Aug 282015
 

KK2The Arctic region is hotting up. Climate change is making its presence felt more strongly at the top of the world than in other regions, and as ice cover declines, speculation about economic exploitation in this harsh and fragile environment has intensified.

Today’s guest, Kathrin Keil,  guides us through what’s currently happening in the Arctic, and what the possibilities are for oil and gas, shipping and fishing.  Who are the main players?  What are some of the current and potential activities? What are the risks and constraints that accompany them? And how well equipped are we to regulate these activities through international cooperation and Arctic governance?

Kathrin is a Project Scientist at the Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, Germany, and also serves as Europe Director (Arctic Security, Cooperation, Resources and Institutions) for the Arctic Institute

Play
 Posted by at 1:05 pm
Aug 282015
 

India needs power. But while coal industry advocates have tried to make energy poverty a moral issue, arguing that renewables cannot meet the demand, NACharles’s guest Nikit Abhyankar from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been busy working out how India can achieve – or at least get close to achieving – the hugely ambitious goals for renewable energy set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In this episode Nikit outlines the current state of India’s current electricity system, its limitations and financial challenges, and discusses ingenious plans for grid integration of various renewables, the special benefits of electric vehicles for Indian driving conditions, ideas about how the uptake of air conditioning could be managed without making demand sky-rocket, the opportunities for “ultra-efficient” appliances that could help India leapfrog developed countries, and the significant health burden of India continuing its reliance on coal as the mainstay of power generation.

Play
 Posted by at 1:04 pm
Aug 282015
 

Every Google search and each Facebook post you make are diligently tracked and run through complex algorithms to target online ads at you.   You may find some of the targeted ads useful, other amusing, and picadmcta few slightly sinister.

But is online advertising neutral? Can it exhibit behaviour resembling discrimination?  Can machine learning and statistical analysis turn the table on Google Ads and reveal if they treat people equally?

Amit Datta is a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University, where Anupam Datta is an Associate Professor, and their colleague Michael Tschantz  is a Senior Researcher at the International Computer Science Institute. Their research paper on this topic can be downloaded from here.

Play
 Posted by at 1:03 pm
Aug 282015
 

We all love (or at least use) stuff. And it all needs to be moved around. Freight transport efficiency might not seem a particularly appealing topic, but consider for a moment how much extra energy is used moving2ec7232 goods from Point A to Point B, and the additional pollution and emissions that inevitably follow unless freight systems are made as efficient as they can be.

Charles talks with Swedish expert Niklas Arvidsson about his insightful work on this problem.  Is it true that a delivery route can be more efficient in one direction than another? Can trams and light rail deliver things as well as people?  Is “eco-driving” useful?  How much does transport contribute to greenhouse emissions compared to other sectors? You’ll hear answers to these and other questions in this episode.

For more information about Niklas and his work go here, and to read his thought-provoking thesis, follow this link.

Play
 Posted by at 1:02 pm
Aug 282015
 

Energy poverty in the developing world is real, but there are major arguments over how to alleviate it, particularly when it comes to coal vs. renewables.

Joshuadownload Lewis, an economist at the University of Montreal,  has taken a good hard look at how electrification and the household technology that it enabled changed people’s lives in rural America over three decades.

He assembled a unique data-set and clarified just what electricity did for people’s health, employment and daily lives.  Hear his account of this project in conversation with Charles.

Find out more about Jonathan and his work here.

Play
 Posted by at 1:01 pm
Aug 282015
 

Our very first guest, Rachel Rothschild, is working on her book RR2 A Poisonous Sky: Acid Rain and the Emergence of Environmental Science and Diplomacy, outlining the history of acid rain and how the world dealt with it from its emergence as a global problem in the sixties.

There are important lessons here for current diplomacy on greenhouse emissions in the lead-up to the Paris climate talks.

Rachel is an Assistant Professor at New York University where you can visit her profile page, or alternatively, her personal website.

 

Play
 Posted by at 1:00 pm