Episode 3 – Simon Lamb on Climate Change Science

Thin Ice Documentary Logo

In this episode I speak to Simon Lamb who produced the documentary Thin Ice about the science behind climate change.  Simon has a PHD in Geology from Cambridge University, was at Oxford University for 22 years, and currently teaches geophysics at Victoria University of Wellington.  He’s been involved in a large number of science documentaries including a few BBC series, and has written the books Devil in the Mountain and Earth Story.

The “Thin Ice” film was released in 2013, and the team is currently running a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter to fund the editing required to broadcast the film on US public television.  You can find that campaign HERE.

You can also listen to it in iTunes.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Simon’s motivation to make a film about climate change
  • Why the public should hear about climate change science directly from the scientists who are studying it
  • The various branches of science involved in climate change research.
  • What is causing climate change
  • How the “carbon cycle” works
  • Whether reducing or eliminating our carbon emissions is enough to solve climate change
  • How the greenhouse effect works (in detail!)
  • The effects of climate change on people living in the Arctic
  • How scientists in Antarctica are studying thousands of years of history of the earth’s atmosphere
  • How humans would try to cope with the effects of significant climate change
  • How we may be able to burn fossil fuels without causing climate change
  • Why water mills (tidal power) may be a more viable energy source than wind mills
  • The promise and drawbacks of nuclear power and fusion
  • What individuals can do to improve the climate change situation
  • What Simon is doing next and his favorite books.

Resources mentioned in this episode:


  1. Donald Bruce says:

    What a pleasure to take in this blog on climate change. I feel that it has lifted me far above the knee-jerk responses of the daily press and given me a much bigger picture within which to form far better opinions. Thank you very much for making this valuable and most interesting information available. Everybody needs to take this in!

  2. Great podcast. Very interesting and informative. I took a course on ice cores while completing my master’s degree and was fascinated by how much past climate and ecosystem information can be gained from studying them. Simon is a good speaker and knows what he’s talking about… I hope he makes the next movie too!