As XR begins two weeks of protest I report on their progress. I bring you more news and ideas about hydrogen, a new technique for energy storage and details of two panel sessions I’ll be hosting next month.
This is the very last episode for August and indeed the last episode before Friday 1st October.
No, if you’ve ever listened to the Sustainable Futures Report you’ll know that I don’t deny the climate emergency, but there are many who do.
This week I’m talking about denialists and about those in denial. Also this week, hydrogen - should it be grey, green or blue, or is it a red herring? Should Alok Sharma - president delegate and key driver of COP26 - be driving a diesel car? As Biden and Boris both burnish their green credentials why are they both encouraging the extraction of more oil and coal? We close with an interview with the team at Bucha Bio: young entrepreneurs replacing a traditional material with a sustainable alternative.
Front Page News
Although Afghanistan has driven the climate emergency and everything else off the front pages, there are still articles and comment about that IPCC report on the inside pages, and denialists to condemn the message.
On the heels of extreme weather, from Siberia to China, from Canada to California, from Germany to Greece comes the most alarming report yet from the IPCC. It's Friday, the 13th of August 2021. What an auspicious date!
If you follow the Sustainable Futures Report, by now you will have worked your way through all the masses of press coverage
This is episode number 350 of your Sustainable Futures Report. The main part of today's episode is an interview with Ross O’Ceallaigh of the Green Urbanist podcast.
In other news the Siberian heatwave has led to new methane emissions, foreign control of North Sea oil licences threatens UK’s net zero goal, three and a half average Americans could be causing one death, high speed rail, HS2, may never reach the end of the line and there are new insights from Allegra Stratton, the Prime Minister’s climate crisis spokesperson.
Yes, those wildfires are still burning, and people are still facing the devastation of the floods in Europe, India and China. Scientists are blamed for not seeing it coming and journalists are being harassed for reporting it.
There are reports from the OBR, the National Infrastructure Commission, the Climate Crisis Advisory Group, the Met Office and the Climate Change Committee. There’s also a lot of news, comment, questions and promises about COP26. Suddenly, after decades of scientific concern, people seem to be taking the possibility of a climate crisis seriously.
This is an extra edition of the Sustainable Futures Report. I’ve put it together because there’s so much going on. I know your time is precious, so I didn’t want to add this to a regular edition and make it too long. If you want to save time you can skip to the links below to all these stories.
China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. China is the world’s biggest manufacturer of solar panels. China has the world’s biggest population of any country. The list goes on. Whatever China does affects the world. We won’t solve the climate crisis without China.
Welcome to all my listeners and especially to all you loyal Patrons. (patreon.com/sfr)
Sustainable Business for SMEs, wildfires and extreme temperatures, warnings from the IPCC, John Kerry and the new Climate Crisis Advisory Group and the BBC has a change of heart.
First of all let me welcome our latest patron, Sam Styles. Welcome Sam, thanks for becoming a patron and thanks for your support. I hope you enjoy the Sustainable Futures Report and please do get in touch to share any ideas you have about how we could make the podcast better or topics which should be included.
This week Climate Action staged the Climate Innovation Forum 2021, a three-day event. I got a press pass and I’ll share my review of some of the sessions. Also on this week’s agenda: more on the nuclear plant at Taishan, extreme weather in North America, shortfalls in the UK, and the future of the Sustainable Futures Report.
The Friendly Futurist
I’d like to draw your attention to The Friendly Futurist with Dave Monk. He talks about climate change, but in the context of many other things which are changing our future. “Each week,” he says, “we chat with experts in Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, The Metaverse, Agtech, Future of Food, Future of Work, Future of Energy, Biotech, Transhumanism, Biohacking, AI, Quantum Computing, Regenerative Agriculture, Nanotechnology, Climate Change, Electric Vehicles, Space Exploration, Introduction of UBI (Universal Basic Income), Return to Slow Fashion and so much more.” Plenty there to exercise the intellect! Find The Friendly Futurist on Apple podcasts or your favourite podcast site. I’ve put a link on the Sustainable Futures Report website where, as you know, you’ll also find the full text of every episode of this podcast with links to all my sources.
Last week the leaders of seven powerful nations met in the UK. Let’s look at what they said and indeed what they didn't say. I also have the usual miscellanea to share with you, and some thoughts on the future of the Sustainable Futures Report.
The G7, a group of world leaders discussing global issues. One of the major topics it discussed was relations with China, a country not invited to the table despite being a major world power. The Chinese reaction was that the time is past for small groups of countries to think they could rule the world. Russia was not there either. Russia was expelled from the former G8 in response to the annexation of the Crimea in Ukraine.
No clear theme this week. G-7 is still going on so I can only report on speculation rather than outcomes. We look at a potential pitfall of trade deals, analyse rain in Newcastle, I'll draw your attention to some events which look interesting and there is more, yes more, about bitcoin. In the Amazon region they have been living in harmony with nature for some 5,000 years. Then civilisation happened.
Hello I'm Anthony Day. Welcome to the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday, the 11th of June 2021, episode number 342.
Last week Business Green staged an important conference - Net Zero Nature. I share some of the insights I gained. In other news, some thoughts about G7 - the upcoming intergovernmental conference, a missed opportunity for green recovery, more reaction to the news about Shell, blowing hot and cold on energy storage, is public transport the way forward? And a bit of mining in the West Midlands.
Yes, I’m Anthony Day, it’s Friday 4th June and this your Sustainable Futures Report. Just the thing to listen to while you’re dozing in the sunshine.
Should the Nord Stream 2 pipeline face sanctions following this week’s air piracy by Russian ally Belarus? Oil company Shell faces continued protests and car manufacturers - and other industries - find the chips are down. In the hunt for rare metals, mining may come back to the UK. Will it cause as much pollution as mining for bitcoin - now opening new markets for coal-generated electricity? Restaurant chain Nando's announces plans to go carbon neutral by November while McDonald's is under siege from Animal Extinction protesters.
It’s Friday. It’s 28th May 2021 and I’m Anthony Day. Before you rush off to enjoy your Bank Holiday Monday, that's a public holiday for those not in the UK, take a moment to listen to the latest Sustainable Futures Report.
This week Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, said that exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop this year and no new coal-fired power stations could be built for the world to stay within safe limits of global heating and meet the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
Meeting net zero is one target, but meeting increasing energy demand is another. How do we do this without fossil fuels? Is there a role for nuclear power to make up the shortfall?
Recently I met with three experts to discuss this point.
A lot more stories, actually. I'm trying to get to grips with the stories that I haven't covered over the last four or five weeks. Links to all the sources, as usual, below. There’s a whole range of issues which I’ve loosely grouped into Energy, Science and Warning Signs, Managing the Message, and Inconsistencies, Greenwash and Counter-Intuitive ideas. With that last category in mind, let’s look at the East Yorkshire Oilfields.
It’s Friday 14th May 2021. A special welcome to all my patrons who help keep this award-winning show on the road with a small monthly contribution. If you like the Sustainable Futures Report why don’t you join them? Details at patreon.com/sfr.
East Yorkshire Oilfield
Yorkshire? Yes, in the northeast of England. The Yorkshire coalfield, no longer exploited, is massive, so it’s not surprising that there should be other hydrocarbons like oil and gas to be found. Rathlin Energy has two wells at West Newton in rural East Yorkshire and now wants to drill another six. You can see a virtual consultation on line, but you have to register your name and address before you can get access to the Rathlin website. There’s alink below.
Almost exactly a year ago to the day I spoke to James Dyke about progress towards solving the climate crisis. He is co-author of a recently-published article entitled Concept of Net Zero is a Dangerous Trap. I thought it was time to invite him back.
Dr James Dyke is Assistant Director of the Global Systems Institute, and Programme Director of the MSc Global Sustainability Solutions at the University of Exeter, UK. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of the European Geophysical Union and serves on the editorial board of the journal Earth System Dynamics.
Joe Biden hosted a climate summit last week. Greta Thunberg accused leaders of still talking and not doing, and nine women were arrested for breaking windows at the HQ of HSBC, a major investor in fossil fuel industries. Talk Radio wanted to know what I thought about it all. You’ll hear what I told them.
Happy St George's Day: St George, the patron saint of England. And William Shakespeare’s birthday. Had he lived, he would have been 457 today! This week Her Majesty the Queen celebrated her 95th birthday.
We are living in dangerous times, but the good news is that people - powerful people - are talking about the climate crisis. They are talking about actions they’ll take to deal with the climate crisis. But at the same time, climate protestors are being criminalised across the world. Newspapers reporting on these prosecutions have withdrawn articles in the face of threats of legal action. Yes, here in the UK.
Technology is no silver bullet or get-out-of-jail-free card, but it’s a major weapon against the climate crisis, and many people believe that we already have the technology we need to win the battle. It’s just a question of deploying it. In a moment I’ll be talking to a man who has assembled 1000 solutions to climate problems.
Also this week, a follow-up to Fukushima, COP26 - why Greta won’t be going, why she certainly won’t be going in an SUV, Seaspiracy- that Netflix film, Ade Adepitan on the front line, lab-grown meat and growing your own pan scourer.
This is a selection from my 14 years of blogging which has developed into the Sustainable Futures Report, a weekly podcast on the climate crisis and measures to deal with it. Yes, I know that sounds ambitious. What I try to do each week is report on the consequences of the climate crisis and the technical, social and political actions towards getting it under control. I scan the press, the broadcast media and I use Google Alerts to find my stories. Listeners and patrons contact me with information and ideas. I interview experts and sometimes people interview me. I always try to get back to the original source of the story; maybe an academic paper, a new report or a press release, and I publish the links together with the full text of each episode on the website: www.sustainablefutures.report .
Here’s a selection from previous episodes. Most of them are relatively recent, although I started this podcast back in September 2007 - like this:
Tomorrow Saturday, the 27th of March at 8:30 is Earth Hour. More about that in a moment.
Let me welcome two new patrons: Mauro Pereira from Lisbon in Portugal and Takanobu Iwasaki from Tokyo in Japan. Welcome and thanks for your support. Thanks as always for the continuing loyal support of all my other patrons. It’s much appreciated.
Stories this week include riots in Bristol against restrictions on protests, time is running short to get a grip on the climate crisis - where have we heard that before? - and there are calls to speed up renewable energy growth. Health risks from oil - who knew? Apparently the oil companies did, but they weren’t telling. British government cuts electric car grants, puts climate change at the heart of its integrated strategy and announces an increase in its nuclear weapon stockpile. There are allegations of greenwash, and finally, Ecotricity is drilling - for heat.
Actually there is no bad news, just challenges or maybe new opportunities. I've had a number of interviews over the last few episodes, which means that a lot of stories have been backing up. Some, I'm afraid, will just slip away as I try to remain topical. But here's my latest selection.
First the Bad News
The latest sea level rise forecasts are alarming some scientists, while others warn that the Atlantic circulation is at its weakest in 1,000 years. The British government has announced£1billion to spend on reducing the carbon footprint of industry but the Labour opposition claims that the government approach is stuck in the past. The budget statement by the Chancellor earlier this month disappointed many, and other governments, notably India and Brazil are attracting criticism. The general secretary of the United Nations has a harsh warning for all countries, the OECD has a new climate-sceptic head, the tropics are becoming uninhabitable for humans and globally we waste nearly a billion tonnes of food each year.
On the other hand…
Food waste could perhaps be turned into aviation fuel, AI could come to the rescue of the planet, Drax power station has scrapped plans for the largest gas-powered plant in Europe, there’s growing pressure against the expansion of Leeds/Bradford Airport and against the UK’s new coal mine planned for West Cumbria and finally there’s a very rich man with a surprisingly altruistic outlook.
Over 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water. The beaches, the boundary between the oceans and the other 30% of the surface where we live, are constantly battered by waves.
But before we get on to that, this week we have a new Patron. Many thanks to all the Patrons who donate to support the Sustainable Futures Report and a special welcome to newest Patron Philip Mellen. More details about how you too can show your support at the end of this episode.
Also this week I’ve had some feedback from new listener Adrian Bond with a detailed critique of some of my previous episodes. Well without feedback we can’t make things better, can we? I’m hoping to have an in-depth chat with Adrian before long.
And now to the main event. My guest on the Sustainable Futures Report this time is Kim McCoy, author of the third edition of the book, Waves and Beaches.
According to Bill Gates, heating and cooling account for 7% of global carbon emissions. Not a great deal perhaps, but given that we need to cut emissions to zero they must be dealt with.
In a moment we'll hear about a form of low carbon heating from Kathy Hannun of Dandelion Energy, of particular interest to listeners in North America. Before that it's my pleasure to welcome two new patrons of the Sustainable Futures Report, Silver Supporters David Emslie and Chris Musselle.Welcome to both and thanks indeed for your support. If you’d like to be a patron you’ll find out more at the end of this episode. I’m also going to talk about how Brexit has changed the whole approach of the British Government to environmental regulation.
That’s the opening message of my new A-Z of Sustainability, published letter by letter from next month and initially for patrons only.
I’m Anthony Day and this is the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday 26th February. In this episode I follow up on the Green Homes Grant Scheme and on developments in the coal industry. I look at hydrogen and heat pumps and pass on more wise words from Mark Carney. Bill Gates has published a new book and maybe his high profile will give a positive boost to the climate movement. In the UK the national newspapers seem to be pretending that they’ve been green all along, while in snowy Texas the media is blaming all the blackouts on wind turbines. Don’t worry. Listener Ian Jarvis has sent some positive news.
A is for Action says it all. You can recycle, cut your use of plastic and turn your heating down, but unless we get action from our government and all governments, nothing will solve the climate crisis. The big hope is COP26, the international climate conference hosted by the UK next November. A cynical friend of mine says that if the British government were really serious about this they wouldn’t have put former Trade Secretary Alok Sharma in charge.
If you’ve got money to save you’re investing it, but do you know what you’re investing it in? Whether it’s in the bank, in a unit trust or in your pension fund it’s supporting a range of companies, but do you know whether they are environmentally responsible or are they making a quick return while making the climate crisis worse?
I mentioned the Reith Lectures a while ago - an annual series of lectures produced by the BBC. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000qkms The speaker in the 2020 series was Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of England. In the final episode he addressed the climate crisis. He explained how there were immense investment opportunities in rebuilding the global economy to be sustainable. He emphasised that we as savers and investors can influence corporations to do the right thing by choosing to invest our money only in responsible organisations. But how easy is it to know how responsible the underlying investments in our savings portfolios really are?
I recently spoke to a man who’s been concerned with this problem since 2004.
This week the Sustainable Futures Report looks at coal, the wonder fuel that drove the Industrial Revolution and now is shown to be threatening our very survival.
Globally we need to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050,
a seriously challenging target. The consequences of failing to do this will be devastating and irreversible, yet investment continues to develop new coal mines, to produce more coal and create more emissions. Many countries of the world are upholding court decisions to prevent new coal mines, but some are still going ahead, notably in Australia and in the United Kingdom.
In this episode I'm going to catch up on a number of stories which I've not been able to deal with in the last few weeks, and I’ll also report on growing demands for the protection of biodiversity and for recognition of the true worth of Nature.
First of all, an update on the Green Homes Grant scheme. Two days after my special report the issue was featured in The Guardian newspaper. Probably a coincidence. Pressure is building and I understand that questions are being asked of the minister and questions will be asked in parliament, probably on the 9th February.
Do you like fish? I’ve just been reading a book which made me think very hard about whether I wanted to eat any fish ever again. And I'm certainly no vegetarian and have no plans to become one. The book I read is called What a Fish Knows by Jonathan Balcombe. I decided to put the whole thing in context so I’ve studied the topic from Greenpeace, Oceana, WWF, Global Fishing Watch and Fishcount to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, academic articles, press reports and the latest book by Sir David Attenborough.
Hello and welcome to a special and extra edition of the Sustainable Futures Report datelined Monday 25th January 2021. I’m Anthony Day.
You may remember that back in October I reported on the government’s Green Home Grants scheme which gives homeowners a financial contribution towards improving the energy efficiency of their homes. There’s up to £5,000, or in special circumstances £10,000, for insulating floor, walls or roof, installing a low-carbon heating system like a heat pump or a biomass boiler, or putting in double glazing or a draught-proof door. I also spoke to Simon Ayers at that time. He’s CEO of TrustMark, the accreditation body which certifies the traders who carry out the work.
Recently there’s been feedback from the industry that things are not going well.
We’re planning to reach Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050. How do we get there from here?
Hello, I’m Anthony Day with a special edition of the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday 22nd of January. I've put this question to a panel of experts. You'll find a full transcription of our discussion on the sustainable futures report website. I've also added links to a number of articles on the topic. I'm sure the debate will run and run.
Hello, welcome and a Happy New Year. I’m Anthony Day and this is a special edition of the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday 8th January to start off 2021.
If we are to develop a sustainable world we need to know that the products we buy and the services we use are based on sustainable sources. We need to be able to track things back along the supply chain and gather information at every stage. How do we do that? Well I recently spoke to Tyler Chaffo, at Avery Dennison.
Welcome to the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday, the 18th of December. In this last episode of the Sustainable Futures Report before Christmas I'm going to concentrate on actions.
Actions promised by governments and others to meet the climate challenge. Recommended actions. Actions criticised either because they are not seen as sufficiently far-reaching or simply because they're not being implemented. And actions that some are still taking to deny that there really is a climate crisis. And as always, there’s other news.
First let me welcome a new patron to the Sustainable Futures Report, Adrien Nihon, who is based in Japan. Welcome Adrien - thanks for your support.
Energy White Paper 2020
Starting this week with energy, there is a new Energy White Paper.
Coming on the heels of the Sixth Carbon Budget from the Climate Change Committee, BEIS, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, launches its Energy White Paper 2020, “setting out how the UK will clean up its energy system and reach net zero emissions by 2050.” It runs to 170 pages and neatly takes care of your wondering what to read over Christmas.
...but there's encouraging news from the Climate Change Committee.
Hello and welcome to the penultimate episode of the Sustainable Futures Report before Christmas. I’m Anthony Day and it’s Friday 11th December.
This week I'm talking to Harald Overholm, CEO of Alight Energy of Stockholm, about coupling renewable energy with power purchase agreements.
The UK government has published its NDC, its revised commitment under the Paris Agreement, and there’s more news of extreme weather following a report from the Met Office. We’ve mentioned air pollution as a worrying and increasing cause of death several times on the Sustainable Futures Report. This week sad and concerning news brings that threat very close to home.
First of all, here's my interview with Harald Overholm.
What’s the truth? Is the planet hurtling towards disaster, as reported by the BBC this week, or are the UN climate goals now within reach, as reported by the BBC this week? No wonder the general public generally finds the climate crisis far too complex to engage with. I’m Anthony Day and this is the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday, 4th December. Yes, just three weeks to Christmas.
Let's be positive. Let's be realistic. Yes, we are faced with extreme challenges and challenges which our international leaders do not seem to be taking sufficiently seriously. I know they have other things on their minds at the moment, but the future survival of the human race does deserve attention. I don't want the Sustainable Futures Report to be constantly depressing so let's look at the issues and look for pragmatic solutions. I’ll try to find something more lighthearted, although not trivial, to end each episode.
Stories this week about the State of the Planet, the climate clock, Energy, Protests and finally a story of recycling what was once seen as scrap to be part of a prestige product.
This is the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday the 27th November and I’m Anthony Day.You can listen to me on this podcast as always, but this week you can also hear me being interviewed on Mama Earth Talk with Mariska Nell. Like all good podcasts, including the Sustainable Futures Report, you can find it on Apple podcasts and all your favourite podcast hosts. There's even a link at the end of this article.
I decided to call this episode “It's all politics”. There are certainly lots of politics around in the UK at the moment, but my meaning is that we need to rely on politicians in both opposition and government to make real changes to protect us against the climate challenge. Politicians have the power, so far as we empower them, although there’s a world of difference between letting them do something and making them do something! Only governments really have the power to make significant change. The question in the media is whether Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan, published last week, will make that needed difference, so that’s where I’ll start.
There’s a lot of other news as well. There’s US politics, Chinese politics and Australian politics. There’s more on Hurricane Iota and other extreme weather. And we round off with EVs, CCS and whether sustainability is sexy - well, fashionable.
“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,” said poet Robert Burns, “Gang aft agley.” Which I think means they often go wrong.
Hello. I'm Anthony Day and this is the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday, the 20th of November.
This week it's all about scheming and plans. As I told you last time, this is the week when the Prime Minister Boris Johnson will unveil his 10 point plan for a greener Britain. There is no shortage of advice. Business Green says he should take the opportunity to cull white elephants. The Climate Coalition issues its own 10 point plan and last week we spoke at length about the 10 points planned by the IPPR. At the time of writing the Boris plan was yet to appear but it did squeak in just before the Sustainable Futures Report publication deadline. In the meantime, let's look at some other sustainability news.
In Other News
There’s news from the National Audit Office, from the Treasury and from the Committee for Climate Change. The Climate and Ecology Emergency Bill makes its way through Parliament hoping that it will not be killed off by procedure and the Dalai Llama, spiritual leader of Tibet, assures us that Buddha would be green. There’s energy news, well there’s always energy news, and as Hurricane Iota hits Nicaragua there’s more evidence of extreme weather.
Could your dog be killing birds? Totally unintentionally and without even realising it, but recent research reveals concerning evidence. Bees are at risk, too.
It's Friday, the 13th. Unlucky for some, but not for you because you've got a new edition of the Sustainable Futures Report to listen to.
There’s a new US president-elect. We’ll look at what he can do on the climate front and what he might find rather more difficult to do. We’ll look, too, at what Prime Minister Johnson might do on the climate in the UK. The IPPR has a 10-point plan. What’s the attitude of business and the opposition party?
There is energy news as well, about UK windfarms, Russian gas, UK nuclear, a new green fuel - and could this be a tipping point for green technology?
In the US, stormy weather continues, and I’m not talking about Trump’s refusal to concede the election.
Despite lockdown, international climate protests continue. Some at quite high levels. And we look at sustainable futures for food and public transport, and what will be the impact of AI on the climate crisis?
Shell in Nigeria
But first, let’s pause for thought. Zoe Cohen, who appeared on the Sustainable Futures Report some months ago, reminds us that 25 years ago this week 9 Ogoni activists were killed for protesting Shell's actions in the #NigerDelta. Their families have been seeking #justice for more than 20 years. Despite court orders, #Shell have not cleaned up the oil spilled in #Ogoniland nearly 3 decades ago.
Hello and welcome to what I predict is a turbulent world. I’m Anthony Day and this is the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday 6th November 2020. I have to prepare the Sustainable Futures Report in advance of Friday’s publication date, but it’s already clear that even if I leave it right up to the last moment - as I have - the result of the US election will still be in doubt. Something for next week’s episode. Friday 13th sounds really auspicious.
Apart from the election, there is environmental news this week ranging from the Arctic to Australia and pollution problems from plastic waste to artificial light and used cars. There is another Carbon offset scheme. This one’s for investors. How does block chain relate to the climate and how can you make money for charity by making an internet search? Finally, I’ll share a concerning article I found on human attitudes, and follow it up with wise words from James Dyke.