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ClimateCast with Tom Heap

Sky News

Broadcaster and journalist Tom Heap investigates the biggest environmental stories and issues with guests and Sky News correspondents.


United States




Sky News


Broadcaster and journalist Tom Heap investigates the biggest environmental stories and issues with guests and Sky News correspondents.




How Northern Ireland’s stalemate is worsening an environmental crisis

Lough Neagh is the UK’s largest lake – and it’s being poisoned by toxic algae. It’s killing dogs, birds, fish and is dangerous to humans. Campaigners say the “toxic soup” is being used “as a toilet” and although it’s treated, it still provides 40% of Northern Ireland’s drinking water. But without a sitting parliament, where do the people of Northern Ireland turn? On this episode of Sky News ClimateCast, Tom Heap visits Lough Neagh to see the damage and speak to campaigners and locals outraged by the problem. Plus, he visits the Agri-Food and Biosciences institute which could have a solution to the problem. Producers: Mickey Carroll and Emma Rae Woodhouse Editors: Luke Denne and Wendy Parker


Our national parks - Great for people, not for nature?

On this week's ClimateCast, Tom Heap goes wild camping on Dartmoor and discovers why people think it’s so devoid of wildlife. Dubbed 'the place nature goes to die' Dartmoor has been criticised for overgrazing and not enhancing nature. So what is the solution to protecting nature while still enjoying our national parks? With a tent on his back, Tom Heap speaks to the chief executive of Dartmoor Park, a local farmer and environmental campaigner about how we strike the balance. Podcast producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Climate producer: Gemma Watson Editor: Paul Stanworth


What's the catch in our fishing practices?

Sky News and Global Fishing Watch have discovered many of the UK's marine conservation zones and marine protected areas are often protected in name only. Since January 2022, tens of thousands of hours of damaging fishing practices like dredging and bottom trawling have taken place in the so-called protected zones. Although damaging to our ocean's havens, the practices aren't illegal. So how can we allow commercial fishing to continue while allowing our seabeds to recover and thrive? On this week's ClimateCast, Tom Heap is in Bognor Regis to speak to fourth-generation fisherman, Clive Mills, who has returned to his fishing boat after being pushed out because of a lack of supply. Twenty years on, he's pledged to only fish sustainably and is encouraging others to do the same. Plus, we look at the state of fishing in our waters internationally with Jack Clarke from the Marine Conservation Society. Podcast producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Climate producer: Mickey Carroll Editors: Paul Stanworth and Wendy


Will synthetic fuel drive us towards a greener future?

On this week's ClimateCast Tom Heap has exclusive access to Zero Petroleum, a producer of synthetic fuel. He catches a glimpse of a jet engine powered by e-fuel and speaks to the chemists about how they create an almost zero carbon fuel, without any oil and gas, made from only air and water. Tom meets Zero's creator Paddy Lowe, previously a Formula 1 engineer, to understand its possible role in the future of energy. Plus, Colin Walker, transport lead at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, shares how he thinks synthetic fuel compares with the electrification of transport. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Paul Stanworth


Waste not, want not: Can we be nudged towards a sustainable diet?

On this week's ClimateCast, Tom Heap is cooking up a storm in the kitchen. The food we eat is responsible for around a third of our emissions, so making diets greener couldn't be more essential to fight climate change. So how can consumers be nudged to make a change? Tom visits Sky's kitchen where they are labelling the carbon intensity of each dish alongside the menu they serve to their 30,000 employees. He also gets a tour of a restaurant without a bin. The zero waste establishment upcycles and re-uses almost absolutely everything. Podcast prodcer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Assistant producers: Alex Edden and Soila Apparicio Podcast promotions producer: Jim Farthing Editors: Wendy Parker and Paul Stanworth


What does 50C do to the human body?

It's been a week of wild weather around the world, with extreme heat in North America, China and in Southern Europe. Some parts of the US and China have exceeded 50C - while parts of Southern Europe face temperatures in the mid-40s. Temperatures like these are expected to become common during summer months due to our warming climate - but what does 50C heat do to the human body? And can we adapt? On this week's ClimateCast Tom Heap speaks to science correspondent Thomas Moore who has spent time as a 'guinea pig' in a 50C heat chamber to measure how his body reacted. They're joined by Dr Anna Moore who specialises in how heat impacts the human body and explains why the climate crisis is also a health crisis. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Paul Stanworth


The wind turbine giving power to the people

For people living in Lawrence Weston near Bristol, having England's tallest onshore wind turbine on their doorstep isn't just about the environment. They believe it will bring more than £100,000 a year back into the community and help fight poverty and climate change together. But can community energy bring Britain to net zero? On this week's ClimateCast, host Tom Heap speaks to people in Lawrence Weston about their energy project, including Mark Pepper, community manager at 'Ambition Lawrence Weston', who talks about the funding behind the turbine and how any money made will be invested into regenerating the local area. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Promotions producer: David Chipakupaku Editor: Paul Stanworth


All aboard: Can Hydrogen decarbonise our roads?

The biggest fleet of Hydrogen buses in Europe have hit the roads in Crawley as operators bet big on Hydrogen fuel, rather than electric batteries. They're more expensive to produce than electric vehicles and refuelling stations are few and far between, but can Hydrogen transport help us on the road to net zero? On this week's ClimateCast Tom Heap boards a Hydrogen bus to explore how it's improving air quality in Surrey, and he explores if Hydrogen can be used to decarbonise other heavy road transport with David Cebon, director of the Centre for Sustainable Freight at Cambridge University and Helena Bennett from climate policy thinktank Green Alliance. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Paul Stanworth


Why is AI keeping an eye on puffins?

On this week's ClimateCast, Tom Heap sets off on a voyage to find out how artificial intelligence might offer invaluable insights into the lives of vulnerable seabirds, in particular, puffins. He travels to the Isle of May off the coast of Scotland, which is home to 46,000 breeding pairs of puffins, plenty of other sea birds, four human researchers and now two surveillance cameras backed by AI. There he speaks to Musidora Jorgensen, chief sustainability officer at Microsoft UK, and Martin O'Neil, project manager at SSE, who developed the system which is learning to identify individual birds using facial recognition. Plus, James Clifton, the co-founder of Cultivo, sheds light on how AI is being used more widely for environmental regeneration. Producers: Emma Rae Woodhouse and Rosie Gillot Editor: Luke Denne --- BONUS INTERVIEW But there's more climate news this week... Back in Westminster, environment minister Zac Goldsmith has resigned, accusing Rishi Sunak of being "uninterested" in climate change - which the prime minister denies. Tom Heap unpicks his stinging resignation letter and speaks to Chris Stark, chief executive of the Climate Change Committee, about if the UK has regressed on climate commitments.


Electric cars: Why aren’t more people buying them?

Sales of electric vehicles more than doubled worldwide in 2022 and there are now more than 750,000 electric cars on the UK’s roads. But plenty of people still have concerns about making the switch. ClimateCast host Tom Heap has had his electric car for more than a year and wants to know why more people who can afford them, aren’t buying them. He talks to car enthusiast Jason Bird about his reasons for not giving up his gas guzzler for an electric version. Plus, Erin Baker, editorial director for Auto Trader on the wider issues. Annie Joyce – senior podcast producer Luke Denne – editor


Should the UK drill for new oil and gas during the climate crisis?

Campaigners opposed to oil and gas exploration sites in Surrey have taken their fight to court - but what happens next could have much wider impacts on the oil and gas industry. On this week's ClimateCast, host Tom Heap speaks to Sarah Godwin, from Protect Dunsfold, and Lisa Scott-Conte, who lives near a site in Horse Hill. This case is due before Supreme Court judges next week who will decide if greenhouse gas emissions should be considered before planning applications are approved by authorities. Tom also speaks to Charles McAllister from UK Onshore Oil and Gas - the industry’s trade association – and MP Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for energy security and net zero. Senior producer: Annie Joyce Editor: Paul Stanworth


The campaign to close Britain’s last open cast coal mine

Ffos-y-Fran in the Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil has been extracting coal for more than 15 years, but it isn’t supposed to be operating now. Its permission to mine ran out last September. So, ClimateCast host Tom Heap and the team travelled there to find out why it’s still in action, what’s happening to the coal, and when operations will stop. On this episode Tom speaks to Chris and Alyson Austin, who live near the coal mine, steam train enthusiast Steve Oates, who is chief executive of the Heritage Railway Association, and Delyth Jewell, a Plaid Cymru Senedd member for South Wales East and the party’s climate spokesperson. Annie Joyce – senior podcast producer Amy Lakin – junior podcast producer Philly Beaumont - editor


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