Months of governmental chaos have seen contradictory policies on the environment come and go. Tom Heap asks where the Conservative Party now stands on the environment.
Should we expect more onshore wind or a continuing ban, will farmers be paid to help wildlife? And what are the underlying trends in the Conservative Party? Are most activists and MPs signed up to a Green Growth agenda or are climate change sceptics and fossil-fuel fans still a powerful force in the party that has governed the UK for most of the post-war era?
Producer: Sarah Swadling
Community energy might conjure up images of off-grid villagers working together to put up solar panels on a remote community hall. This is one model, but Tom Heap finds that there are now many more ways to join the clean energy revolution.
From urban solar rooftop projects which train up young people as fitters to huge wind farms owned by a growing online army of committed enthusiasts, community energy is having a moment.
It seems an incredible but simple idea. If we all own a bit of our energy system then we can decide the price that we pay to keep warm and keep the lights on. So what is standing in the way of more community energy? Tom Heap discovers more about how all of us could get involved with the future of energy.
Producer: Helen Lennard
How can I be a more sustainable parent?
Since becoming pregnant, environmental historian and broadcaster Dr Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough has aspired to bring up her two children as sustainably as possible. In 2017, a Canadian study recommended that people could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of children they have by one. It also pointed out how much bigger the carbon footprint of a child is in the West, compared to a child brought up in Malawi.
Despite Eleanor's best efforts, she has found that raising 'eco babies' is not all that simple. From clothes and toys, to food, nappies and transport – parenting brings with it a whole pram-load of unexpected environmental impacts. And regardless of good intentions, parental pressures like a lack of support, the need for convenience and the price of eco-alternatives often means people fall back on more carbon-intensive options. So what needs to change to make it easier? Being a new parent is tough enough, without the feeling of failing the planet being added to the burden.
In this programme, Eleanor sits down with her good friend Pamela Welsh, who also became a mother during the Covid pandemic, to discuss the areas where they are 'winning', and the occasions where they have been unable to make the greener-method work. They think about solutions and remind us that it is ok not to get it right all the time.
Eleanor also meets individuals who are are attempting to come up with solutions to some of those difficulties - from mending clothes, recycling nappies, opening up cycling to parents with more than one child and renovating schools. Can the future of parenting be more eco?
Presented by Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough
Produced in Bristol by Natalie Donovan
COP27: Meeting the Promises
The COP 27 summit in Sharm-El-Sheikh is welcoming world leaders and climate negotiators to Egypt. In a year that has been rocked by the war in Ukraine and global economic instability, can COP refocus the world’s attention on climate?
Tom Heap and Matt McGrath will take a look back at some of the pledges made last November in Glasgow for COP 26 to find out whether countries across the world are keeping to the agreements made on areas such as deforestation, methane reduction, finance and technology.
Everyone agrees that current geopolitics will make significant global agreements to decrease emissions difficult but there may be signs of hope in the actions of individual countries. Tom and Matt will try to decipher where we are and what we might be able to expect from this years ‘Conference of the Parties’.
To help them pick through the details our panel of experts include Bernice Lee from Chatham House, Danny Kennedy from New Energy Nexus, Mia Moisio from Climate Action Tracker, Piers Forster from the University of Leeds and Ben Caldecott from the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group.
Producer: Helen Lennard
Anna Turns investigates what over 30 years of post mortems on dolphins, porpoises, and whales has revealed about the state of the seas. The Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme in England and Wales, and the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme, have carried out thousands of autopsies. Anna goes into the pathology lab with Rob Deaville from ZSL as he examines a Harbour Porpoise for clues about how it died, and how it lived. As Anna finds out from toxicologist Dr Rosie Williams and veterinary pathologist Dr Andrew Brownlow, evidence from post mortems shows animals' ability to survive and breed is threatened by pollution from long banned but peristent chemicals, known as PCBs. To find out how these chemicals could still be leaching into the environment Anna travels to the Thames Estuary with Professor of Environmental Geochemistry Kate Spencer.
Producer for BBC Audio in Bristol : Sarah Swaddling