BBC affirms reduced flights plan as it unveils shows shot around the world covering climate change

Craig Simpson
New productions will see presenters on location in South East Asia, South America and Africa  - BBC

The BBC has reaffirmed its pledge to cut down staff flights and reduce its carbon footprint, while unveiling a year of globetrotting climate change programmes shot around the world.

New productions will see presenters on location in South East Asia, South America and Africa in the “most ambitious” effort yet to highlight the “topic of our age”.

Alongside its topical programming in 2020, the corporation will seek ways to become more eco-friendly, including an ongoing commitment to reducing staff flights to those deemed strictly  “necessary”. This need is understood to be an editorial judgement, weighed against broad aims for “Greener Broadcasting”.

These necessary trips have previously included Mishal Husain flying to Stockholm to visit climate activist Greta Thunberg for the Today programme, and a correspondent jetting off to Jordan to interview Coldplay about the band ending international touring to protect the planet.

The BBC said it does not have shareable data on the number of flights taken by staff each year, nor a target figure for reduced air travel, but announced yesterday it is reviewing how it can become carbon neutral by 2027.

“We are very aware of our own impact on the environment and our responsible travel policy means we only fly when necessary,” explained BBC director of news Fran Unsworth

“We want to use digital technology to bring people together and cover this issue for as wide a range of audiences as possible.”

The BBC is seeking to reduce its carbon footprint Credit: Alex Board / BBC America

For a new raft of climate change programming Chris Packham travels to Lagos in Nigeria as part of an investigation into the human population’s environmental impact in 7.7 Billion People and Counting.

Also under the BBC's Our Planet Matters programming banner, former Royal Marine Aldo Kane will examine the illegal tiger trade in South East Asia, and Simon Reeve will return to the Amazon for a second series of The Americas. 

Ade Adepitan travels to countries dealing with the extremes of environmental shifts in Ade on the Frontline of Climate Change.  Sir David Attenborough also leads hour-long documentary, Extinction: The Facts.

Ms Unsworth said of the upcoming schedule: “The challenge of climate change is the topic of our age and we will be at the heart of the debate.”

The BBC said it has reduced its carbon footprint by 78%, and seeks to offset the carbon footprint of flights.  It is looking towards new technology, renewable electricity, and local film crews to reduce its environmental impact.