Thursday, January 28, 2010

Climate in the Sixth Extinction

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NASA just declared 2009 the second hottest year since modern measurements began in 1880. The warmest year was 2005. And the past decade was the warmest on record. Global climate change is upon us.

In this program, you'll hear two of the world's top authorities explain how this will impact our health, and the survival of the species.

I interview Dr. Jonathan Patz, a physician and lead author for the IPCC, on health and climate change. He is now advising emergency doctors and disaster agencies on what to expect as climate disruption proceeds.

[The Patz interview 19 min 5 MB ]

Sure, we talk about the spread of malaria. But Patz also explains the impacts of climate change are already affecting public health in developed countries, including the United States. Just one example: remember all those extreme rain events in the last year, with flooding and records set? Patz says 700 American towns and cities still have interlocking sewage and storm drains. When they get overloaded disease spreads.

Then Dr. Patz goes into the deaths and disease from simple air pollution - which gets magnified in hotter, wetter times. Climate change can raise the number of smog alerts, not only from chemical reactions, but also because air systems are expected to experience longer periods of stagnation. The patterns of mixing in the atmosphere change as the planet warms.

Then, we'll go straight to Paris, for a speech by Thomas Lovejoy, the inventor of the term "biological diversity." His speech, recorded January 25th, 2010 opened a United Nations conference to celebrate this year of biodiversity. But Lovejoy warns we are entering the sixth great extinction. Don't miss this powerful overview on climate change and the species, in our second half hour.

Wiki on Thomas Lovejoy.

[the Lovejoy speech 35 min 8 MB]

Dr. Patz has been a lead author on IPCC reports. On May 12th 2009, he addressed the 16th World Congress on Disaster and Emergency Medicine in Victoria B.C. Listen to the audio of that address here. (courtesy of Omar Ha-Redeye.) It's well worth a listen, covering many climate-related health issues you and I never consider. It's a good follow-up to our interview.

There are scientists, and there are world-renowned scientists. Dr. Thomas Lovejoy has studied life in Brazil's Amazon since 1965. He's advised the World Bank, the United Nations and more. Lovejoy heads the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment. He started the term "biodiversity" in science.

You are about to hear his latest speech, a keynote introducing 2010 as the UNESCO Year of Biodiversity. It was recorded in Paris January 25th, by independent environmental journalist Stephen Leahy, and sent that night to Radio Ecoshock.

Listen to Thomas Lovejoy, with a plea for the remains of life, as the climate shifts.

The recording is from Stephen Leahy, one of the few independent environmental journalists left.

Keep Stephen working for the world. Donate to cover his expenses at You've never heard me ask for money, but this is a really worth-while cause. As the old publishing model falls into the rocks of bankruptcy, we need a way to keep our best environmental investigative journalists going. Adopting a journalist may be the new model.

We can expect a lot more international coverage from Stephen.

That's it for Radio Ecoshock this week. Don't give up yet - save that for next week, when we go diving into the bleak, with Tim Garrett and Keith Farnish.

Radio Ecoshock 100129 "Climate in the Sixth Extinction" Hi-Fi 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB


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