Saturday, April 07, 2007


Hi there, this is Alex Smith from Radio Ecoshock.

OK, my last podcast was the most depressing ever - the latest news on new coal fired power plants all over the world - set to Chopin's funeral march. I suppose I was just trying use music, art, to convey the true horror of our situation - and not just for us, but for all the animals and plants, now that the carbon monster is out of the ground.

But art should heal as well as hurt. So this time round, I've gathered up the six best new songs about climate change. It's a mix ranging from neo-surfer through spiritual to rock. Let's start enjoying our endless summer.

["Endless Summer" - Ghostly Penguin Display, no website]

By the way, I've just recorded a different kind of California sensation: Terry Tamminen is a top advisor to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governator, and headed up the State's EPA. Now he's heading around the country, and the world, convincing state and regional governments to go climate friendly. Tamminen is also promoting his new book "Lives Per Gallon" - the true cost of oil addiction.

You can download his hard-hitting speech at our website,, in the climate section. Tamminen doesn't pull any punches. He says vehicle exhausts are killing hundreds of thousands of Americans, and millions around the world. And we have the transportation system we have, he says, due to outright political corruption and a cascade of lies similar to the tobacco industry campaign denying cancer. You can download that speech, plus another half hour of the Q and A that followed, free from the website. I think it's going to be one of the best climate speeches of 2007.

Find Tamminen's speech here (an exclusive to Radio Ecoshock, recorded by us on April 4th, 2007 at the Vancouver Museum book launch)


Here's two quick tunes in a row. Joel Zifkin reminds us of New Orleans, but really, it will be High Water Rising for people all over the world. Then Mike Delaney gets a little more humor in, with his song "Low Carb".

["High Water Rising" - Joel Zifkin,]

["Low Carb" - Mike Delaney,]

You can find these tunes, for a while, at Bill McKibben's Step It up 07 site, that's It's important to get that 07 into the web name, or you end up at a health food business. April 14th is coming up quickly, and I hope you have already planned your day off to show up in the streets, to show politicians in Washington that yes, we do care if the planet is wrecked, and we want action now.

April 14th: Arrange day care, take the kids, phone in sick, do what you have to do - but this really matters. There are laws pending that could make a big difference, but they won't go anywhere without a massive show of public support. And have fun at the same time. At the end of this podcast, I'll be playing a short message from Bill McKibben.

On with the music.

First, "Is That What It Will Take?" followed by a neat experiment with group signing arranged by long-time singer Linda Allen.

["Is That What It Will Take?" Bryan Wood,]

["We Are the Rainbow Sign" - Linda Allen et al,]

Here is that two minutes from Bill McKibben I promised you. After that, we're going to rock on out of here with Clatter, Singing "House of Trouble." You can find all this music on our website, in the Music section of our audio on demand menu.

[Bill McKibben clip explaining the campaign, and the novel "actions" planned. 2 min]

That's it from me, Alex Smith, of Radio Ecoshock.

["House of Trouble" Clatter,]

Sunday, April 01, 2007


[Click the title above to hear the Coal Dirge - 8 minutes long]

A new article in the Christian Science Monitor details how the world is building a whole new wave of dirty coal power plants - sure to tip the climate beyond recognition.

Somehow the facts don't seem enough - so I set this piece with the appropriate music - Chopin's famous funeral march. This IS what will kill off civilization and the species we know and love - unless investors, governments, and power companies wake up from the black nightmare.

And by the way - it isn't just China - look and listen to what America is doing to build a raft of new "global warming machines."

Here are some of the details:



from the March 22, 2007 edition -

A Monitor analysis shows the potential for an extra 1.2 billion tons of carbon released into the atmosphere per year.

By Mark Clayton | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Forget the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." Disregard rising public concern over global warming. Ignore the Kyoto Protocol.

The world certainly is – at least when it comes to building new electric-power plants. In the past five years, it has been on a coal-fired binge, bringing new generators online at a rate of better than two per week. That has added some 1 billion tons of new carbon-dioxide emissions that humans pump into the atmosphere each year. Coal-fired power now accounts for nearly a third of human-generated global CO2 emissions.

So what does the future hold? An acceleration of the buildup, according to a Monitor analysis of power-industry data. Despite Kyoto limits on greenhouse gases, the analysis shows that nations will add enough coal-fired capacity in the next five years to create an extra 1.2 billion tons of CO2 per year.

Those accelerating the buildup are not the usual suspects.

Take China, which is widely blamed for the rapid rise in greenhouse-gas emissions. Indeed, China accounted for two-thirds of the more than 560 coal-fired power units built in 26 nations between 2002 and 2006. The Chinese plants boosted annual world CO2 emissions by 740 million tons (see chart). But in the next five years, China is slated \to slow its buildup by half, according to industry estimates, adding 333 million tons of new CO2 emissions every year. That's still the largest increase of any nation. But other nations appear intent on catching up.

"Really, it's been the story of what China is doing," says Steve Piper, managing director of power forecasting at Platts, the energy information division of McGraw-Hill that provided country-by-country power-plant data to the Monitor. "But it's also a story of unabated global growth in coal-fired power. We're seeing diversification away from pricier natural gas and crude oil. Coal looks cheap and attractive - and countries with coal resources see an opportunity that wasn't there before."

For example, the United States is accelerating its buildup dramatically. In the past five years it built 2.7 gigawatts of new coal-fired generating capacity. But in the next five years, it is slated to add 37.7 gigawatts of capacity, enough to produce 247.8 million tons of CO2 per year, according to Platts. That would vault the US to second place –just ahead of India – in adding new capacity.

Even nations that have pledged to reduce global warming under the Kyoto treat are slated to accelerate their buildup of coal-fired plants. For example, eight EU nations – Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic – plan to add nearly 13 gigawatts of new coal-fired capacity by 2012. That's up from about 2.5 gigawatts over the past five years.

New countries join coal-fired binge

In all, at least 37 nations plan to add coal-fired capacity in the next five years – up from the 26 nations that added capacity during the past five years. With Sri Lanka, Laos, and even oil-producing nations like Iran getting set to join the coal-power pack, the world faces the prospect five years from now of having 7,474 coal-fired power plants in 79 countries pumping out 9 billion tons of CO2 emissions annually – out of 31 billion tons from all sources in 2012.

"These numbers show how far in the wrong direction the world is poised to go and indicate a lot of private sector investors still don't get it in terms of global warming," says David Hawkins, climate center director of the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington. "This rapid building of global-warming machines – which is what coal-power plants are – should be a wakeup call to politicians that we're driving ever faster toward the edge of the cliff."

Tune in to the audio version for more, by clicking the title above.

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