Thursday, January 28, 2010

Climate in the Sixth Extinction

Radio Stations: there is no copyright music in this program.

If you need time for station ID, download our two 29 minute segments from, posted every Sunday afternoon, Pacific Time.

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


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Atomic Dreams, Climate Nightmares

RADIO STATIONS: Song for this show is "Earth" by Imogen Heap. Album: Ellipse.

In this program you'll hear about the new nuclear renaissance. The lobbyists, and the greens, who want you to accept more reactors, to prevent catastrophic climate change.

I'll toss in one slightly tarnished hero, Dr. James Hansen, and a new interview with another combative doctor, Helen Caldicott. And running throughout, a stimulating podcast from Shelly Thomas, urging us to "Drop the Nuke Bias"

And I introduce you to your new nuclear neighbors: the United Arab Emirates. Where torture is legal, debtors are thrown in jail, and most of the population are immigrant workers with few rights. Why did South Korea get the deal to build 4 new nukes in the Gulf? Read's dark and dangerous.

But first, a message for the idiots who made Al Gore snowmen in the Netherlands, to prove there is no global warming. And all the American gumbos who posted snowfall in Texas, and Fox News who announced the end of climate change during a brief interlude of cold weather.

Yes, it's time for the new "Climate Denial Crock of the Week" from Peter Sinclair. Peter explains why it gets cold in the winter time - and has a scientist explain that there will still be a few records for cold even in the year 2100 - while almost all other days set records for heat. Meanwhile, on January 15th, much of the Mid-West was 20 degrees above normal, as a warm snap spread across the U.S. Does that prove global warming? No, it's just weather, like the previous cold. Deniers who try to sell you weather as proof of climate are just dumb.

The temperature in the Netherlands on January 15th? Seven degrees Celsius, or 44 degrees Fahrenheit. Guess what happened to the Al Gore snowman protest? It kind of melted away in the heat, just as most of these amateur denier sites will disappear in a few years.

Let's get back to nuclear as the salvation of the world's climate. Before we hear Dr. Caldicott from Australia, I want to introduce you to That's a good podcast from Shelly Thomas, who also runs Futurism Now and a blog called "civilianism".

I like Shelley's new climate podcast. You really get your hour's worth of news, followed by useful clips and information. For example, I like Shelley's take on a greener internet. I had no idea our exchange of electrons was so damaging to the climate.

In the same podcast climatefilesradio #55, Shelly makes her case that we need more nuclear power, and especially new atomic tech, to replace American dependence on coal fired power plants. I play a clip, including a jazzy piece she snapped off the net, on Thorium reactors.

Is it as great as it sounds? Why are green busybodies opposing this wonderful invention? Shelly doubts that a pediatrician could know enough about nuclear technology. Yes, a pediatrician with 30 years investigating nuclear affairs, many books, even more honorary degrees. What would she know? Let's talk with her now, Dr. Helen Caldicott on Radio Ecoshock.

[Caldicott interview]

Then I introduce you to your new nuclear neighbors: the United Arab Emirates. Were you wondering why Korea got this sweet deal to build four new nuclear reactors in the troubled Gulf, while France and others lost out? A Pakistani source quotes Korean newspapers saying the South Koreans topped up the project with a deal for arms. And not just any weapons: cruise and ballistic missiles, drone aircraft, and even EMP electrical bombs.

Read More here.

In the past, Earth has almost frozen over. Dr. James Hansen tells us there will never again be another snowball Earth, or even another ice age, as long as humans have technology. In the program, I look into Hansen's very recent conversion to advocating nuclear technology, and who his new friends are. When Hansen wrote an open letter to President Obama, calling for more nuclear funding, he became a lobbyist himself.

His climate science is impeccable. But now he's calling for desperate measures.

Without your action, the climate can go very wrong. No better way to end this show than the song simply called "Earth" by Imogen Heap.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock

Thursday, January 14, 2010

CONSPIRACY! Turning 911 Truth to Climate Denial

Welcome to Radio Ecoshock. We're going to plunge into the fevered world of dark conspiracy. We'll find the men who hate greens, the fringe media voices who call us to commit suicide. If they are to be believed, we must arrest hundreds of thousands of scientists, for their role in the global warming hoax.

We'll find out who is behind the scheme to turn the 911 Truth Movement almost overnight, into the global warming denial network.

This is a review of a new made-for-cable TV series, and rant radio.

Forget about 911. Now our icon of hatred is global warming, and it's terror face isn't just Al Gore. No, the kingpin, the spider at the center of the web is...

[gunfire] [screaming]

Not so fast. To begin my journey into the bowels of conspiracy, I first had to travel to a dark warehouse, on the wrong side of Okayama, Japan. A 30ish balding James Corbett awaits me. He seems shy, but as you'll find out, with a keyboard and a screen, Corbett is a lion against the climate.

Mysteriously, Corbett hands me a slip of paper. With 3 names printed on it. My arduous journey has begun.

The second part of this week's program makes more sense. It's UK author and journalist Fred Pearce. We'll talk about two of his recent books: "Confessions of an Eco-Sinner" and "Last Generation".

Pearce travelled around the world to find out where all our daily "stuff" comes from. Meeting some of the poorer people who produce it, he develops some doubts about all-out localization of production. But then Fred is willing to work through unpopular ideas.

His previous book goes through some of the unexpressed fears scientists have - that we may experience abrupt climate change, rather than the smooth graphs shown by governments and the IPCC. It has happened in the past, and would be very ugly if we bring it on now.

But much of our interview comes from Fred's newest research, for an upcoming book. He's discovered that overpopulation is not doing the planet in, as much as over-consumption. Again he's taken flack, but Fred has the figures to back up his claims. Don't miss Fred Pearce on Radio Ecoshock.

The rest of this blog entry is all about the 911 Truth Movement, rant radio, and how conspiracy theory is being used to deny global warming science. Read More at your own risk....

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Coming Climate Panic

Should we arrest our best climate scientists? The denier fringe is calling for investigations and criminal charges. On today's Radio Ecoshock Show you'll hear one of the world's top scientists answer those charges. I'll digest the best from a stunning speech by Professor Richard B. Alley, at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in San Francisco, in December.

Here is the link to a video of that speech.

Scroll down for much more on Richard Alley's speech, including a link to transcripts of the clips from this week's radio show, and notes to help non-scientists grasp the important new science.

But first: Ten years ago, the tipping point was whether we could stop climate change. Now, after years of inaction, the answer is no. The next tipping point is likely in human affairs, namely, will we be able to govern ourselves? Will our civilization survive the coming climate panic?

The coming climate panic. That's title of a work that just ricocheted all over the blogosphere. Let's meet the author, Auden Schendler.

[Auden Schendler interview, radio only]

I appreciate Auden Schendler's bravery putting out an SOS about delaying action on climate change. I disagree that cap and trade will actually save the planet - it's got corruption and cheating built right in, in my opinion, and in the European experience. A carbon tax that flows through to the citizens, as proposed by Dr. James Hansen and others, has a chance of actually working.

And I can't agree that the individual doesn't matter in this fight. Auden still believes governments could solve this problem. Copenhagen, and the simple record of increasing emissions no matter what government is allegedly in charge say otherwise.

Sure we should push governments, but I've consistently said that you and I, the citizens are the front line in the fight against climate change. We can and must:

- lead by example, cutting our own carbon emissions by at least 40% this year, and pointing toward energy self sufficiency. And no cheating with phony carbon off-sets.

- start connecting and organizing locally. Fossil energy supplies are limited, and we can't burn what we have. A local economy is the only way to survive well, or survive at all. Pay special attention to your food supplies.

- prepare yourself for emergencies. There are tough unstable times ahead. Have at least several weeks of food and water on hand. Plus other supplies to keep warm and safe. And prepare to help others in emergencies - the latest flood, storm, fires, heat waves. It's not enough to keep yourself or even your family alive. Get ready to help lots of folks.

- either dedicate hours a day to fight for sustainable energy in your community, or figure out where to move. Pure coal power won't last a decade. Industry won't locate there. Eventually, consumers will demand labeling not just about the contents of products - but the amount of pollution used to produce it. If you buy low-fat soup, you'll but low-energy manufactured products.

- my last point, as an individual, is DO NOT count on big governments for much at all. At every level, governments in North America, England, some European countries, and more, are really bankrupt. The growth economy is sputtering out it's last. Then we have to go for a stable state economy, or massive reductions, until the climate is stable, and until a more just distribution of wealth is achieved.

In his blog this week, the dour James Howard Kunstler writes:

"Our destination is an everyday economy where you rarely travel far from the place you live, where you have to make provision for you own health, your own old age, your own income, your own diet, your own security, and your own education. If you're really fortunate, some or all of these necessities can be obtained in conjunction with your neighbors in the place where you live -- but don't expect an increasingly mythical federal government to supply any of it. Expect a new and different way of organizing households based on extended families and kinship groups. Be prepared for agriculture to return to the foreground of everyday life, where farming is back at the center of the economy. Think about how you will cultivate your best role in a social network so the things you do will be truly valued by the other people who know you."

Find that under "The Futile Economy" January 4th, 2010 at

This is Radio Ecoshock. I'm Alex Smith. Look, it's winter. There is snow. It's cold. I can't believe the number of idiots who cite that as proof of the coming ice age, much less a damnation of climate change science.

Check out Joe Romm's "Experts: Cold Snap Doesn't Disprove Global Warming."

If we are really that stupid, and some of us are! - all future climate conferences should be held in August. I believe the next one comes up in May 2010 in Germany?

Climate is measured over decades at best. Heaven help us if we have two real winters in a row! The masses may give in to the loudmouth deniers, going back to energy gluttony, while supplies last. Then we're doomed.

What the heck, let's get back to skiing. Joe Romm, the climate demi-God blogger at has a feature on the future of skiing this week. Published on January 6th, 2010, it's titled "Can U.S. skiing be saved?"

In the blog, a guest writes:

"Take Aspen, for instance. The resort is already seeing a gradual increase in frost-free days and warmer nights, according to Mike Kaplan, CEO of Aspen Skiing Company, and aspen trees are dying off in large numbers. A study by the Aspen Global Change Institute forecasts that if global carbon emissions continue to rise, Aspen will warm by 14 degrees by the end of this century—giving it a feel similar to Amarillo, TX."


I started covering this story back in 2006, with a podcast called "Can Winter Sports Be Saved?" That mp3 got thousands of downloads, and still goes out by the hundreds every month. In it, I interviewed a rep from Whistler-Blackcomb, the super Canadian ski resort where the 2010 Olympic downhill events will be held in February. Not much has changed since that time, except emissions are worse, and the climate warmed faster. Let's give it a listen now.

[audio only]

That was an interview from one of my early Radio Ecoshock podcasts in 2006, still chilling today.

Find all our past programs and features, as free mp3 downloads, at our web site,


In the recent attacks on top scientists, let us take the case of Richard B. Alley. He is the Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences, at Penn State University. Alley is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His popular book about ice cores is called "The Two Mile Time Machine."

Alley was expected to give one of the best speeches of the 2009 annual meeting of the AGU - and he did not disappoint. I'm going to give you a short digest of that hour-long Bjerknes Lecture to the AGU in San Francisco in December, with a transcript of the quotes.

Professor Alley begins with the attack:

"I said these were interesting times. This is a copy of an email that was sent to my administration [at Penn State] by an alum [alumni, former grad of Penn State], and said alum copied me on this, so I believe I am fair. The alum asks for certain personnel changes to be made, and I have just put in the ones that relate to me.

So for what it's worth, Dr. Alley's work on CO2 levels and ice cores - now I don't actually do that but I talk about it - OK Dr. Alley's work on CO2 levels and ice cores has confirmed that CO2 lags Earth's temperature. This one scientific fact alone proves that CO2 is not the cause of the recent warming.

I continue to mislead the scientific community. There should be prompt response (getting rid of me), I have "crimes against the scientific community, Penn State, the citizens of this great country and the citizens of the world" that "must be dealt with severely" because of my "shameful" activities."

[laughter from the audience][applause]

"So there'll be a wanted poster which will be up here somewhere, but the thing which is fascinating, and we'll come back to, is that this email has in it a logical fallacy which is evident on casual observation. And I think it's worth our understanding at some level, how polarized the world is, how easy it is for someone to misunderstand our science, if they aren't fully within it, the amount of education, the amount of outreach, the amount of clarification, that we have to make, to get from this to a proper scientific understanding."

In fact, the former Penn State grad calls for "an investigation into...Dr. Alley's activities [that] will... start prior to the end of this year."

Later in this program, we'll follow Professor Alley as he explains the denialist bugaboo of carbon dioxide lagging temperature rise in climate history. In excerpts from this important speech, we'll learn more about the scientific history of our planet, and it's atmosphere.

As we will learn, this was part of a concerted effort against climate scientists at Penn State, including the famous "hockey stick" graph creator, Michael Mann, and others.

The Bjerknes Lecture is one of the keynote speeches to the American Geophysical Union annual meeting each year. Named after a famous Arctic researcher, Professor Bjerknes - Penn State's Professor Richard B. Alley received the award, and gave his speech at the December 2009 meeting in San Francisco, for his work teaching the history of Earth's past climates.

The title of the speech was "The Biggest Control Knob, Carbon Dioxide in Earth's Climate History".

I have made a transcript of the excerpts used in today’s show – likely the only print version from the speech so far.