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.
Hello and welcome to another Sustainable Futures Report. I'm Anthony Day and this is the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday, the 30th of October. Yes, it's only eight weeks till Christmas and now we have changed the clocks, at least here in England, it looks very much like winter.
Let me start by welcoming new patron Daniel Stanley. Thanks for joining us, Daniel, and thanks to all my patrons for your continuing support. I'll tell you later how you, too, can become a patron.
Once again, I'm covering a whole range of issues in this week’s episode. There’s no silver bullet for Boris, and although we reported last time that he’s supporting offshore wind, the IEA tells us that while electricity from offshore wind is cheap, onshore wind is cheaper, and solar is cheapest of all. I’ll be talking about food standards and fishing standards; about air pollution costs and risks and should we increase car taxes? Then there’s troubled waters around Fukushima, a complaint that bankers are doing nothing and a protest in a pear tree.
Hello and welcome to the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday, 23rd October. I’m Anthony Day.
Apparently it may take 700 years to improve the nation’s housing stock (shame that the grant scheme I mentioned last time ends next March), CCS is in the news again and so are Greta Thunberg and Erin Brockovich - remember her? COVID is a disaster like we’ve never seen, but amid reports of collapsing ecosystems are we missing the big picture? There’s more extreme weather. Are you in the (hyper)loop? And watch your language. A recent article suggests our choice of words is crucial when describing the climate crisis.
Hello and welcome to the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday, the 16th of October. I’m Anthony Day. This week I'm talking about green homes and warm homes: specifically the government’s Green Homes Grant. In a moment there’s an interview with Simon Ayers, CEO of TrustMark. To qualify for the grant, homeowners must use a TrustMark registered business to carry out the work. Now of course I realise that at first sight this will be relevant only to people in England, but stay with me, because warm and energy-efficient homes and quality installation must be of interest to us all.
Also today I’ll be introducing Alex Brown, our latest gold patron. I’ll be talking about what the expert said when he came to look at the energy efficiency of our home. And finally, people in a remote area of Scotland are preparing something out of this world.
In this week’s Sustainable Futures Report I’m looking at Project Drawdown, mentioned by Blair Sheppard of PwC in last week’s report. The UK prime minister this week set out his view of a green future and laid great emphasis on offshore wind. There’s good news and bad news on waste, and there are carbon-saving claims which may not be all they seem to be. The UK aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but also plans to open a new coal mine. Bill Gates is pessimistic about tackling climate change, Greenpeace is dropping rocks and the Earthshot Prize is announced.
Meanwhile, as weeks of wildfires come to an end in California there are forests still ablaze as far apart as Brazil and Ukraine and Storm Alex brings floods and fatalities to Italy and France. Last year Australia suffered its worst wildfires. Their 2020 wildfire season is just beginning.
A conversation with Blair Sheppard, global leader for strategy and leadership for PwC.
As you know, I had a break in August and during that time Rachel Maurice became a patron and Silver Supporter. Sorry you’ve had to wait so long for your shout-out Rachel. Welcome to the Sustainable Futures Report.
We live in challenging times which is rather an unhelpful cliche. Nevertheless it's true as challenges, like uncertainty, need to be faced and if not eliminated, to be reduced and managed. At least if we identify the problems we are on the way to defining solutions.
There are fundamental changes to industrial, social and political structures across the world which we have to face up to and control. I spoke to the author of a new book, Ten Years to Midnight.
The climate crisis hasn’t gone away. There’s a clock in NewYork counting down to irreversible climate change. It reckons we have just over 7 years. The COVID crisis hasn’t gone away and shows signs of rapidly becoming more serious. The Sustainable Futures Report is getting increasing numbers of followers all over the world, but even after more than 5 years the actual number is tiny. There’s nothing to be cheerful about in any of that.
What’s the reason to be cheerful? Quite simply, if we are not positive, if we are not optimistic, we have nothing left. There are denialists who don’t want to believe that humanity is at risk. There are lobbyists who don’t want us to believe that humanity is at risk. There are conspiracy theorists who believe that COVID is a hoax and all part of a plot to control us. They’ll probably tell us that any measures to deal with the climate emergency are all part of the same hoax. Take comfort from the fact that these are all minorities which make a good headline so may be more prominent in the media than they deserve, but don’t ignore them; stand up to them.
Are we at a tipping point? On the point of runaway climate disaster? A tipping point as mass extinction accelerates out of control? Or a tipping point as politicians and public realise it’s time to act?
This time I’ll be catching up on stories shared during August, by listeners from Australia, Japan and other parts of the world. Closer to home, XR’s protests continue to make headlines, although you may not have seen them as XR blockaded several presses last weekend and many papers did not make it to the shops.
But first, let’s talk about diet. If we’re environmentalists should we be vegan?
On the Sustainable Futures Report this time I have two guests: Sammy Bishop, a recent graduate in human physiology and a vegan, and Deirdre Lane who describes herself as a green finance expert who’s morphed from traditional commodity markets to empowering citizens on sustainable actions. She is not a vegan.
You can imagine that the news hasn't stopped during August and in fact, I've got five pages of hyperlinks, each of which could lead to many minutes of podcast. As I said in last week’s trailer to this episode, the Greenland ice sheet is still melting at up to a million tons per minute, and millions of tonnes of GHGs are still being released into the atmosphere. Yes, that slowed down a bit during the lockdown, but not enough to stop the total quantity in the atmosphere from continuing to grow. And now we’re back to close to normal and the British government is urging people who work in offices to go back to them so the sandwich bars don’t go out of business and eventually they hope we’ll be back to business as over-consuming and polluting as usual.
This week I’m going to look first in detail at the latest news from the Arctic and then I’m going to talk about rebellion, because rebellion is seen by many as the only way to get governments to react and take the action that’s essential in the face of the climate crisis. Extinction Rebellion is staging mass protests in London, Manchester and Cardiff this week, as I’m sure you already know. Their central demand is for the government to pass their Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill. You may not have had time to read it. I have. I’ll tell you what it says.