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.