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.