What we learned this week

Are meat substitutes actually better for the environment than meat itself? Yes. Yes they are, finds Hannah Richie in the first comparison of its kind.

On a related note, Simplice Nouala from the African Union Commission argues that “there is a strong case to invest more in sustainable livestock systems across the developing world as a matter of climate justice”. Animal agriculture plays different roles in different parts of the world and we shouldn’t lump them all together – as I have repeatedly done in the past and will remedy.

Luton-based Easyjet jointly announced an engine test with Rolls Royce this week, for the first modern jet engine run on hydrogen. An important early step towards hydrogen powered flight (which, a reminder – we know is possible because it’s been done before.) In anticipation of such things, Manchester Airport announced this week that it will be the first in the country to have a hydrogen supply.

With onshore wind unbanned and then swiftly re-banned by the Conservatives, there’s mounting pressure on Rishi Sunak and friends to stop being silly about it and Possible have a petition here.

I hate to mention shopping, but just a reminder that books are always good presents and Earthbound Books is a great place to get them.

Building of the week: Luton Sixth Form College

Another story from my Zero Carbon Luton newsletter, which I invite you to subscribe to if you’re in the region. This time I’m looking at a pioneering local building. Luton Sixth Form College is the oldest in the country, and with 3,200 students, one of the largest as well. It’s also a remarkable example of…

What is integrated transport?

In writing about sustainable transport, I often find myself putting the technology first. Electric buses, trams, bus rapid transit, etc. Or I write about the theory of it all – how we can start with reducing the need to travel in the first place. Modal shifts. Hierarchies of sustainable transport. But while on the train…

Making less meat normal

Raising animals for meat is a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a massive obstacle to a sustainable future, and it’s not helped by the fact that a lot of people don’t seem to know about it. Governments don’t want to address it either and leave it out of climate action plans. That’s understandable…


  1. Hydrogen has too much physical mass, it takes up too much space. It is of value only for short haul (hence EJs interest, I guess) for which battery will probably be better.
    To hydrogenise flying, to make any appreciable difference to emissions, would require so much to be made, that it will only come from fossil fuel ie gas.
    Hydrogen has utility as a chemical, very little as a fuel for anything, except the very niche.

    Love the blog 👍, always a thoughtful read.

    1. It’s hard to imagine batteries working for anything but short flights, probably private planes for the foreseeable future – at least, not without a complete re-think of what a plane is. (Airships, anyone?) Boeing and friends certainly seem to be confident that they can make hydrogen work. There’s certainly a lot of investment headed in that direction, and I guess we’ll see.

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