Cambridge Climate Lecture Series
#CCLS2023 A Forum For Discussing Climate Change - Cambridge, UK
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, 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.
In this episode of Shaping The Future. Am speaking with Christian Kroll, founder and CEO of Ecosia, the world’s largest not-for-profit search engine that actually uses profits to plant trees.
Christian has built a true 21st-century enterprise that sees profit in terms of how much carbon they can lock up while respecting privacy and paying taxes.
To paraphrase Christian: no one should be able to call themselves a billionaire until they absorb a billion tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere.
Every Ad clicked on the Ecosia search engine means that trees get planted that support communities and the environment.
It is a simple choice that all of us can make, to switch a daily activity, like web searching, to actually having a positive impact on the climate.
Christian also talks about a growing generation of green technology innovators who are doing things differently.
Forget the usual billionaires with macho space toys and start listening to the next generation who are focused on repairing the Earth and shaping a world that is actually better for all of us.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I speak with author, Allison Cobb, about her new book titled ‘Plastic - An Autobiography’.
With poetic sensitivity, Allison explores the complexity of how plastic has become part of our lives and how this material, that can endure for generations, has been wilfully categorised as a ‘single use’ disposable product becoming as ubiquitous as food with a highly toxic indigestible after-life.
This autobiography is also personal, linking the horrendous WW2 invasion of Poland with her ancestors who also worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory on the now infamous Manhattan Project to create the first atomic bomb.
This is a story about complexity, personal journey and the plasticity of of all life as we venture forth into the next big existential challenge of preventing climate and ecological collapse.
Russian Arctic Methane Releases & Subsea Permafrost Degradation | Professor Örjan Gustafsson (Part 2)
In this second episode of the methane miniseries, I speak to Professor Orjan Gustafsson from Stockholm University about his team’s ongoing collaboration with the Russian research team, led by Professor Igor Semiletov, investigating the Siberian Arctic.
Orjan has published over 80 research papers jointly with his Russian colleagues on their findings in the Russian Arctic over the course of more than a decade. In this episode, he highlights why understanding this region is among one of the most important research areas in climate change today.
Despite the complexity of geopolitics that often infects peoples thinking in dealing with Russia, the opportunities for scientific collaboration in pursuit of critical knowledge can, in the long run, prove more beneficial than any short term political aims.
There are many more episodes being recorded. In fact, I am working really hard to turn them all around. Please do subscribe and all feedback is much appreciated.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with Glaciologist, Dr Heidi Sevestre, about the changing state of the Arctic, the outlook for the Russian Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, of which Heidi herself is an advisor, and how thawing permafrost could be past the threshold of irreversibility.
Heidi combines the spirit of the modern polar explorer with the weight of important scientific work. She is also an excellent communicator and will be speaking at the ChangeNow climate summit later this month in the company of Sir David Attenborough and world-renowned scientist, Johan Rockström, who will be premiering their new documentary, Breaking Boundaries, as part of the virtual summit.
Heidi also gives her perspective on why we literally must fight hard to limit global average warming to 1.5ºC, giving a rare insight into how someone who wanted to be a glaciologist from a very young age actually feels about the rate of loss of the world's glaciers.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with the Director of Development and Communications at EarthLanka, Saffran Mihnar. Saffran is an advocate for climate solutions focused on communication, campaigning, and policy negotiations.
In this discussion, we discuss the struggles ahead for any journey towards zero or even net emissions.
The UN Conference of the Parties (or COP) process is over a quarter of a century old and has achieved little by way of reducing global emissions but as a regular participant, Saffran offers a voice that speaks to people like me as to why we have to redouble our efforts and start on a real journey to try and save the global commons.
A big part of this journey is about climate justice for those in the least developed and developing nations. Consumption in rich countries is currently a death sentence, first for the poorest on Earth, and eventually the majority of us.
We discuss why aligning our personal and human interests with those of the wider world and ecology is, in the long run, good for all of us.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am talking to Dr Wolfgang Knorr - a climate scientist with over 25 years working for many agencies and laboratories around the world.
Currently, Wolfgang is a Senior Research Scientist at Lund University measuring CO2 fluxes from terrestrial vegetation and human activities among other things.
This conversation is to discuss the concerns that he and his colleagues have about the use or misuse of the term Net Zero and their concern that collectively we are setting ourselves up for failure in tackling the climate crisis.
The safest pathway to the future means a radical transformation of our societies and yet the net-zero narrative is one of incremental changes and technology that does not exist.
In this critical moment when we are expected to do what is necessary, we have instead collectively chosen to ignore the risks and lock in a business-as-usual approach.
Welcome to Shaping The Future - in this special Earth Day Episode I am discussing the exciting prospect of how we can turn the global agricultural large-scale carbon source into a potential carbon sink.
This would mean bringing back our soils that have lost an estimated 50 billion tonnes of carbon since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Agriculture accounts for over 20% of our global carbon footprint so this is a big subject.
I am speaking to Julien Gervreau, Vice President of Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines, a company that has committed to the UN-backed pledge to Race To Zero emissions by 2050, if not then much sooner.
One business with the best intentions amounts to very little when we are talking about the scale of the climate issue. Jackson has joined forces with Familia Torres in Spain, and Symington Family Estates in Portugal as well as a growing number of other wineries committed to going beyond carbon neutral and turning agriculture green.
International Wineries For Climate Action (IWCA)
Here we discuss how the wine industry, which amounts to only 1.8% of global agriculture, can play an important role in driving a new trend of regenerative farming that is better for the biosphere and better for us as consumers.