ClimateCast with Tom Heap
Broadcaster and journalist Tom Heap investigates the biggest environmental stories and issues with guests and Sky News correspondents.
Broadcaster and journalist Tom Heap investigates the biggest environmental stories and issues with guests and Sky News correspondents.
Are sleeper trains a genuine alternative to flying?
Once in a state of seemingly terminal decline after the explosion of budget flights, Europe’s night trains are having a moment. Fuelled by a demand for greener travel options, new routes are now once again snaking across the continent – including the sleeper from Brussels to Berlin that Sky News ClimateCast presenter Tom Heap finds himself on. In this episode, Tom speaks to Adalbert Jahnz, the European Commission’s transport spokesperson, about how sleeper trains fit with the EU’s green ambitions, and to a man invested in the success of this mode of transport - Chris Engelsman, co-founder of European Sleeper. Producer: Soila Apparicio Editor: Paul Stanworth
Don’t save the (honey)bee
To mark World Bee Day - Tom Heap puts on his beesuit to visit some of London’s beekeepers. There are more than 250 species of bees in the UK which are crucial to our wildlife, biodiversity and food production. But warnings they might be in peril has triggered a 21st century boom in beekeeping - which now could be causing wild species to decline. On this week’s episode Tom speaks to keepers reducing their hive numbers to protect wild pollinators and researchers at Kew Garden about why bees are so crucial to our climate and what we can do to protect them. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Paul Stanworth
Heat networks: Is this how your home will get heated in the future?
On this episode of ClimateCast Tom Heap is in Cambridgeshire to visit a village that's become an unexpected frontrunner in a new solution for heating homes. Fifteen homes in the village, soon to be 300, have switched from oil heating to a climate friendly district heating network. There, Tom sees the new £12 million energy centre in action. But what is district heating and how much of a role does it play in the UK's low carbon heating mix? Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editors: Paul Stanworth and Philly Beaumont
Climate Activism: Increasingly effective, or increasingly annoying?
From huge scale marches to disrupting sports events, sitting in the roads or even letting your tyres down... is climate activism getting increasingly effective? Or just increasingly annoying? On this week's ClimateCast, Tom Heap is on the streets of London for "The Big One" - four days of climate demonstrations to mark Earth Day. He speaks to climate activists pledging to "step up" their disruptive actions if the government refuses to meet their demand on halting approvals for new oil and gas projects. But with the methods of some groups proving ever more controversial, Tom explores if climate activism is growing more effective - or turning the public against the protestors and setting the cause back.
'A damp fizzle, not a big bang': Unpacking the UK's climate strategy
On Thursday, the government revealed a flurry of climate and energy announcements dubbed as "Green Day". Nearly 3,000 pages of work outlined their plans to improve energy security and deliver on their net-zero climate commitments. On this episode of ClimateCast, Tom Heap is joined by Sky's climate change and energy correspondent Hannah Thomas-Peter to break down what the plans are and its shortcomings. They also unpack an interview with Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps, who defended the government's net-zero plans. Plus, Tom speaks to Chris Skidmore MP, who wrote a critical review of the government's approach to net-zero, about why he believes the plans amount to missed opportunities. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Paul Stanoworth
'Worry is good, fear is bad’ - getting the climate message across
This week the UN released a comprehensive scientific report offering humanity a ‘final warning’ to avoid climate catastrophe – but it barely got any coverage. So what is it about bleak climate assessments that can cause people to switch off? On this week's episode of Sky News' ClimateCast, Tom Heap asks psychologist Dr Sander van der Linden why our brains struggle to process news that scares people and speaks to comedian Tom Walker, AKA Jonathan Pie, about using humour to get the point across. Plus, social media content creator Venetia La Manna explains what made her change from a fast-fashion addict to a fair fashion campaigner. Podcast producer: Rosie Gillott Editor: Paul Stanworth
Dead Wood: Why were hundreds of thousands of trees left to die?
National Highways, the government agency responsible for England's main roads, has admitted that more than half a million trees beside a single 21-mile stretch of new carriageway have died – with the cost of replanting them now £2.9 million pounds. Many tree experts say this is symptomatic of a focus on tree planting over tree care. On this week’s Sky News ClimateCast, Tom Heap visits the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon where we speak to Lib Dem councillors Edna Murphy, Ros Hathorn and Firouz Thompson about what’s happened. Plus, tree surgeon Mike Downs on why it’s a much bigger issue, and former chief project officer at the Woodland Trust, Carol Honeybun Kelly, talks about solutions to help trees settle, survive and thrive. Annie Joyce – senior podcast producer Paul Stanworth – editor
Hydrogen homes: The village of 'guinea pigs'
In a corner of Ellesmere Port, Chester, 2,000 residents received flyers through their door informing them they will be cut off from conventional natural gas and plumbed into hydrogen - in the world’s first trial of its kind. It's part of the UK's efforts to decarbonise the power system by 2035 - but some of the residents aren't happy. On this week's episode of Sky News ClimateCast, Tom Heap visits the 'Hydrogen Village' to get a sense of how locals feel about the trial. He's also joined by experts on both sides of the debate to ask whether hydrogen has a place in the home. Plus David Joffe, Head of Net Zero at the Climate Change Committee, joins Tom to talk about plans to decarbonise by 2035 and how far we have to go. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Philly Beaumont
Heat around peat: The controversy facing Scotland's carbon sink
On this week's episode of ClimateCast, Tom Heap heads to Aberdeenshire to enjoy some local peated whisky - but what actually is peat and why are its uses so controversial? Peatlands, also known as bogs, are key in the UK's fight against climate change. Their spongy soil stores vast amounts of carbon and are a haven for biodiversity - but their commercial benefits are endless too from heating homes to flavouring famous Scottish whisky. As Scotland contemplates banning the digging and burning of peat, Tom hikes across some of the country's bogs to discover their wonders. He also visits a family run business who've been selling peat to locals for generations as well as a distillery who say they can restore more peat than they use for their tipple. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editors: Paul Stanworth and Philly Beaumont
Money down the drain: Who's paying for Britain's poo problem?
On this week's episode of ClimateCast, Tom Heap gets exclusive access to London's super sewer, the solution to the Thames's poo problem. London's iconic river is one of thousands up and down the country subject to raw sewage flowing into the water whenever there's rain, causing problems for the natural environment as well as the people who enjoy it. Tom visits the riverside to assess just how big the problem at hand is. He's also joined by Alastair Chisholm from the Chartered Institute of Water Environmental Management, to ask who is going to pay to clean up UK waters. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Paul Stanworth
Is banning cars from city centres worth it?
Car is king in many of our neighbourhoods, but heavy congestion and air pollution has led to some local councils rethinking the layouts of town and city centres, including reducing where cars can go. In Oxford the idea has sparked controversy after the council’s plan to install traffic filters on some roads means some people could be fined for driving into other neighbourhoods. Meanwhile, Ghent in Belgium has implemented an 'active city' scheme, transforming roads into cycle lanes and redeveloping a car park back into a river, improving public transport efficiency and encouraging people to get on their bikes. ClimateCast host Tom Heap explores both cities to investigate the pros and cons of the changes. Podcast Producer: Soila Apparicio Climate Output Producer: Gemma Watson Editor: Paul Stanworth
Could nightlife be battery powered?
Climate-friendly energy sources such as wind and solar rely on the weather playing ball, and when it doesn’t, the UK is forced to fire up costly and polluting gas to prevent blackouts. But in Merseyside, a facility of massive batteries are on a mission to solve that problem. On this week's episode Tom Heap checks out nightlife in Liverpool - not to let loose, but to learn why massive batteries could keep the lights on when demand is high and renewable power generation is low. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editors: Paul Stanwoth and Philly Beaumont
Will solar farms land us with a climate solution?
On this week's episode of ClimateCast with Tom Heap, we're talking about land, and how our demands of it have exploded. We don’t have much spare in the UK – we need to grow food, nurture wildlife, house a growing population, and now, with a focus on climate change, create green energy, including solar farms. This week Tom Heap visits Oxfordshire, to a site that could become the UK's largest solar farm. He speaks to those for and against the development as well as also visiting a neighbouring solar farm, which does more than just generate electricity. Plus in the studio he's joined by Lydia Collas, from the Green Alliance, who explains how the UK needs to take a multi-functional approach to land use if it wants to reach net-zero. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Paul Stanworth
The "zombie" landfills coming back to haunt us
On this week's ClimateCast, we're talking rubbish. Tom Heap visits a historic landfill which was supposed to be buried beneath ground, but due to climate change and coastal erosion, the waste from our past is "coming back to terrorise us" by polluting our coastlines and water. He speaks to mudlark Monika Buttling-Smith about searching for treasure in the Thames and the importance of conserving our history - but the right parts of it. Just miles away AJ McConville of Thames21, who work with communities to improve waterways in London, shows Tom how a historic landfill in Tilbury is being churned up due to coastal erosion. But could there be a cost-effective solution to the "zombie rubbish"? Tom asks Andrew Jenkins, founder of Ecological Landfill Mining and Recycling. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Paul Stanworth
Extreme temperatures: Returning to the UK village that caught fire
Six months ago, the UK experienced its hottest day on record. As a result a village in Essex, on the outskirts of London, caught fire, destroying dozens of homes. On this edition of ClimateCast Tom Heap returns to the village ravaged by flames to meet the residents who lost their homes. He speaks to Robbie and Dave who own the last remaining cottage of a now demolished cluster. They tell him about the hardships extreme weather has caused them and their neighbours. Plus chief executive of the Climate Change Committee, Chris Stark, joins Tom to explain what the UK needs to do to adapt to a more threatening climate. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Paul Stanworth
Britain's lost rainforests
On this week's ClimateCast, Tom Heap heads into the rainforest - but he didn't have to travel far. In Dartmoor, Devon, he explores a temperate rainforest dripping with a rare and lively ecosystem that only exists in regions without extreme temperatures. The rainforests are once thought to have made up 20% of Britain, but centuries of deforestation means there are just little pockets left. Joining Tom in the "green cathedral" to discuss how these fragments of forest could be saved and why they're so important to preventing climate change is author and environmental campaigner Guy Shrubsole and Dr Debbie Hemming, scientific manager of vegetation-climate interactions at the Met Office. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Podcast promotions producer: David Chipakupaku Editor: Paul Stanworth
2022 in Climate Change: Floods, droughts and extreme weather
Floods, droughts and extreme weather have been some of the biggest and most important climate stories of the year. On Sky News ClimateCast, Tom Heap and our climate change and energy correspondent Hannah Thomas-Peter break-down the past 12 months and the stories they've covered, and look ahead to 2023. Producer: Soila Apparicio Editor: Paul Stanworth
Nature VS food: Can the UK afford rewilding?
On this episode of ClimateCast it's all about nature. This week UN General Secretary Antonio Guettres said "we are treating nature like a toilet" addressing the once in a decade summit where governments from across the world try and agree ways to stop the loss of nature across the planet - and even restore it. It's not just about protecting the Amazon, it matters here in the UK too. In this episode, Tom Heap is in Befordshire to explore ways the UK can rebuild its natural world decimated by decades of intensive farming and industry. Rewilding is a growing solution - but some farmers say the practice damages food supply. Tom Heap examines the pros and cons and finds out how the UK can restore biodiversity to its countryside. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Paul Stanworth
Hydrogen: The future of energy?
Hydrogen could be a vital bridge in the transition to renewables, but is there enough investment and commitment at a government level? On Sky News ClimateCast, Tom Heap is at the UK Hydrogen Summit exploring how it could be used, and he is joined by the director of created hydrogen technology company FusionBlu, Fred Davey. Tom also discusses the opportunities and challenges in using hydrogen with Clare Jackson, chief executive of Hydrogen UK, and Michael Liebreich, who provides advisory services and speaks on clean energy. Producers: Soila Apparicio and Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Paul Stanworth
Diesel: The energy crisis quandary for businesses
A Sky News Climate Show investigation has discovered businesses - and even some households - are switching from mains power to generating electricity from diesel because of soaring energy bills. This comes at a big environmental cost, while a switch to renewable energy still seems out of reach to many consumers. So how can we drive our bills down without burning more fossil fuels? On Sky News ClimateCast, Tom Heap visits an Oxfordshire butcher who says he was forced to switch to a diesel generator to keep the family business afloat. Plus, Michael Grubb, professor of energy and climate change policy at University College London, shares ideas on how to kickstart the renewable revolution while driving down the cost of energy. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Interviews producer: Alys Bowen Editor: Paul Stanworth