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Nine projects with a long term perspective

I’ve written before about the need for long term perspectives, and how important it is to be able to think beyond electoral cycles or quarterly reports. The biggest problems of the 21st century are playing out over decades, and we need decades-long plans to deal with them. With that in mind, I’ve been making a […]

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Britain will ban petrol and diesel cars from 2040 – mostly

There was some good transport related news today from the British government: from 2040, petrol and diesel cars will no longer be sold in Britain. It’s part of the government’s response to air pollution rather than climate change, but I’ll take it. France made a similar commitment a couple of weeks ago, also for 2040. […]

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The promise and pitfalls of new rail systems

If you’ve ever traveled on Britain’s East Coast mainline, you may have idly looked out the train window around Peterborough and seen this curious sight. It looks like a plane with no wings, perched on a concrete beam. It is in fact all that remains of the hovertrain, a prototype high speed rail system that […]

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What we learned this week

“The rich are disproportionate contributors to the carbon emissions that power climate change. It is cruel and perverse, therefore, that the costs of warming should be disproportionately borne by the poor.” That was in The Economist last week . When does a focus on productivity become counter-productive? asks my friend and co-author Katherine Trebeck on […]

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Waste tyres as a building material

I recently wrote a pair of posts on the global waste tyre problem, and how we can reduce, reuse and recycle the billion plus tyres discarded every year. There’s one further use that I’ve been saving for a Friday, when I like to write about sustainable buildings. Because if you’ve a vast stock of heavy, […]

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Where does your rubbish go?

Where does your rubbish end up? The answer to that question is – thankfully – more complex than it used to be. The old answer was that it went to the dump outside the town. Some of it still does, but if your trash is separated, it’s going to end up all over the place. […]

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Inheritors of the Earth, by Chris D Thomas

We are in the middle of the 6th great extinction event in the planet’s history, according to biologists and conservation agencies. It was in the news again last week, thanks to a new report that uses headline-grabbing phrases like ‘assaults on biodiversity’ and ‘biological annihilation’. And let’s not beat about the bush – we’ve seen […]

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What we learned this week

The Citizen’s Assembly on Brexit is exactly the kind of forum we need as a country right now. . Coca-Cola is responding to the growing calls for action on plastic bottles. Their plan includes trialing a reward scheme for recycling. . Keep an eye out for misinformation on electric cars. The Koch brothers and their […]

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Locking up carbon in building materials

A few months ago I looked at negative emission technologies, and the various ways to draw CO2 out of the atmosphere. Lots of work is going into machines that can absorb CO2 from the air, but we are surrounded by natural negative emission devices already: trees. One of the most straightforward carbon storage strategies is […]

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The water company that stopped selling plastic bottles

Imagine you’re a established bottled spring water brand, and you conclude that plastic bottles are an environmental issue that you can’t ignore any more. What do you do? That’s the question the Frank Water company has been asking. It was founded in 2005 as an ethical water brand, with profits going towards water and sanitation […]

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