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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In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking to climate scientist Professor James Renwick, about the scale of the risks posed by the melting of the East and West Antarctic ice sheets due to human emissions from our relentless burning of fossil fuels.
Sea-level rise is the most obvious impact that will destroy cities around the world but there are also other less obvious impacts on agriculture and population displacement that can also lead to conflict if we choose to continue to do nothing.
James is based at Victoria University in New Zealand specialising in large-scale climate variations and was awarded the Prime Ministers Science Prize by Jacinda Ardern in 2018.
Welcome to Shaping Te Future - in this episode, I am talking with Saima Wazed who is one of the 25 experts advising the World Health Organisation’s panel on mental health and she is also the founder of the Not For Profit Shuchona Foundation.
Recently Saima has also taken up the role of the Thematic Ambassador for the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), which represents 48 countries and 1.2 billion people, who are on the frontlines of climate change.
There is a widespread tendency among many of us to view the climate crisis as a future issue. Many people feel extreme anxiety about what the future holds and the lack of progress being made to change to a sustainable course.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum represents countries where populations are experiencing extreme impacts today, losing loved ones, livelihoods and their homes. Saima highlights the parallels between the impact of extreme climate and the pressures that vulnerable people from all walks of life are faced with.
The question we must ask is whether we can now start to use empathy as a tool to make the big leaps towards true sustainability beyond the confines of empty rhetoric?
Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future - we have many more interviews to follow in this all-important year. Please subscribe on your preferred channel to catch each episode.
In this special inserted episode of Shaping The Future, we are discussing the 15th National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (or NOAA) Arctic Report Card that was published this week giving a detailed overview of how climate is changing the Arctic.
Zack helps to break down the complexity of this annual report and highlights some of the major impacts that climate change is bringing to the polar Arctic region.
With melting sea ice, extreme wildfires and the expanding population of Bowhead whales, the Arctic is a region changing before our eyes and one that has direct implications for weather patterns at lower latitudes.
What is happening in the Arctic is literally the bellwether for the accelerating climate trends we see throughout the biosphere. It is also a ringing reminder for why we need to drastically cut emissions immediately and reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.
Zack also gives us his personal view on whether geoengineering should be considered as part of a wider strategy for cooling or refreezing the Arctic.
Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future - the Arctic report card is linked to in the notes below. Subscribe to the podcast on any of the main podcasting channels.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, we discuss the abrupt cooling of the Arctic in the late summer months that is preventing the widely anticipated further collapse of summer sea ice, whilst intensifying heatwaves at lower latitudes.
This new hypothesis was recently published by Professor Jennifer Francis from the Woodwell Climate Research Centre in Falmouth, Massachusetts and Dr Wu from Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, and Institute of Atmospheric Sciences, Fudan University, in Shanghai.
It is not often anyone ever mentions negative feedback mechanisms when it comes to sea ice but this is exactly what is being suggested.
Jennifer Francis has also been involved in research that links sea ice loss to changes in jet stream patterns that impact our weather in the northern hemisphere, and this work further unpicks the complexity of how the Arctic climate system interacts with the rest of the world.
Thank you for listening to this podcast. In the next episode, I will be speaking with Dr Saima Wazed, who is the thematic ambassador of the Climate Vulnerable Forum representing Bangladesh.
Dr Wazed discusses how extreme climate events can render people immediately vulnerable from a mental health perspective as they struggle to come to terms with the losses that these incur from livelihoods to suffering the loss of loved ones or both.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, we are discussing the incoming Biden administration’s agenda on climate change and whether they can achieve it.
Dan Lashof is the US Director of the World Resources Institute based in Washington and has a long history spanning decades working in environmental policy.
In this interview, Dan discusses the need for an integrated action plan that tackles the pandemic, racial inequality, and the economy, with environmental policy being a key driver of change.
He also outlines the damage caused by the outgoing Republican administration across over 100 environmental safeguards, while stressing that the challenge going forward will be in achieving a transformation of society within the timeframe that science tells us we have.
The US is a key component in global climate action and the leadership they take now will set the pace for change going forward. The issues discussed here will be the basis of a struggle that will span the next few decades of this challenging century.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking to the Vatican’s head of ecology, Father Josh, who also happens to be coordinating the COVID-19 response within the Holy City.
In May 2020 Pope Francis declared a year of Laudato Si, building on the work of his encyclical on climate change in order to inspire exponential change across all walks of life, including all forms of Christianity, other faiths, and like-minded people around the world.
Through many advisors that make up the Pontifical academy of sciences among other advisers, church leaders are informed on climate and ecological science from some of the worlds most respected experts.
Father Josh iterates the connection between nature, humanity and climate while emphasising that the poor who have not caused this crisis are often the worst impacted and that a just response to climate change, means putting their needs at forefront of our actions.
In this interview, Father Josh also reminds us that we must learn from the pandemic in order to reform our relationship with nature and live within planetary constraints.
Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future - the next episode will feature the director of the World Resources Institute in Washington, Dan Lashof, discussing how impactful President-Elect Biden’s climate plans will likely be.
Please subscribe to Shaping The Future on any major podcast channel to stay up to date.
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.