NOTICE! On Thursday July 10 the Radio Ecoshock server is having technical problems. Please download or listen to the new show from SoundCloud here:

SUMMARY: Plutocrats admit U.S. economy is “Risky Business” during climate change. It will not be safe to go outside. Cambridge Polar expert Peter Wadhams on Arctic methane burst. New climate song “Too Hot”. Radio Ecoshock 140709

Four years ago, on Radio Ecoshock I asked if planet Earth could get so hot, it would be dangerous for most humans to go outside on many days of the year.

Now far too soon, a new report called “Risky Business” explains the majority of Americans will experience days too hot to go out for more than an hour or so, without suffering heat stroke. Many will die. In just the South East region of the United States, by the end of this century there will be somewhere between 11,000 to 36,000 more heat deaths every year. They’ll get about 130 days a year, four months, of extreme temperatures.

In the United States, as in many other parts of the world, there will be huge economic losses. Crop yields will fall
as much as 50%, with some foods disappearing. It will be too hot outside to work in the fields. In fact all outdoor work, from construction to forestry, may have to be done at night.

That’s the start of a long-term trend where humans may have to become more nocturnal, and build more underground, just to survive temperatures so hot they have only appeared once before on this planet. Our early mammal relatives survived only underground.

Here is what makes this report doubly shocking: it’s published by top business leaders and finance experts, including Republicans. When the 1% who own most of the wealth in the world realize their own money and real estate are threatened by global warming, you know we are in trouble. But maybe that could be the turning point where we finally see some real action to move away from fossil fuels, deforestation, and agribusiness that pollutes the atmosphere with dangerous gases.

Download or Listen to this Radio Ecoshock show in CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)

Or listen to it now on Soundcloud.


I play you key short clips from the report press conference. You will hear former Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson say the climate threat to the economy is far greater than the 2007-2008 economic crash he helped stave off. The famous New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, himself a billionaire, explains we are heading into climate catastrophe. John Hopkins specialist Dr. Al Summers explains how heat deaths work. And Clinton Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin warns we may not even be aware of the worst to come.

Along those lines, I’ll also be playing you a the audio from a new interview of Cambridge Polar expert Dr. Peter Wadhams. He says civilization is unlikely to survive if a 50 gigatonne release of methane burps out of the rapidly
warming Arctic. Two scientists, one American, one Russian, have explained how that is quite possible.

Then we’ll dive into the Radio Ecoshock archives, where I interview bloggers John Cook of Skeptical Science,
and Stuart Staniford of Early Warning, about the science of human tolerance for heat and humidity.

I hope to have time to squeeze in my new climate song “Too Hot” – which I hope you can use as a tool to reach more people.


Let’s get busy, with the opening remarks by Hank Paulson for the report “Risky Business,The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States.”

This is Radio Ecoshock. We are listening to remarks made at the press release June 24th, in New York City of a stunning report on climate, human health and the economy. It’s called “Risky Business”. Next up is former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Bob Rubin was also CEO and co-Chair of Goldman Sachs, as well as a Board member at Citigroup.

Henry Cisneros was the first Hispanic-America Mayor of San Antonio Texas, and served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, in the Clinton Administration. He’s now Chairman of the CityView companies. Finally, someone in the real estate industry speaks up about the coming price carnage coming as multi-million dollar coastal properties become worthless due to rising seas and extreme storm surge.

Eventually most of Florida real estate will go under, along with the land. The Risky Business report suggests between $238 billion and $507 billion of coastal property will be lost to the sea.

Al Sommers, is the Dean Emeritus of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins University. Here’s the short and bitter explanation of how humans die from heat.

Dean Sommers told the press: “Montana summers will soon be the same as New Mexico today.” It will become impossible to be outside there without some kind of air-conditioned suit for about 20 days a year.

Greg Page, the executive chairman of the world’s largest grains company Cargill, also spoke, but frankly he used public relations talk, extolling the can-do powers of farmers to adapt to climate change. In my opinion, even Superman can’t grow crops when the rain doesn’t fall, or extreme heat or floods wipe out the fields.

Others who have made statements supporting this report include former United States Senator Olympia Snowe, billionaire environmental supporter Tom Steyer, and Bush-era Secretary of State and of the Treasury, George Shultz. Professor of Political Science and President of the University of Miami, Donna Shalala minced no words on the clear threat posed by climate change to her state. You can find links to all the videos, statements, and the report in my Radio Ecoshock blog at Or go to

RISKY BUSINESS REPORT LINKS (Executive summary, press video etc)


Executive Summary here.

Find risks in your own part of the United States here.

Press release video: [recorded for this show, with notes]

Joe Romm’s take here.

Reuters article here.

More here from Bloomerg and here from UK’s Daily Mail (with some good graphics).


As I write this, it is 101 degrees F, 38 degrees C outside my door. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t sure I’d live to hear top financial experts from both political parties admitting global warming is becoming an almost unstoppable catastrophe that will threaten the entire wealth structure of America and the world. I feel vindicated and even more worried at the same time.

Even by 2050, not all that far away, the average American will experience tow or three time more days over 95 degrees, or 36 Celsius. By the end of the century, that becomes about 3 months of such weather.

So what you say? First, a warmer atmosphere holds more water. This higher humidity will combine with higher temperatures to kill many of us. We can only sweat ourselves cool enough to avoid heat stroke if the heat and humidity are below certain levels. We’ll find out more about that later in this program. Second, if you think air-conditioning will handle it all, consider our grid and power sources are already at the breaking point in hot weather. The price of oil, coal and gas will continue to go up as we go beyond the peak of what can be produced at reasonable prices.

We can’t burn all those fossil fuels anyway, without completely roasting out the planet. Can we really expect solar and wind power to cool off all our inefficient shopping malls, office towers, homes and industrial plants? I doubt it.


Bob Rubin raise the problem of extreme changes that are not even quantified by the official Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. There’s plenty of news from the Arctic to back that up. I could spend 3 programs just updating you on the hot Arctic, the super-heat-cell hovering over Siberia, and the giant forest fires there. But here is the head of the Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, UK, Dr. Peter Wadhams, being interviewed by Nick Breeze for for Envisionation

Watch that interview on You tube here.

Find the Arctic Methane Emergency Group here.

Will we get that 50 gigaton burst of methane? No one knows for sure. It could all come down to good luck, or an undersea land-slide or quake. Meanwhile, as Wadhams says, we do know more and more methane is leaking out of the frozen methane clathrates as the Arctic sea warm to extraordinary temperatures, especially with no sea ice covering. We won’t even get into the methane clouds rising from land sources as the permafrost melts.


This is the Radio Ecoshock summer special on extreme heat.

Let’s get the mechanics of how humans cool themselves, and why we may not be able to in a hotter and more humid world. We’ll start with a slightly shortened version of my 2010 interview with John Cook, host of the popular Skeptical Science blog and video series.

Listen to or download the full John Cook interview here.

Don’t forget our interview on climate and human health with Dr. Elizabeth Hanna from Australian National University. That’s from our show November 27th, 2013. Here’s a quick clip of Dr. Hanna on the response of the human body to extreme heat.

Download/listen to this 20 minute interview with Dr. Hanna in CD Quality or Lo-Fi.

Read more about Elizabeth Hanna with links here.

Back in 2010, another enquiring mind, Stuart Staniford, looked into human trying to work in extreme heat in Pakistan. The difference of course is Pakistan has a dryer heat, whereas the rest of us will get a deadly double-dose of heat AND high humidiy. Staniford is the host of the Early Warning blog. Find the link for the full interview here.

That was Stuart Staniford, from our Radio Ecoshock interview June 11th, 2010. Find Stuart at Although he hasn’t been blogging since January.

Radio Ecoshock was literally years ahead of the mass media in covering this issue. Be sure to stay tuned as we cover climate change and our future, as no one else does.

Find all our past programs, most of them as valid as the day they were born, as free mp3 files at our web site,


So here is that song, just right for today’s news and the news of tomorrow. It’s called “Too Hot”. I wrote this song
using Ableton Live, a computer synth voice called “Blue Vox“, plus voices from TextAloud.

Please forward links to this song to all your friends, and contacts in social media. We need a Twitter and Facebook barage to get out the music of climate change, and the word about this radio program. Thank you for demanding for a better world. Here is the link to share. [ ]