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

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






A Matter of Principle

This week’s episode is devoted to a matter of principle. Would you be arrested for your principles? Would you go to prison for your principles? I recently met Zoe Cohen who believes that she should go that far to protect herself, her family and indeed the rest of us from the risks of catastrophic climate change. She told me why.


Fired Up!

In the climate crisis news this week: the Amazon fires, why they’re not the only fires, why they may not be as bad as you think and why they may be much more serious in ways you don’t expect. The future for the consumer society. Prof Sir Ian Boyd, retiring chief scientific advisor at Defra, has set out his thoughts, which look very much like system change to me. And the flying prince. Are carbon offsets making his travel carbon neutral?


Where's the Beef?

I mentioned last time that Julia Hartley Brewer of Talk Radio wanted to know what I thought about the decision of Goldsmith College to ban beef. And then Talk Radio rang me again and asked if I’d talk to Mike Graham about Elton John, flying Royals and carbon offsets. You've got two for the price of one!


Away with All Cars?

I didn't buy a car this week - not even an electric. The Commonwealth research organisation suggests the age of the car is coming to an end. How will that work? I didn't eat red meat this week which is just as well because both George Monbiot and Mark Lynas say I shouldn't. But what does the IPCC tell us? Can the four-day week or the four-hour-day become a reality? And I don’t know about straws in the wind, but there are still far too many straws in landfill at the moment.


Talking About Babies

A report revealed that the birth-rate in England and Wales reached an all-time low last year. Talk Radio asked me to talk to them about it.


Round Table

A few weeks ago, back when Theresa May was still Prime Minister, I had a roundtable discussion with three patrons of the Sustainable Futures Report and we made a recording. This turns out to be one of the longest episodes to date but I hope you find interesting. We’ll probably hold another discussion in September and if you'd like to take part please contact me via


Look Out

No, this one is not the one about electric vehicles that I promised . I'm holding that over for a future episode because I wanted to catch up with Extinction Rebellion and last week's protest. Not everyone agrees with XR's message. Powerful forces are gathering to stop it being heard.


News from the Bridge

This week saw renewed protests from Extinction Rebellion. I went down to the bridge in Leeds and spoke to some of the people taking part.


It's Getting Serious

It looks like we should be preparing for more extreme weather like the extremes we’ve seen across the world in the last few days. Does the future lie in trees or in peat bogs, or in the US, where President Donald Trump claims his country leads the world on environmental issues? Greta Thunberg has had her biggest compliment yet while legal action over the climate crisis takes place in some 28 countries and the wind seems to be changing for the British Conservative Party. Despite all this...


Rare Earth...

Just one topic this week. Rare earth metals and elements are crucial to our electronic devices, which these days are in everything from phones and computers to cookers and cars. I recently attended a lecture on this and then tracked down the speaker, Dr Alice Courvoisier, in a coffee shop. She explained how the process of extraction and use of these materials has wide-ranging consequences for us all.


It Won't Go Away!

In the week when Network Rail told its staff that if they needed to travel on business they should not take the train if it was cheaper to fly, I bring you yet more on plastic pollution– It just won't go away. Can we cut carbon dioxide by using direct air capture? Patron Tom de Simone provides some clues. We look at global heating, heatwaves and melting ice caps. Are the fashion industry and the rise of artificial intelligence working against us? Client Earth had a musical windfall this...


ZERO in 2050

We're on our way to zero in 2050. This is the week when Extinction Rebellion promised to blockade Heathrow airport but didn't, the week when Heathrow airport opened consultation on its plans for a new third runway, and the week when outgoing prime minister Theresa May pledged to reduce the U.K.'s carbon emissions by not 80%, but by a full 100% by 2050. Net zero emissions! Is there more to life than GDP and growth? There is in New Zealand. And how should we talk about all these...


Cutting the Carbs

This week we're cutting the carbs. No, not carbohydrates, not carburettors, no we’re cutting carbon footprints. Yes, we will talk about food, in the context of food waste as I promised last time, and about food distribution and packaging. The supermarkets are stirring. (Although not much.) Also free speech and free thinking, what going green will cost the government (although the government’s denied it) and an update on an update about rare earth metals.


Even More Rubbish

This week’s episode is about even more rubbish. Patron Shane suggested we look at electronic rubbish and there’s certainly a story to tell there. We’ll also look at plastic waste, and I warn you none of it is good news. Talking of rubbish, I started writing this on one of Northern Rail’s Pacer trains stranded for over an hour in deepest Yorkshire by cows on the line. Not seen in the south of England for many years, these were built very cheaply in the 80s out of bus parts. They are now 20...


Time to Talk

The Metropolitan Police takes a hard line on Extinction Rebellion while CO2 reaches record levels in the atmosphere. Opinions on climate change diverge in the US, the new Australian government takes climate-related decisions, the Greens advance in Europe and we hear a perspective from Rotterdam. Sea levels are rising, but oil companies deny any liability while some suggest we could ease the climate crisis by working shorter hours. And what about carbon offsets? It seems my scepticism may...


Running to Catch Up

In positive news Extinction Rebellion founder Roger Hallam was cleared by a jury over his King's College protest, the Committee on Climate Change believes that the UK 'can cut emissions to nearly zero' by 2050, Greta Thunberg addressed MPs and the UK Parliament subsequently declared a climate change emergency. On a more challenging note, Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, called for stronger penalties for demonstrators, the Committee on Climate change warned that...


Tipping Point

Have a Swedish schoolgirl, a naturalist in his 90s and a civil disobedience campaign in the streets of London finally led people to realise that the climate is in crisis and that it affects us all?


Next Week

Who knows what will happen next week? By the time you hear this you'll know far more than me. For the moment I'm just going to talk about re-wilding the countryside, global warming in Canada, what engineer I K Brunel thought about pollution, the downside of banning throwaway coffee cups, the future for gas home heating, the Lancet’s Countdown, naming and shaming some plastic polluters, coal-fired power plants and cleaning up the National Grid, air quality in London and regenerative...


All at Once

It’s like buses. You wait for climate change activists and then several thousand suddenly turn up at once. Apart from that, I'm going to tell you about the future of insects, views on climate change denial, more about glyphosate, some thoughts on population, and a new entry to Europe's top10 polluters.



There's too much water - or maybe not enough. In this episode I'm also talking about energy: coal, Hinkley C and hydrogen; about transport, specifically the future of HS2; about cleaning up Canada and about pollution: plastic pollution and air pollution. And how we can avoid the jaws of death.