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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




The East Yorkshire Oilfield...

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, we'll look at the East Yorkshire Oilfields. First I'm pleased to announce that the Sustainable Futures...


Net Zero - Impossible Dream?

One year on I'm talking again to James Dyke of Exeter University. This time our discussions ranged from Chelsea tractors to carbon sinks in the Arctic and the Amazon, the mystery of the missing methane (missing from the stats, that is, there’s too much of it in the atmosphere), why injecting sulphuric acid into the stratosphere might be a good idea and why it might not be. We reflected that peat takes centuries to form and only days to destroy, and asked why fossil fuel companies like...


Much Ado About Summit

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.


Dangerous Times

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 Newspapers reporting on these prosecutions have withdrawn articles in the face of threats of legal action.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.


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.