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.
Yes that's right it's the second episode this week. I've started publishing interviews separately so that the episodes don't get too long. In the coming weeks we’ll hear about the sustainable search...