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BBC Radio 4 - Costing the Earth

Costing the Earth

Programme looking at man's effect on the environment and how the environment reacts, questioning accepted truths, challenging those in charge and reporting on progress towards improving the world

Costing the Earth

  • Bonn Climate Talks: Where Next?
    Tom Heap is in Bonn for the United Nations annual climate change discussions. It is the first year with Donald Trump in power as president of the United States of America and Tom will be exploring what impact his climate stance will have on the conference talks and any future agreements. Tom's guests are Lou Leonard, senior vice president of climate and energy at WWF US. He leads their climate program in the US and he is in Bonn to represent the 'We Are Still In' movement, referring to President Trump's desire to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Rachel Kyte is Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All. Oliver Maurice is Director of The International National Trusts Organisation: the organisation that oversees all of the national trust organisations around the world, and Mark Pershin. Mark fronts an organisation called 'Less Meat, Less Heat' and he tells Tom about something called the 'Climatarian' diet. Tom will be taking stock of some of the topics disucssed in this series of Costing The Earth and asks how our attempts to combat climate change are proceeding and will proceed in the future. Will public responsibility and engagement with the problems that are now being faced galvanise more of the world's population into action? Presenter: Tom Heap Producer Martin Poyntz-Roberts.

  • America's Climate Resistance
    It's a year since President Trump was elected. In that time he has appointed a climate sceptic as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, he has insisted that he will bring the coal industry back, and he still has not appointed a science advisor. Roger Harrabin travels to the USA to meet those spearheading the resistance to President Trump's climate policies. In California he meets Governor Jerry Brown. Jerry is determined that California pushes ahead towards a cleaner future. He visits the world's largest battery storage plant near San Diego, and travels to the San Gorgonio Pass, the site of one of the world's largest wind farms. Heading east from California to Ohio, and coal country, Roger meets Bob Murray, head of the Murray Energy Corp. Bob is determined to see coal jobs protected, but even he believes that coal's heyday has passed, but he remains bullish. Roger also meets form science advisor to President Obama, Dr John Holdren. John thinks that economics should ensure that the USA remains on a path to cleaner energy. Producer Martin Poyntz-Roberts.

  • Tony's Farm
    When Anna Jones was growing up, the air was clean and the grass was lush. She lived on a farm in Shropshire, and phrases such as 'greenhouse gas emissions' and carbon footprints were associated with towns and cities - factories, cars and aerosols. Not anymore. We now know that 10% of the UK's greenhouse emissions come from farms, and there is a concerted effort to encourage farmers to reduce their carbon footprint. But in a world where the idea of stewardship has only recently taken hold, how do you communicate the importance of carbon emissions to a farmer? Anna starts with her father, Tony, first. The programme also features contributions from two other farmers - Ian Pigott and Rob Richmond, one arable, one dairy - who have both changed their ways; and Becky Willson, project officer with the Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit, travels to Tony Jones' Shropshire farm to measure his carbon footprint. Producer: Miles Warde.

  • Fish Farms of the Future
    A new study suggests farmed fish could be key to feeding a growing global population. Fish are an efficient source of protein and already over half the fish we now eat are farmed. However, this phenomenal growth in the production of salmon and other popular seafood has had a detrimental effect on their wild cousins. Wild salmon numbers have fallen and conservationists blame the fish farms for the spread of disease, sea lice and the pollution of habitats. Most farmed fish also require a diet which includes smaller wild fish in order to help them create Omega-3 which has well documented health benefits for us all. This too has an impact on the wild fish stocks with many key species now under pressure. Tom Heap investigates the dramatic and novel approaches which the industry may need to adopt in order to keep up with our appetite for fish suppers and it seems the best solution for the health of our oceans might be to take the fish we eat and the food we need to feed them out of the sea altogether. Producer: Helen Lennard.

  • Where Does Our Waste Go?
    Where do the contents of our bins end up? Tom Heap lifts the lid on the recycling industry to find out what happens to our waste beyond the kerbside collection. What does 'recycling' mean? Are bottles and tins and plastic packaging recycled when they're collected from our homes? They might well be taken to the local MRF (Materials Recovery Facility) and separated out into different waste streams, but what happens then? Embarking on a road journey along the recycling chain, Tom Heap tracks his own domestic recycling refuse to find out how much - or how little - of it is actually recycled. Tom is accompanied on this road trip by waste expert Dr Karl Williams of the University of Central Lancashire's Centre for Waste Management, during which he devises what we're calling Karl's Top Ten Recycling Tips. 1 It's not waste you're throwing away, it's a resource. 2 Recycling starts at home. 3 Read your local authority's recycling guide or visit their website as to what they collect, and do as it says. 4 Sort your recycling at source which is at your home. 5 If in doubt, put it in the residual bin or black bag, don't put it in with the recycling! 6 Where you can, separate different materials, (eg: take cardboard wrapping off plastic cartons, plastic film from paper). 7 Don't put your recycling in bags in the bin. 8 Household waste recycling centres will take those recyclables not collected at the kerbside by your council. 9 Where possible, separate glass from paper. 10 Remember you are giving materials the chance of a second life as something else. Producer: Mark Smalley.