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The Anthill

A podcast from The Conversation UK.

The Anthill is a show for curious minds, with a mix of everything from science, history and psychology to politics and economics. In each of our series, we unearth new stories from the world of academia, bringing new and
Latest Episode10/20/2021

Climate fight part 3: the left behind

In the shift away from fossil fuels, how do countries make sure not to widen inequalities in the process? In part three of our series Climate fight: the world’s biggest negotiations, we travel to the Cumbrian town of Whitehaven on England’s north-west coast that could soon host the UK’s first deep coal mine in more than three decades. We talk to local people for and against the mine, as well as experts in the concept of a just transition, to explore how regions like west Cumbria that have suffered from decades of deindustrialisation can thrive in the shift to a low-carbon economy.Featuring Rebecca Ford, senior lecturer in politics at the University of Strathclyde, Rebecca Willis, professor in Practice at the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University and Kieran Harrahill, PhD candidate in bioeconomy at University College Dublin.The Climate Fight podcast series is produced by Tiffany Cassidy. Sound design is by Eloise Stevens and our series theme tune is by Neeta Sarl. The series editor is Gemma Ware. You can sign up to The Conversation’s free daily email here. A transcript of this episode is available here. Climate fight: the world’s biggest negotiation is a podcast series supported by UK Research and Innovation, the UK’s largest public funder of research and innovation.Further readingCumbria coal mine could usher in a net-zero-compliant fossil fuel industry – or prove it was always afantasy, by Myles Allen, University of OxfordEnding coal use blighted Scottish communities – a just transition to a green economy must supportworkers, by Ewan Gibbs, University of GlasgowHow to make climate actionpopular, by James Patterson, Utrecht University and Marie Claire Brisbois, University of Sussex
10/20/2021

Climate fight part 3: the left behind

In the shift away from fossil fuels, how do countries make sure not to widen inequalities in the process? In part three of our series Climate fight: the world’s biggest negotiations, we travel to the Cumbrian town of Whitehaven on England’s north-west coast that could soon host the UK’s first deep coal mine in more than three decades. We talk to local people for and against the mine, as well as experts in the concept of a just transition, to explore how regions like west Cumbria that have suffered from decades of deindustrialisation can thrive in the shift to a low-carbon economy.Featuring Rebecca Ford, senior lecturer in politics at the University of Strathclyde, Rebecca Willis, professor in Practice at the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University and Kieran Harrahill, PhD candidate in bioeconomy at University College Dublin.The Climate Fight podcast series is produced by Tiffany Cassidy. Sound design is by Eloise Stevens and our series theme tune is by Neeta Sarl. The series editor is Gemma Ware. You can sign up to The Conversation’s free daily email here. A transcript of this episode is available here. Climate fight: the world’s biggest negotiation is a podcast series supported by UK Research and Innovation, the UK’s largest public funder of research and innovation.Further readingCumbria coal mine could usher in a net-zero-compliant fossil fuel industry – or prove it was always afantasy, by Myles Allen, University of OxfordEnding coal use blighted Scottish communities – a just transition to a green economy must supportworkers, by Ewan Gibbs, University of GlasgowHow to make climate actionpopular, by James Patterson, Utrecht University and Marie Claire Brisbois, University of Sussex
10/13/2021

Climate Fight part 2: the path to net zero

In part two of Climate Fight: the world’s biggest negotiation, we’re talking to experts about the grand goal of the negotiations: reaching net zero emissions by 2050. We explore what net zero means, and the technologies that will be needed to get the world there.Featuring Mercedes Maroto-Valer, assistant deputy principal for research & innovation and director of the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions at Heriot-Watt University, James Dyke, senior lecturer in global systems at the University of Exeterand Myles Allen, professor of geosystem science and director of Oxford Net Zero at the University of Oxford. Our producer Tiffany Cassidy also visits the Boundary Dam coal-fired power plant in Saskatchewan, Canada, to see carbon capture and storage technology in action.The Climate Fight podcast series is produced by Tiffany Cassidy. Sound design is by Eloise Stevens and our series theme tune is by Neeta Sarl. The series editor is Gemma Ware. You can sign up to The Conversation’s free daily email here. A transcript of this episode is available here.Climate fight: the world’s biggest negotiation is a podcast series supported by UK Research and Innovation, the UK’s largest public funder of research and innovation.Further readingA global carbon removal industry is coming – experts explain the problems it mustovercome, by Johanna Forster and Naomi Vaughan, University of East AngliaClimate crisis: what can trees really do forus?, by Rob MacKenzie University of Birmingham and Rose Pritchard, University of ManchesterClimate scientists: concept of net zero is a dangeroustrap , by James Dyke, University of Exeter; Robert Watson, University of East Anglia and Wolfgang Knorr, Lund UniversityNet zero: despite the greenwash, it’s vital for tackling climatechange, by Richard Black, Imperial College London; Steve Smith and Thomas Hale, University of Oxford
10/6/2021

Climate Fight part 1: where's the money?

In the first episode of our new series Climate fight: the world's biggest negotiation, we're talking about climate finance – money pledged by the world's richest countries to help the poorest parts of the world adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. Where is it being spent and is it really working?Featuring Jessica Omukuti, COP26 Fellow in Climate Finance at the University of York and a research fellow on inclusive net zero at the University of Oxford, Harpreet Kaur Paul, a PhD candidate in climate justice at the University of Warwick and Alina Averchenkova, distinguished policy fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, London School of Economics and Political Science. Thanks to the reporting of Maryam Charles, we also hear from two residents of Zanzibar about why some climate finance can leave people feeling worse off.The Climate Fight podcast series is produced by Tiffany Cassidy with reporting from Maryam Charles in Zanzibar. Sound design is by Eloise Stevens and our series theme tune is by Neeta Sarl. The series editor is Gemma Ware. You can sign up to The Conversation’s free daily email here. A transcript of this episode is available here.Climate fight: the world’s biggest negotiation is a podcast series supported by UK Research and Innovation, the UK’s largest public funder of research and innovation.Further reading:Climate finance: rich countries aren’t meeting aid targets – could legal action forcethem? by Harpreet Kaur Paul, University of WarwickClimate adaptation finance is ineffective and must be moretransparent, by Jessica Omukuti, University of YorkCOP26: what’s the point of this year’s UN climate summit inGlasgow? by Federica Genovese, University of Essex and Patrick Bayer, University of StrathclydeClimate change: convincing people to pay to tackle it is hard – treating it like a pension couldhelp by David Comerford, University of Stirling
7/8/2020

Recovery part six – 2008 financial crisis and lessons for today

The 2008 financial crisis resulted in the worst global recession since the second world war. The collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008 caused a meltdown of the global financial system. Money markets froze and there was a major credit crunch as the ability to borrow money suddenly dried up.To stop contagion and make sure other major financial institutions didn’t collapse, governments stepped in to shore up the system by bailing out the banks. Anastasia Nesvetailova, professor of international political economy at City, University of London, explains what these bailouts involved and why they were so necessary.Aidan Regan, associate professor at University College Dublin, tells us how the crisis spread across the eurozone and why some countries rebounded a lot more quickly than others.We also discuss how the austerity policies that many governments adopted following the 2008 financial crisis hampered economic growth.And we explore how emerging markets such as Brazil and China were affected by the 2008 financial crisis. Carolina Alves, fellow in economics at the University of Cambridge, outlines how they were shielded from some elements of the crisis but also left vulnerable to the large reduction in finance that followed.You can read more research into the 2008 financial crisis and what lessons we can learn from it for today's coronavirus recovery alongside other articles in our Recovery series, which accompany this podcast.This episode was produced by Gemma Ware and Annabel Bligh, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. The Anthill is a podcast from The Conversation UK. We’re an independent news media outlet that exists purely to take reliable, informed voices direct to a wide audience. If you’re able to to support our work, please consider donating via our website. Thanks to everyone who has already done so.
7/1/2020

Recovery part five – the post-Soviet transition

In this fifth episode of Recovery, a series from The Anthill Podcast exploring key moments in history when parts of the world recovered from a major crisis or shock, we’re looking at what happened in the former Soviet Union during the transition from communism to capitalism in the 1990s.When the USSR was finally dissolved at the end of 1991 it was a massive shock to the system for millions of people. The transition from a state-controlled command economy to a market-driven capitalist one was a hugely complex structural change. What followed was what’s come to be known as “shock therapy” – post-communist states were suddenly subject to mass privatisation and market reforms. Price controls were lifted. State support – which had been such a fundamental part of everybody’s way of life in the former Soviet Union and eastern bloc – was withdrawn.Jo Crotty, professor of management and director of the Institute for Social Responsibility at Edge Hill University, was living in between Belarus and Russia in the early 1990s. She describes the hyperinflation and economic breakdown she witnessed during this period. Companies tried to keep people employed, but these were jobs in name only and there was a huge problem of hidden unemployment – which she says offers a warning as coronavirus furlough schemes end today.Some parts of the former Soviet Union and Eastern bloc countries recovered quicker than others. Lawrence King, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a research associate at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, explains why, and what political upheaval the drastic economic reforms provoked. He also describes the devastating impact that waves of privatisation had on mortality rates in Russia in the 1990s.And Elisabeth Schimpfössl, lecturer in sociology and policy at Aston University, talks about a new group of oligarchs emerged in Russia during the transition in the 1990s, benefitting from the waves of privatisation and shift to a capitalist system. She describes the enduring legacy this period has had on wealth inequality in Russia.You can read more about the post-Soviet transition and its legacy alongside other articles in our Recovery series accompanying this podcast.This episode was produced by Gemma Ware and Annabel Bligh with sound design by Eloise Stevens.The Anthill is produced by The Conversation UK. We’re an independent news media outlet that exists purely to take reliable, informed voices direct to a wide audience. We’re a charity, with no wealthy owner nudging an editorial line in one direction or another.The only opinion we hold is that knowledge is crucially important, and must be made widely available to help as many people as possible understand the world and make informed decisions. If you can help us do what we do, please click here to donate. And if you’ve already supported what we do, thank you!
6/24/2020

Recovery part four – the second world war

In this fourth episode of Recovery, a series from The Anthill Podcast exploring key moments in history when the world recovered from a major crisis or shock, we’re looking at what happened in the UK after the second world war.The second world war decimated landscapes, killed tens of millions of people and left many more unable to work, in need of long-term healthcare and help to rebuild their lives.In the UK, some had been calling for action to deal with poverty, squalid housing and better education since before the conflict, but the particular circumstances of the war seemed to provide the impetus needed to get things moving. The recovery project that followed the end of the war in 1945 transformed the nation into one that provided free healthcare for all, better education and massive housing regeneration.Pat Thane, visiting professor of history at Birkbeck College, takes us through the recommendations of a landmark government report written by William Beveridge that got the whole project moving. This set out a comprehensive cradle-to-grave welfare system designed to tackle the five giants of want, squalor, idleness, ignorance and disease.Bernard Harris, professor of social policy at the University of Strathclyde, reveals how this report turned into a series of changes to the law that ultimately constructed the welfare state. That included establishing the world-famous National Health Service. He explains how the shared trauma of the war helped people imagine a different future in which a greater number of people would be cared for by the government.Pippa Catterall, professor of history and policy at the University of Westminster, discusses the political context of the post-war period in the UK. After the suffering of the conflict, it was the left-wing Labour party that grasped how urgently the public wanted bold new thinking. The recovery promised by Labour Party leader Clement Attlee was based around a total restructuring of the state, and voters were prepared to take the plunge – not least because more of them had been exposed to hardship during the war.Finally, the panel explore what lessons this unique period in history can offer us today, as governments look to rebuild after the coronavirus pandemic. After years of retreat, states are stepping in on an unprecedented scale to offer rescue packages. Could we be witnessing the rebirth of the welfare state?You can read more about the aftermath of the second world war and the welfare state as well as other articles in our Recovery series to accompany this podcast.This episode was produced by Gemma Ware and Annabel Bligh, with sound design by Eloise Stevens.The Anthill is produced by The Conversation UK. We’re an independent news media outlet that exists purely to take reliable, informed voices direct to a wide audience. We’re a charity, with no wealthy owner nudging an editorial line in one direction or another.The only opinion we hold is that knowledge is crucially important, and must be made widely available to help as many people as possible understand the world and make informed decisions. We’re in the middle of a donations campaign so if you can help us do what we do, please click here. And if you’ve already supported what we do, a massive thank you!