Airplanes transport over 2.2 billion passengers a year but they are also a significant contributor to climate change, producing approximately 600 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. One transatlantic flight for a family of four creates more CO2 than that family generates domestically in an entire year. And while the benefits of the smaller planet that airline travel has created are immeasurable, can it be justified in light of the potentially life-damaging effects of climate change? And if we can’t justify it, are we capable of stopping? George Monbiot writes, “When it comes to flying, there seems to be no connection between intention and action. This is partly because the people who are most concerned about the inhabitants of other countries are often those who have traveled widely.”
On this, the last-ever episode of Corporate Watchdog Radio, we take a stroll down memory lane to revisit the best moments in CWR’s history. The exchanges that had us on the edge of our seats, straining into our headphones to hear every syllable. We hear from a crotchety Barney Frank, a reflective Frances Moore Lappe, a tentative but ultimately optimistic Bill McKibben, a hopeful George Monbiot, and an eloquent Paul Hawken. Starting in 2009, CWR is changing its name to Sea Change Radio to cover the shift to social, environmental, and economic sustainability.
In part two of this two-part interview, British journalist George Monbiot discusses his new book, Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning, with CWR co-hosts Bill Baue and Francesca Rheannon. He touches on the irony that increased energy efficiency can lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions and the promise of high-voltage DC cables in transmitting renewable energy over long distances. We end the conversation discussing the paradox that love both creates climate change (in the form of what Monbiot calls “love miles” or the distance traveled and carbon emitted to visit loved ones) and holds the key to the solution, as compassion for humanity is the greatest catalyst for changing our carbon intensive systems.
In part one of this two-part interview, British journalist George Monbiot discusses his new book, Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning, with CWR co-hosts Bill Baue and Francesca Rheannon. Monbiot applauds the acknowledgment of the climate crisis in awarding of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, but criticizes recipient Al Gore for undermining the Kyoto Protocol when he was in office. He also presents the case for carbon rationing under the “Contraction and Convergence” framework. He emphasizes the necessary role of government regulation in solving the climate crisis, and discusses the paradoxes of how “regulation enhances the sum of human freedom” and how our carbon-intensive lifestyles create a “fantasy of freedom.”