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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.




Toxic News: The hurdles of covering climate change

Climate change has long been a divisive topic that is often forced to the bottom of the news agenda, even as the threat of a warming world grows. Ahead of COP28, the annual UN climate negotiations, Tom Heap is joined by a panel of guests to discuss the challenges of covering climate change. Political scientist, Sir John Curtice, former Times journalist, Liz Gerard, and video journalist, Zoe Broughton debate how to best encapsulate the public, make climate stories relevant and make audiences care. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Philly Beaumont The panel all contributed to new book Toxic News? Covering Climate Change which features essays from academics and journalists on the challenges of reporting the subject.


Can ships steer away from air pollution?

Shipping, in the form of cruises, ferries and even the navy, accounts for around 2% of our emissions that contribute to global warming - just a little less than aviation. The diesel powered vessels also worsens air pollution, the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK. At Portsmouth Harbour, they're on a mission to tackle both of those things. On this week's ClimateCast Tom Heap visits Portsmouth Port who are planning to plug in some of its ships at berth and run them on electricity. He speaks to brains behind the Sea Change project to find out what benefits charging ships could offer Portsmouth and how far the shipping industry has to go to become green. Producers: Emma Rae Woodhouse and Gemma Watson Editor: Wendy Parker


Can we build homes for wildlife as well as people?

Building new homes often comes at the expense of living space for wildlife. But from 2024, a new law in England means developers will have to make sure their projects deliver 10% more nature. It's called biodiversity net gain. Conservation groups are "cautiously optimistic", but do local authorities have the resources to maintain, measure and police the uptick in nature? On ClimateCast, Tom Heap visits a housing development with nature embedded into its foundations as well as a field of barley a few miles from Milton Keynes that's been selected to enjoy natural regeneration as a payback for damage elsewhere. Plus he speaks to Prue Addison, from Wildlife Trust, about the realities of the new law and the potential impact it could have. Podcast producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Field producer: Mickey Carroll Editor: Paul Stanworth


Is compostable packaging a good alternative to plastic?

This week Wales has joined England and Scotland on waving goodbye to single-use plastics. The decision lends its hand to the 'booming' compostable packaging industry. But could a packaging that reverts to nature be too good to be true? One UCL study has found that 60% of products advertised as home compostable didn't fully decompose within 12 months - and a lot of consumers don't know which bin they go in. So are compostables genuinely a good alternative to plastic? On Sky News ClimateCast Tom Heap visits a compostable packaging manufacturer to find out how it works and where it's best fit for purpose. He meets researcher Danielle Purkiss who ran the Big Compost Heap study to find out what the challenges with this kind of packaging are and visits online grocer Abel & Cole - who've decided to ditch compostables. Producers: Emma Rae Woodhouse and Mickey Carroll Editor: Paul Stanworth


A story of redemption: How a fracking site converted to a renewable energy source

Just a few years ago, a small village in North Yorkshire became a magnet for protesters who were opposing hydraulic fracturing for gas - also known as fracking. Now, the organiser of those protests works for the same company he opposed, but it has tapped into a greener energy source. On this episode of ClimateCast, Tom Heap heads to North Yorkshire to meet workers at the firm which has swapped fracking for geothermal heat. He speaks to the staff who have turned away from fossil fuels, and also to former protesters about their victory and the green energy solution that's on their doorstep. Podcast producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Field producer: Gemma Watson Editor: Paul Stanworth


Can we imprison carbon dioxide?

Carbon dioxide is the big villain of global warming - the "most wanted" for crimes against the climate that we'd love to lock up. In Merseyside and North Wales, they're putting a posse together. It's called HyNet and it's a group of around 40 carbon-intensive industries brought together as a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) cluster. On this episode, Tom Heap hears how polluting industries plan to capture CO2 before it's released and asks: will carbon capture ever actually become a reality? Podcast producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Field producer: Gemma Watson Editor: Paul Stanworth


Heat: The small business with a big plan to cut carbon emissions

Half of energy is used as heat and, both across the world and here in the UK, most of that comes from fossil fuels. But a small business in Hampshire thinks that have the solution to store and decarbonise heat - a heat battery. If successful, the breakthrough could eliminate 4% of global carbon emissions. On this week's ClimateCast Tom Heap visits the factory producing heat batteries for industry purposes. He speaks to founder James McNaghten about how aluminium and gravel could produce heat, on demand. Plus he speaks to Dr Iain Staffell, senior lecturer in Sustainable Energy at Imperial College London, about how to scale up the producing of heat batteries and their potential. Podcast producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Field producer: Mickey Carroll


River Fixers: Can citizen science push back pollution?

On this week's ClimateCast Tom Heap is in west London to talk about the quality of the UK's waterways, something that's causing a public and political outcry across the country. With his waders on, he meets the brains behind water quality monitors handmade by local residents which are helping to monitor pollution in the River Brent, including founder of Clean up the River Brent, Ben Morris. Plus, he speaks to former punk icon Feargal Sharkey about fears for future water quantity and how much of a factor water will be in the next general election. Podcast producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse Field producer: Gemma Watson Editors: Wendy Parker and Paul Stanworth


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