Monday, July 14, 2008

Climate Change Impacts on America

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Top IPCC organizer & U of Arizona Professor Jonathan Overpeck speech at Washington U. given on April 1st, 2008.

After updating the world climate report, Overpeck predicts climate impacts on North America.

His focus, on the two worst climate problems for America:

1. Rising seas. More than half of Americans live within 50 miles of the sea coast. Many American cities, like New York, and States, like Florida, may be flooded by rising seas (plus storm surges) within the experience of our children - or sooner. The implications are enormous.

2. The drying of the West. Already well underway. Dry soils, and 20 percent of normal rainfall this spring (and hot temperatures) are behind the North California fires we now know. Overpeck explains why tree species are dying, and the great droughts that have driven humans from the South West in the past. This time, we have triggered this phenomenon, as the Jet Stream moves North, the former rains move with it.

Overpeck gives a clear explanation, with predictions for Americans that sound to me a lot like what has hit Southern Australia. The possibility of centuries-long drought.

1 hour
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB.

Production Notes: 30 second music bed for station ID at 30:14

Methane Burps & Tele-Everything

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Guest host KMO from
C-Realm podcast interviews David M. Bushnell, Chief Scientist from NASA Langley Research Center.

Lots of doom, but really good solutions too.

Thanks to KMO for sharing this rare interview.

1 hour
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Notes: 30 second music bed for station ID at 33 min

Saturday, July 12, 2008

ENDLESS SUMMER

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Surf is up and the heat is on.

We begin with a review of the UK climate activist scene. Hear a representative of "Rising Tide" describe British climate protests, including boarding coal trains headed for a massive polluting power station. Courtesy of RiseUp! Radio - a community program from Nottingham England.
We also hear a short clip from a new/old climate radio program coming out of London, called "The Two Degrees Show".

Phil England has been doing this program for a couple of years, and it just got new funding, for a new series. In the re-opener he interviews a top UK climate scientist to get the latest juice, and goes after government administrators to see how they resolve the conflict between proclaimed carbon reduction goals - versus the construction of new highways and everlasting airport construction. That is broadcast from Radiance FM, the finest alternative radio station in the UK.

Radio Ecoshock tries to keep track of climate activism at least in the English-speaking world, and this week's review of the UK scene balances our previous coverage from Canada, the United States, and Australia.


Then we go to a hot speech by Canadian scientist and broadcaster Dr. David Suzuki. He's worried about where all the wild things will go, as the climate shifts too rapidly out from under them.

Suzuki became known to millions as the brilliant scientist who educated us all with the television program "The Nature of Things" (which is still broadcast all over the world in re-runs). Now 70 something, Dr. Suzuki heads his own environmental advocacy group, the David Suzuki Foundation, based in British Columbia.

This speech, where David doesn't hold back much! - was recorded in Toronto by our fellow posse recording friend, John Paul Warren. Excellent job John Paul, and thanks for sending this one in.

If you want to capture important speech and events in your city or town, take a look at our "How to Record for Radio" page on the Ecoshock web site. It all helps.

This is the Radio Ecoshock Show for August 1st, 2008 - sent out early because Alex Smith is on vacation. He is, "with Nature."

1 hour
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Notes: 30 second music bed for station ID at 29:34 Song "Endless Summer" by Ghostly Penguin Display.

Coping With Climate Change

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How can we face it? 2 interviews: Pulitzer prize winner Catherine Ellison, and climate/nuclear historian Spencer Weart.

Catherine Ellison is one of America's top reporters. She caught me attention again when she wrote about the difficulty of telling kids about climate change. What should we tell them? What should we tell ourselves. We discuss that, and also a bit on her earlier book "The Mommy Brain" - on how giving birth and raising children actually stimulated parts of the brain. A little on women, and how they handle the stress of climate change, too. Catherine is just a smart, stimulating, grounded person - I loved doing the interview with her.

Spencer Weart is someone who educated and tortured me, with his book "Nuclear Fear". I had a lot of resistance to the book. Partly it is because Weart is a nuclear physicist, in fact he's a top member of the nuclear scientists organization. In the book, he analyzed why we were so terrified of this new technology. The images of mad scientists, and other quasi-religious fears that have always been with us.

Ostensibly, Weart is trying to exorcise these demons, so we can all build new nuclear plants, or something. In fact though, the book turns out to be a kind of psychological cleanser for a lot of Cold War fears, built into our psyches. And Weart himself admits nuclear tech scares him too, at times. I recommend the book, even though I dislike (hate) nuclear weapons, and nuclear power.

But the real reason I called Spencer Weart: he is also an environmental historian. His book "The Discovery of Global Warming" explains how we rose to consciousness on this subject. It's also handy for the new generation of students, who know less about how we got here. How did our ideas about climate change develop? Weart knows.

That's why I though he would be a good interview, knowing how to cope with both nuclear fear, and with climate change. How does he do it? It was a good chat, with helpful info, and that's why I'm running it again, just as the news about possible complete extinction of our species looms closer to possibility. (See previous Ecoshock programs, like "Climate Criminals" on James Hansen, and "A Warning from the Past" with Dr. Andrew Glikson...)


This is an updated replay from our 2007 season. 1 hour
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB Our one and only re-run of the year. Not because we don't have enough good audio, but because it's time to heal ourselves, somewhat. Many of our newer listeners would have missed this show.


Production Notes: Music "Mother Earth" by Shane Philip (Canadian content)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

CHANGE OR BURN The Australian Experience

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Speech by top climate/economic adviser to new Australian government, Prof. Ross Garnaut.

His report is an update of the famous Stern Report in the UK - with even better accounting for China and all Asia. Professor Garnaut was the Australian Ambassador to China, and knows places like Indonesia well. So his view is from a developed country, but knowing the huge growth and challenges happening in Asia - which may well tip the climate of the world.

I think Garnaut's report will likely be the basis for American action in 2009 - no matter who wins the Presidency. The world is watching (and listening). Since this speech, Garnaut has released his report.

Although he recommends various actions, including a carbon trading scheme, in public comments Garnaut has called the climate threat "diabolical". He has almost thrown up his hands, saying that special interests may prevent humanity from protecting the remains of the climate system. Rather radical for a former establishment figures - but Australia is deep in a killer drought which threatens one of the great agricultural production areas of the world. Their wheat exports are already down, adding to world hunger.

Australia voted for climate action - in this speech you hear the proposals and direction that many developed countries might take.

Then we dive into the "Clean Development" scam. Unscrupulous people have taken advantage of loop-holes in the United Nations system meant to reduce climate emissions. Their fake reductions, and investments in plants that would have been build anyway, takes billions out of real clean energy. I've included a clip from the BBC program "One Planet" where an Indian industrialist admits taking CDM money for projects already funded elsewhere. "Why not?" he asks, as the BBC records.

My point is not just that an enforcement plan is needed - but the whole idea we can continue to burn coal in the first world, and pay off someone far away for the pollution, is nuts. We need to stop producing greenhouse gases right here in the developed world, first, and now.

1 hour
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Notes: Good insert spots for ID at 29:30, and 43:19 to 44:03 No copyright music. Clip from BBC One Planet.

FIRESTORM - Carbon Rising

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We begin with a first hand report from climate front-line - the California fires, with Maria Gilardin. Maria is the host of the TUC radio program, originating from San Francisco. This time she is sending out last emails, from her straw bail house, surrounded by four major fires in Mendicino County, California.

Although Maria has produced some excellent programs on climate change, including interviews with scientists like James Hansen of NASA, perhaps she never expected to be threatened by drying forests, heat, and drought, so soon. We only got her story because she has a satellite uplink, using solar power. All other electricity in the area is down. Her story is very moving.

That is followed by a report from the aboriginal people in the Yukon's dying forests. Around Hay River, as in Alaska and even in Washington State, the Spruce Bark Beetle has killed off vast areas of trees. It was formerly controlled by cold winters, but no longer, thanks to climate change. Just another sign of how the North is heating up.

The First Nations people, as they prefer to be known, have always lived from and in the forest. The animals they hunted and knew are dying off. The elders report even the number of squirrels and ground hogs is way down. No wonder, with a dead gray forest all around. The trees look ghostly. As in California, the people must cut down trees around their homes, as they wait for the fires that will surely come.

A rare type of freshwater salmon is also affected, perhaps from the changing chemistry of all the dead needles washing into their prehistoric lake system. A young woman speaker describes the way the community is trying to monitor their changing ecosystem, and plans to evacuate. A front line story, recorded by Radio Ecoshock.

Then one of Canada's top climate scientists, Dr. Gordon McBean reports on rising CO2. Since 2000, we have increased emissions by 2 per cent per year, and the last count, for 2006, is 3 percent. Despite all the talk about controlling emissions, the greenhouse gases are pouring out of developed and developing countries, completely out of control. McBean, who was deeply involved in the IPCC, gives a good short account of our current situation.

In early July, McBean led a group of Canadian scientists writing an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, calling for immediate and concrete action to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The same thing is happening all over the world. Dr. Andrew Glikson, who spoke in our last Radio Ecoshock Show, has forwarded a letter sent by Australian scientists, warning that a climate shift may create a world where mammals may not survive. That's us, folks.

Leaving on a lighter note, sort of, we add to an on-going series of short features on how to feed yourself and your family, should it come to that. From the Sagebrush Variety Hour on community radio in Idaho, we interview Bucky Buckaw on raising backyard chickens.

1 hour program
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Notes: 30 sec music bed for station ID at 30:38. Song "Fix It Or Stop Complaining" by Dan Berggren.

Please note, Alex is going on holidays - but has prepared new programs for a hot Summer series.
These will be podcast to you as a group - load up your computer, CD-Player or Ipod for summer listening.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A WARNING FROM THE PAST

This week's Radio Ecoshock broadcast is about past greenhouse worlds, quick climate shifts, and mass extinctions caused by changes to the atmosphere.

Dr. Andrew Glikson studies comet/asteroid impacts, volcanoes, and past climates. He's been doing it for 40 years.

While studying the oldest record of life on Earth, in the Australian outback, Glikson found a relationship between comet or asteroid impacts and the generation of living things. We do not yet know whether life forms (such as bacteria) actually arrived from outer space - or whether the impact generated energy and unique chemical conditions that caused certain natural reactions to duplicate themselves.

All that is a side issue to this speech, which is an education on the dominating role of the atmosphere in determining the state of life on Earth. Whether caused by impacts or volcanoes, or even gradual tilts in the Earth axis, a changing atmosphere can make life luxurious - or kill off up to 90% of all species.

The science explained by Andrew Glikson in this speech find a parallel in the book "Under A Green Sky" by Peter Ward, a scientist in Washington State. We are talking, for example, about the Permian mass extinction, about 200 million years ago. The ocean lost it's oxygen, and life surived in only a few pockets of the ocean. Most land species were exterminated.

Of the five past great extinctions (we are apparently living in the 6th extinction now) - FOUR WERE CAUSED BY CLIMATE CHANGE. Not hits from outer space. For the survival of our species, we need to know what happened - and few people alive know more than Andrew Glikson, as he summarizes not only his own research, but the general science now developing in the field.

This speech from Australia National University explains our current shift toward a hot-state planet - much faster than ever before. It has been slightly modified for radio, (to fit in an hour) with the permission of Dr. Glikson.

Learn about your planet (or die?)

The Radio Ecoshock Show 080704 1 hour CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Alex
Radio Ecoshock