The Climate Connection

Crowds in Shanghai

Can we really sustain a population of seven billion - and ever more?

The Climate Connection follows five young people as they explore an issue that they believe is at the centre of the climate change debate.

In each programme one person from a different part of the world explores potential solutions to what they think is causing the problem - meeting a range of experts to find out if their ideas really do stand up to scrutiny.

These programmes are produced in partnership with the Open University in the UK. You can find out more about Creative Climate click here.

Are There Too Many People On The Planet?

As the global population approaches seven billion, concerns are growing that our population may soon reach an unsustainable level.

Questions are being asked about whether growth could be managed if consumption and emission levels were significantly reduced.

Katie Chau, a consultant for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, embarks on a journey from London to Kenya to meet with expert witnesses and debates the issues surrounding the ever-increasing global population.

She speaks to a range of people including: John Guillebaud from the Optimum Population Trust; Ben Oghre, a blogger and one of sixteen children, who is in favour of a two-child policy for many African nations; and Kenyan Nobel Laureate Grace Akumu, a lead negotiator on climate change who thinks the industrialised world needs to change its ways - and now.

Listen Listen (from 1032 GMT, Monday 30 November)

Does The World Need Meat?

Tom McDonnell and Rebecca Davies

Tom McDonnell (right) of Idaho Cattleman's Association spke about his industry

It has been suggested that significantly reducing the amount of meat we consume would reduce greenhouse gas emissions - and possibly ameliorate - the effects of global warming.

Rebecca Davies, a student of urban studies at Columbia University, explores this view.

She raise concerns with cattle farmers and their unions about the mass-produced meat industry, and the power of the beef and grain lobbies in the US.

She meets Dr Nevin Cohen, an expert on food systems in New York City, whose view is that cows are the "SUV of the farm", as well as the New York butchers working on bringing sustainable meat production into an urban environment.

Listen Listen (from 1032 GMT, Tuesday 1 December)

It's Big Energy, Stupid!

Indian engineers repairing an electric cable

How can India's growing energy needs be met?

The pressure ahead of Copenhagen is for governments to get agreement. But what about the individual?

Hita Unnikrishnan, "Climate Champion" of the British Council of India and a lecturer at Bangalore's Jyoti Nivas College, believes that climate change has to be addressed by people themselves.

She is a strong believer in local, renewable ways of producing energy and has worked on decentralised models of waste management and power generation.

She takes us to the thriving Indian industrial cities of Bangalore and Chennai, where she encounters significant opposition to her views - but is determined to prove that localised solutions can work in the cities, and not just in rural villages.

Listen Listen (from 1032 GMT, Thursday 3 December)

Travel - Good For Humanity; Bad For The Planet?

Dubai airport

Dubai's airport has grown into the world's biggest

The travel industry – and air travel in particular - is at the sharp end of the emissions debate.

Laila Al-Hassan, an Emirati woman who works for state environmental agency in Abu Dhabi, represents a small but growing lobby - urging their fellow citizens, and the rest of the world, to rethink attitudes to tourism and travel.

She is in Dubai to interview key players in the environmental debate.

She speaks to the Head of Dubai International Airport, the UAE Minister for Culture and Tourism, hotel developers and members of the local environmental lobby.

Listen Listen (from 1032 GMT, Friday 4 December)

Can We Build A Better Future?


Construction of Masdar is already well under way

In many parts of the world, homes and buildings produce around half of all carbon dioxide pollution.

The UK government has pledged all new homes will be carbon neutral by 2016. But will that be possible while still keeping all the benefits of modern 21st century life?

Alex Solk, an architect at Sheppard Robson, thinks so - with clever design and new technology.

He was involved in designing the prototype for the UK’s first zero carbon emissions house.

He visits the building site of what is planned to be the world's first totally zero carbon city, in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Masdar City will not only be zero carbon once it's built, but the construction of the city will have a zero net carbon dioxide output as well.

This is something that's way beyond the attempts of the small rural community of Tinker’s Bubble in Somerset in the south west of England, whose philosophy to help reduce climate-changing carbon dioxide output is to sacrifice modern technology, get closer to nature and live off the land.

Listen Listen (from 1032 GMT, Monday 7 December)

The Climate Connection

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