[Episode #133] – Stranded Assets
33 min

A decade ago, it was very conventional for asset managers to have exposure to the oil and gas sector as part of a diversified portfolio. Calls for them to divest from carbon assets because climate policy could render fossil fuel reserves unburnable mostly fell on deaf ears. But now the oil & gas sector has turned in a decade of underperformance, vaporizing tens of billions of dollars and becoming the worst-performing sector in the world. Now banks, asset managers, and even oil operators have now joined the ranks of those worrying aloud about the increasing risk of stranded assets. Now, the warnings about stranded assets are converging with calls for companies and investors to apply ESG filters to their activities, and investors are demanding divestment from carbon-heavy assets.

One think-tank saw all this coming: Carbon Tracker. In fact, they put the concept of stranded fossil fuel assets on the map over a decade ago. In this episode we speak with its founder, Mark Campanale, about what investors have learned from the experience of the past decade, what they still need to do going forward, and some of the more interesting efforts that are under way to encourage divestment from carbon and reorient capital toward energy transition solutions.

The Interchange
The Interchange
Greentech Media
Decoding the New Energy Customer
This week, Shayle Kann talks with Kiran Bhatraju, the CEO of Arcadia, about who's buying clean energy. Every pathway toward economy-wide decarbonization drives straight through a dramatic transformation in the electricity sector. But so much of the discussion in that sector focuses on the supply side: how fast will wind and solar displace fossil fuels? what will happen with natural gas? But there's another important player in this game: the energy consumer.  Consumers tend to be confusing when it comes to energy. It's hard to discern how much we actually care about it in the first place, what our preferences are, what decisions we'll make, what we'll pay for.  Most sectors that have undergone dramatic transformation have been driven by changing customer behavior, and energy may be no different. So we need to understand the consumer, and to find ways to deliver them products and services that will accelerate the energy transition. Shayle and Kiran discuss the different groups of clean-energy customers, how they respond to options, and how a changing regulatory landscape could influence behavior. Support for The Interchange comes from Trina Solar, a global leader in PV modules and smart energy solutions. With decades of industry recognition and awards, Trina Solar is committed to delivering reliable and fully bankable solar technology to the world. Download the free TrinaPro Solution Guide Book on how to optimize utility-scale solar projects. The Interchange is brought to you by S&C Electric Company. Today, non-wires alternatives such as microgrids can provide more sustainable, resilient and economical ways to deliver reliable power. S&C helps utilities and commercial customers find the best solutions to meet their energy needs. Learn more.
41 min
The Energy Gang
The Energy Gang
Greentech Media
Automakers Knew About Climate Change 50 Years Ago
In the 1960s, scientists who worked for General Motors and Ford discovered that the exhaust from their cars was very likely changing the climate. They made presentations at conferences. They briefed senior executives. And then, they were publicly contradicted and their work was suppressed.  We’ll talk to Maxine Joselow, the journalist who reported the story for E&E News over many months. She talked with more than two dozen former GM and Ford employees, retired auto industry executives, academics, and environmentalists about what the companies knew about climate change five decades ago. It leaves the reader wondering: what if automakers had taken the problem more seriously a half-century ago? Then, plenty of conservative states are embracing renewables. But now 100% clean energy mandates are spreading to redder states. The latest is Arizona: a place where elected officials and a giant utility previously worked to stop the march of clean energy. We’ll look at the shift.  And last: can a Marshall Plan for fading coal communities rebuild America’s former industrial regions? * E&E News: GM, Ford Knew About Climate Change 50 Years Ago * Scientific American: A Woman Warned GM about Warming, But Men Didn’t Listen * Greentech Media: Arizona Regulators Pass Rule for 100% Clean Energy by 2050 * Smart Cities Dive: Mayors Unveil $60B Plan to Support Midwest Energy Transition * University of Pittsburgh: Marshall Plan for Middle America Roadmap The Energy Gang is brought to you by Wärtsilä Energy, leading the transition toward a 100% renewable energy future. Wärtsilä launched “The Path to 100%” to accelerate the transition to renewables. Become part of the discussion. The Energy Gang is brought to you by Honeywell, a leading supplier of IoT solutions to mission-critical industries around the world. Honeywell Smart Energy helps utilities transform their grid operations through advanced solutions and targeted services from edge to cloud. Learn more.
1 hr 6 min
Columbia Energy Exchange
Columbia Energy Exchange
ColumbiaUEnergy
“Future of Coal in India"
With a population of 1.4 billion people and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India is crucial to the future of global energy markets and climate change - and coal is fueling much of that economic growth in India. Coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel and is responsible for more than 40 percent of energy-related global carbon emissions. Over the next five years, India’s coal demand is expected to grow more than that of any other country in the world. In short, there’s no pathway to global decarbonization that does not include meaningfully changing the trajectory of India’s current and projected coal use. In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Dr. Rahul Tongia, author of the new book “Future of Coal in India: Smooth Transition or Bumpy Road Ahead?” to help shed light on that very subject. Dr. Rahul Tongia is a Senior Fellow with the Centre for Social and Economic Progress in New Delhi, where he leads its Energy, Natural Resources, and Sustainability group. He is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Adjunct Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He was the founding Technical Advisor for the Government of India’s Smart Grid Task Force. He holds a PhD in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering from Brown University. You can read Dr. Tongia's blog post about his book here.
46 min
Business Lab
Business Lab
MIT Technology Review Insights
Leveraging collective intelligence and AI to benefit society
A solar-powered autonomous drone scans for forest fires. A surgeon first operates on a digital heart before she picks up a scalpel. A global community bands together to print personal protection equipment to fight a pandemic. “The future is now,” says Frederic Vacher, head of innovation at Dassault Systèmes. And all of this is possible with cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and a virtual 3D design shop, or as Dassault calls it, the 3DEXPERIENCE innovation lab. This open innovation laboratory embraces the concept of the social enterprise and merges collective intelligence with a cross-collaborative approach by building what Vacher calls “communities of people—passionate and willing to work together to accomplish a common objective.” This podcast episode was produced by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not produced by MIT Technology Review’s editorial staff.  “It’s not only software, it's not only cloud, but it’s also a community of people’s skills and services available for the marketplace,” Vacher says. “Now, because technologies are more accessible, newcomers can also disrupt, and this is where we want to focus with the lab.”   And for Dassault Systèmes, there’s unlimited real-world opportunities with the power of collective intelligence, especially when you are bringing together industry experts, health-care professionals, makers, and scientists to tackle covid-19. Vacher explains, “We created an open community, ‘Open Covid-19,’ to welcome any volunteer makers, engineers, and designers to help, because we saw at that time that many people were trying to do things but on their own, in their lab, in their country.” This wasted time and resources during a global crisis. And, Vacher continues, the urgency of working together to share information became obvious, “They were all facing the same issues, and by working together, we thought it could be an interesting way to accelerate, to transfer the know-how, and to avoid any mistakes.”  Business Lab is hosted by Laurel Ruma, director of Insights, the custom publishing division of MIT Technology Review. The show is a production of MIT Technology Review, with production help from Collective Next.  This episode of Business Lab is produced in association with Dassault Systèmes.  Show notes and links  How Effective is a Facemask? Here’s a Simulation of Your Unfettered Sneeze, by Josh Mings, SolidSmack, April 2, 2020  Open Covid-19 Community Lets Makers Contribute to Pandemic Relief, by Clare Scott, Dassault, The SIMULIA Blog, July 15, 2020 Dassault 3DEXPERIENCE platform Collective intelligence and collaboration around 3D printing: rising to the challenge of Covid-19, by Frederic Vacher, STAT, August 10, 2020
35 min
80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin
80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin
The 80000 Hours team
Benjamin Todd on what the effective altruism community most needs (80k team chat #4)
In the *last '80k team chat'* with Ben Todd and Arden Koehler, we discussed what effective altruism is and isn't, and how to argue for it. In this episode we turn now to what the effective altruism community most needs. • *Links to learn more, summary and full transcript* • The *2020 Effective Altruism Survey* just opened. If you're involved with the effective altruism community, or sympathetic to its ideas, it's would be wonderful if you could fill it out: _https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/EAS80K2_ According to Ben, we can think of the effective altruism movement as having gone through several stages, categorised by what kind of resource has been most able to unlock more progress on important issues (i.e. by what's the 'bottleneck'). Plausibly, these stages are common for other social movements as well. • Needing money: In the first stage, when effective altruism was just getting going, more money (to do things like pay staff and put on events) was the main bottleneck to making progress. • Needing talent: In the second stage, we especially needed more talented people being willing to work on whatever seemed most pressing. • Needing specific skills and capacity: In the third stage, which Ben thinks we're in now, the main bottlenecks are organizational capacity, infrastructure, and management to help train people up, as well as specialist skills that people can put to work now. What's next? Perhaps needing coordination -- the ability to make sure people keep working efficiently and effectively together as the community grows. Ben and I also cover the career implications of those stages, as well as the ability to save money and the possibility that someone else would do your job in your absence. If you’d like to learn more about these topics, you should check out a couple of articles on our site: • *Think twice before talking about ‘talent gaps’ – clarifying nine misconceptions* • *How replaceable are the top candidates in large hiring rounds? Why the answer flips depending on the distribution of applicant ability* *Get this episode by subscribing: type 80,000 Hours into your podcasting app. Or read the linked transcript.* Producer: Keiran Harris. Audio mastering: Ben Cordell. Transcriptions: Zakee Ulhaq.
1 hr 25 min
The Future of Life
The Future of Life
Future of Life Institute
Mohamed Abdalla on Big Tech, Ethics-washing, and the Threat on Academic Integrity
Mohamed Abdalla, PhD student at the University of Toronto, joins us to discuss how Big Tobacco and Big Tech work to manipulate public opinion and academic institutions in order to maximize profits and avoid regulation. Topics discussed in this episode include: -How Big Tobacco uses it's wealth to obfuscate the harm of tobacco and appear socially responsible -The tactics shared by Big Tech and Big Tobacco to preform ethics-washing and avoid regulation -How Big Tech and Big Tobacco work to influence universities, scientists, researchers, and policy makers -How to combat the problem of ethics-washing in Big Tech You can find the page for this podcast here: https://futureoflife.org/2020/11/17/mohamed-abdalla-on-big-tech-ethics-washing-and-the-threat-on-academic-integrity/ The Future of Life Institute AI policy page: https://futureoflife.org/AI-policy/ Timestamps:  0:00 Intro 1:55 How Big Tech actively distorts the academic landscape and what counts as big tech 6:00 How Big Tobacco has shaped industry research on industry research 12:17 The four tactics of Big Tobacco and Big Tech 13:34 Big Tech and Big Tobacco working to appear socially responsible 22:15 Big Tech and Big Tobacco working to influence the decisions made by funded universities 32:25 Big Tech and Big Tobacco working to influence research questions and the plans of individual scientists 51:53 Big Tech and Big Tobacco finding skeptics and critics of them and funding them to give the impression of social responsibility 1:00:24 Big Tech and being authentically socially responsible 1:11:41 Transformative AI, social responsibility, and the race to powerful AI systems 1:16:56 Ethics-washing as systemic 1:17:30 Action items for solving Ethics-washing 1:19:42 Has Mohamed received criticism for this paper? 1:20:07 Final thoughts from Mohamed This podcast is possible because of the support of listeners like you. If you found this conversation to be meaningful or valuable, consider supporting it directly by donating at futureoflife.org/donate. Contributions like yours make these conversations possible.
1 hr 22 min
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