What we learned this week

Instead of paying for offsets, would you do more good if you gave the same money to a well chosen charity? Good use of effective altruism thinking in this academic paper from Orri Stefansson.

I wrote this week about how early hype around insect based foods (link below) failed to translate into a viable industry. See also algae biofuels, as the last big funders pull their investments on an idea that seemed quite promising a few years ago.

The science of peak oil kind of got crowded out by the more alarmist end of the movement that grew up around it, but the underlying theory is basic and incontrovertible. As we reach the peak of US shale oil, I expect the term will make a(nother) comeback. Nafeez Ahmed discusses where we are and what might be different this time.

I came across the Visualizing Energy project from Boston University this week. Lots of useful material there if you want to explore things like shale oil, the global growth of renewable energy, the decline of coal, etc.

Closer to home, Debt Justice point out that millions of UK households have gone into debt to pay energy bills this winter, while energy companies have made record profits. They have a campaign on this and a petition to sign.

Highlights from this week

Why every nation’s carbon footprint matters

Why should Britain reduce its carbon emissions when they’re only 1% of the global total? It’s not our problem – tell China, India and the US to sort themselves out. That’s a common enough view among those sceptical of climate policy. There are a variety of responses to that, including historic emissions and the fact…

Britain’s looming net zero gap

Governments are often more keen on announcing things than delivering them, and climate change stands out as an area of policy that has a particularly large gap between rhetoric and reality. I see it locally here in Luton, where the council has a stated target of reaching net zero carbon by 2040, but remains committed…

What happened to the edible insect trend?

A few years ago I ran a rather popular series on the blog where I set out to try as many insect-based foods as I could find. If the start-ups were to be believed, there was rising interest in insect foods and it was going to be a big thing. Sustainable, nutritious, tasty, and surely…

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