What we learned this week

10:10, one of my favourite climate charities, are taking the opportunity of their tenth birthday to change their name. Fair enough, since they were named for the campaign to cut emissions by 10% in 2010. (Something my wife and I did at the time). They will be called Possible. They’re running a couple of consultations on a new logo and the website, so you can give them a hand and fill those in here.

I read Barbara Finamore’s book Will China Save the Planet? last year, and it’s a useful perspective China’s role in climate change. If you want a quick summary, Finamore spoke to the Green Alliance recently and the main points of the book are covered in the Green Alliance podcast.

If you’re reading on the website, you may have noticed the Digital Climate Strike banner. That’s courtesy of WordPress, who are supporting the Global Climate Strike by suggesting that people close their website for the day.

Sam Wright, founder of the Clearwaters footwear brand, wrote to me this week to let me know about the launch of a crowdfunded slipper made from recycled plastic bottles. It looks comfy and environmentally well-considered, and if it’s successful it could be the first of a footwear range – check out Clearwaters here.

Luton folks, there’s an introduction to community organising training day coming up on Thursday 26th with Citizens UK. I’m going. If you’ve ever considered it, this is a good opportunity.

More news from Luton by this time next week, incidentally, if all goes according to the secret plan…


  1. In your review of Barbara Finamore’s book ‘Will China Save the Planet?’ last year, you say this:

    ‘… their rush into coal power made every attempt to lower emissions elsewhere look pointless. But that view is out of date, and China now leads the world in solar, wind power and electric vehicles.’

    But that view’s not out of date. Consider this recent report: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-greenbonds-coal-idUSKCN1V90FY. An extract:

    ‘China also approved 141 million tonnes of new annual coal mining capacity in the first half of this year, compared to 25 million tonnes for the whole of 2018. More coal-fueled power stations are also expected to be built, with an industry lobby group predicting total coal-fired capacity to peak at 1,300 gigawatts, meaning another 290 GW could go into operation.’

    As for wind and solar, I suggest you go to the China Energy Portal. You see that, although they grew by 121 TWh last year, thermal power (mainly coal) grew by 324 TWh. Wind and solar’s share of China’s electricity generation is 7.6%. Leading the world? I don’t think so: the UK’s is 21%. And all those electric vehicles are essentially powered by coal.

    The bottom line of course is carbon dioxide emissions. And China’s increased by 3.3% in the last two years. Britain’s continued to decline.

    1. We could exchange headlines on this to try and prove a point, but I suggest you listen to Finamore’s talk. She lives and works in China, knows the relevant politicians and how serious they are. You’ll note from the question mark in her book title that she’s not taking anything for granted at this stage, and neither do I.

      1. I agree with you about headlines. So I suggest you look at my responses here: https://theconversation.com/china-is-positioned-to-lead-on-climate-change-as-the-us-rolls-back-its-policies-114897. You’ll see I provide links to a lot of factual content. Perhaps you’d like to join in – explaining why you think I’ve probably got it wrong. Maybe you’ve got data showing that China isn’t expanding its coal mining and power station capacity, isn’t developing a vast coal-carrying new railway system, isn’t isn’t in the process of developing over 200 new airports, isn’t introducing more thermal than wind and solar power, isn’t continuing to increase its CO2 emissions and isn’t investing massively in overseas coal projects.

    1. I suggest you watch Barbara Finamore’s recent talk at the USC US-China Institute here: https://china.usc.edu/video-barbara-finamore-examines-chinas-role-future-global-climate. I have and I can see nothing that either contradicts or refutes anything I said on the The Conversation thread. Maybe one day China will be ready to lead the world, but it’s current actions (increased emissions, more coal, more airports and overseas (BRI) coal investment etc) do not look good. And anyway do we have until ‘one day’?

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