off the wireless

Highlight of this week’s show is a fascinating — and sobering — interview with Greenland expert Professor Jason Box. His perspective on current events in the Arctic — from the dangers of permafrost methane, through rapid warming over Greenland and the potential impacts on sea level is essential listening and viewing. And he can surf, too. Glenn and Gareth discuss warm weather in New Zealand during a La Niña summer, drought in the Amazon and the complex interactions between climate and weather extremes, food production and political stability. John Cook from Skeptical Science debunks the favourite sceptic arguments about ice at both poles, and in the solutions segment we discuss the recent WWF report on renewable energy, and the new all-electric Porsche Boxster.

For all the show notes and the audio link head over to

Vincent Heeringa has been thinking about the climate talks in Cancun and the role of sustainability in economically challenged times.

For a while now I’ve had a few ideas for longer form interview shows that don’t necessarily fit into the radio format. The web is a wonderful place to turn these ideas into actual shows without the usual problems of distribution and programming constraints. The Climate Show came out of a recent discussion with Hot-Topic author Gareth Renowden. For me, climate change is the number one issue above everything else in the world. So why not a whole show dedicated to the topic? Well here it is in it’s full 53 minute glory (perhaps a little shorter in future). Gareth has written up the show notes in a post at Hot Topic but here it is in brief: we discussed new temperature records, the state of the Arctic, chatted with Kevin Cudby about his new book From Smoke To Mirrors, recommended the Skeptical Science web site and iPhone app, and then discussed some recent developments in solar photovoltaic technologies. We’ll get a website up at but in the meantime you can follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.

Here’s an audio link as well (24.4MB)

We’ve all heard the dangers of climate change causing oceans to rise, hurricanes and tornadoes. But what about heat stress – when it becomes too hot and humid for humans to survive? Janine Young from New Scientist reports that Steven Sherwood at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia looked at climate change from this perspective and found some alarming results. Also the material currently used to make touchscreens is running out and the race is on to find more of it or to develop new touchscreen technology to help meet the growing demand.

Janine Young from New Scientist reports that climate change is causing the Earth to crumble, literally. Rock avalanches and landslides have become more common in high mountain ranges and appear to coincide with the increase in warm periods. Studies have shown that a similar strain occurred at the end of the last ice age, approximately 10,000 years ago and the events were catastrophic. Plus a group of environmental economists have put a cash value on nature. This aims to highlight the economic value of conservation, particularly in the eyes of politicians. While not all ecosystems have an easily defined value, the figures do provide an indication of the immediate economic benefits of biodiversity.

Janine Young from New Scientist reports that the stegosaurus could be stripped of its name like its cousin, the brontosaurus. Plus what if we could produce fuels at the same rate we burn them? While we’re not quite able to do this yet, there are some innovative carbon capturing solutions already in place.

Vincent talks about the Millennium Development Goals and a UNEP report that says investing in clean energy, sustainable transport, forests and environmentally friendly agriculture is a must. Plus did the Israelites really part the Red Sea?

Janine Young from New Scientist reports that it’s no secret that without dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, which no one really expects to happen; we will be faced with rising sea levels. So if we don’t reduce emissions to stop the oceans rising, are there other ways we can reverse the tide? Can we drain the seas into the deserts or add ice to the great ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica? Also Ironically, a small study funded by Dyson, the hand-dryer manufacturer, has found that rubbing your hands together in a hand dryer leaves them coated in more bacteria than just after you washed them, while paper towels appeared to halve the bacterial count.

Janine Young from New Scientist reports on research into the grisly area of hangings that could play a significant role in court cases where prison officers are accused of negligence or foul play. The research is shedding light on what happens when someone hangs themselves and the time in which death can result. Plus research that shows there are other factors that play a role in how quickly Arctic ice is melting.