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.
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Dr Saleemul Huq is a highly respected climate scientist from Bangladesh who has worked for decades to progress the safety of the most vulnerable people up the climate policymaking agenda.
Traditionally the most vulnerable people have been from places like Saleem's own country, Bangladesh, but in this interview, he stresses that we have crossed a new threshold.
What we have been seeing in the US and Northern Europe clearly shows that the most vulnerable could be ourselves, our neighbors, or our loved ones.
Global climate extremes have arrived at our door and the time to adapt and build resilience is now. As an expert in this field, Saleem gives us some pertinent insights into what makes resilience really work. It is not technology and it is not wealth.
In this special episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with Regional Director for the World Food Programme in Southern Africa, Menghestab Haile
In particular, we are discussing the climate-driven drought in southern Madagascar that has over 1 million people on the brink of starvation, including many children in a state of malnutrition.
The situation is a dire emergency and very much deserves our attention because the drought that is causing the famine is caused directly by emissions from those of us in developed countries.
However, there is a direct link to the previous episode in this series with Alice Hill discussing the need for adaptation and readiness for climate extremes.
As Menghestab points out, southern Madagascar is in a period of transition, and given the right support, they can continue to grow crops here and adapt to new emergent conditions.
I initially contacted the WFP to do this interview to highlight the humanitarian emergency, however, it has been striking that this is what a real-time climate red alert really looks like.
This is a region where many people live by subsistence farming and, no matter the outcome of climate conferences, adaptation is critical.
Alice Hill | Adaptation Critical To Our Global Climate Preparedness Strategy
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with Alice Hill who was Special Assistant to President Obama at the White House and Senior Director for Resilience Policy at the National Security Council, working on climate change and pandemic preparedness.
In her new book, ‘The Fight For Climate After COVID-19’, to be published on the 5th September, Alice makes the case for why it is imperative that we begin the necessary planning for adaptation for concurrent and consecutive climate extremes that threaten society the world over.
With COP26 on the horizon, we are seeing decades of climate policy on mitigation come to virtually nothing as emissions still rise.
The case being made here is that it is essential we make adaptation and building resilience a central feature of our approach to this decade and beyond.
I want to thank the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC) for their help in organising this series of interviews with security experts.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking to Global Security expert, Dr Chad Briggs at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Chad advises many global organisations on the intersection between climate change and national and regional security issues. His clients include the US State Department, US Air Force, the Swedish Armed Forces, the European Union, as well as US Dept of Energy, among others.
Chad explains the linkages between climate change and hybrid warfare situations that are going on now and will continue to pose a massive threat to societies around the world. These include government level sources of disinformation, such as the Global Warming Policy Foundation in the UK or the Heartland Institute in the US, who are funded by fossil fuel interest groups to sow doubt and chaos that drive us further down the road of climate catastrophe.
I want to thank the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC) for their help in organising this series of interviews with security experts. The next interview will be with former Obama White House advisor and Head of the US National Security Council for Climate, Alice Hill about her new book due out in September.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with the Director of the Centre for Climate Repair in Cambridge, Dr Shaun Fitzgerald about how buildings can be adapted for climate resilience and the potential for flipping them from carbon sources to carbon sinks.
With many of the world’s largest future cities yet to be built and much of the existing infrastructure in developed countries being unfit for extreme climate scenarios, it is essential that building development projects and innovation are able to meet and beat the challenges that lay ahead. Recent extreme climate catastrophes demonstrate that we need to start adapting to climate change right now and at scale.
The theme of adaptation planning is one that I will be exploring more in the coming weeks. If you are listening on Youtube or GENN.cc or another podcast channel, please do post your thoughts on the content in the comments and I will always read and try to reply.
Your feedback is most appreciated. Please do subscribe to Shaping The Future at GENN.cc where you can also see the whole podcast archive as well as interviews, panels and articles from the last 5 COP’s as we head towards COP26 Glasgow.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with former UK Government Chief Science Advisor, Sir David King. Sir David has recently set up the Climate Crisis Advisory Group (CCAG) to respond with agility to the real-time climate crisis.
The first report is linked below and focuses on the Arctic as a key regulator of global climate stability and more recently, chaotic disruption.
Sir David discusses the mantra they are trying to get into the mainstream consciousness of climate action: Reduce, Remove and Repair. The message is clear that climate is now the main issue threatening our civilisation across the globe.
We are now crossing tipping points and the time rapid scaled up action is now.
Sir David also suggests the creation of a UN Security Council for Climate Change to deal specifically with the international efforts of nations and regions to tackle arising issues. This connects to my interview next week with NATO and US Government Security Advisor on Climate Change, Chad Briggs.
Next week I will also be talking to Dr Shaun Fitzgerald OBE, Director of the Centre for Climate Repair in Cambridge about how we need to flip our building infrastructure from a massive carbon source to carbon sink. This includes existing buildings and the colossal amount that needs to be built with resilience around the world to weather the tide of climate adversity.
Deep Adaptation, with its subheader of ‘Navigating The Realities of Climate Chaos’ is divided into 3 parts: The Predicament, Shifts In Being and Shifts In Doing.
Adrian’s contribution gives a broad overview of the evolving field of climate psychology, including the symptoms of distress and denial assisting us to recognise and empathise when we detect them in peers and/or colleagues.
Deep Adaptation covers a range of subjects including the future of activism, leadership, the study of collapse itself and related ideas. It is itself a starting point to explore themes around both feeling, assimilating and responding to systemic as well as ecological collapse.
This subject of this book contrasts and compliments another book that will be published later this year by Alice Hill. Alice has previously served as special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director for resilience policy on the National Security Council staff and will be discussing her new book here in late August just ahead of publication.
Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future. You can now see the full archive of episodes on GENN.cc along with the archive of interviews and footage recorded at the last 5 COP’s.
As we prepare for COP26 in Glasgow, it is worth considering that the climate threats anticipated 30 years ago at the Rio Earth Summit are now among us creating suffering and loss on a daily basis, while not one policy fit for purpose has been implemented to prevent them.
Someone might have warned George Bush Senior when he stated that the American way of life is not up for negotiation, that nature cares not for political grandiosity.
In this episode, I speak to the philosopher, Martin Bunzl, about his new book, Thinking While Walking, Reflections on the Pacific Crest Trail. Martin is professor of philosphy emeritus at Rutgers University in the US.
As Martin traverses the 2650 mile trail from the Mexican-US border to the US-Canada border, questions emerge around our own relationship with what we call the natural world.
If humanity has curated the landscape for thousands of years, both for-profit and pleasure, what are the impasses and delusions that we are to face in solving the huge ecological and climate problems that currently block our road to the future?
These ideas have been discussed before in terms of man versus nature but Martin gives concrete examples of where our romantic view of nature has already shaped the world around us.
Thinking While Walking is a fascinating book that considers many of the entrenched positions that many of us hold when we think or speak about action on climate change.
00:00 Intro by Nick Breeze
01:21 Role of philosophy in responding to climate challenges
05:00 Tension between stemming energy and stemming population among worlds poorest
07:00 Our relationship with nature. “We forget that human beings started changing nature at least ten thousand years before the Christian era.”
11:20 Manmade versus nature-based solutions.
13:50 We need to remove 8 billion tonnes of CO2 for every part per million of carbon dioxide that we want to remove from the atmosphere.
16:15 Does the precautionary principle as a term oversimplify the reality of the climate predicament or is it an apt term given there are so many vulnerable people?
20:30 Manmade interventions that create winners and losers.
25:40: Genetical engineering for greenhouse gas removal that could see 40% of our emissions removed by agriculture. Is the potential risk too unpalatable?
31:02 Are we saving the world or creating an idea of nature that fits our anthropocentric interest?
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with Gold Standard CEO, Margaret Kim. Gold Standard sets the standard for climate positive implementation of a wide range of global-scale projects.
The global push to eradicate emissions means that activities and processes must be credible and effective if they are to build trust that we are on target to avert overshoot due to the billions of tonnes of human greenhouse gases emitted annually.
Margaret has enormous expertise in understanding the processes that solve these issues and also the reality of what it means if we fail to deliver.
Recent heatwaves and storm events are causing devastation across the world regardless of where people are located. The need for accelerated transformation of our society to one that absorbs rather than emits carbon has never been greater.
00:00 Intro by Nick Breeze
01:30 Ensuring carbon reduction project manage negative environmental risks
03:30 Establishing public trust in the fight against greenwashing
07:20 Assessing impacts: “If you don’t know, you don’t care!”
14:00 On policy shifts: “We have seen huge movements from civil society groups, youth communities, making more progress than the 198 negotiators and governments supporting that. I really hope that COP26 shows leadership that is badly needed.
16:00 “Scope 3 emissions are key to Net Zero… but there is still a large gap…”
19:00 “We have clear science-based mile stones…. This is not something we can say is nice to have. It is a must.”
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with French philosopher Mark Alizart about his new book The Climate Coup.
The Climate Coup makes for fascinating reading as Mark identifies the forces of financial and self-interest who are either actively profiting or seeking to gain power from the misery and suffering that is a result of regional and global ecological and climate disasters.
In identifying these Carbofascists, Mark suggests there are parallels between events such as the Nazi burning of the Reichstag in 1933 and President Bolsonaro’s more recent wilful burning of the Amazon rainforest that has shocked the world.
Linking this seeming madness to the rise of populism, Mark suggests key responses that those of us interested in saving the global commons must consider if we are to win the struggle for a stable future.
The book is only 60 pages and available to buy online at the usual places. I would welcome any thoughts or feedback about The Climate Coup, so please do comment or get in touch with your thoughts.
Following this episode, I am going to post an interview I recorded at COP25 in Madrid with retired General Ghazi from Pakistan. General Ghazi was also formerly the Pakistani Defence Minister and explains how current trends of climate disruption increasing pressures on water supply, are a key indicator of future conflict in the region.
Conflict risk and human suffering are only going to increase as the world becomes hotter and resources more restricted. How we behave in the face of such pressures will be the true test of our humanity.