What we learned this week

What the agriculture sector needs right now is a Bean New Deal – a large scale investment in legume production, and a snazzy brand campaign to boot” argues Matthew Miles Goodrich in The Nation.

The latest issue of the Zero Carbon Newsletter is out, if you want to catch up with my more local activities – with a guest article from Putteridge High School, who I went to visit this week to talk about their green ambitions.

What’s going to happen to all the batteries out of those Toyota Priuses that were all the rage in California 15 to 20 years ago? Possibly this.

Natwest have launched a free carbon management system for businesses. I’ve been wondering when somebody would do this, and it might fill a useful niche for a lot of businesses that have wanted to look at their footprint and not known where to start.

In all the drama from the US Supreme Court’s other recent rulings, this one didn’t get much news attention in the UK this week – but they just ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency in a case brought by fossil fuel companies, making it very difficult to legislate against coal power.

If hydrogen is going to play a significant role in the clean energy transition, we need electrolysers to be manufactured on a sufficient scale to drive down prices – as we saw with solar panels in the last 20 years. This partnership between Siemens and Air Liquide is the kind of thing that might deliver that.

Last week I mentioned some reasons for eliminating fossil fuels, and how there have always been marginalised communities that have paid the price for extraction. This is heart-breakingly captured in Cameroonian author Imbolo Mbue’s novel How Beautiful We Were. It traces the multi-generational struggle of a small village and their conflicts with a fictional American oil giant with little regard for their safety.

“Mama and Papa cautioning me never to go near the big river is my first memory of life. Without their warning, how would I have known that rivers were not ordinarily covered with oil and toxic waste?”

It’s available from Earthbound Books.

Some highlights from this week’s blog posts:

Open letter: Ipsos, you missed a bit

Dear Ipsos, I was interested to read the results of your recent survey on concern about climate change around the world. Thank you for taking the time to ask 23,577 people in 31 countries how worried they are about climate change. However, I would like to point out a problem with the distribution of opinion.…

The many uses of a rooftop

An unusual month-long event closed in Rotterdam this week – one that I didn’t get to visit, but that I think raises some interesting ideas. The event is called Rooftop Walk, and it is a series of events and exhibitions held on rooftops around the city, with walkways and bridges that make them accessible. (Great…

The economics of maturity

Last week I read Richard Davies’ book Extreme Economies, and one of the places he investigates is Japan. In the course of discussing an aging population, he mentions some theories around life-cycle economics. In the 1950s, Italian economist Franco Modigliano suggested that people live their economic lives in three acts, moving from dependency to maturity…

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