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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.




Cows or solar? The lucrative future for farmland

Solar farms in the UK only account for 0.1% of land – that's less than that of golf courses. But, as the government aims to meet its clean energy targets, more agricultural land is being lost to solar panels. On this episode of ClimateCast, Tom Heap visits farmer Andrew Dakin, whose family have farmed the same land for 94 years, but now, his landlord is selling up to make room for a solar farm. Tom speaks to Andrew about how not just his job, but his livelihood is at risk - and Georgia, who grew up nearby and has launched a community campaign to help save the farm. Plus, Chris Hewitt – Solar Energy UK’s Chief Executive – explains how solar farms are a necessary part of the energy transition and how agriculture will be at risk of climate change without urgent action, including more solar energy. Producers: Emma Rae Woodhouse and Gemma Watson Assistant Producer: Iona Brunker Editor: Paul Stanworth


Can the private jet industry really clean itself up?

Multi-millionaire musician Taylor Swift had two private jets - until she sold one of them just a week before her lawyers sent a cease and desist letter to the creator of social media accounts that log take-offs and landings of planes and helicopters owned by public figures. So, on this episode of ClimateCast, Tom Heap visits a private jet investors conference in London to find out just how climate un-friendly these jets are, and what the industry says it's going to do about it. Tom speaks to industry leaders, including Steve Varsano is the founder of The Jet Business, which has a street front corporate aircraft showroom and almost two million TikTok followers. Plus, Todd Smith, a former airline pilot, now climate activist and Extinction Rebellion spokesperson, shares his experience of trying to make the industry more sustainable. Producers: Emma Rae Woodhouse and Luke Denne


Could a scotch egg help solve climate change?

On this episode of ClimateCast, Tom Heap visits the home of afternoon tea, Fortnum and Mason, but there's something different about the menu. Its scotch egg is made from cultivated meat – that's meat grown in a lab. He speaks to the scientists behind the product to find out how it was made and explores if this could be a solution to our polluting meat and dairy industry - which accounts for 14% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Cultivated meat is technically not yet legal in the UK - but as pressure mounts to change our diet - could this be the future? And where does that leave farmers? Producers: Emma Rae Woodhouse and Gemma Watson Editor: Wendy Parker


Chris Skidmore - The Tory climate rebel who quit parliament

The government's plan to grant new oil and gas licences every year has passed its latest hurdle in parliament. The bill's supporters say it will improve energy security, as the UK still relies heavily on fossil fuels. Critics, however, argue it will not cut energy bills and instead will break the UK's promise to phase out fossil fuels. One of those critics is Chris Skidmore who recently resigned as a Conservative MP over the government's net zero strategy and its decision to boost new oil and gas production. On this episode of ClimateCast, Mr Skidmore, who led the independent government review into net zero, sits down with Sky's science and technology editor Tom Clarke. They discuss the reasons behind his decision to quit, the 'culture war' attached to net zero and the realities the UK faces getting there.


Are heat pumps worth it?

Heating accounts for a third of emissions in the UK, meaning we have to ditch our favourite fuel, gas. The Government's alternative? The heat pump. But despite installations being on the rise, the UK is much behind it's European neighbours on the number of heat pumps being installed each year. So why are we so slow? Is it the price, reluctance to change - or do heat pumps have a bad name? On this week's ClimateCast Tom Heap finds out the truth about heat pumps. He debunks some myths, sees one being installed, and meets a customer who recently made the change. He speaks to Mike Foster from energy and utilities alliance about why he believes heat pumps aren't the only option - as well as Lord Callanan about the misinformation surrounding heat pumps. Producer: Emma Rae Woodhouse


Mineral mining: Going deep underground to protect what's above

More than 1,000m underground is one of Britain's deepest mines. But it's not coal they're mining in North Yorkshire. It's a mineral that could help fight climate change. On this week's ClimateCast, Tom Heap explores the tunnels way beneath the North Sea bed to find out if what lies under the ground can help protect the atmosphere above. He discovers how miners are extracting polyhalite, a fertiliser that emits 85% less emissions than its counterparts, and learns why a multi-billion pound project is under way to extract more. Above ground, he's joined by professor of soil erosion and conservation, Jane Rickson from Cranfield University, to discuss the state and significance of the ground beneath our feet. Producers: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Philly Beaumont


2023 is the hottest year on record, but are there reasons to be cheerful?

On this special Christmas episode of ClimateCast Tom Heap is joined by climate and energy analyst, Sepi Golzari-Munro. They’re joined by a panel of special guests look back over a remarkable year in climate science and politics, as well as look ahead to some reasons to be cheerful in the world of climate going into 2024. Special guests Dr Ella Gilbert, Antarctic climate scientist Dr Friederike Otto, Climatologist specialising in extreme weather Alastair Campbell, Former director of communications, Blair government Ed Conway, Sky’s Economics editor


What does Lego tell us about the COP28 climate deal?

This week COP28 reached a "historic" and "unprecedented" conclusion to "move away from fossil fuels". While leaders are hailing the agreement a breakthrough, campaigners argue it doesn't go far enough and it should phase out fossil fuels entirely, but how realistic is that ambition? On this week's ClimateCast Tom Heap is joined by Sky's economics editor Ed Conway who explains why the answer to our fossil fuel reliance starts with a piece of Lego. They discuss what happens to fossil fuels now that deal is in place and what a net-zero 2050 might look like, and how we get there. Tom is also joined by Racquel Moses, CEO of the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, who speaks about the enormous impact the climate deal with have on small island developing states for decades to come. Producers: Emma Rae Woodhouse Editor: Paul Stanworth


All aboard: Can we decarbonise rail freight?

Shipping our heavy goods around the world is a huge carbon emitter. In the UK, we transport a vast amount via roads which has the same carbon footprint as air travel, buses and domestic shipping combined. So could we be shipping in a more environmentally friendly way? On this week’s ClimateCast, Tom Heap boards a freight train to find out how rail freight fits into our net-zero future.He finds out why the cost of electricity means freight operators are running more diesel than electric and what changes are needed to the UK’s infrastructure to slash shipping emissions. Plus, our climate reporter Victoria Seabrook joins Tom to talk about what’s been happening at COP28 in Dubai this week. Producers: Emma Rae Woodhouse and Luke Denne Editor: Philly Beaumont


COP28: Breakthrough at Dubai climate conference

The King has urged world leaders assembled in Dubai to make the COP28 climate summit a "critical turning point" in the fight to tackle global warming. And there has already been a breakthrough with wealthy nations contributing nearly $300m to a 'loss and damage' fund compensating poorer countries for the effects of climate change. It has taken 32 years to agree so while it is an achievement, the real issue remains cutting fossil fuels. In oil-rich Dubai that is a thorny issue. It and other petrostates are still arguing that the world needs fossil fuels while it transitions to greener energy sources. Climatecast host Tom Heap is in Dubai finding out what COP28 might achieve. Producers: Emma Rae Woodhouse & Luke Denne Editor: Wendy Parker


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