Johnson Honours

Lobbyists at COP28 

Other News

Sea Temperature 


Solar Panels in the Heat

Counting the Cost 

The Transition - Webinar 

And Finally…

Thinking on your Feet
Sustainable Speakers Club 

Picture Credit

Image by <a href="">GraphicMama-team</a> from <a href=“">Pixabay</a> 

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About Anthony Day

A weekly podcast and blog brought to you by Anthony Day. A selection of stories and interviews aiming to be sustainable, topical and interesting.
And also, I do address conferences.

Anthony Day

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