News can be a poison sometimes.  Newspaper owners learned years ago that people buy frightening headlines.  The motto of TV news: if it bleeds, it leads.  The most horrific stories get top billing. 


We all need to turn away from time to time, to those we love, to amazing Nature, and the trivia that convinces us for another day.


Lately, the climate news is to shocking even for Radio Ecoshock.  In the last two weeks, I've been rebuilding myself, and listeners, with back-stop nourishment.  We had programs on your food security, and how to be the change you desire.


Meanwhile, I've looked for a way to communicate the probability of catastrophe, without knocking out our will to live, and our activism. 




Thomas Homer-Dixon

Presentation to the UK Parliament's Peak Oil & Gas Subgroup May 6 2009


Q and A session at UK Parliament presentation


PowerPoint Presentation


All from this site:

(and thanks to Ecoshock listener Chris from for tipping me off to this speech!)


Phil England and Climate Radio


Hope shows up in the most improbably places.  In the last half of this program, after an overview of our predicament, we'll explore how the economic crash may delay the worst of climate disruption.  Isn't that twist?  We may get time to save the ecosphere, due to our incompetence and criminality.


Hang in, as Phil England of Climate Radio arrives with experts calling for a planned economic contraction to save the remains of the natural world.  He'll interview Tim Helweg-Larsen, Director of the Public Interest Research Centre at


Phil has a regular program on Radiance FM in London, UK.  That's in our second half hour, along with a little black depression humor, called the "Global Meltdown Darby". 


Before that, you'll hear an overview of climate and Peak Oil, from Professor Thomas Homer-Dixon.  I've prepared a digest of his new presentation to a Committee in the British Parliament.  It's crammed with science and analysis from his new book "Carbon Shift", including a re-think of how we can respond, given the near bankruptcy of governments and financial institutions.


But first....


The Horrible Climate News


Red flags, warnings and howling about climate shifts are pouring out of scientific institutions around the world.  Here is just a sample.


MIT's Centre for Global Change Science predicts global heating could be twice the level predicted by world scientists just six years ago.  Or more.  The Massachusetts Institute of Technology model allows testing of various human responses, economic developments, energy use - along with the workings of the atmosphere, the oceans, and biological systems.  Changing various parameters, with 400 runs of the model, leads to projections of a world hotter by 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100.  That is 9 degrees Fahrenheit - a huge jump in a very short period of time, likely faster than anything previous in Earth's long history.


The range of 90 percent probability, very likely, runs from 3.5 degrees at best, to 7.4 degrees at worst.


Previously, in 2003, peer reviewed science projected a media of only 2.4 degrees Celsius, that's 4 degrees Fahrenheit.  Our children and grandchildren will very likely see at least twice that much heating.


The study was published in the May issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate.  Andrei Sokolov is the lead author.


MIT's statement calls for "rapid and massive action" to prevent a catastrophic warming.  A spokesman for the MIT team said "The consequences of such changes would be off the known scale. They are unthinkable."   "A 7.4 C rise would mean severe ecosystem collapse worldwide, with total economic collapse in many parts of the world.


"The planet would face resource wars between people, and you can safely say many, many hundred of millions of people would die."


The same message was delivered at a meeting of Nobel laureates in London at the end of May.  It was organized by John Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute on Climate Impact Research, based in Germany.  These top scientists say global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2015, just 6 years away, and then decline rapidly, to avoid a new greenhouse world.  That has severe implications for our current energy use, and especially for newly industrializing countries like China and India.


These Nobel laureates call for global carbon pricing, aid for those countries faced with adaptation to climate shift, and emergency action to stop deforestation.  All of these calls for action are based on solid peer-reviewed science.


Meanwhile, according to an article by Stacy Feldman at - quote:

"Greenhouse gas emissions skyrocketed 15 percent between 2000 and 2005, according to new numbers from the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research or "EDGAR." For context, the rate of emissions growth was just 3 percent for the period 1990-1995 and 6 percent between 1995 and 2000.


The future looks even worse. Without a global treaty, carbon emissions will surge nearly 39 percent by 2030, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted this week."  end quote.


All of these scientists hope to stimulate dramatic action in climate negotiations going on in Bonn, Germany - for a replacement to the old Kyoto Treaty.


Google "St. James's Palace Nobel Laureate Memorandum" to get the details.


So this is it folks.  It sounds like a science fiction script, but it's real and happening now.  All over the world, scientists are measuring millions of fossil bits, ice cores, satellite measurements, ocean instruments, birds and bacteria - just to test for truth.  The results are coming in faster almost too fast for super-computers to tabulate, and too frightening for most of us to think about.


All the rest of human history shrinks before our present time.  Will we sink into denial and war?  Or adapt in time? 


You be the judge.


Meanwhile, here is another voice, an honest intelligent one in my opinion.  Thomas Homer-Dixon to members of the British Parliament.  After that, the wild twist, as UK broadcaster Phil England asks, can the economic downturn save us?


This is Radio Ecoshock, with Alex Smith.





"To listen to this programme and for a list of references visit the Climate Radio archive at The 300-350 Show is made for ResonanceFM in London and syndicated free to not-for-profit community radio stations and independent media outlets around the globe. The programme is named after what is now believed to the safe level in parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This finding is based on the work of James Hansen and his team in a paper titled "Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim." []


The Global Meltdown Darby performed by the Irish poet known as "Grassy Knoll".


The Thomas-Homer Dixon piece contained a clip from the new movie trailer "Steam Bath" with action man Val Kilmer.  Find the trailer here:


We also played a clip from "The End of the Age of Oil" by David Rovics


Download all Radio Ecoshock programs from our archive at


Alex Smith

Your host