More than £28bn: Chronic Political Failure in Tragic Times.

Now that the dust has settled after the Labour Party junked its commitment (on 8th February) to £28bn a year of new investment in the UK’s green economy, it’s…


CRUSHING DISSENT: TORIES, LABOUR AND MAINSTREAM NGOs ALL ON THE SAME PAGE

First they came for Just Stop Oil; then they came for radical environmentalists; then they came for members of the National Trust, the RSPB, and WWF. But there…


EDF: A Total Basket Case, Weighed Down By Its £50 Billion Nuclear Turkey At Hinkley Point.

EdF’s bosses must be thanking their lucky stars that President Macron decided to take complete control of EdF back in 2022. Otherwise, its latest announcements…


UK’S NUCLEAR OBSESSIONS KILL OFF ITS NET ZERO STRATEGY

After 14 years of Tory mismanagement, the UK finds itself bereft of an energy strategy. This was finally confirmed in the release last week of the Government’s…


From CoP 28 to CoP 29: The Road to Hell

CoP 28 limped to its predictably calamitous conclusion on December 13th. The heavily spun headline (“historic breakthrough”) quickly dribbled away into the…


SO WHAT’S YOUR THEORY OF CHANGE?: COP 28 OR JUST STOP OIL?

The waves of phoney positivity emanating from CoP28 in Dubai are making me feel sick. “Look at our shiny new Loss and Damage Fund”. “Marvel at the new Emirates…


Preventing an environmental disaster – in Faringdon!

This blog is actually about the shenanigans of an otherwise non-descript little Council (step forward Faringdon Town Council!) which is clearly intent on…


Whitley Fund for Nature – 30 amazing years.

Nearly 30 years ago, when I was scrabbling around to find a few people to provide start-up funding for what became Forum for the Future, Edward Whitley stepped…


Supporting Just Stop Oil

Just Stop Oil’s Slow Marching campaign recommenced on Sunday 29th October. I shall be supporting them financially, and have agreed to speak out on their…


OPENING UP A SECOND FRONT AGAINST BIG AG

It’s slightly scary to realise that once we’ve seen off the Evil Empire of Big Oil (and we will – but just not soon enough to avoid cataclysmic climate…


CLIMATE WARS: TREE-HUGGERS AND IDEOLOGUES!

James Watt, Ronald Reagan’s first Secretary of the Interior, died on May 27th. He was a hard man, and out-and-out, totally unapologetic ideologue. He hated US…


HONOURING MY AIR NEW ZEALAND WHANAU

After nearly 8 years, I’ve just stepped down as Chair as Air New Zealand’s International Advisory Panel. I’ve loved every minute of it – apart from the Covid…


Overpopulation and the End Times: the Silence Continues

Today is WORLD POPULATION DAY. I can absolutely guarantee it will be ignored by every single environmental and development organisation here in the UK – and by…


IT’S NOT EASY BEING DRAX!

On April 21st, the first day of Extinction Rebellion’s ‘The Big One’, I just happened to be listening in to an ‘open mic’ session when a young man came to the…


ROSEBANK: THIS LYING GOVERNMENT’S WORST DECISION

The health of a nation's democracy depends on the trust we have in our elected representatives. For many politicians, lying is now the default position, and…


There’s a Lot Riding on The Global Plastics Treaty

On Friday 2nd June, in Paris, 170 nations signed up to an agreement to draft a Global Plastics Treaty by the end of 2024. This is a positive step on our…


Caroline Lucas – A Personal Tribute

Caroline Lucas’s decision yesterday to step down at the next election came as a bit of a shock for the Green Party. After 13 years as an MP, 15 years as an…


On Leaving the Forum – and Looking Ahead!

On Thursday last week (04/05), I stepped down from my role as Founder Director of Forum for the Future. Nearly 30 years on since myself, Sara Parkin and Paul…


Germany’s Nuclear Nous versus the UK’s Nuclear Nutters

I’m celebrating today – for the simple reason that Germany closed down its three remaining nuclear reactors on Saturday 15th April. I’ve followed the nuclear…


Pity the Eight Billionth Child on Planet Earth

I hope you’ve got Tuesday November 15th marked up in your diary? According to the UN’s population wonks, that’s the day when the eight billionth human being…


Hyping Hydrogen: the Fossil Fuel Industry’s Final Scam

There was nothing in the recent TV series (‘Big Oil v the World’ – highlighting the fossil fuel industry’s role in delaying action on climate change) that I…


Sort Out the Meat Monster – or We All Go Down!

Feeding the world, the way we do it today, is now the greatest single threat to the future of humankind. I’ve spent the last three weeks gorging myself on a…


Becoming Good Ancestors

The vast majority of parents would hope that they’re doing everything they can to ensure their children will inherit a better world. Unfortunately, the vast…


Beware the DAC Crap!

Direct Air Capture (DAC): using ‘smart tech’ to remove CO2 from the atmosphere to help stabilise concentrations of this greenhouse gas. What’s not to like? In…


Sizewell C: Just the Latest Nuclear Scam

Whatever chaos unfolds between today (Thursday) and tomorrow, Boris Johnson is apparently still planning to confirm his Government’s commitment to a new…


Revisiting the Population Debate: You Know You Want To!

It’s World Population Day on July 11th. Here’s some relevant stuff to get us going: 1. Half of all pregnancies today are unintended – and the number of women…


Prospects for Energy Security Marred by Nuclear Fantasies

This is absolutely the right time for a new Energy Strategy. Unfortunately, we’ve got absolutely the wrong politicians in charge of it. The combination of…


Weighing War Criminals in the Balance

There is near universal consensus in the West that Vladimir Putin is a war criminal. Calls to set up a Special Tribunal under the International Criminal Court…


Regeneration Made Real

There’s so much rubbish talked about ‘regeneration’ these days. Regenerative Agriculture. Regenerative Tourism. Regenerative Business (whatever that might be).…


COP26 is Dead. Long Live COP27!

Glasgow is what it was: not an outright failure, but falling so far short of what is so urgently needed in the real world (1.5 degrees C and all that) as to…


Getting Tidal Power Back on the Table

Somewhat improbably, regardless of what happened at COP26 in Glasgow, there would appear to be a new surge of interest in tidal range power! - A new local…


COP26’s Nuclear Sidebar

The fact that COP26 was crawling with huge numbers of delegates from Big Oil and Gas got a lot of attention from the media. Less attention was paid to the…


Truth and Fantasy in Our Net Zero World

In this short-lived breathing space between last week's Net Zero barrage and next week's CoP26 frenzy, it seems timely to reflect on how it all stacks up so…


The Conundrum that is BECCS (Part 3 of a 3-part blog)

At its simplest, Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) sounds like the go-to climate solution: convert your coal or gas-fired power station to burn…


Carbon Capture and Storage: Predatory Delay Laid Bare (Part 2 of a 3-part blog)

Back in 2018, Alex Steffen first coined the notion of PREDATORY DELAY, with reference to companies and investors who make all the right noises about addressing…


CCS: A Devious and Damaging Distraction (Part 1 of a 3-part blog)

For as long as I can remember, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has been promoted as a way of making it possible for us to go on using fossil fuels without…


They Knew

For the last six years, I’ve been following the labyrinthine proceedings of an American court case known simply as ‘Juliana v. United States’. The Plaintiffs…


USA and China Join Battle for Net Zero Gold Rush

Listen out: ‘The American Jobs Plan will unify and mobilise the country to meet the two great challenges of our time: the climate crisis and the ambitions of…


Nuclear Energy:Nuclear Weapons – the Inseparable Link

I first took an interest in Greenpeace back in 1973, before I joined Friends of the Earth, CND and the Green Party (then the Ecology Party) a year later. I’d…


Getting Real About Net Zero

When it comes to understanding the true nature of Net Zero by 2050, I have one huge request: could everybody please stop flourishing their particular ‘get out…


Energy Policymaking in the UK: Ill-Informed and Incoherent

In March 2012, four former Directors of Friends of the Earth (myself, Tom Burke, Charles Secrett and Tony Juniper) wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron to…


The Aotearoa Circle: An Initiative for Our Times

Back in 2016, I sat down in Auckland with a very good friend of mine, Rob Fenwick, to share our frustrations at the difficulty of getting New Zealanders to…


Air Pollution: A Far Deadlier Killer Than COVID-19

Fifteen months into the pandemic, we’ve all got a rough sense of the human toll in terms of number of cases and deaths – in the UK and the world. It’s not the…


Rise Up! The Power of Young People

I keep thinking what it must be like to be a young climate activist in the UK today. Greta Thunberg, inspirationally, in one ear. Blustering Boris, with all…


Rise Up! Confronting the Climate Emergency

The thing you have to love about Greta Thunberg’s unwavering advocacy (as currently on display on BBC1) is just that: it’s unwavering. If you’re Greta, you…


Net Zero Without Nuclear: the Case Against Nuclear Power

Even as the prospects for nuclear power continue to decline, the industry is spending more and more money seeking to persuade Governments, commentators and…


Why I really didn’t like Bill Gates’s ‘How to Avoid a Climate Disaster’

So what are we to make of a guy who completely ignored climate change until 2006, only decided to ‘do more and speak out more’ in 2015, whilst continuing to…


BP and Shell: Sinners into Saints?

‘BP and Shell are companies whose senior managers know, as an irrefutable fact, that their current business model threatens both the stability of the global…


2021: Make or Break For The UK’s Climate Strategy – instalment (C)

Both the Ten Point Plan and the Energy White Paper wax lyrical about the potential for CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage), using pretty much the…


2021: Make Or Break For The UK’s Climate Strategy – instalment (B)

If renewables is the UK’s strongest low-carbon suit, energy efficiency in the built environment is by far the weakest. It’s absolutely critical that the UK…


2021: Make or break for the UK’s climate strategy

For all sorts of reasons, UK politicians do at last seem to have grasped that we are in the midst of an out-and-out Climate Emergency. Despite people’s worst…


Getting on board with the renewables revolution

The world is on fire (literally) on account of accelerated climate change, and the world of renewables is on fire (metaphorically) in response to accelerated…


Recognising the power of young activists

My principal reason for writing Hope in Hell was the new-found sense of purpose that the Schools Strike movement and the XR protests had given me in the first…


Do you want the good news? Or the bad?

Six months into the pandemic, it’s anybody’s guess whether: 1. Governments are effectively using their massive recovery programmes to address the Climate and…


The least we should expect of business is to call out the failure of the system

For the past 25 years of my life, I’ve been an uncompromising advocate of the benefits of NGOs working with business rather than working against business, in…


In My Opinion: Reasons To Be Hopeful

First published on Change Incorporated, 9th July 2020 | Leading environmentalist, Jonathon Porritt, believes there are genuine reasons to be hopeful about our…


Build Back Fairer – and Healthier

First published by Forum tor the Future, 25th June 2020 | In the fifth of our Corporate Leadership in the Time of Corona series, Jonathon Porritt explores how…


We must not miss this glorious chance to address the climate and biodiversity crises

First published by The Guardian, 24th June 2020 | Trillions of dollars will be invested by governments in reviving their economies over the next two or three…


High Stakes for a low carbon future

In the third of our Corporate Leadership in the time of Corona series, Jonathon Porritt looks at the way companies in the energy sector are either digging in…


Beyond COVID-10: Can Business Really ‘Build Back Better’?

First published by Forum for the Future, May 28, 2020 | The COVID-19 crisis is having a devastating impact – both in terms of lives lost and economic…


Aviation: No Going Back

You can understand why airlines here in the UK are appalled at the prospect of people arriving in the UK having to go into quarantine for 14 days. ‘Quarantine…


Is COVID-19 The Crisis Both BP And Shell So Badly Need?

Courtesy of COVID-19, the price of oil today (6th April) is hovering around $30. Prices have fallen by more than half in the last month; production is down by…


Keeping the Spotlight on Palm Oil

It feels, in these COVID times, as if literally everything is shifting from what once seemed like a ‘steady state’ to disintegrating chaos. With so much up in…


Citizens Assemble – Government Stumbles!

Frankly, it’s been humiliating watching our Prime Minister make such a pig’s ear of hosting this year’s Conference of the Parties in Glasgow in November. This…


Friends of the Earth’s Disgraceful Manifesto Analysis

As a former Director of Friends of the Earth, I can say with certain knowledge that FoE is an organisation that makes its fair share of mistakes – as much…


Universities Stepping Up – But Not Enough and Not Fast Enough!

Unsurprisingly, the whole climate emergency debate is now working its way through Higher Education circles, here in the UK and internationally. In July, a new…


Saying No to BP and Shell Today: Hard Choices Have to be Made

I was asked recently about the point at which I decided I could no longer continue to do any work with BP. This is what I said: ’I worked closely with senior…


Solar-enhanced Biodiversity!

So who’d have thought it: solar power is good for biodiversity! Or, to be a little bit more accurate, ‘well-designed and well-managed’ solar parks are good for…


Our Next PM: a Guaranteed Climate Emergency in the Making!

This is going to be my last word on climate matters for a while – and only because I can’t stop myself thinking about what this country’s next Prime Minister…


The Climate Emergency Continuum: from Bad to Cataclysmic

I’m pretty attuned to being on the receiving end of regular apocalypse-fixes. But even for me, Monday last week (20/5) was a tough one, with a new research…


Memo to Conservation CEOs: The Population Countdown Starts Here!

Today (22nd May) is the International Day for Biological Diversity – which I want to celebrate in the following way. You know those clocks that you see on…


A Great Big Shout-Out to Extinction Rebellion!

What a fortnight! To have the utterly remarkable Greta Thunberg here in the UK for a couple of days was so inspiring. Her ‘truth to power’ take-down of UK…


Antarctica’s Front Line on Climate Change Research

At the end of last year, I was fortunate enough to have a trip down to Antarctica, to look at some of the climate-related research work being done by…


Yet More Nails in the Nuclear Coffin

Were it not for blanket Brexit, smothering every other news item, I suspect there would have been a lot more coverage of the recent collapse of Hitachi’s…


Paul Polman: Role Model for Today and Tomorrow

There are few positions in society more rarified than that of a FTSE 100 CEO. The financial rewards are staggering, and out of all proportion to the task in…


WWF Failing the Natural World in Ignoring Today’s Overpopulation Crisis

I’ve just taken on the role of President of Population Matters. Population Matters has been the go-to population organisation in the UK since 1991. Like all…


Sustainable Palm Oil: If you Want to End Deforestation, Stick to the Facts!

I hate to have to say this, but James Corden and Bill Bailey have allowed themselves to be duped by an unholy combination of NGOs and naïve retailers. I’m…


From 2 degrees C to 1.5 degrees C: This Changes Everything

If you’re not shit-scared now, about the likely impacts of accelerating climate change, you’re not awake. Or you’re dead to the future of humankind. True, I…


Natural Capital: New Zealand Raises the Bar

I had a rather wonderful experience on Friday, listening to three Ministers in the New Zealand Government, and a handful of New Zealand business leaders,…


Staying Sane in a Stressed-Out World

A good friend of mine emailed me recently to tell me that ‘burnout’ felt imminent, and that she was intent on doing something about it before it was too late.…


Innovation in Construction: From printing concrete to Mirvac still changing everything

I really love it when what were once seen as completely wacky ideas cross that elusive threshold of credibility, and you suddenly find that everyone’s talking…


Iceland, Palm Oil and Empty PR Stunts

Richard Walker, MD of Iceland Foods, is a man on a mission to save the world’s rainforests. You can bet he felt really pleased with himself when his decision…


Nuclear Power in the USA: Going, Going …

When the biggest nuclear operator in the US says that the nuclear power industry in the US is, to all intents and purposes, DEAD, then we should probably take…


Addressing Carbon Risks – Here and in New Zealand!

Just back from another trip to New Zealand – a different country from when I was last there a year ago, transformed as it is by a change of Government! To…


Women in Construction: InspireMe!

One of the most pressing challenges for the construction sector in the UK is its appalling record on recruiting women – and then retaining and developing their…


EdF’s Latest Nuclear Bullshit

It’s not often that nuclear matters make me laugh out loud. But yesterday provided one such occasion, on reading of the latest announcement from EdF that a new…


Palm Oil: the Edible Oil Westerners Love to Hate!

Just back from another visit to KL as part of the work Forum for the Future does with Sime Darby Plantation – one of the biggest (and most sustainable!) palm…


‘A Green Future’: Another 25 Years of Bland Platitudes?

So what are we to make of the lionising of Michael Gove by a host of people who really should know better? His speech to the Oxford Farming Conference, and his…


The State of American Democracy

How often have you heard something like this: ‘Well, the situation here in the UK may be dire, but things aren’t half as bad as they are in America!’ I’ve said…


Immigration, Brexit and the Future of Progressive Politics in the UK

I still find it hard to believe that more people in this country feel we’d be better off outside the EU than remaining in the EU. For me, there are three main…


Small Modular Reactors: The Nuclear Industry’s Latest Pipe Dream

You’ve got to hand it to the nuclear industry: they’re one resilient bunch of never-say-die hard-arses! By any standards, 2017 has been an annus horribilis for…


The Campaign to Stop Fracking Moves on – to the Vale of Ryedale!

(With reference to my blog last week, the Sheffield tree story is now reaching a crunch point. Last week, Green Party Councillor Alison Teal was found not…


Why Sheffield’s Trees Matter – to All of Us!

I’ve had a really odd summer – with a knee replacement operation that went badly wrong. And this somehow blocked my creative juices, both in terms of…


When Will Environmental NGOs Step Up to Help Some of the World’s Poorest People?

Through the partnership that Forum for the Future has with Sime Darby (the world’s largest palm oil company), I visited Liberia back in May. To see some of…


Another Coal Mine for Donald Trump to Embrace!

Fellow Greenies: help me out here, please! Which particular fossil fuel do we hate the most? Yes, that’s right: COAL. And which particular political party…


Supporting the UK’s Single Most Effective Parliamentarian

So here’s a rather harsh irony: because of the fall in the Green Party vote compared to the 2015 General Election, Caroline Lucas (as the Green Party’s sole MP…


Green Stars in a Sea of Mediocrity

I have to be honest: the whole idea of building a Progressive Alliance to take on the Tories in this Election (or ‘ABC: Anyone But the Conservatives’, as some…


Unilever versus Kraft/Heinz: Competing Models of Capitalism

For all sorts of reasons, the way people feel about corporate sustainability is influenced disproportionately by how well Unilever is seen to be doing through…


The Campaign to Save Wicklesham Quarry: Now or Never

When I was Director of Friends of the Earth, many, many years ago, I picked up a lot of knowledge from someone called Andrew Lees, who died, tragically, out in…


Why the Wonderful Wendell Berry Should Still be on Your Reading List!

I’m just reading ‘Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist’, Paul Kingsnorth’s collection of essays written over the last 15 years or so. It’s a good read…


Take Courage! – O Ye of Little Faith! – from Earth Day

I can’t say I’ve been the biggest supporter of Earth Day over the years. Not really into formulaic anniversaries, especially when every day should be a bloody…


Progressive Alliances: Momentum Building!

So, Theresa May has gone and done what any average, self-serving opportunistic politician would have done in a similar set of circumstances: forget ‘national…


Imagining a Non-Nuclear World

I found myself laughing rather too enthusiastically at a couple of jokes on last week’s Now Show (on Radio 4) about Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Laughing in…


The Terminal State of the US Nuclear Industry

It’s quite something to find myself in a country where nuclear power is even more of a basket case than it is in the UK – and that of course is the United…


Nuclear Weapons, Donald Trump and ‘Playing with Fire’

There are so many reasons to be apprehensive about the Trump Presidency that it’s hard to know which ones really matter, and which are just part of his…


Sustainable Development Still the Only Big, BIG Idea Worth Bothering About

Eighteen months ago, leaders of nearly 200 nations meeting at the United Nations agreed a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to guide their…


Decommissioning in the North Sea: Rigs, Reefs, but not much Realism

We hear a lot these days about how the oil and gas industry is winding down in the North Sea – and so it is. Which means that huge numbers of rigs, pipelines…


Better Business, Better World – but Better for Whom?

So what exactly is the appetite for ‘reinventing capitalism’ – amongst capitalists, rather than amongst campaigners? A very interesting new report has just…


All Change for Corporate Sustainability?

“We’re a nation of immigrants whose diverse backgrounds, ideas and points of view have helped us build and invent as a nation for over 240 years.” Those are…


The Future Lies not in our Stars, but in our Sun (part 2)

I can’t help but think of the World Future Energy Summit as a great big oily bubble: despite the fact that the work of companies of every conceivable variety…


The Future Lies not in our Stars, but in our Sun (part 3)

It’s precisely this combination of factors that has made my involvement in the amazing Zayed Future Energy Prize (as a member of its Selection Committee from…


The Future Lies not in our Stars, but in our Sun (part 1)

For me, the annual World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi is the best possible place for trying to get my head around the global energy sector. And a strange…


UK Government Off to Flying Start in Post-Paris Era!

You’ve got to hand it to this lot: when it comes to brazen, carbon-intensive balls, they’ve got ‘em! First out of the blocks was the heavily-whipped decision…


Seafood Companies Launch Major Initiative

Wednesday saw the launch of one of the most fascinating – and significant – initiatives that I’ve been involved in for a very long time: Seafood Business for…


Getting to Grips with Climate Denialism

I really want to get to grips with this whole story about ‘climate denialism’ – a catch-all description that can be applied both to individual ‘denialists’ and…


The Hinkley Horror Story: Don’t Mention the Waste!

I haven’t been able to bring myself to write anything about Hinkley Point since the UK Government gave the go-ahead on 15th September. I suppose I’ve lived for…


Climate Fight Night: Donald Trump -v- Peter Wadhams

This would, of course, be an odd and rather unevenly matched fight, Donald Trump being the President Elect of the United States of America, and Peter Wadhams…


Elon Musk: Personifying The Transition

I had one of those surreal moments on Wednesday morning last week. I was up early to clear the usual email backlog, before a hectic visit to Newcastle, before…


Social Sustainability: Tackling the Confusion

Forum for the Future has always been totally committed to the idea of ‘full spectrum’ sustainability, embracing environmental, economic, social and governance…


The Rudiments of a Progressive Alliance

There are lots of politically-engaged people for whom the idea of a Progressive Alliance here in the UK is either of no interest (for various reasons) or…


Wicklesham Quarry Needs Your Help

I urge everyone reading this blog to get behind the campaign to Protect Wicklesham Quarry – and to do so as urgently as possible by supporting the Crowdjustice…


The Extraordinary Works of the Late, Great, David Fleming

David Fleming was one of the most important people in my early green life – perhaps the most important. When I joined the Green Party in the mid-70s (or…


Movement on the ‘Progressive Alliance’ front

A lot of buzz around the Green Party Conference about the notion of a Progressive Alliance. Not least because the Green Party, of all the political parties…


Green Party: All Change at the Top!

I was in Birmingham ten days ago, for the Green Party Conference, and arrived at the very moment that Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley were declared the new…


University League Tables: What Really Counts?

Last week was just about the most anxiety-inducing in the entire year for UK universities, waiting nervously to see how well they had done in the increasingly…


When it Comes to Bribery, Nothing Can Match the Nuclear Industry

It doesn’t take long for the shine to go off a newly-appointed Prime Minister, does it? Yesterday’s obesity anti-strategy was a disgrace – and apparently all…


Hinkley Point, Greg Clark and the Fate of the Nation

On Friday last week, within a few hours of Greg Clark (Secretary of State at the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) announcing that…


A Progressive Alliance: Laying the Foundations

There’s one constant thread running through the post-Brexit chaos: if ever there was a time to bring people together to help transform our corrupted and…


More United

To be honest, the last month has been just about the most depressing month in my whole political life, though I would probably have to admit to blanking a…


M&S Energy Society

Still dark days, as the accursed consequences of the Brexit debate continue to unfold. SO HERE’S AN OPPORTUNITY TO CHEER YOURSELF UP! This opportunity comes…


The Power of Redemptive Anger

For a couple of hours on Friday morning, for the first time ever, I felt old. At the age of 65 (nearly 66!), I am old, but I’ve never actually felt old. All it…


Forum for the Future’s Partners: in for the Long Haul

Of all the activities the Forum announced when we launched 20 years ago, it was our intention to work with business that attracted the most interest. There…


The Undecided … and the Death of Jo Cox

It’s hard to believe that the single most important decision that the citizens of the UK have been asked to make in a very, very long time, may all come down…


20 Years On: Good Progress, but Must Do Better!

It’s uncomfortable having to think back to 1996. At that time, there was still a real sense of hope that the agreements stuck at the Earth Summit in Rio de…


Re-inventing the ‘Limits to Growth’ debate

Still barely a mention about the environment in the Referendum campaign – just another reminder that these issues still have very little cut-through in UK…


One Young World: Confronting Today’s Energy Dilemmas

Just back from a visit to the slightly scary cities of the American south-west – Phoenix and Tucson. Having just read an extraordinarily powerful novel called…


Quitting the EU would be a weird way of Protecting the English Countryside!

It felt like a little bit of a Lion’s Den challenge, but addressing the AGM of Gloucestershire CPRE turned out to be a very pleasant occasion – not least…


‘We Are Europe’ Goes Live Today!

Readers of this blog will know that I’m pretty passionate about doing what I can to ensure a Yes to Europe vote on June 23rd! And the most important thing I’m…


‘Resurgence’: Sharing our Views of the World

Imagine that Resurgence didn’t exist. Imagine that you and a group of like-minded colleagues decided that the world badly needed a new publication that would…


The Least Surprising Announcement of 2016: Hinkley Point Decision Delayed – AGAIN!

What a gloriously ramshackle company EdF is! No company does anti-climax as well as EdF does – time after time! Last week, we heard French Economy Minister…


Obama right on climate change and right on Europe

This Friday will mark a memorable moment in the history of climate diplomacy. It’s when the world comes together in New York to sign up to the climate…


So Who’s Gagging the Eco Movement on the EU Referendum?

Here’s a statistic worth dwelling on: at least 80,000 lives a year have been saved because of the higher air quality standards imposed by the EU, often in the…


Charity Commission has Second Thoughts

No sooner had I finished off the blog posted earlier today, than I heard from Friends of the Earth that the Charity Commission had decided to reissue its…


Climate Let-down Down Under

Even for a sympathetic observer from the UK, the politics of climate change in Australia is, to say the least, vexatious. But it’s now entering a more critical…


Beware the March of the Authoritarians!

Bit by bit, the true authoritarianism of this Government is revealing itself. Way back in 2011, in what now feels like the good old days, myself and Bethan…


Brexit and the Environment: Sorting Out Fact From Fiction

Predictably, the Referendum campaign so far has been much more about instinct than it has about reasoned debate. And that’s true in the environment space as…


Hinkley Point: The Insanity That Just Keeps On Giving

I feel duty bound to keep loyal readers of the blog completely up to date with the slowly unfolding Hinkley Point meltdown – spasm by agonising spasm. Three…


Values, Global Citizenship and the EU Referendum: a Mind-Boggling Mindset Mash-up!

I don’t feel good about this, but I can’t help despising most of the people involved in the Brexit campaign: Nigel Farage, Iain Duncan Smith, Norman Tebbit,…


EdF: Living with its ZOMBIE REACTORS!

You seriously wouldn’t want to be a Director of EdF at the moment. The agenda for an average Board Meeting must be seriously gloomy on each and every occasion.…


Greener In – Obviously!

So, a deal (of sorts) has been done, Cameron is claiming an historic victory, and the date for the Referendum is set: June 23rd. This is where the real work…


‘FiT for the 21st Century?’ – Not by a Long Chalk!

Ten days ago, I highlighted the degree to which the UK is now so profoundly out of kilter with the post-Paris agenda. I really don’t suppose you need any…


Seeking all (young!) energy entrepreneurs!

Ever since I finished The World We Made (more than three years ago now), I’ve been obsessed with the sheer speed of change regarding solar and other renewable…


The post-Paris scene, part 6: So what are the implications of all this for the UK?

Here’s something telling: for the first time (as far as I can remember) the UK did not have a presence at the World Future Energy Summit. China, Japan,…


The post-Paris scene, part 7: A Polluted Postscript

On my last morning in Abu Dhabi, looking out of the window of one of this bewildering city’s multiple high-rise hotels, I watched a blanket of sea mist…


The post-Paris scene, part 2: Gro Harlem Brundtland

Mrs Brundtland has featured pretty large in my life. I first met her (at some kind of a conference) in 1988, just one year after the publication of Our Common…


The post-Paris scene, part 3: Renewables industry: in festive mood

As you can imagine, there was still quite a lot of post-Paris pixie-dust being sprinkled around in Abu Dhabi. At the first World Future Energy Summit, nine…


The post-Paris scene, part 4: Oil and gas: still hanging in

So where does all that upbeat, excitable buzz around renewables leave the oil and gas companies? Well, they’re still hanging in there, with exhibition stands…


The post-Paris scene, part 5: Same old dreams, same old lies

So much for the fossil fuel lobbies. What of our dearly beloved friends in the nuclear industry? The industry has had a constant presence at the World Future…


The post-Paris scene, part 1: the Zayed Future Energy Prize

Back in Abu Dhabi for the ninth World Future Energy Summit, and the eighth Award Ceremony for the Zayed Future Energy Prize, which I’ve been involved in from…


If Volkswagen Built Homes …

The Scandal of the Performance Gap in the Housing Industry Many people driving a new car have long suspected that the fuel consumption demonstrated in the…


Latest Chapter in the Palm Oil and Deforestation Saga

Today (Tuesday 15th December) in London, we’ll be launching our Report on High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests, and the role of the palm oil industry in helping…


So How Does It Feel, Mr Prime Minister, Being On The Wrong Side of History?

Amber Rudd, Secretary of State at DECC, was all over the media yesterday, making out that the UK had played a big part in securing the historic agreement in…


As the Government Steps Back, the NUS Steps Up!

Here’s a rather staggering statistic: UK universities produce one world leader in every 50,000 graduates! I have to admit that I wasn’t aware of that…


Living Well Within Planetary Boundaries

By far the biggest boundary we have to transcend today is our compulsion to keep on transcending boundaries! Over the last 40 years, I’ve collected any number…


FiFo – Fish-In, Fish-Out

Global food security is all about sourcing enough protein, on a genuinely sustainable basis, for a population in excess of nine billion people in the second…


The Third Industrial Revolution

Confronted with the implacable details of today’s climate science, we draw comfort as best we may from the thinnest of thin pickings.


Modi (‘Solar Champion’) versus Cameron (Solar Dunderhead)

If anyone needed confirmation that this Government’s energy strategy is terminally, irretrievably incoherent, just check out this press release from the Solar…


#KeepItClean !

Check out the new #KeepItClean campaign from Salt Magazine: http://www.wearesalt.org/vivienne-westwood-and-salt-launch-keepitclean-campaign-2/ -  a series of…


Meltdown for Pro-Nuclear Environmentalists

I wonder what our pro-nuclear greenies will be thinking this week as they listen to President Xi Jinping and George Osborne bombastically declaring ‘a new…


Hinkley C: ‘The Most Expensive White Elephant in British History’

The latest instalment in George Osborne’s personally-authored potboiler, the Hinkley Point F***** (think ‘Fiasco’!) will be published sometime around October…


Students Organising for Sustainability: Old and New

I nipped down to the Eden Centre on Friday last week. All these years on, it still makes such an impact – and it was brilliant to hear from the wonderful Tim…


Paris 2015: The Spirit Moves On

It’s now four months since I first mentioned the People’s Pilgrimage, and its charismatic inspiration Yeb Saño, the former Climate Ambassador for the…


Sustainable Aviation – Kiwi Style!

It’s been a very long time since I’ve participated in the launch of a Sustainability Report with more than 450 people in attendance! But that’s what happened…


Community Energy Fortnight: Going on to a War Footing

This is the first full week of Community Energy Fortnight, coordinated by Forum for the Future on behalf of the Community Energy Coalition (for which FFF…


Resurgence/The Ecologist: the latest issue

A packed issue of Resurgence/The Ecologist for September/October, including Philip Pullman on William Blake, Vandana Shiva on the impact of industrial farming…


Poverty, Palm Oil and Protecting the Forests

I’m just back from Gabon and Liberia – first time I’ve ever been in these countries. I was there to understand better what the idea of ‘sustainable palm oil’…


Unilever and Kodaikanal: Truth and Fiction

I’m an NGO-person through and through, but sometimes I do find conventional NGO tactics deeply aggravating. Take the Kodaikanal story, and the current campaign…


The Hypocrisy at the Heart of Today’s Food Security Debate

On David Attenborough’s 89th birthday this May, he somehow found himself in conversation with Barack Obama. And a rather strange conversation it was too, with…


Is the Nuclear Industry the Least Innovative Industry in the World?

Today sees the publication of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report. As a long-term and very engaged participant in the nuclear debate, I’ve absorbed…


‘The World We Made’ – Amplifying the Upside

It gets weirder and weirder sitting here in the UK watching our Government systematically destroy the UK renewables industry, knowing that in almost every…


The Slow but Assured Death of UK Renewables

Things go from bad to worse on the renewable energy front. 1.  Even those who are accustomed to George Osborne’s hostility to the renewables industry were…


Some Ethical Challenges in the Built Environment

Cracking discussion on Monday at a seminar organised by the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment UCL – ‘Practising Ethics in Built Environment Research’.…


Palm Oil and Deforestation: Moving Things On

Last week, after nearly a year’s work, the High Carbon Stock Steering Committee (of which I’m the Co-Chair) issued its Draft Synthesis Report for……


Can Archbishop Welby (a Former Oil Man) Rise to the Pope’s Challenge?

Laudate Si’ has landed! The much-hyped, comprehensively leaked papal encyclical was launched yesterday. I haven’t read it in detail yet, but am absolutely…


The Power of Sustainable Energy For All

Kandeh Yumkella is the inspirational leader of the UN’s Sustainable Energy 4 All campaign. On Thursday last week, he gave the keynote speech to the 2015 Ashden…


Corporate Sustainability Reporting: No Sceptics Here Please!

Thursday last week was a big day for corporate sustainability reporting, with both Carillion and M&S launching their 2014 Reports. It’s so easy for people to…


Friends Of The Earth: Still Critical to Anti-Nuclear Movement

It’s never a good thing to fall out with an organisation that one loves. But, at the moment, that’s how it is for me with Friends of the Earth. And it’s all…


The People’s Pilgrimage Gets Under Way

The People’s Pilgrimage kicked off today! This is a truly brilliant idea: “In the coming months, up to December’s climate meeting in Paris, people of faith…


Nick Stern: ‘Why Are We Waiting?’ Why Indeed?!

Very few people command as much respect in the highly disputatious world of climate change as Nick Stern – Lord Stern to me and you. His blockbuster ‘Review’…


Wellbeing in the Natural World

It would be great if World Environment Day 2015 focussed not just on ‘the environment out there’, but on us in the environment out there. Walking, working,…


Ashden UK Finalists: Inspiration for a New Government

New Government; new Ministers in DECC; new opportunities. Which makes it a brilliant time for Ashden to be promoting all its UK Award winners, not just…


The Pope’s Climate Campaign

This is not the first time I’ve blogged about the Pope, and I’m nervous about bigging him up too much given my views on family planning and women’s rights. But…


Failing Better

The air is still thick with the poignant wisps of personal political failure – after one of the most extraordinary General Elections of the modern era. Failure…


The Green Party on Poverty

Caroline Lucas and Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, did a really good job in their interviews with Russell Brand. The only thing I was disappointed by was…


Supporting Caroline Lucas

I’m down in Brighton this weekend to support the campaign of Caroline Lucas. To state the obvious, if Caroline is not re-elected in Brighton Pavilion, it would…


The Beginning of the End of the Age of Coal

My good friend Walt Patterson has just written (and self-published) a new book. I really enjoyed it – and happily endorsed it: “This is a wonderful,…


Green Party has no cause to feel bad about its campaigning on climate change

I was in Cambridge last night, with the Cambridge Young Greens, to support Rupert Read, the Green Party’s candidate in Cambridge. Given the coverage in the…


Getting Real about Palm Oil

For me, 2015 is turning out to be the Year of the Oil Palm. It’s already more than a year since I took on the role of chairing the Steering Committee for the…


Green Votes for a Green MP

Environmentalists often worry about casting their vote for Green Party candidates, on the grounds that it’s likely to be a ‘wasted’ vote in our…


Looking After Mother

Time for another loud bang on the population drum – to celebrate the arrival of a new and excellent film with the simple title, ‘Mother’. It lasts just over an…


Getting to Grips with Ben van Beurden

Sorry if it’s beginning to look as if I’m engaged in something of a vendetta against Mr Ben van Beurden, the Chief Executive of Shell. But for all sorts of…


What’s More, Nuclear Power is NOT a Source of Low-Carbon Electricity

For those who dutifully followed the trail of my anti-nuclear invective yesterday, you may perhaps, even now, despite the weight and depth of the arguments…


Hinkley Point: the Beginning of the End

I’ve always said that the two proposed new reactors at Hinkley Point would never get built. Now I’m not just saying it: I’m absolutely convinced that they’ll…


Eric Pickles: Arch Enemy of Sustainability

I’ve come to the conclusion that of all the Enemies of Sustainability in this wretched Government, Eric Pickles may well be the worst of the lot. I’ve been…


Shell’s Moral Muddles

My friend Jeremy Leggett caused a bit of a stir recently by predicting that one of the big oil majors would, before the end of the year, ‘do an E.ON’,…


Pope’s Words the Height of Irresponsibility

Pity poor old Ryan MacDonald, a 21-year-old Masters student from Derby. On hearing that he’d been selected as one of five Brits to go through to the next stage…


Naomi Klein: This Changes Everything

his is one of the most important books I’ve read for a long time. It’s authoritatively researched, absolutely ‘on the front line’ of the politics of climate…


Shock Horror! Tories and Lib Dems Don’t Agree about the Economy

I can’t deny that it’s highly entertaining watching the Coalition Government energetically tearing itself to pieces over the future of the economy. You’ve just…


Some friendly advice for the Secretary of State

Summon into your mind, for a moment, the image of a deeply perplexed Ed Davey, late at night, deep in thought, sitting there behind his Secretary of State’s…


The UK’s Ongoing Nuclear Fiasco

It’s nearly a month since the EU Commission approved the UK Government’s financial arrangements with EdF to build two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point. There…


The Green Ribbon Political Awards

Really good that the Green Ribbon Political Awards have been resuscitated - after quite a long break - and yesterday I handed out the Awards to the deserving…


Infrastructure Bill

It becomes more and more mystifying why the passage of the Infrastructure Bill has attracted near zero coverage. It has already had around 10 days being…


Sharing the “New Story”

It’s a long time since I’ve spent a whole week at a conference or event. Bizarrely, life just seems to get even more frantic as I get older, with the available…


ClimateCare’s Queen’s Award

I spent a very happy morning in Oxford yesterday, chairing a little seminar for ClimateCare on its plans through to 2020, and then celebrating the presentation…


Collectively!

It’s a big day today. The new platform, www.collectively.org, goes live! In some respects, this is the end point of a process that started for me more than…


FOE vs. BBC

As if it wasn’t bad enough for the BBC to have been fingered as a Fox News lookalike earlier in the year for providing endless platforms for climate change…


Crunching the low-carbon numbers

One of the most frustrating aspects of having to listen to climate change sceptics banging on is their profound economic illiteracy. Anything to do with…


New Commitments from Palm Oil Companies

There was an important development on the palm oil front yesterday. • Back in January, five of the big palm oil producers (including Sime Darby, one of Forum…


Philanthropists and Foundations: Getting Their Climate Act Together

On Monday, a whole page ad appeared in the International New York Times, calling on the world’s philanthropic Trusts and Foundations to start getting their act…


Population: Passing on the Baton

I’ve been tracking the population debate for the best part of 40 years. So how come I’d never heard of Professor Albert Bartlett before? Al Bartlett died last…


A Solar Revolution – the positive impact of solar power around the world

One of the very first big pieces of research that Forum for the Future conducted was for BP in the late 1990s, looking at the prospects for the growth of solar…


Fork in the road? (response to Tony Juniper’s article on Zero Deforestation)

Thanks to Tony Juniper for a great article that rightly raises (again!) the question of what ‘zero’ means when people talk about deforestation. I agree with…


Pity the Prime Minister in his Energy Confusion

I’m always rather heartened by the fact that the Prime Minister takes his holidays in Cornwall – for the simple reason that at least once a year he gets to see…


What does ‘Zero Deforestation’ mean to you?

This is not a trick question. But it sure as hell is a tricky question! As evidenced by a very mischievous article by Ben Webster in The Times today making out…


The Nuclear Industry Today: Declining but not Dying

Every year, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report reminds me why those in the Green movement who think nuclear has a major role to play in securing a…


Different Visions Of The Future

I’ve just finished reading a little tract by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway called “The Collapse of Western Civilisation: a View from the Future”. Not a very…


California, Drought and some Crazy Politics

There’s this crazy American billionaire called Tim Draper, who’s currently spending tens of billions of dollars on raising signatures amongst the voters of…


Wildlife Gardeners Alert!

It would be untrue to say that I’m a keen gardener – I just never have been. And I’m not particularly green-fingered either, even with indoor plants. Hardy…


Lords of the Flies

Good news on the maggot front! One of the most fascinating contributions to our Innovation Showcase was a little company called AgriProtein. Its business model…


A Tale of Solar Panels, Crazy Planners and a Threat to Future Generations!

It’s impossible for me to get involved in each and every planning dispute that people ask me about – there are so many! But the one I am inviting you to delve…


World Population Day: So What?

It was World Population Day on Friday. I don’t know why 11th July was been chosen as World Population Day, but given that we can’t really have World Population…


Sustainable Palm Oil: Another Step Along the Road

In the highly controversial world of palm oil and its impact on the world’s forests, a rather important thing happened on Tuesday. But I very much doubt that…


Telling Cameron: Get Behind Solar!

This is my last word on solar issues – for a bit! One hundred and fifty businesses have joined forces to deliver a letter to David Cameron today – simply to…


Solar in Africa

This is a kind-of PS to my blog yesterday on Solar Independence Day, simply to share with you the latest inspiring update from Jeremy Leggett of SolarAid /…


Why do Ed and Greg hate solar energy?

Today is Solar Independence Day. And I feel angry – at this Government’s incomprehensible failure to seize hold of the opportunity to promote the UK’s solar…


Urban Bloody Seagulls

Seagulls are much on my mind at the moment. Urban bloody seagulls! Of which we would appear to have a huge number in Cheltenham, many of which would appear to…


Farm Animals in the Bigger System

“The problem about sustainability is that it’s all about systems thinking. And the modern world just doesn’t do systems thinking – whether you’re talking…


Families, Futures and all Things Sustainable

At the heart of the notion of sustainable development lies the very big idea of justice between generations. What makes economic development either sustainable…


Less of the Brands. More of the Public Policy

If you segment ‘the history of the modern environment movement’ over the last 45 years, (seen through the lens of my governance triangle – see below), there…


Celebrating the Disruptors

For reasons beyond my control, I missed out on my annual Ashden fix last week (the Awards ceremony was on Thursday 22 May), and have had to make do with…


Systems Thinking in Princeton and Beyond

In the north-west corner of Greenland, there’s a community of a few hundred Inuit people in a place called Qaanaaq. They don’t spend a lot of time talking…


My Review of SUSTAINEO 2030 by Farooq Ullah et al

Imagine the scene amongst the eager and idealistic employees of Stakeholder Forum. SF boss: “Ok guys, exactly what do we have to do to get people focussed…


Offsetting Breakthroughs

Offsetting remains so controversial – but I spent quite some time last week wondering why. And that’s because it was a great week for ‘offsetting done well’.…


Reflections on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Part 3 – IPCC: Please Don’t Mention the ‘P’ Word!

In case you think I’ve just gone soft on the IPCC in every respect, let me just tell you that it’s as pathetic on the link between population and accelerating…


Reflections on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Part 2 – IPCC Guidance: What Should We Be Doing Now?

The Report from Working Groups I (on the science of climate change) and II (on the impacts of climate change on human society) were – inevitably – deeply…


Reflections on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Part 1: Let’s hear it for the IPPC!

I spent some time over Easter digging down into the latest reports released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – as part of its 5th Assessment…


Equal Pay in the World of Sustainability?

I’ve spent my entire adult life working with others in the world of sustainability. And although there have inevitably been some ‘bad uns’ amongst them, it’s…


DECC – Getting it Right

When it comes to decisions regarding sustainable energy, spot the pattern here in terms of understanding DECC dynamics: - Anything that’s relatively small,…


The Conservation Volunteers Has A New President!

So here’s a new thing in my life: I’ve just become President of The Conservation Volunteers (Press Release attached). Not completely new, mind you. I’ve been a…