The Elephant

The Elephant


The Elephant is a journey into climate change. But it’s about a lot more than just the climate. From politics and rising sea-levels, to contested pipelines and the cities of the future, through illuminating interviews the Elephant takes you inside the surprising questions, stories, battlegrounds, debates, and fights occurring throughout the world, as the planet heats up and humanity confronts what is perhaps the greatest challenge of our time. Hosted by Kevin Caners and supported by the CKAA.


Why Climate Change is Wreaking Havoc on The World's Coral Reefs  

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is right at this moment suffering from what is the most devastating bleaching event in its entire fossil history, with 93% of its reefs experiencing at least some degree of bleaching. Many of these reefs will be killed permanently, and similar damage is occurring to countless other coral reef systems around the world. And the culprit? Human caused climate change. We called up professor Justin Marshall, a coral reef expert who has studied these ecosystems for over three decades, to learn about the damage being done, why it matters, and why our only hope for saving these systems is to decrease our greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible.

The Co-Founder of Occupy Wall Street on Bringing About Social Change  

The Occupy movement of 2011 was one of the most successful activist actions of the last few decades. It changed the discourse, raised the issue of income inequality world-wide, and it galvanized a new generation of activists. But its co-founder, Micah White, considers Occupy a 'constructive failure', but one that that has lessons that activists - including those of us in the environmental movement - can learn from. With Micah we talk about the story behind how Occupy Wall Street started, the future of protest, and how activists can bring about the social change that our world so badly needs.

How Canada's Biggest City Reduced Its Emissions  

Toronto is Canada's biggest city, and it's also one of its biggest successes when it comes to acting on climate thus far. While the average emissions for the country have been going up, Toronto has managed to not only meet its targets for cutting greenhouse gases, but exceed them by more than double. We sat down to speak with former Toronto mayor David Miller about some of the successful policies the city put in place to meet its emissions cuts, what some of the challenges were to getting there, and why in his view social integration and climate sustainability go hand in hand.

How Cities Are Leading The Way on Climate  

How our cities are run and designed can have a huge impact on the carbon footprint we have as individuals. Is there convenient and affordable transit available for example? Or are the buildings heated and cooled efficiently? But fortunately cities around the world are increasingly making their planning decisions with climate emissions in mind. In fact, actions by cities have been a rare bright spot in an otherwise mostly stagnant decade when it comes to climate action. We speak to Mark Watts - who leads a group called the C40 made up of some of the world's biggest cities - about some of the ways that cities are leading the way on climate.

The U.S. Supreme Court v. The Future of The Planet  

If you care about climate, then it's been a wild couple of weeks on the U.S. supreme court. First, in a surprise decision the court issued a stay against the EPA's Clean Power Plan - dealing a devastating blow to the U.S.'s efforts to reduce carbon emissions. And then just a few days after the ruling, Antonin Scalia, one of the 5 conservative justices who voted for the stay died at age 79. unleashing a huge battle over the future of the court. We speak to journalist John Upton of Climate Central about what the recent ruling, and Antonin Scalia's death, means for both America, and the future of the climate.

The Unforgiving Math For Staying Under 2 Degrees  

In the Paris accord, 195 countries agreed that they would collectively keep average global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees. But what does science have to say on actually keeping that goal? And how fast, and by how much, will we have to cut our emissions to get there? Professor Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre is a climate scientist who looks at exactly this question. And the math he comes away with, isn't pretty.

Ex President of Costa Rica - 'Creating Low Carbon Economies is an Opportunity'  

Jose Maria Figueres is the President of the Carbon War Room, an organization that supports initiatives by private companies to reduce their carbon emissions. And previously he was the president of Costa Rica. We talked with Figueres about why he sees moving towards low carbon economies as an opportunity to combat other issues such as poverty, and about Costa Rica's own ambitious efforts to become carbon neutral by 2021.

George Monbiot - 'Climate Change is Bigger Than Capitalism'  

Guardian columnist and journalist George Monbiot is one of the foremost political and environmental thinkers in Britain today and for decades he has been putting a spotlight on ecological issues of critical importance. He joins us to talk about how the climate change crisis isn't just an isolated problem, but one that intersects with the other major problems we're facing in our societies - from the run-away political power of corporations and the undermining of our democracies, to the rampant consumerism culture that dominates the West.

When The Heirs to Big Oil Divested  

In 2014 a surprising announcement was made that ricocheted around the world - the heirs to the Rockefeller oil fortune would be divesting their entire $860 million dollar philanthropic organization of fossil fuel holdings. The announcement marked a turning point for the divestment movement, which suddenly was catapulted into the mainstream. During COP21 we caught up with Stephen Heintz, the president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to talk to him about the fund's daring decision to divest, and his thoughts on how the movement has been growing ever since.

D12 Protest Coverage ft. Naomi Klein & Bill McKibben  

On Saturday Dec 12th, as the final hours of the Paris agreement were coming together, a mass mobilization of over 10,000 climate activists gathered near the Arc de Triomphe and marched to the Eiffel Tower to push governments to take the steps required and show that a "liveable climate is a red line" that the movement is prepared to defend. We went down to hear the sounds and meet some of the people taking part.

New Business Models for a Sustainable Future? A Look at Climate-KIC  

The economy hasn't exactly done a great job of taking care of our planet's climate. And one might say that business models oriented towards profit while ignoring externalities are part of the problem, not the solution. But can companies that have sustainability at the core of their businesses, and yet are run for profit, be part of the solution? Enter Climate-KIC, a large European public-private partnership that helps grow start-ups whose products are focused on sustainability. We first sit down with Mary Ritter, co-founder and former CEO of Climate-KIC, to discuss the role sustainable businesses can play in saving the climate. And in the second half, we talk to Climate-KIC's Director of Education Ebrahim Mohamed about what is wrong with the way economic models are taught to business students, and how changing economic education may help change the future.

Naomi Klein on Why Climate Change is ‘Threatening To Our Elites’  

We sit down with Naomi Klein to speak about Paris, why climate change is threatening to elite power, and why when it comes to dealing with the crisis, we need to temper our fears with hope for the future.

Climatologist James Hansen - 'We’re already at a level of emergency'  

Former NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen is one of the most respected climate scientists in the world. In fact he's famous for helping first-bring the issue of climate change to wide-spread public attention way back in 1988 when he testified in-front of congress to alert senators that the greenhouse gas effect was real, and that we were already starting to see its impacts on the climate. We caught up with Dr. Hansen at COP 21 to speak with him about what the world needs to do to act on climate, and why when it comes to global warming "we’re already at a level of emergency."

Power, Hope and Sleepless Nights -  Elizabeth May on COP 21  

Nearly 150 world leaders have assembled here in Paris for the start of COP 21, the UN climate summit. And whatever may come out of it over the course of the next two weeks, it's hard to overstate the crucial importance of this year’s conference. Elizabeth May has seen these UN climate conferences inside and out. She was at the Earth Summit in Rio when the UNFCCC was first created in 1992, and since then she has attended most, if not all of the 20 COPs. This year Elizabeth May is attending COP 21 as a member of the Canadian government’s delegation. We reached her by Skype a couple of weeks ago to talk to her about what the process is like, what the obstacles to an agreement are, and why when it comes to Paris, there's never been a more critical COP.

The Long Walk to Paris - An Interview with Yeb Saño  

Yeb Saño for years was the lead negotiator at UN climate talks for the Philippines. But he first came to worldwide prominence in 2013 when he delivered an emotional speech at COP 19 in Warsaw, urging countries to set aside their differences and commit to averting the looming climate disaster. While no longer on the official delegation for his country, Yeb hasn't stopped passionately speaking out about the climate crisis, and he recently finished a 1500km walk from Rome to Paris to urge the world of need to act. We reached Yeb to speak to him about his people's pilgrimage, and what he hopes to come out of Paris.

The Insider’s Guide to the Climate Talks in Paris  

The United Nations climate summit in Paris - or COP 21 - is just around the corner. But there's a lot to get a handle on with how these negotiations actually work. You might wonder, why have they failed in the past? What is it like to be there in the room? And what are the main points of contention between countries? To get insights into these questions, and just what we can expect from Paris, we rang up Kevin Conrad, who for 8 years represented Papua New Guinea at UN climate talks, and this year is on the delegation for Panama.

Can Economics Save Climate Change?  

With the birth of the industrial revolution and the creation of the modern world, economics helped us in a sense get into the mess we're in today with the climate. But what role could economics play in helping us solve the problem? And what types of economic policies could help move us towards a sustainable future? To explore these questions, we sit down with Cameron Hepburn, an Environmental Economist at the University of Oxford.

How Antarctica Is Changing and Why It Matters  

Antarctica's ice sheet contains enough water to rise sea-levels by over 60 meters, yet we know surprisingly little about the frozen continent to our south. In fact we know more about the surface of Mars than we do the topography of Antarctica. In a live interview in Birmingham with Glaciologist Dr. Martin Siegert, we learn the innovative ways in which scientists are studying the ice-sheet, why it matters for the world, and hear about the mysterious sub-glacial lakes that lie beneath the surface of the ice

Meet The Climate Scientist Behind Pope Francis  

John Schellnhuber is one of the world's most influential climate scientists, advising politicians, governments, and influential figures on the numbers behind our warming planet. Not only was he the principal climatologist to the pope for the Encyclical, he’s also the mind who first forwarded the now internationally accepted 2 degree target as the global red-line that shouldn’t be crossed. We speak about the birth of the 2 degree target, what it was like working with the Pope, and what it would mean for the world if Donald Trump became president.

Action 2: Bodies On The Line  

During the dark early hours of a morning this past July, 13 Greenpeace protesters descended off a bridge as part of an ingenious and daring plan that placed their bodies between Shell and its controversial plans to drill in the Arctic. This is their story...

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