Shaping The Future - From Pandemic to Climate Change
Interviews with environmental / climate change experts discussing the choices we collectively face in determining what future we will shape for ourselves, future generations and all other life within the biosphere. The podcast is produced by Nick Breeze and hosted on the CCLS website, as an appendage to the series that is itself in jeopardy due to the disruptive nature of the pandemic.
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In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am talking to Wall Street energy analyst Dan Dicker about his new book, Turning Oil Green- A market-based path to renewables.
Dan’s book gives us a lot of fascinating insights into how the oil markets work and how we should use the existing infrastructure of the markets and this toxic industry to literally turn oil green.
Like many of the complexities around the climate crisis, pathways to progress often appear counter-intuitive at the outset. What I found revelatory in Dan’s perspective is that collapsing the oil price can destabilise nations, increase poverty and potentially derail the uptake of renewables in parts of the world where energy demand is only ever going to rise.
One of the key issues around the emissions reduction and the transition to clean energy is the sheer scale of the challenge ahead. To successfully pass through the eye of this needle of opportunity and transform our world we must maximise our ability to meet these scales of enormity.
Could Dan’s approach set out in his book get us some of the way there? We surely cannot at this point, take anything off the table. The book is available from Amazon and I have placed a link below.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I’m discussing the risks posed by Geoengineering in the context of averting worst-case climate change, with author Professor Bill McGuire.
Bill's new book, Skyseed, is his first full length foray into writing fiction, from a distinguished career as Emeritus Professor of Geophysical & Climate Hazards at University College London as well as being one of Britain's leading volcanologists.
Skyseed presents the reader with a narrative of when humanity’s failure to address the climate crisis coupled with the political failure to say no to dangerous engineering interventions are gambled to reduce the impact of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.
The scenario in the book is extreme but the story itself holds together very well as an existential consideration for where we are as an intelligent species on a living planet.
Reducing our carbon emissions in every aspect of life, from agriculture to transport, travel, or heating our homes, is of critical importance in trying to stabilise our climate.
Without an immediate thorough rethink, the risks of climate catastrophe, either by allowing global heating to run wild or by interventions that unleash any number of unintended consequences grow greater every day.
Welcome to Shaping The Future. In this episode, I am speaking with Dr Zack Labe at Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science about the perilous heat trends reshaping the Arctic.
Zack is very well known on social media for bringing the climate data to life, in a series of visualisations and charts that depict extremes, such as we have seen recently in the Laptev Sea where the start of the sea ice formation is yet to begin.
In this discussion also we talk about improving the general publics’ overall literacy on climate change and why panicking is not the preferred course of action.
This is one in a series of interviews that seeks to gain insights into how scientists consider communicating the changes in the Earth system to wider audiences in order to promote greater awareness and understanding.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with Adrian Tait, a founding member of the Climate Psychology Alliance, (the CPA).
Adrian discusses how the linkages between events such as the US election and COVID-19 are compounding the anxiety that many people feel about the climate and ecological crisis.
In particular, he discusses Through The Door, a CPA initiative that has been utilised to help create a space where people who share anxieties about climate and ecology can come together. These groups are self-sustaining and may well offer the foundations of psychological resilience needed in ever more troubled times.
One key observation is that the pandemic offers insights into how a society under pressure responds. In particular, Adrian highlights how necessary it is to discern the conflicting desires between a return to a pre-COVID world founded on unsustainable principals and the opportunity to reset our value systems and gear them towards a more balanced and sustainable world.
Welcome to Shaping The Future - In this episode, I am speaking to Rabbi Yonatan Neril in Jerusalem about his newly co-authored Eco Bible, a book that reaches back through more than 2000 years of religious texts. At a time when religion in the US is being politicised and views are expressed about Gods will in consuming the Earth, Eco Bible uses 450 identified texts that clearly demonstrate the role religious teachings have had in promoting stewardship of the Earth.
Welcome to Shaping The Future - in this episode, I am speaking with scientist and author, Professor Sarah Bridle, about her recently published book, ‘Food & Climate Change Without The Hot Air’ - Sarah’s book provides an invaluable perspective on the reality-versus-perception of the impact on climate change that our diet actually has.
Welcome to Shaping The Future - in this episode, I am talking with meteorologist Scott Duncan, about how weather data is used to inform both the public and the organisations we rely on to insure us against the worst of life’s low-probability high-impact events..
We also discuss the recent Storm Alex that struck parts of western and southern Europe, in the context of frequency & extremity, as well as how the findings of meteorology can be used to alert those people who are in the path of future storms.
It can be easy to exist in a bubble of climate communications and forget that the vast majority of people have no idea of why and what we should be doing to prepare for and prevent the worst of future impacts.
The climate crisis means that many parts of the world will become uninsurable and this could be more closer to home than we think. Greater literacy in critical weather and climate science will help forge a better dialogue between people who are going to be impacted and the companies that realise future insurance is no longer viable.
I’ll be adding the links in notes so that you can follow Scott on Twitter and Instagram.
Thank you for listening - please do subscribe to Shaping The Future on any of the major podcast channels, or you can also listen on Youtube.
The next interview in the series will be with author Professor Sarah Bridle at the University of Manchester about her recent book ‘Food and Climate Change Without The Hot Air’ - a really worthwhile source of information for anyone interested in the links between food and climate emissions.
Welcome to Shaping The Future and in this episode, I am talking to the Secretary-General of ICOS - The Integrated Carbon Observation System, Dr. habil. Werner L. Kutsch.
ICOS is a network of ocean and ground-based carbon monitoring stations that is giving us a wide spread of open-source scientific data, expanding our understanding of our changing environment.
Werner talks about how ICOS data can explain the collapse of a carbon sink from a summer drought, as much as it can lead us towards cleaner air in cities and resilience to the climate impacts coming our way.
Also in the making, is a global system measuring & analysing atmospheric gases, that will, politics permitting, progress humanity towards a future that benefits all living creatures within the biosphere.
Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future - our mission is to be as informed as we possibly can, to overcome the challenges wrought by human existence to date. There are many more interviews in the pipeline, please subscribe and share to stay up to date.
Doing our bit to avert the very worst of climate change means going beyond nodding along in agreement with those who are sounding the alarm about the dangers we all face from pumping hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon pollution into the atmosphere.
It means we individually and collectively have to make drastic changes in our lives to reduce carbon emissions to beyond zero.
How many of us cast our guilt into the recesses and shadows of the mind as we book that next flight, or order one more juicy beef steak that we lament is becoming harder to conscience?
A new initiative, The Climate App, is currently in development and aims to help all of us reduce our carbon consumption by socialising and gamifying the task of adjusting our lifestyles for the greater good.
There is much more to the Climate App than this and so in this special episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with project founder Sam Naef about who they are, what they need and when we can expect to participate in this unique effort to help mainstream positive climate action.
Please support the Indiegogo campaign to make the Climate App a reality and affirm our willingness to try everything possible to shape a better future.
Full URL to help fund this project: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-climate-app-create-a-carbon-cutting-movement--2#/
Welcome to Shaping The Future - this interview is with author and Cambridge polar ice scientist Professor Peter Wadhams.
We discuss the common exponential factors that exist between the COVID-19 pandemic and in the positive feedbacks of the changing climate system.
We also discuss the urgent need for carbon drawdown or greenhouse gas removal as it also known, to tackle the excess burden of 1 trillion tonnes of pollution that humanity has pumped into the biosphere.
Professor Wadhams is a leading authority on polar ice climate and is currently guest lecturing in Turin Polytechnic in Italy. This interview was recorded in May 2020 during the lockdown but has relevant input from Peter about how we must consider action to shape a better future.
Thanks for listening to this podcast series. We have many more interviews being recorded, discussing the most pressing challenges that humanity faces regarding our own survival.