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.