🌱 The Grumpy Optimists #105
I really hate vapes, it's well hot and why I love the idea of depaving. That and more on this week's The Grumpy Optimists.
Happy Monday. 👋
Welcome back to another episode of The Grumpy Optimists and I’m writing to you from an absolutely sweltering and somewhat unbearable London bedroom.
In the UK we’ve just had the hottest day of the year at 32.6°C and it’s too hot, but it’s probably something we need to get used to. What the last 5 days of 30+°C days have shown us is that the world is not ready for what is about to come and that we really should take some action. 2030 is 75 months away, we should really act now,
before because it’s too late.
Now the grumpy is out of the way, there are quite a few positive news stories (some grumpy) that we’re looking at this week.
🚬 France to ban disposable vapes.
🛢️ Biden cancels oil and gas leases in Alaska.
⛏️ Cities are ‘depaving’ to make them cooler.
Let’s dig in 👇
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👀 Articles to read
🚭 France plans to ban disposable vapes, everyone else should follow. I will happily put on record that I think disposable vapes are absolutely stupid. In the UK, over 5 million, yes million, are disposed of every week. That works out to the same amount of lithium for 5,000 electric vehicle batteries every year. In response to this and a rise in teens using vapes, France aims to join other countries in banning vapes. So far, Australia has taken the toughest response, making vapes prescription only, reducing their nicotine content and restricting flavours.
🤨 Side note, at nearly every event, beer festival or large venue I’ve been to this summer, there have been vape companies next to the bar giving out freebies and aiming to attract new customers. Just think about it this way and I know it’s not quite the same, but imagine if you had a tobacco company handing out cigarettes next to a bar to help people on their way to addiction. It would be mental, but for some reason, we’re happy with adults sucking on little sweet-flavoured bars in the name of capitalism. If you can’t sense my opinion on them by now, this video sums up my exact thoughts about anybody using them.
🌱850+ academics, politicians and public figures back plant-based catering at universities. Plant-Based Universities, a campaign backed by over 850 academics and public figures such as George Monbiot and Chris Packham, has called on UK universities to go 100% plant-based. The campaign aims for a divestment away from meat and dairy, two food groups that account for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. I’m not fully plant-based, but I support this as an important message. Oh and no, Tofu is not causing ‘all that deforestation’ that will be the soya grown for beef.
🔋 Startup uses batteries from crashed Teslas to power homes. A London-based startup, Allye, plans to repurpose the 40k electric vehicle batteries that get scrapped every year and use them to power homes. Traditionally, home batteries that can store excess solar power cost £10k+ but Allye plans to rent batteries for £15-20 a month, helping consumers save thousands a year.
⭐ If you’re interested in reading more about the batteries powering decarbonisation, you can read Ben James’ blog here.
💨 UK’s offshore wind is a disaster and the government is to blame. The UK government’s latest offshore wind auction failed to attract any bids. The failure to produce any bids is due to the government setting the maximum price they would pay for wind power as £44 per megawatt hour (mWh). Industry insiders say that inflationary powers have made this unviable. As an FYI, the price of natural gas is hovering around £120 per mWh. The move is a blow to the UK’s decarbonisation goals and also costs UK billpayers over £1.5bn per year. A single positive takeaway is that Sunak has eased onshore wind planning rules, but it’s not enough.
⛏️ Cities are ‘depaving’ to make them cooler. Ted Labbe started the Depave movement back in 2007 when he tore up the tarmac in his back garden, 15 years later and the idea is gaining momentum as cities grapple with climate change. Paved roads and parking lots take up, about 30 per cent of urban areas, in the United States and can cause quite substantial increases in temperature due to the heat absorption of tarmac, the opposite of greenery and trees. I for one am a Depaving stan.
💰The energy transition train has left the station, and investors are on board. despite political divides and uncertainty, private investors are still piling into climate tech with over $2bn invested last Tuesday alone.
🛢️ Biden cancels oil and gas leases in Alaska. The Biden administration will reverse a Trump-era decision to drill in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, protecting over 13 million acres. This is great in principle, but it’s important to note that Biden also approved a massive oil field in Alaska earlier this year.
❌ The Carbon Trust drops its carbon-neutral scheme. The Carbon Trust has offered carbon neutral labels since 2012, but due to increasing scrutiny of carbon offsets and a rise in legislation combating greenwashing, the firm has looked to cease using carbon neutral labels and instead focus on how companies are reducing their emissions or how they compare to the industry standard. This is a move I very much endorse and have long advocated through my work at Zevero. Companies should also see this as a good move, shifting the attention away from constantly forking out for questionable offsets and instead investing in real reductions.
🏂🏻 Eurostar launches new route from London to the Alps. Eurostar Snow is a new train service that will run from London to the French Alps this winter, running for 8 weeks and starting at just £99 per person taking just over 8 hours.
🤝 Climate <> Memes
This week’s episode was written while listening to a Fred Again session because I’m basic but also because I am sad I missed out on tickets. That’s all for this week, folks. Thanks to those of you who said I am crazy for doing an Ironman. I disagree, you’re crazy for not doing stupid stuff. More of that coming from me in a few weeks (maybe).
George, the Grumpy Optimist 💚