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Shaping The Future - From Pandemic To Climate Change

Shaping The Future - From Pandemic To Climate Change

By Nick Breeze
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 Cambridge Climate Lecture Series website,, as an appendage to the series that itself in jeopardy due to the disruptive nature of the pandemic.

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The Climate Coup | Mark Alizart
View more at  Back this channel at   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.  I n 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.   Thanks for listening to Shaping The Future - please subscribe on any of the podcast channels or Youtube, or if you can, support my work via Patreon.
June 22, 2021
Ecosia Search Engine Founder/CEO, Christian Kroll | Turning profits into trees
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. Support this channel: - visit our main site: Time Stamps: 1.45 – Big versus small, Google versus Ecosia, on the eco-scale 3.30 – More users can help drive Ecosia to plant 1 trillion trees 4.30 – Tech companies have a role to play in becoming fully regenerative in terms of repairing climate – carbon neutrality was for the 1980’s! 6.30 – inspiring young people going into the workplace to be part of the transformation of society 9.05 – Tech billionaires look ridiculous in this current age. ‘If you are in the 21st Century, I think you should only be allowed to call yourself a billionaire if you have actually absorbed a billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere!’ 9.45 – Young entrepreneurs starting businesses that centralise the climate impact 11.55 – Overall we need to switch from focus on profit to what is important for our wellbeing and happiness – what is the new GDP that we should aim for? 14:40 – Sticking to search tools, protecting privacy and planting trees 16.00 – 80% of users under 30 and engage with Ecosia stories via social media like Instagram/Youtube 17.00 – Message to young innovators: “If people say change is hard, we have to think about what will happen if we don’t change… young people have understood [climate change]… and that is a good thing!” 20.00 – Sharing the knowledge by speaking to large corporations or any entity where change can happen on a meaningful scale. We have to do this fast or we fail.
June 18, 2021
‘Plastic – An Autobiography’ | Allison Cobb discusses facing existential threats
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I speak with the 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 all life as we venture forth into the next big existential challenge of preventing climate and ecological collapse. Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future - there are many more episodes coming so please do subscribe and also consider supporting this work via Patreon. Timestamps: 1:30 - ‘I wanted to write about the Anthropocene, the geologic scale human impact on the planet, in a way that made it personal’ 3:00 Dupont, “See to it that American’s are never satisfied” - consumer capitalism has proliferated across the world. 5:20 - Heidegger’s essay ‘The Thing’ - technology reduces everything to its use-value. 7:30 The baby albatross with ingested plastic is emblematic of the disposable culture. 10:00 Complexity through personal stories that give us hope through empathy. 13:00 How are we doing in terms of the global collective tackling these huge ecological challenges. 15:00 The role of artists and creators along with every human to make the global shift. Buy on Amazon: Visit our main site: Back us on Patreon: Visit Cambridge Climate Lecture Series Page:
June 15, 2021
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. Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future. More interviews and podcasts can be found on, GENN.CC and on all major podcast channels and Youtube. 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. CONTENTS: Interview contents by Timestamp[min:sec]|Subject 00:00 Overview of research programme looking at how carbon feedback processes work. 03:50 Degradation of subsea permafrost. 07:00 Different sources of methane. 09:00 Subsea permafrost not a risk? 11:30 Quantity of thermogenic methane. 13:30 Why this matters for policy. 14:40 Defining megaseeps. 17:00 Extrapolating estimates of megaseeps. 18:38 Is there a known countervailing force? 20:30 Is policy and rate of research in the area sufficient? 21:00 Is the Russian Presidency of the Arctic Council good for research? 21:50 Why what is happening in Siberia should be considered top scientific priority. 23:45 Slope hydrate vulnerability due to Atlantification of Arctic (warm inflow of water). 26:35 Russian Presidency a good opportunity for collaboration. 26:58 Research to be published in 2021. 27:38 New open access database live - CircumArctic Shelf Carbon database, “CASCADE”. 30:45 Science as diplomacy. Support on Patreon: Visit & subscribe to
May 26, 2021
Glaciologist Dr Heidi Sevestre | Fight Hard For 1.5ºC | Have We Crossed Permafrost Threshold?
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. Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future - please subscribe and share the podcast as we have many more episodes on the way exploring the change needed to avert the worst impacts of climate change. Links: More interviews and transcripts: Change Now Summit:
May 16, 2021
Arctic Methane Releases In Siberia | Professor Igor Semiletov PT 1
This can also be seen as a video edit with previously unseen footage from the last voyage in late 2020: The transcript will also be posted on and This is part 1 in series of three posts on methane releases from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf recorded in 2021.  This is the first in a miniseries discussing the ongoing work in the Russian Arctic talking to Dr Igor Semiletov, one of the lead scientists who has been studying the region for over twenty years.    Old deep thermogenic pool   In assessing whether the potential for increased climate warming is a significant risk, scientists look at the size of the carbon pool and also the origin of the methane.   In many cases where methane is produced from biogenic sources, such as animals and plants, it is created by microbes and although has the same global warming potential, it is created very slowly and is often broken down to CO2 before it reaches the atmosphere.    The other source is thermogenic methane that occurs due to the decay of organic matter at high pressure and temperature. For these conditions to occur, the sediments where they are found are older and deeper.  In terms of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, many scientists have believed that the methane emissions are from biogenic sources. This means they would be slower to form and overall a lesser risk to the global climate. This article has been created using extracts from recent interviews with Dr Semiletov. In part 2 I speak to Professor Orjan Gustafsson from the Department of Environmental Science at Stockholm University. Orjan has been visiting the East Siberian Shelf for many years working alongside an international group of scientists including the Russians. He discusses how research into the escaping methane and thawing permafrost in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf should be greatly expanded considering the magnitude and changing stability of the carbon pool. He also suggests that this research could have enormous ramifications for how carbon budgets that inform policy, are calculated.
May 12, 2021
Striving for an equitable pathway to the future | Saffran Mihnar
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. Thanks for listening to Shaping The Future. There are many more episodes being produced so please do subscribe to be a part of the conversation. Find out more at: Also at:
May 5, 2021
Dr Wolfgang Knorr | Net Zero Is A Trap
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. A link to the article we are discussed is included here: Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future - there are many more episodes coming. Please do subscribe on any major podcast channel to hear more.
April 28, 2021
Earth Day Special | Flipping Agriculture from Carbon Source to Sink
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. International Wineries For Climate Action (IWCA) 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. 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. Find out more about International Wineries For Climate Action on their website by click here: More about the podcast: Support this channel on Patreon:
April 22, 2021
Tipping Points In Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier
Welcome to Shaping The Future. In this episode, I am speaking with Dr Sebastian Rosier about his work studying the tipping points in Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier. Antarctica is of course absolutely huge and the Pine Island Glacier is just one part of it. If Pine Island collapsed into the ocean it would raise sea-levels by several metres which would be catastrophic for many coastal areas around the world. Sebastian discusses his view of whether we have crossed this tipping point that is part of this complex system being impacted by the billions of tonnes of carbon pollution we pump into the atmosphere each year. This all highlights that this is the decade we must get to work restoring the biosphere if we are avoid the consequences of extreme global heating. Thanks for listening to Shaping The Future - subscribe to the climate series on any podcast channel or Youtube. The next episode will be on Earth Day, 22nd April, discussing how regenerative agriculture has the potential to begin restoring the estimated 50 billion tonnes of carbon lost from our soils since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Taken to scale we have the potential to flip the soils from their current carbon source to carbon sink and sequester more carbon than we currently emit annually. The UN tells us to raise our ambition, so why not start with thinking big. Visit: Visit: Visit:
April 20, 2021
Professor David Keith | Hacking The Climate
This was recorded as a collaboration between my podcast Shaping The Future, Cambridge Zero and the Cambridge Festival. Below is more information. Includes excerpt with Dr Rowan Williams, Former Archbishop of Canterbury, on his thoughts on geoengineering research. New Patreon Page: You can now support this channel via Patreon: - Patreon backers will access content earlier and much more of it. For more information on the podcast visit: Topic: Professor David Keith speaks about why solar geoengineering must be researched to see if it can secure a safe climate of 1.5ºC as a high-value benefit to humanity. David Keith: David Keith is the foremost expert on solar geoengineering in the world having been involved in research for over 30 years. As well as being an adviser to Bill Gates, he is also on the Scope Ex team that is planning to carry out preliminary research this year to test the viability of aerosol particle injection into the stratosphere to cool the Earth. This research has attracted widespread criticism from many prominent environmentalists and activists who say the unknown risks of geoengineering are too great. In this interview with climate journalist, Nick Breeze, Keith counters claims that are presented and places solar geoengineering in the context of emissions reduction and carbon dioxide removal as a viable pathway to stabilising the climate. DK: ”Carbon dioxide removal looks easier because people aren't looking seriously at who pays and what the environmental consequences are. I think now we will be starting to look at what deep emissions cuts look like, we will begin to see how hard it is going to be... Carbon Dioxide Removal is not there yet, it is not happening at large scale so it is easy to imagine this technological thing that allows us to do something in the future helps. I think the moral hazard is absolutely real." DK: ”Solar geoengineering could be effective if you put reflective aerosols in the upper atmosphere. If it was ever done, it ought to be done in a way that was very even, north to south, south to west and technically that is doable... The evidence from all climate models and from other analogues is that if one did it in combination with emissions cuts that the climate risk could be reduced in ways that they could not be reduced by emissions cuts alone." DK: ”We could, with solar geoengineering, keep temperatures under 1.5ºC with confidence and we could prevent the loss of the major ice sheets and keep the Arctic more the way it is. I think that is pretty high-value thing!"
April 4, 2021
Rupert Read discusses Philosophy Public Lecture Series 2021: Bad News is Good News? The Upside of Down
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking to philosopher, author and climate activist Professor Rupert Read. Rupert has organised the ‘Philosophy Public Lecture Series 2021: Bad News is Good News? The Upside of Down’ The series seeks to ask if there is any silver lining from the tragedy of Covid and what can be learned in the context of living through ecological break-down. Here we discuss some of the underlying themes and also what exactly is meant by the term ‘transformational adaptation’. Other participants include the author of The Great Derangement, Amitav Ghosh, as well Richard Horton, Editor of the Lancet, and Sophie Scott-Brown, Nick Brooks and Joanne Clark. To register for the series you can get tickets for free from the University of East Anglia website which I have linked to here. Thanks for listening to Shaping The Future. Do subscribe on any major podcast channel to stay up to date. Event details: Tue 9 February 2021 | 18:15 - 20:15 | Online Silver Linings From the Ecological Emergency - Amitav Ghosh (Author, The Great Derangement) in conversation with Rupert Read (UEA) Tue 23 February 2021 | 18:15 - 20:15 | Online Silver Linings From the National Scandal of Covid-19 - Richard Horton (Editor of the Lancet) Tue 9 March 2021 | 18:15 - 20:15 | Online Making the Most of Our Flawed Education System, At a Time of Global Crisis - Sophie Scott-Brown (UEA) Tue 23 March 2021 | 18:15 - 20:15 | Online Can We Adapt Transformatively To Climate Decline? - Round table discussion: Nick Brooks, Joanne Clarke and Rupert Read (all UEA) UEA Registration:
January 29, 2021
Antarctic Ice Melt: A Recipe For Global Catastrophe Unless We Act Now | Professor James Renwick
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. Thanks for listening to Shaping The Future. In the next episode, I will be speaking to Philosopher Rupert Read about the University of East Anglia’s forthcoming Philosophy Public Lecture Series 2021: Bad News is Good News? The Upside of Down. Related article: More on this podcast:
January 28, 2021
COVID & Climate | mental Health Crisis Among The Most Vulnerable Needs Us To Cooperate | Saima Wazed
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. Podcast: Climate Vulnerable Forum:
January 24, 2021
Decoding NOAA’s Arctic Report Card With Contributing Climate Scientist, Dr Zack Labe
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. Download the Arctic Report Card: Follow Zack on Twitter: @ZLabe ( More about the podcast: and follow Nick Breeze on Twitter: @NickGBreeze
December 10, 2020
Dr Jennifer Francis - Abrupt cooling in the Arctic?
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 Woo 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. A link to Dr’s Woo and Francis scientific paper is provided in the notes below. Download: Why has no new record-minimum Arctic sea-ice extent occurred since September 2012?
December 8, 2020
Will Biden’s climate plans bear fruit? - Dan Lashof, World Resources Institute US Director
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. Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future. In the next episode I am speaking to Professor Jennifer Francis about her recent research looking at Arctic sea ice and northern hemisphere warming mechanisms. Please do subscribe on the podcast on all major channels. Dan's post:
December 2, 2020
The Vatican’s head of Ecology, Father Josh, ‘Pandemic is a warning to humans’
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. Here is the link about the Laudato Si' Year and LS Action Platform (you can find the brochure in seven languages): Cambridge Climate Series & Shaping The Future:
November 27, 2020
Turning Oil Green | Wall Street Energy Analyst Dan Dicker Discusses His New Book
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. Thank you for listening to this episode of Shaping The Future. With the Pandemic causing devastating spikes in cases and deaths around the world, now could never be a more prescient time to reconsider the human journey. In the next episode, I speak to The Pope’s Coordinator of the Sector on Ecology at the Vatican, Father Joshtrum, about the pandemic, climate change and how this is the year of Laudato Si, the Pope’s encyclical on climate change. Turning Oil Green By Dan Dicker: More about The Cambridge Climate Lecture Series and Shaping The Future Podcast
November 19, 2020
Skyseed | What can fiction teach us about climate catastrophe? Interview with author, Prof. Bill McGuire
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. Thank you for listening to this podcast. We are recording more interviews with a wide range of experts, so please do subscribe on any of the major podcast channels or Youtube, all accessible from Buy Skyseed by Bill McGuire: Find out more about the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series:
November 9, 2020
Laptev Sea Not Refreezing & Other Arctic Climate Notes With Dr. Zack Labe
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. Thanks for listening to Shaping The Future. In the next episode, I will be speaking with Professor Bill McGuire about his new book Sky Seed. This novel tells the fictional-apocalyptic-story of a geoengineering experiment that has a chilling outcome. You can subscribe on any major channel or listen on Youtube. For more information on CCLS and this series please visit Follow Zack's live updates on Twitter: His personal website: #climatechange #climatecrisis #arcticchange #arctic #climatechangepodcast
November 4, 2020
Climate Psychology Podcast | US Election, COVID19 and Climate & Ecological Breakdown |CPA’s Adrian Tait discusses
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. Thank you for listening to ‘Shaping The Future’ - we have more episodes covering climate science, psychology, policy among the many complexities surrounding climate change. Please do subscribe on any of our channels to stay up to date. Find out more about the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series (CCLS and Shaping The Future Podcast Find out more about the CPA: Shaping The Future is now ranked in the Top 3 of Feedspot's Global Climate Change Podcast List
November 2, 2020
Rabbi Yonatan Neril | New Book EcoBible | Spiritual Beings In A physical World
Welcome to Shaping The Future - In this episode, I am speaking to Rabbi Yonatan Neril in Jerusalem about his newly co-authored Eco-Bible, a book that reaches back through more than 2000 years of religious texts. At a time when religion in the US is being politicised and views are expressed about Gods will in consuming the Earth, Eco Bible uses 450 identified texts that clearly demonstrate the role religious teachings have had in promoting stewardship of the Earth. It has been my experience on numerous occasions of climate reporting that these underlying teachings exist across the multiple schools of faith that exist on the planet, from Christianity to Judaism, Islam and far far beyond. With 6 billion humans today identifying with some form of religion, what Yonatan has to say about our existence as spiritual beings in a physical world, carries a lot of weight. Thanks for listening to the Shaping The Future series. There are more podcasts being edited as we speak as we delve deeper into learning to live with and respond to the climate crisis. Please subscribe on any preferred channel to stay up to date. Eco Bible shows how the Bible and its great scholars embrace care for God's creation as a fundamental and living message. It is co-authored by Rabbi Yonatan Neril, who founded and directs The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD), and Rabbi Leo Dee. who directed ICSD's faith and ecology programs, and graduated from Cambridge with a Masters in Engineering. Purchase EcoBible on Amazon: More about Cambridge Climate Lecture Series and Shaping The Future:
October 29, 2020
Food & Climate Change Without The Hot Air - Prof Sarah Bridle discusses
Welcome to Shaping The Future - in this episode, I am speaking with scientist and author, Professor Sarah Bridle, about her recently published book, ‘Food & Climate Change Without The Hot Air’ - Sarah’s book provides an invaluable perspective on the reality-versus-perception of the impact on climate change that our diet actually has. Sarah not only gives examples of how misleading, ideals about food buying, preparation and consumption can be, she also explains how the UK government (and I suspect many others) could implement policies that would please local food producers, whilst bolstering public support and reducing climate emissions, all at the same time. We are what we eat and our diets must be as sustainable as every other component of modern life. Sarah’s book is based on hard science but really does belong in the kitchen with all of our other reference books. It’s available from all major retailers and the Ebook is actually a subsidised free download so there is no excuse for not digesting this important work. Thank for listening to the podcast - please do subscribe on any of the major channels - we have plenty more interviews on the way and all of them have something positive to say around the discussion of how we shape a better future. Note again that the Kindle edition is free:
October 25, 2020
How We Can Use Meteorology as a tool for a safer future and save vulnerable lives in the face of climate change
Welcome to Shaping The Future - in this episode, I am talking with meteorologist Scott Duncan, about how weather data is used to inform both the public and the organisations we rely on to insure us against the worst of life’s low-probability high-impact events.. We also discuss the recent Storm Alex that struck parts of western and southern Europe, in the context of frequency & extremity, as well as how the findings of meteorology can be used to alert those people who are in the path of future storms. It can be easy to exist in a bubble of climate communications and forget that the vast majority of people have no idea of why and what we should be doing to prepare for and prevent the worst of future impacts. The climate crisis means that many parts of the world will become uninsurable and this could be more closer to home than we think. Greater literacy in critical weather and climate science will help forge a better dialogue between people who are going to be impacted and the companies that realise future insurance is no longer viable. I have added the links in notes so that you can follow Scott on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you for listening - please do subscribe to Shaping The Future on any of the major podcast channels, or you can also listen on Youtube. The next interview in the series will be with author Professor Sarah Bridle at the University of Manchester about her recent book ‘Food and Climate Change Without The Hot Air’ - a really worthwhile source of information for anyone interested in the links between food and climate emissions. Follow Scott Duncan on Twitter here: @ScottDuncanwx Follow Scott Duncan on Instagram here: @scottduncanwx Find out more about Climate Series and the Shaping The Future Podcast here:
October 20, 2020
ICOS: a system that spots collapsing carbon sinks & is a vital tool for our future
Welcome to Shaping The Future and in this episode, I am talking to the Secretary-General of ICOS - The Integrated Carbon Observation System, Dr. habil. Werner L. Kutsch. ICOS is a network of ocean and ground-based carbon monitoring stations that is giving us a wide spread of open-source scientific data, expanding our understanding of our changing environment. Werner talks about how ICOS data can explain the collapse of a carbon sink from summer drought, as much as it can lead us towards cleaner air in cities and resilience to the climate impacts coming our way. Also in the making,  is a global system measuring & analysing atmospheric gases, that will, politics permitting, progress humanity towards a future that benefits all living creatures within the biosphere. Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future - our mission is to be as informed as we possibly can, to overcome the challenges wrought by human existence to date. There are many more interviews in the pipeline, please subscribe and share to stay up to date. Find out more about ICOS: Shaping The Future is hosted by Nick Breeze as part of the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series.
October 15, 2020
The Climate App | A new innovation for the people, by the people
Doing our bit to avert the very worst of climate change means going beyond nodding along in agreement with those who are sounding the alarm about the dangers we all face from pumping hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon pollution into the atmosphere. It means we individually and collectively have to make drastic changes in our lives to reduce carbon emissions to beyond zero. How many of us cast our guilt into the recesses and shadows of the mind as we book that next flight, or order one more juicy beef steak that we lament is becoming harder to conscience? A new initiative, The Climate App, is currently in development and aims to help all of us reduce our carbon consumption by socialising and gamifying the task of adjusting our lifestyles for the greater good. There is much more to the Climate App than this and so in this special episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with project founder Sam Naef about who they are, what they need and when we can expect to participate in this unique effort to help mainstream positive climate action. Please support the Indiegogo campaign to make the Climate App a reality and affirm our willingness to try everything possible to shape a better future. Full URL to help fund this project: Full Climate App URL: My URL for Shaping The Future Podcast:
October 8, 2020
Professor Peter Wadhams | Climate Vaccines, Carbon Removal & COVID-19 Go Exponential
Welcome to Shaping The Future - this interview is with author and Cambridge polar ice scientist Professor Peter Wadhams. WE discuss the common exponential factors that exist between the COVID-19 pandemic and in the positive feedbacks of the changing climate system. WE also discuss the urgent need for carbon drawdown or greenhouse gas removal as it also known, to tackle the excess burden of 1 trillion tonnes of pollution that humanity has pumped into the biosphere. Professor Wadhams is a leading authority on polar ice climate and is currently guest lecturing in Turin Polytechnic in Italy. This interview was recorded in May 2020 during the lockdown but has relevant input from Peter about how we must consider action to shape a better future. Thanks for listening to this podcast series. We have many more interviews being recorded, discussing the most pressing challenges that humanity faces regarding our own survival. Subscribe on any major podcast channel or on Youtube to stay up to date.
September 24, 2020
Sir Jonathan Porritt discusses his new climate change book, Hope In Hell
Welcome to Shaping The Future - this week I am speaking with long-term environmental campaigner and author, Sir Jonathon Porritt, about his new book ‘Hope In Hell’. I urge anyone looking for a comprehensive overview of the multifaceted subject of climate change, to read this excellent piece of work. The book covers the science, policy, policy obstructions, as well as current and future challenges and the impact on the human psyche that we see emerging as a result. In this interview, Sir Jonathon discusses the limits of the Paris Agreement and its roadmap of unbinding incremental change. By its design it allows governments to play loose with their Nationally Determined Contribution to reducing carbon emissions. He also discusses the perilous threat of melting polar ice-caps and glaciers that we are now watching in real-time. In the midst of political ineptness, Jonathon has one final suggestion for how we can each take action in our own ways and in our own lives. Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future. There are many more podcasts in the pipeline so please do subscribe on any major podcast channel or on Youtube.
September 17, 2020
University Of Cambridge’s Hugh Hunt On Geoengineering The Arctic: ‘crazy ideas have potential’
“Surely if you are going to be intervening with some risk in something where the risk is greater if you don’t intervene then let’s research the intervention!” Welcome to this episode of Shaping The Future - From Pandemic to Climate Change. In this episode, I am speaking with Cambridge University’s Dr Hugh Hunt who is also working as part of the Centre For Climate Repair In Cambridge looking at ways to repair the climate. Hugh makes the point that the risks of Geoengineering are less than the impacts from climate tipping points that we are facing if we don’t do it.  He also gives us an overview of the Centre For Climate Repair set-up by former UK Chief Government scientist, Sir David King, and discusses why funding on a scale to meet the enormity of the climate crisis means unconventional sources maybe be necessary. The paper that this interview is based on coauthored by Hugh Hunt and Dan Bodansky can be downloaded free here: Thanks for listening to the podcast. Find out more here:
September 9, 2020
Extinction Rebellion Cofounder Gail Bradbrook | It's Time For Autumn Rebellion
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with Gail Bradbrook, environmental activist and co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, as the Autumn rebellion gains momentum in major cities across the UK.  Gail talks about the XR demands for this rebellion and the power of activism for the individual and how that can lead to systemic change at the societal level.   We finish discussing the potential for a global citizens assembly to be held in parallel during next years UN climate conference, COP26, that will be hosted in November in the UK.   Thanks for listening, this podcast is available on all major podcasting channels and on Youtube. All the links are on Follow on Twitter: Find out More at 
September 2, 2020
Climate Scientist & Author Peter Kalmus speaks out
In this episode, I interview NASA climate scientist and author, Peter Kalmus, about the extreme fires in California and Hurricane Laura that struck Louisiana.   Peter talks about the underlying drivers of these frightening impacts that stem from our collective addiction to burning fossil fuels.  He also talks very personally about his conscious decision to speak out about how terrified he is with regard to the worsening climate breakdown.    Thanks for listening.  
August 29, 2020
How Big data is a vital resilience tool in responding to in creased frequency & intensity of climate impacts
Welcome to Shaping The Future - In this episode, I am talking to Kontur CEO Arben Kane about How Big data is a vital resilience tool in responding to increased frequency and intensity of climate impacts. Kontur was born out of a research project at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in the US and is still evolving new perspectives for viewing information that can enhance how we live on Earth at a time when the viability of life itself is being called into question from Climate Change. Arben and his team have been involved in mapping huge global disasters from earthquakes and hurricanes, with their work building the Pacific Disaster Centre, to more recently the spread of COVID-19 across the communities that span the globe. Arben talks about how big data is a vital tool that when used correctly can be a huge asset to humanity and how his team are aiming to get around manipulation and security breaches by utilising distributed ledger technology among many other innovations. There are many more episodes of the podcast being produced so please do subscribe on any of the main podcasting channels. Thanks for listening. Visit the podcast website:
August 22, 2020
Climate Psychologist Dr. Renée Lertzman - Principals for attuned thinking in a time of crisis
Welcome to Shaping The Future - from pandemic to climate change and in this episode I am speaking with Dr. Renée Lertzman, a pioneer in bridging the gap between human psychology and the environmental and climate crisis. Renée talks here about how climate professionals can become better leaders and show guidance by becoming attuned to those whom we engage with. Renée also offers a set of principals developed as a tool-set for psychological survival at a period in time when uncertainty about the future can lead to existential anxiety. Of course, this is also a time of opportunity, when radical new thinking can shape a vastly better future than the current horizon suggests. Thanks for listening and please subscribe to the podcast to hear more in this series. Dr Renée Lertzman's website.
August 13, 2020
Rupert Read discusses new book- Extinction Rebellion: Insights From The Inside
Welcome to Shaping The Future - from pandemic to climate change (More info on the podcast series: Cambridge Climate Lecture Series website here) In this episode, I am speaking with Philosopher and prominent Extinction Rebellion spokesperson, Dr Rupert Read, about his new booked titled, ‘Extinction rebellion: Insights from the inside’. This is a collection of works, including essays, interviews, and internal XR memos, reflecting Rupert’s thoughts on what has been and what next for XR. We discuss key concepts in the book including, how critical this time we are in right now is, and, how each one of us, as individuals and in collective groupings, can find agency to make a difference amid complex and disturbing times. A link to purchase the book is here and proceeds from the book will be donated to Extinction Rebellion. Thanks for listening.
August 2, 2020
Warm Holes & Cold Blobs in the North Atlantic due to climate change
Welcome to Shaping the Future. In this episode, I am talking to Paul Keil who is a PhD candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology about the mysterious cold blob in the northern Atlantic Ocean. This cold blob appears conspicuously on global temperature anomaly charts located south of Greenland. It is currently the focus of a lot of research looking at the mechanisms that contribute to climate change and how these are being impacted by the billions of tonnes of CO2 we add annually to the atmosphere. I have also added links below to two recent articles posted by the Carbon Brief and Mashable that look at Paul and his colleagues' research in more detail. Visit for more information on Shaping The Future podcast.
July 23, 2020
Climate computing with Met Office Chief, Prof. Penny Endersby
In this interview, I am speaking to Professor Penny Endersby, the Chief Executive Officer of the UK’s Met Office who is in charge of one of the most important climate change modelling computers in the world. Penny takes us inside the climate model and reflects on the hard truths that the data outputs are telling us. It is worth listening to Penny talk us through the Earth system simulator the UK has developed to navigate us through what is currently an undecided and uncertain future. Quotes: "...we can say, ‘this thing you might have seen once every 200 years in preindustrial times you are now going to see once in 50 years’, which I think was roughly the frequency for the Australian wildfires as we are at the moment, and in the future you are going to see them once in 10 or once in 5 years, depending on the particular emissions pathway." " headline message to anybody is, the faster we can undertake the mitigation, the better it will be and if we can’t hit 1.5ºC we still want to hit 2ºC and 2 is better than 3 and 3 is better than 4! So we should try and the time for action is now. It is urgent to do something."
July 10, 2020
Professor Jason Box - Greenland and the climate system
Prof. Jason Box: "It's not too hyperbolic to talk about Mad Max!" Welcome to Shaping The Future Podcast. In this episode, I am speaking to Professor Jason Box at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. We are discussing how the colossal Greenland ice sheet is changing as the Earth warms and what impact this will have on the global climate system. So much of Jason’s work bridges the void between climate science in obscure corners of the planet, and the risks posed by pollution from industry, as well as how we in wealthier countries conduct our lives. Shaping the future means envisioning the world we want and committing to a pathway to achieve it. In that vane, we end this discussion by considering the social movements that are emerging as part of the growing awareness of the necessity to change. Thank you for listening, please do subscribe on whatever podcast channel you use to hear more forthcoming episodes.
June 12, 2020
Prof. Kevin Anderson - Climate action failure, equality and the climate crisis
Welcome to Shaping The Future climate change podcast - In this episode, I speak with Professor Kevin Anderson who is Deputy Director of the UK’s Tyndale Centre for climate change research, he is also a part-time professor at the University of Uppsala in Sweden and even squeezes in a day a week at a university in Norway. In this episode, we discuss who are the culprits of climate action failure, how coronavirus has shown us we are all equal in society and how solving current inequality is an essential component of solving the climate crisis. In picking these complex topics apart, we discuss the evolving role of civil society and climate activism by academics that is actually reinforcing the status quo and committing us to fail on our Paris commitments. Kevin, like Katharine Hayhoe in the previous episode, highlights the job losses and those suffering in industries that are high polluting but nonetheless provide incomes for families. In terms of post-lockdown, Kevin emphasises that it is a choice whether we go back to high emitting business as usual. Importantly Kevin is not confident that we can hold the temperature rise to 1.5ºC and that it would require serious mitigation efforts combined with effective carbon drawdown technologies (that do not currently exist) in order to achieve it. Most of all we have to take on board that change in society required to meet these emission reduction challenges are only needed by the top ten per cent. The majority of people are not emitting high amounts of carbon. This again feeds into the need for an agenda of equality and a new narrative of fairness that perhaps the pandemic can make us more aware of. In the next episode in the series, I will be speaking to Professor Jason Box from the Geological Survey of Denmark. Jason is a Greenland ice sheet expert and is going to share his insights into the changes happening in Greenland and the impact this could have on the overall climate system. You can also follow Nick Breeze on Twitter here: @NickGBreeze
May 29, 2020
Prof. Katharine Hayhoe - COVID & Climate Linkages To A Better World
Professor Katharine Hayhoe is well-known the world over for her clear communications on the risks posed by climate change and why these risks and can be addressed in a non-political and non-partisan way. Katharine is an atmospheric scientist, the Political Science Endowed Professor in Public Policy and Public Law at Texas Tech University in the US and directs their Climate Center. Life on Zoom In the period of lockdown, Katharine discusses how technology has played a critical role human interactions, from the emotional experience of her grandmother's death to more passive interactions such as knitting or just staying in touch with family and friends. This all leads her to rename social distancing so it becomes physical distancing with social connectivity. COVID-19 and carbon emissions There is much talk about how the pandemic is good for the environment but, as Katharine points out, this has to be taken in context. Because we are not pumping out so much pollution as normal, we are still adding to the atmospheric burden of greenhouse gases. Air quality linked to human suffering Another linkage from the pandemic pause is the cleaner air that has been a tangible benefit of reducing nearly all transport to a small fraction of what it was before. Low-balling climate change Climate scientists have always produced scenarios based on different estimates of outcomes from climate forcing and Earth system sensitivity. Katharine explains how typically scientists have been low-balling the speed and severity of climate change. The 3 choices that humanity has to select from are mitigation, adaptation, or suffering. It turns out we will likely be forced to select all three but the balance of each is still up to us. Katharine gives her view on how this current crisis informs us to best face the future. Climate change and politics In the US and UK especially, climate change has been forced into a political framing in order to try and make conservatives think that the threat is not real or very serious. Now, with impacts so tangibly in our faces, from the loss of the polar ice caps and ice sheets like in Greenland, or the fires in the Amazon, Australia among many other places, people are realising this is real and anxiety about the future is commonplace. What can we do about it? The world won’t end in 2030 There is an emerging narrative that if the world does not decarbonise by 2030 then we will experience the apocalypse. Katharine Hayhoe discusses the importance of having a vision of the future that balances the reality of climate change with the outcome that we want to see and that we can collectively and individually work towards. Collapsing oil, personal suffering and policy Katharine discusses how the collapse of the oil price is impacting thousands of people in the oil industry who are losing their jobs and facing financial hardship in a very uncertain time. These are not bad people but rather a part of our society who are trying to support their families. What can we do to help them transition to new sectors? Despite this, lobbyists for oil-producing regions like Alberta in Canada are trying to roll back environmental taxes aimed at starting the transition to clean energy. Katharine explains why carbon taxes are still part of the solution, perhaps more so than ever before. Official webpage:
May 26, 2020