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The Sustainable Futures Report


Surviving climate change, resource depletion, the energy crisis - and staying profitable

Surviving climate change, resource depletion, the energy crisis - and staying profitable


United States


Surviving climate change, resource depletion, the energy crisis - and staying profitable




Solar Impulse

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. And an interview with Bertrand Piccard, the man who flew round the world on solar power and now has assembled 1000 solutions to climate problems.



A brief look back at my 14 years of podcasting.


Earth Hour

It's Earth Hour on Saturday and stories this week include riots in Bristol, time running short to get a grip on the climate crisis and calls to speed up renewable energy growth. Health risks from oil, British government cuts electric car grants, puts climate change at the heart of its integrated strategy and announces more nukes. There's greenwash, and Ecotricity is drilling.


Good News & Bad

The good news is that there's no bad news, just challenges and new opportunities. Here's a selection of the sustainability stories that have crossed my desk recently.


Waves and Beaches

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, is constantly battered by waves. This week I had a conversation with Kim McCoy, author of the third edition of Waves and Beaches. Kim has recently completed an Ironman and will continue to swim, dive, surf, sail, rock-climb and paraglide until motion stops, viscous drag ceases, buoyancy is lost, and gravity ultimately wins.


Heat Beneath Your Feet

Geothermal energy, or ground source heat pumps. Kathy Hannun of Dandelion Energy explains how they do it in New York. Welcome to two new Silver Supporters! Brexit releases the UK from the obligation to follow EU Directives on climate - or anything else for that matter. There's a new Office for Environmental Protection, but how far can it hold the British government to account?


A is for Action

Unless we get action from our government and all governments, nothing will solve the climate crisis. Also hydrogen and heat pumps and wise words from Mark Carney. Bill Gates has a new book and in snowy Texas they think the problem is wind turbines.


Are your Savings Saving the Planet?

Do you know where your savings or your pension are invested? I mean in detail. Can you be sure you're not supporting coal mining, deforestation or conflict minerals? It's not easy to find out, but I've been talking to Peter Krull of Earth Equity Advisors who's been addressing this problem since 2004.


Coal - the Trade Continues

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. Despite our race to achieve net zero by 2050 - 30 years or so off - new mines with lives of 60 years or more are being planned all over the world. Including in the UK!


Natural Capital

There are growing demands for the protection of biodiversity and for recognition of the true worth of Nature. I look again at CO2 and the imperative to mitigate climate change. While much is being said by major corporations about being environmentally responsible, how far are they really committed? Why are governments continuing to punish those who point out that governments are still not doing enough to meet their own targets? And why do some scientists believe that the future will be...


Something Fishy

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 then I found out about all the terrible things we're doing to our oceans...


EXTRA! Green Homes Grant Scheme Revisited

This flagship government scheme is off to a shaky start. So far it seems to be destroying jobs and leaving consumers in the cold!


The Carbon Debate

We’re planning to reach Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050. How do we get there from here? I put this question to a panel of experts: Chris Goodall, Deirdre Lane, Nicola Steen and Alessandro Vitelli. Here's what they told me.


Keeping Track

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.


Time for Action!

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.


Outlook Changeable...

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, the CCC has set out a detailed plan, there's more news of extreme weather from the Met Office and sad and worrying news about dangerous air pollution.


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. 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.


It's All Politics

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. 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.


Of Mice and Men

Is Boris's 10-point plan a best laid plan? I explain, eventually. And there’s also 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 and the Dalai Llama assures us that Buddha would be green. There’s energy news and as Hurricane Iota hits Nicaragua there’s more evidence of extreme weather. Finally, could your dog be killing birds?


Blue Skies Ahead!

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. This week 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...