Climate Radio speaks to leading figures from civil society about their views on the latest round of UN climate talks. In the wake of Super Typhoon Yolanda (aka Haiyan) will negotiators finally wake up and agree an emergency action plan to save the planet? Or do citizens need to escalate their challenge to political elites captured by vested interests?
Climate Radio asks veteran delegate Asad Rehman of Friends of the Earth about the prospects for a meaningful outcome. Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South tells us about her experience of the Super Typhoon and how Yolanda graphically illustrates the need for a Loss and Damage fund to help poor countries deal with a crisis they did little to cause. Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid explains how we can divide up the remaining safe emissions budget using principles already agreed in the founding UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The programme also includes Philippines negotiator Yeb Saño‘s moving and historic speech on the opening day when he declared he will fast for the 12 days of the talks “until a meaningful outcome is in sight.”
- Sign the Avaaz petition
- Cancel Philippines illegitimate debt
- Donate to the Friends of the Earth in the Philippines
In this month’s show we continue to look at solutions, but with renewed urgency in the light of the latest IPCC report.
- Colin Hines, founder of the Green New Deal Group explains how we can finance the transition to a Zero Carbon Britain
- Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party outlines her programme for government
- Cat Hobbs, founder of the We Own It campaign tells us why the railways would be better under public ownership and
- Louise Hazan, campaigner for the Fossil Free UK campaign tells us how a new divestment campaign has the power to cut the dirty energy companies down to size.
Can we power the UK and the world using renewable energy and wise energy use? Yes we can! is the answer given by the latest iteration of Zero Carbon Britain and the newly produced Two Energy Futures report. We explore these alternative energy scenarios in detail in interviews with Alice Hooker-Stroud, research co-ordinator for ZCB at the Centre for Alternative Technology and Danny Chivers, a lead author on TEF.
We’re standing at a crossroads. It’s time for humanity to make a choice. Do we sit back and allow fossil fuel companies and oil-friendly governments to dig, drill and frack us into a dark and dirty future? Or do we stand together with communities around the world to stop these extreme energy projects, and head down a different path into a safer, fairer energy future? – Two Energy Futures
The latest version of Zero Carbon Britain features two new pieces of research. The first addresses the variability of supply and demand and what we need to do to keep the lights on in a 100% renewable energy scenario. The second is about how we feed ourselves well, using the land available to us in the UK.
Two Energy Futures takes the Zero Carbon Britain blueprint as its starting point along with mainstream figures for the amount of harvestable renewable energy that is available globally. It contrasts this cleaner, fairer energy future with the best scenario that governments and corporations are currently offering us – a world full of extreme energy and catastrophic climate change.
Utopias aren’t chimeras, they are the most noble dreams that people have. Dreams that through struggle can and must be turned into reality. – Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, Mayor of Marinaleda, (quoted in The Village Against the World by Dan Hancox)
It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. European consumption patterns are already responsible for over a third of of global deforestation which is bad news for the climate, biodiversity and forest-dependent communities. And yet the UK and Europe have now decided to burn trees to create electricity. Why are policy makers ignoring the advice of their own scientists which says this will be worse for climate change than burning coal? Where might millions upon millions of tonnes of trees come from and what implications might this have for exacerbating land grabs and land conflicts?
- Harry Huyton, Head of climate and energy policy, RSPB
- Rachel Smolker, Biofuelwatch US, Energy Justice Network
- Almuth Ernsting, Biofuelwatch UK
- Giuseppe Nastasi, legal advisor at Client Earth
Climate Radio takes a look at the battle for the UK’s energy future: on the one side we have Chancellor George Osborne and the gas lobby whose key star is former CEO of BP, Lord “cost-cutting” Browne, now chair of the UK’s leading gas fracking company Cuadrilla Resources and who sits at the heart of government inside the Cabinet Office; on the other side are the communities resisting the threat of fracking on their land, the government’s own Committee on Climate Change, 21 people who occupied a gas-fired power station – and everyone else interested in maintaining a habitable planet.
- David Kennedy, CEO,Committee on Climate Change
- Dr John Broderick, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
- Vanessa Vine, co-ordinator, Britain & Ireland Frack Free (BIFF!) and Frack Free Sussex
- Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith, Senior Advisor to the National Toxics Network, Australia
Chancellor George Osborne is planning to build up to 40 new gas-fired power stations even though the government’s own independent advisors warn that this would be illegal, expensive and crash our climate commitments. The Chancellor is also encouraging the polluting and landscape-despoiling process of gas fracking in the UK, while the Foreign & Commonwealth Office has been promoting this controversial technology internationally.
From a climate change perspective we already have more carbon in fossil fuel company reserves than we can safely burn before we add yet another source of unconventional fuel into the mix. Unless there is an effective global cap on carbon emissions or a global carbon tax, developing shale gas reserves by fracking will increase global greenhouse gas emissions.
The good news is that communities from the US to Egypt and from Australia to Algeria are fighting back against the threat of fracking in their area, and the Chancellor’s entire gas policy will be challenged by climate protestors in the UK when they return en masse to the site of the West Burton gas-fired power station for the Reclaim The Power camp 17-20 August this year.
Do we need to reform democracy in order to start getting the right response to the climate crisis? If corporate capture of government is the underlying problem confronting all progressive change, should we be switching from fighting single issue campaigns, to uniting behind a single campaign focussing on democratic reform?
In the studio we were joined by:Are we facing a democratic crisis in the UK?
Why do scientists and civil society struggle to get government to respond to the climate crisis while the government’s default position is to side with powerful vested interests?
Why are millionaires getting tax cuts and bankers still getting obscene bonuses while ordinary people are facing cuts to jobs, wages, benefits and public services?
Are we effectively living in a corporate oligarchy or “corporatocracy” where power is exercised by the few in the interests of the corporations and financiers?
Do we, as former World Bank economist Joesph Stiglitz put it, have a government “of the 1%, by the 1% and for the 1%”?
In this month’s show we look at why it’s imperative that Barack Obama says no to the Keystone XL pipeline if he is serious about acting on climate change, and if he doesn’t want to be implicated in the cultural genocide of First Nations in Canada. The pipeline would help drive Canada’s proposed expansion of its already devastatingly destructive tar sands industry and we talk to the people who are fighting the project through direct action, a nationwide divestment campaign, legal challenges and a range of imaginative interventions. We also look at how Canada and the UK have been secretly meddling in Europe’s attempts to say no to dirty tar sands oil. But we start the show by looking at the way the actual climate and perhaps the political climate is changing in the US as President Barack Obama starts his second term of office. Featuring:
Here’s the February programme – our second consecutive show focussing on the Arctic. Our guests this week are:
- Joan Walley MP, Chair Environmental Audit Committee
- Charlie Kronick, Greenpeace UK
- Louise Rouse, Fair Pensions
- James Marriott, Platform
In January’s Climate Radio we explored how the observed rate of change in the polar north is surprising scientists into revising their projections for the speed at which global warming will unfold – unless we take urgent action. But where scientists see warning signs and a wake up call, oil companies and their friends in government see only economic opportunity. So this month we take a look at where some of the battle lines lie in the fight to stop the Arctic being drilled for oil and gas and how concerned citizens can get involved and help win the war.
Last September a cross-party parliamentary committee of MPs in the UK called for a moratorium on drilling in the Arctic – concerned about the potential impact on climate change and about the lax safety regime surrounding this high-risk activity. In January this year, the UK government responded by rejecting the committee’s key recommendations and using old science to suggest that Arctic drilling could be compatible with avoiding dangerous climate change. At the same time a Freedom of Information Act request discovered they the government had been lobbying against EU legislation designed to make Arcitc drilling safer.
Over the course of 2012 Shell’s claims that they were “Arctic Ready” collapsed after a succession of calamities and oil companies and investors started getting cold feet. In this programme we also look at how Shell’s Arctic drilling plans poses a risk to your pension and what you can do about it.
It’s been a bit of a tradition to start a new Climate Radio series with a programme about the science. The idea is simply to give a foundation to everything that follows. It’s not always easy to look the science straight in the face and see what it’s telling us. The scale of the challenge can lead to denial and a sense of disempowerment. But unless we correctly assess the problem we face, we will continue to come up with inadequate solutions.
Our two guides to what’s happening in the Arctic are Professor Peter Wadhams, Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University and Professor Timothy Lenton, the award-winning Chair in Climate Change and Earth Systems Science at University of Exeter.
The Arctic: The Canary in the Climate Coal Mine
In the absence of urgent action on climate change, there may be a number of tipping points in climate-driven systems in the Arctic, which threaten to rapidly escalate the danger for the whole planet. A collapse of summer sea-ice, increased methane emissions from thawing permafrost, runaway melting of the Greenland ice-sheet, and a collapse of the thermo-haline circulation, may all be approaching in the Arctic and will have disastrous consequences for global climate and sea levels. These together comprise a wake-up call to reinvigorate efforts to tackle climate change. A lack of consensus on precisely how fast any tipping points are approaching in the Arctic should not be used as an argument for inaction. (Environment Audit Committee, Protecting The Arctic, September 2012, p.21).