8 episodes

Global conversations about how climate change is playing out around the world, and what we can do about it — a biweekly Asia Society podcast with host Mary Kay Magistad.

COAL + ICE Podcast Asia Society

    • News
    • 5.0 • 14 Ratings

Global conversations about how climate change is playing out around the world, and what we can do about it — a biweekly Asia Society podcast with host Mary Kay Magistad.

    Ep7: Sci-Fi Takes on Climate Change

    Ep7: Sci-Fi Takes on Climate Change

    Who doesn't like a good story, especially one that sharpens your thinking about the future? Science fiction has been doing that for generations, and now, a growing number of sci fi and speculative fiction writers around the world are imaging what a future with climate change will look like, and how we might respond to it.

    Listen in to this thought-provoking final episode of the COAL+ICE Podcast with guests:

    Chen Qiufan:  Chinese speculative fiction writer, author of "The Waste Tide," AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future (co-authored with Kai-Fu Lee), and more.

    Gu Shi: Chinese speculative fiction writer, and Beijing urban planner.

    Eliot Peper: Oakland-based American speculative fiction author of almost a dozen novels, including Veil, about someone hijacking the climate, and his latest thriller, Reap3r -- out in May 2022.

    • 51 min
    Ep6: Making Our Urban Future Livable

    Ep6: Making Our Urban Future Livable

    Most of us on earth now live in cities. By 2050, more than two-thirds of us will. And by the end of this century, demographers predict, 85% of the world’s population will live in cities. By then, demographers estimate, cities like Lagos in Nigeria and Mumbai in India will have 60 million or more inhabitants, and much of the world's urban growth will be in Africa.
     What will this mean for climate change, and how will climate change affect growing urban populations? Much depends on whether smart decisions are made now about how expanding cities develop, and how existing cities -- especially in energy-intensive countries like the United States -- adjust to be more climate friendly.

    With guests:

    Ping Huang, a post-doctoral research associate at the Urban Institute, University of Sheffield, UK,  and a native of Shenzhen, China, working on urban energy transition and climate governance.

    Basirat Oyalowo, a researcher at the department of Estate Management, University of Lagos, Nigeria, where she also manages the Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development. Her research in housing studies and sustainability broadly focuses on issues around informality, resilience, housing finance, regeneration and real estate sustainability.

    Linda Westman, a post-doctoral research associate at the Urban Institute, University of Sheffield, UK, whose work focuses on urban sustainability transformation and the governance of sustainability and climate change, including a focus on China.

    Siqi Zheng:  is an MIT professor focusing on urban and real estate sustainability.  She directs MIT's Center for Real Estate, and creator and director of its  Sustainable Urbanization Lab.

    • 29 min
    Ep5: Feeding the World in a Climate Change Future

    Ep5: Feeding the World in a Climate Change Future

    We've all got to eat. And climate change is throwing us new challenges as to how to feed a global population that's getting bigger, more urban, and more affluent  -- and make sure the world's poorest have enough nutritious food too.

    This would have been a challenge without climate change.  With it, farmers need to adapt to wilder weather, less predictable rainfall, and shifting growing zones that sometimes mean they can't plant what they long did, and have to find new crops that are resilient to the new normal.

    Meanwhile, efforts are afoot to cut emissions that agriculture itself contributes to climate change.

    In this episode, breaking down this complex set of issues  in simple terms, with on-the-ground knowledge are:

    Channing Arndt, director of the environment, production, technology division at the International Food Policy Research Institute. 
    Dawit Mekonnen, research fellow in Ethiopia for the International Food Policy Research Institute. 


    • 47 min
    Ep4: Going, Going, Gone: Biodiversity & Climate Change

    Ep4: Going, Going, Gone: Biodiversity & Climate Change

    Enjoy  nature?  Well,  do it while you can.  We’re losing as many as 200 species a day, scientists say  – plants, animals, birds, bugs – with cascading effects for all other species, including humans. And it's humans – our factories, cars, planes and power plants, our sprawling cities and  mono-culture farms –  who have disrupted complex ecosystems and are speeding climate change. 
    Dr. Gretta Pecl and Sakhile Koketso join this episode to discuss the many impacts of biodiversity loss, the challenges of combatting climate change at various scales, why biodiversity matters to all of us, and how our current trajectory is on track to making us the ‘crappiest ancestors ever’ for all our future generations – though we still have time to avoid the worst, with the right actions now. 
    Guest Bios
    Dr. Gretta Pecl is a professor of marine ecology at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania, and the Director of the Centre for Marine Socioecology. She leads many projects and initiatives, including the Future Seas project, the citizen science project Redmap Australia, and the Species on the Move conference. She is a lead author on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation. 
    Sakhile Koketso heads Science, Policy and Governance at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). She has also worked with  Whitebird Environ Consult Inc., the Green Climate Fund, the Kalahari Conservation Society, the United Nations Development Programme, and with national parks in Botswana, her country of origin.
    Guest Host Bio
    Taili Ni, assistant producer of the COAL+ICE Podcast, is a program officer at Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations.

    Clownfish episode photo: Copyright Bing Lin. 

    • 40 min
    Ep3: Himalayas' Melting Glaciers Impact Billions

    Ep3: Himalayas' Melting Glaciers Impact Billions

    Himalayan glaciers have long served as a frozen water tower, releasing water on which billions of Asians rely — into ten of Asia's mighty rivers, into agricultural and food systems, and into ground water.  Climate change is now rapidly melting those glaciers — up to two-thirds of them may be gone by the end of this century — throwing ecosystems throughout the region off-balance.

    Anjal Prakash has been studying all of this for more than two decades, helping both rural and urban communities adapt to climate change and its increasing drought, floods, and wilder storms and cyclones.  He's research director and an adjunct associate professor at the Bharti Institute of Public Policy, at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, in India.  

    • 23 min
    Ep2: What Polar Ice Is Telling Us

    Ep2: What Polar Ice Is Telling Us

    Polar ice has a story to tell. Trapped in it are clues to the past -- dirt and dust, and air -- going back a million years . From this, climate scientists can figure out what was happening during past ice ages and warm periods. In each case, it all came down to carbon -- how much carbon dioxide was in the air.  And we're now at CO2 levels last seen in the Pliocene Epoch -- 2.5 to 5 million years ago, long before modern humans walked the earth.   Sure, we call ourselves homo sapiens, but glaciologist Martin Siegert says we're heading toward a 'stupid warm' future, and it's time to get smart.  He lays it all out here -- what's happening, what the ice is telling us, and what we need to do now.

    Martin Siegert is a glaciologist with three decades of experience, including research in Antarctica., a professor, and co-director of the Grantham Institute - Climate Change and Environment, at Imperial College London (UK).

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

mizvize ,

Powerful, beautiful

I just listened to Episode 2 of Coal Ice. It is one of the most affecting pieces of journalism I’ve found on climate change. Mary Kay and her guest Martin Siegert, a specialist in Antartica, took me on a journey that was moving, disturbing, a beautiful elegy to the ice that has fascinated me all my life… and took me to a couple of things I will do differently. Listen to this podcast. It’s fantastic.

ten jam ,

Very important not to you for all creatures

Excellent great job I rejoice I will do something definitely

Michael Laha ,


This is a deeply researched and beautifully produced podcast series that raises the alarm on an urgent and complex issue—climate change. It is accessible for the general listener but also brings material alive in a new way that will make even the most world wary climate change experts perk up with a burst of hope. Important listening ahead of the COAL+ICE exhibition at the Kennedy Center in DC.

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