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Explaining the key scientific ideas, technologies, and policies relevant to the global climate crisis. Visit climatenow.com for more information and our video series.
Aug 8, 2022
Understanding EPA v. West Virginia: How will the Supreme Court’s ruling impact GHG regulation?
On June 30, 2022, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision on the case “EPA v. West Virginia,” ruling in a 6-3 vote that the EPA exceeded its statutory authority by setting greenhouse gas emissions standards that would effectively require utilities to shift away from fossil fuel-sourced power generation to renewables. At the time of the decision, it was met with a raft of alarmist headlines, forecasting that it would be a disaster for climate change mitigation, and that it threatens the future regulatory authority of all federal agencies. Is it really that bad? In this episode, Michael Gerrard, professor of professional practice in climate change law and policy at Columbia University, helps us understand exactly what the EPA v. West Virginia decision said, and what its impact is likely to be.
Jul 25, 2022
Do we need nuclear power to solve climate change? Amory Lovins says no
In 2017, the V.C. Summer Nuclear Plant expansion - meant to hail the renaissance of nuclear power in the US - came screeching to a halt. The project, to build two new reactors at an existing South Carolina facility, was canceled after being delayed more than a year, costing $9 billion USD, and still being only 40% complete. Now, the only new nuclear project in the works in the U.S. is the Vogtle Plant expansion in Georgia; a project also more than a year behind schedule, and billions of dollars over budget. Still, nuclear projects remain a focus of government and think tank decarbonization strategies. Why? Dr. Amory Lovins, adjunct professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, and international authority on the clean energy transition, joins Climate Now to explain why he thinks nuclear should no longer be considered as a source of energy. For Amory, it's not just the chance of environmental catastrophe or nuclear proliferation that make it a non-starter, it's the economics. 00:00 - Introducing Climate Now 00:32 - Introducing Amory Lovins 01:12 - How much energy is supplied from nuclear power 02:02 - Amory explains why he believes that nuclear has no business case 16:25 - If nuclear has no business case, why do governments continue to invest in it?
Jul 11, 2022
How can you save money while decarbonizing your building?
Heating, cooling and electrifying buildings produces nearly one fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, but by employing existing energy efficient technologies and switching to renewables, we could cut 87% of building-related emissions by 2050. So, how do we get there? Climate Now speaks with two companies working to eliminate the barriers to decarbonizing buildings. Andy Frank, founder of Sealed, explains how Sealed makes it easier for homeowners to implement energy efficiency improvements by reducing upfront costs and managing the improvement project. Jeff Hendler and Zohra Roy of Logical Buildings share how their company empowers real estate managers and building owners with the data they need to optimize their energy usage. 00:00 Andy Frank, Sealed 15:58 Jeff Hendler and Zohra Roy, Logical Buildings
Jun 20, 2022
Is there a profitable approach to carbon capture and storage?
In the international carbon offset market, the average price of removing one tonne of CO2 from the atmosphere is still below $15 USD, nowhere near enough to cover the costs of carbon capture and storage (CCS). As Dr. Sheila Olmstead (University of Texas, Austin) explained in a recent Climate Now podcast episode, this is why CCS is one of the few climate technologies not experiencing exponential growth. “Unless there's a market for captured CO2, then it doesn't make economic sense… to adopt these carbon capture technologies.” But what if, instead of making captured CO2 the only marketable product, the capture is accomplished while also producing other goods and services? Climate Now spoke with three pioneers developing startup programs in California that plan to use biowaste (that is, agricultural residues or vegetation cleared from forests to increase their resiliency to drought, fire or infestation) to produce hydrogen fuel and CO2. The technique is called 'bioenergy and carbon capture and storage,' or BECCS. The hydrogen can be sold and the CO2 captured and stored underground. Join us for our discussion with George Peridas of Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Jonathan Kusel of the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, and Josh Stolaroff of Mote, to hear how this approach could make CCS economically feasible, perhaps even profitable, while also providing a benefit to local communities already experiencing the worst impacts of climate change, and an essential service for the well-being of our planet. 01:40 - Introduction to BECCS (bioenergy with carbon capture and storage) 02:06 - Introduction to BICRS (biomass carbon removal and storage) 03:10 - Quick overview of carbon capture utilization and storage 04:50 - Challenges of carbon capture 05:27 - George Peridas and Jonathan Kusel on the Indian Valley Wood Utilization Campus project 14:57 - The importance of hydrogen 15:47 - Joshuah Stolaroff explains how to produce hydrogen using waste biomass 17:20 - Introduction to Mote 28:41 - Carbon capture skepticism and risks
Jun 13, 2022
Concrete, steel and plastics: Paths to a greener industrial sector
Each year, we produce about 30 billion tonnes of concrete globally. That’s nearly 10,000 pounds, or more than 2 entire cars-worth of concrete, per person, per year. We produce enough steel to build more than 2700 Empire State Buildings annually. We produce more than 100 pounds of plastic per person, each year. And with all of this material production, we also produce a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly one-third of global GHG emissions come from industry, with steel, concrete, and chemical manufacturing (i.e. plastics) being the largest contributors. These industries are tough to decarbonize because they require performing chemical reactions at high temperatures, not easily achieved through electrification, and because they emit greenhouse gasses as a by-product. Climate Now sat down with Dr. Rebecca Dell of the ClimateWorks Foundation, the largest philanthropic program in the world dedicated to reducing and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions that come from the material economy. Dr. Dell shares how these industries are approaching decarbonization, and what kind of technological, policy and market innovations will be needed to reduce the industrial carbon footprint. 01:32 - Rebecca Dell's background 04:17 - ClimateWorks 04:30 - What is the "industrial sector" in the climate context? 05:48 - Decarbonizing petrochemicals (i.e. plastics) 17:51 - Decarbonizing concrete and cement 30:04 - Decarbonizing steel
Jun 6, 2022
Are we undervaluing energy efficiency as a decarbonization strategy?
*Are we underestimating the potential of increased efficiency? It wouldn’t be the first time.* In 2021, the International Energy Agency and the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasted a 50% increase in global energy demand by 2050. Such forecasts have echoes of the 1970’s, when – in the middle of a global energy crisis – forecasters were anticipating as much as a 300% increase in energy demand over the next 3 decades. Those forecasters missed the mark by about 250%, because they didn’t count on the significant efficiency improvements in home appliances, vehicle fuel economy, industry and home energy demands that kickstarted in the 1980’s. In this episode, featuring Dr. Amory Lovins of RMI and Dr. Roger Aines of Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), we explore whether energy forecasters are missing the mark again: projecting only incremental efficiency gains in the next 30 years, despite the fact that we already have the technologies and smart design approaches that would allow global energy demand to decrease by more than 70%, while still providing the same services of today. Joined by a group of LLNL scientists, Amory, Roger and host James Lawler discuss the potential of smart and integrative design approaches that can provide savings in both energy emissions and costs, as well as the obstacles that are keeping us from taking full advantage of these approaches. Listen wherever you like to get your podcasts, or listen with the transcript at climatenow.com! 00:12 - Introduction 00:40 - The Energy Efficiency Resource 03:02 - Why focus on efficiency? 07:11 - How efficiency increases security and reliability of energy delivery 08:16 - How efficiency can be cost effective 11:39 - Energy efficiency trends in the last 50 or so years 15:08 - How to think about efficiency moving forward 23:43 - What methods do we need to employ to get to net-zero. What role does efficiency play?
May 31, 2022
Financial innovations for climate and clean energy impact
*“Inertia is a hell of a thing. Inertia is there, and there is very little motivation for an incumbent to change course. So you have to have that disruption from the outside. The same thing with financial services.”** - Marilyn Waite, Climate Finance Fund* *In the 2019/2020 fiscal year, the global climate finance sector reached a record **632 billion US dollars**. Unfortunately - that is a little short of the **more than $3 trillion US dollars** needed each year to keep warming under 2 degrees C, according to the IPCC. The Climate Finance Fund (CFF) is a philanthropic organization whose mandate is to close that gap by mobilizing capital towards climate solutions.* *How do they do that? CFF focuses on bringing creative climate solutions to market with early investing, and supporting industry-led initiatives and regulatory changes that encourage financial institutions to divest from fossil fuels and invest in clean technology. Managing Director Marilyn Waite joined Climate Now to share the changes CFF’s projects have already brought about, who the big disruptors are in climate finance, and how to get the world’s biggest banks and lenders to take note that it is time to go green. 01:23 - Marilyn Introduction 04:09 - What is CFF? 07:58 - Clean Energy Credit Union 10:41 - Clean energy borrowing today 12:14 - Impact-first VCs and Climate Fintech 17:43 - Banking on Climate Chaos 20:50 - Systems change - Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials*
May 23, 2022
How to meet electricity demand while greening the grid
*Lawrence Livermore National Lab**,** Princeton University**, and the** IPCC** have all published **proposed climate mitigation pathways**: strategies for economically reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century for California, the U.S., and the world, respectively. And they are not alone. Any given pathway to net-zero emissions offers some combination of efficiency improvements, expansion of renewable energy sources, and some amount of so-called "negative emissions," using technologies and natural processes that capture and store carbon. But what determines the ratio of these three decarbonization methods? What determines which particular ratio will produce the lowest-cost and most feasible pathway for society?* *Climate Now sat down with Dr. EJ Baik, to discuss her research on the least-cost pathway for decarbonizing California’s electrical grid by 2045. EJ explains how major decarbonization pathways are modeled, the assumptions behind those models, and why sometimes the most economical way to reach net-zero is not what you’d expect.*
May 16, 2022
Will the clean energy transition be cheaper than we thought?
For years we’ve been hearing that the clean energy transition is going to be expensive. But the recent working paper, *Empirically grounded technology forecasts and the energy transition,* suggests that the high estimates of the expense to transition to renewable energy have been inflated, and that it may in fact be cheaper to transition to renewables than to stay on fossil fuels, regardless of the costs of the changing climate. Using probabilistic cost forecasting methods, the authors of the paper project that because of the exponentially decreasing cost curve of renewables like wind and solar, fossil fuels will become nearly obsolete in just 25 years. Climate Now spoke with co-author of the paper, Dr. Doyne Farmer, to better understand their model and what that might mean for policy and investments. Dr. Farmer is the Director of the Complexity Economics program at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, Baillie Gifford Professor in the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute.
May 9, 2022
Diluting dependence on Russian oil: How renewable energy can defund a war
*Among **the top importers of Russian oil** are the EU, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and France. The EU accounted for **71% of oil imports from Russia** 2 months after the war in Ukraine began. But cutting off oil and gas imports from Russia completely **can pose great challenges**. The EU is attempting to wean off of Russian oil dependence in response to the invasion of Ukraine by hastening renewable energy adoption. * *The 1970’s oil crises led to a flattening of the exponential demand growth for oil globally. It **never recovered thanks to improvements in efficiency**. What lessons can we learn from the past as we face the current oil and gas crisis brought on by Putin’s war? We spoke with Amory Lovins, co-author of a **recent RMI article** assessing the geopolitical dynamics driving a pivot away from fossil fuels.* *Chapters:* *1:29 The 70’s energy crisis compared to today* *10:09 Russia’s energy role* *14:12 Policy change following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.* *23:15 How might this impact Europe’s energy sources over the next several years?* *26:48 How might this impact renewable energy adoption around the world?*
May 2, 2022
The bottom line on sustainable shipping: Can the shipping industry reach zero emissions?
*If the international shipping sector were a country, it would be** the sixth largest CO2 emitting nation in the world**. Every year,** 11 billion tons of goods** - about 80% of all the goods we use or consume - reach us by ship, emitting** nearly a billion tons of CO2** into the atmosphere in the process. And, about** 40% of those goods** - nearly 4.5 billion tons - are fossil fuels.* *Unlike switching to renewable energy and electric road vehicles, there is not an obvious short-term economic benefit to decarbonizing shipping, which makes even the simplest solutions (like slowing down the ships!) difficult to incentivize. Climate Now sat down with Bryan Comer, Marine Program Lead at The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), to discuss the shipping industry's decarbonization goals, the policy changes needed to reach them, and the future of sustainable shipping.* *1:02 What is the ICCT? 3:17 Overview of the shipping industry 6:49 What are the emissions reduction goals…
Apr 25, 2022
Buried treasure: Unearthing the power of the soil carbon bank
S*oil - that mixture of degraded bedrock, decomposing organic matter, and microorganisms, that nourishes the root systems of plants and trees - already has a soil carbon bank 4x that of vegetation. And, by changing how we manage our soils, it is possible to increase their capacity for trapping CO2 in the form of organic carbon**and** enhance the agricultural productivity** of a region.* *Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry and Falasco Chair in Earth Sciences in the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences at University of California, Merced, is a global leader in the carbon storage potential of soils. She sat down with Climate Now to explain why soils are so good at trapping carbon, how much they could hold, and what we can do to increase soil carbon storage. *
Apr 19, 2022
How can water reuse help solve the global water crisis?
*Today, **26% of the global population** - about 2 billion people - live without reliable access to safe drinking water. And, as climate change worsens, the availability of fresh water will only decrease. By 2050, as many as **3.2 billion people** could live in severely water-scarce regions of the world. More than half the global population will experience water scarcity for at least one month a year.* *Options for mitigating this crisis are limited: we can use less water, discourage population growth in urban centers, or find new water sources.* *On World Water Day 2022, Jon Freedman, Senior Vice President of Global Governmental Affairs for SUEZ Water Technology Solutions, joined Climate Now to make the case for water reuse as one of those alternative sources. Technology already exists to purify and safely use recycled water - Israel reuses **nearly 90% of its wastewater effluent**, primarily for irrigation. The question that remains is how to encourage adoption of water reuse as pa…
Apr 12, 2022
Explaining the SEC's proposed climate disclosure rules
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission wants to standardize climate disclosures for publicly traded companies. What does that mean? On March 21, 2022 the SEC released a proposal for a new rule: publicly traded companies will have to provide disclosures about how the changing climate will affect their business, and how their business is affecting climate. This move would formalize a reporting system for climate-related disclosures that investors are increasingly demanding. Climate Now sat down with Nir Kaissar, a market economics columnist for Bloomberg Opinion and portfolio manager, to understand what these proposed disclosure requirements entail, how they fit into the scope of the SEC's mandate, and what the impact of their adoption will be for businesses, investors, policymakers and the public.
Mar 29, 2022
Can ammonia or wind propel carbon-free shipping?
In the race for decarbonization, the shipping industry faces major challenges. Fuel is cheap, almost half the price of gasoline. And, most ships last between 20-25 years, meaning that the turnover to cleaner shipping could take far longer than road transportation, where the average car is only 12 years old. But there is some wind in the sails of maritime decarbonization initiatives. Maria Gallucci, a climate journalist with Canary Media, has spent the last 5 years investigating the challenges and opportunities of decreasing maritime emissions. She spoke with Climate Now about why it is so hard to decarbonize this sector, and the diversity of approaches that are being explored, with a focus on ammonia and wind-powered propulsion. Chapters: 00:00 Maria's background 02:08 Why is shipping so hard to decarbonize? 05:43 How is shipping regulated? 08:20 What technologies and alternative fuels for shipping could replace fossil fuels? 11:08 Ammonia: - 11:08 Pros and cons of ammonia for shipp…
Mar 22, 2022
How the electricity grid works
One of the most efficient ways to get to a net-zero economy is to generate electricity from renewable sources, and then make as many things run on electricity as possible. But, as more end-use services (transportation, heating, industry) are electrified, and the source of electricity transitions from fossil fuels to renewables like solar and wind, the electricity supply chain - the pathway from electricity producers to consumers - will need to evolve, too. In this episode, we spoke with *Monica Varman*, a clean energy technology investor at G2 Venture Partners who specializes in investments in grid resilience. We spoke with Monica about how the electricity sector works and how it is evolving: What is the pathway from creating electricity from a renewable or fossil fuel source, to being able to flip a switch in our home and have the light come on? And how are companies innovating the electricity generation-transmission-distribution supply chain to prepare us for a carbon-neutral future…
Mar 8, 2022
A venture capitalist’s perspective on the evolution of green transportation
*In 2021 alone, **more than $32 billion dollars** were invested in green-technology startups, a four-fold increase from five years earlier. But how far will those dollars go? **Only about 25% of venture-backed startups** actually make the transition from an innovative idea to a successful business. * *And when we are considering green technology, choosing which companies will have the biggest impact means much more than a return on investment. It will determine how fast we can reach a carbon-free global economy, and how dire the impact of climate change will be. * *So how do investors pick the startups with the most potential? We spoke with G2 Venture Partners' Brook Porter, a chemical engineer-turned environmental technology investor with over two decades of experience in sustainability and technology development, about which companies are leading the way, how they succeeded, and what to be looking for among the up-and-comers in the green technology sector. Episode breakdown: 00:40…
Feb 22, 2022
Can We Achieve 100% Electric Car Sales by 2030?
*What will it take to get 100% of new car sales to be electric by 2030? Is it consumer demand? Is it political pressure? How about we just increase both? * The Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) is the first industry-backed coalition advocating for 100% EV sales by 2030, and they have devised a federal roadmap for reaching that goal. Joe Britton of ZETA and Dr. Sweta Chakraborty of Pioneer Public Affairs sat down with us to outline the ZETA roadmap, with a focus on the role of public policy in incentivizing manufacturers to go electric, and the role of public messaging to increase consumer confidence in electric vehicles. Listen now to learn about the six policy initiatives needed to electrify road transportation in the U.S.
Feb 18, 2022
How to Scale Up Carbon Capture and Storage
*Decarbonizing our global economy is critical to staying below the 1.5C threshold of warming, but so is reducing the amount of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere. By 2050, we will need to remove **about ten billion tonnes of CO2 every year**. Currently, we are capturing and sequestering **about 40 million tonnes a year** - about 0.4% of what’s needed by 2050, and less than 0.1% of the CO2-equivalent of** global energy and industry emissions**.* *For comparison, renewable electricity has ramped up to **12% of global electricity consumption**. Electric vehicles now make up **nearly 9% of all new car sales**. These climate-friendly tech sectors are growing quickly, but carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) is not keeping pace.* *Environmental economist Dr. Sheila Olmstead, professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, set out to discover what is holding back rapid growth in CCUS, and how to overcome those obstacles. She sat down with Climate Now to s…
Feb 8, 2022
Is micromobility the future of urban transportation?
There is a lot of focus within climate tech on how to decarbonize cars—whether that be via electric batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, or other emerging technologies—but what about eliminating the need for cars altogether? How can we better design our cities and suburbs so that they are centered around humans, not cars? Cars do not need to be the primary method of urban transportation, and alternatives such as public transportation and micromobility have benefits far beyond simply reducing carbon emissions. Listen now to our conversation with Dr. Meredith Glaser, urban mobility researcher and lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, and Dr. Kevin Krizek, professor of Environmental Design at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Feb 1, 2022
An insider's perspective on advancing US climate policy
Climate policy at the federal level is integral to mitigating the climate crisis. Unfortunately, the United States has had a hard time so far passing ambitious climate legislation. Why is that? From the outside, the situation often seems hopeless. But what does it look like from inside Washington? To find out, Climate Now spoke with Alex McDonough. Alex started his career as a policy advisor for Senator Harry Reid, co-founded Clean Energy for America, and is now a policy advisor and partner at Pioneer Public Affairs, a clean energy lobbying firm.
Jan 25, 2022
Re-imagining Heavy-Duty Trucking with Hydrogen and Carbon Capture
Heavy-duty, long-haul trucks - known as Class 8 trucks - account for more than 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide each year. Electrification, while a practical option for most of the trucking industry (see last week's episode), is not yet as feasible for long-haul Class 8 trucks. | What options might exist to decarbonize heavy-duty trucking in the short and medium term, if not with electrification? Climate Now spoke with two entrepreneurs whose companies are developing alternative technologies to reduce heavy-duty transport emissions: Bav Roy, co-founder and COO of Verne, a start-up optimizing hydrogen storage for fuel cell trucks; and Paul Gross, the co-CEO and co-founder of Remora, a startup that captures carbon from the exhaust pipe of trucks. Listen now as we explore the challenges and growth opportunities for these two technologies, infrastructure considerations, and more. Chapters: 00:15 Heavy-duty emissions 1:44 Verne Hydrogen introduction 6:03 Remora Carb…
Jan 18, 2022
The trucking industry needs to go green. Are electric trucks the answer?
In 2019, medium- and heavy-duty trucks accounted for about a quarter of U.S. transportation emissions while representing less than 4% of vehicles on the road, according to the U.S. EPA. It is clear the trucking industry must decarbonize in order for the transportation sector, and the economy as a whole, to reach net-zero emissions, but which emerging technologies will move freight vehicles into climate-friendly territory is not yet clear, though electric is making great strides. Climate Now spoke with the North American Council for Freight Efficiency's (NACFE) Executive Director Mike Roeth and Director of Emerging Technologies Rick Mihelic, as well as former RMI Senior Associate for Carbon-Free Mobility's Jessie Lund (now at CALSTART), about why electric trucks are leading the carbon-free trucking game. Chapters: 2:03 What is NACFE? 4:20 Current state of the trucking industry 9:35 Technologies for decarbonizing trucking 15:25 Are hydrogen fuel cell vehicles scalable? 17: 20 Understa…
Jan 11, 2022
Why all ride-sharing should go electric. And autonomous, with Dave Rubin
Ride-sharing services currently result in 69% more emissions, on average, than the trips they displace, according to a recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists. But, if the ride-sharing vehicles were electric, it's a whole different story. Replacing one gasoline-powered ride-sharing car with an electric vehicle (EV) has three times the climate benefit as replacing a personal car with an EV. Some companies like Cruise and Aurora go even further, developing electric autonomous fleets, which could further reduce the carbon footprint of ride-share vehicles. Climate Now spoke with Dave Rubin, Head of Policy Research at Cruise, a self-driving, ride-sharing service, to understand how electric and autonomous vehicles could help us decarbonize road transportation, and the challenges ahead for wide-scale adoption.
Jan 4, 2022
The sustainability conundrum of electric vehicles: Making and recycling EV batteries, with Andy Stevenson
Climate Now is kicking off our Decarbonizing Transportation series by addressing a question that looms over the electric vehicle market: how can we sustainably manufacture and recycle EV batteries? To learn about electric vehicle battery trends and challenges, we are joined by Andy Stevenson, former Special Projects Associate at Tesla and former Chief Financial Officer of Redwood Materials, a battery recycling company.
Dec 21, 2021
Green banks: How they unlock funding for climate solutions, with Bryan Garcia
The Connecticut Green Bank, the first green bank in the US, has unlocked over $2 billion in capital toward clean energy projects and other climate solutions since it was established by the state legislature in 2011. So, what is the green bank model? How does it compare to other methods of clean energy finance? And what are their impact? Climate Now speaks with Connecticut Green Bank President and CEO Bryan Garcia to find out.
Dec 17, 2021
Ocean-Based Carbon Dioxide Removal and Geoengineering, with Wil Burns
Earth's oceans play a key role in slowing climate change, absorbing nearly a third of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. And they could, potentially, absorb more. In this episode, Climate Now explores developing methods to enhance ocean-based carbon dioxide removal. What do we know about each technique, and what are the associated risks? Learn more in our conversation with Dr. Wil Burns, visiting professor at Northwestern University's Environmental Policy and Culture Program and emeritus co-founding director of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy at American University.
Dec 14, 2021
Unpacking COP 26: Are we on track to solve the climate crisis, with Megan Darby
In November 2021, representatives from around the world gathered to update their climate commitments at the 26th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland. The conference received substantial attention from media and climate groups around the globe, the likes of which we haven't seen since COP 21 - the 2015 Paris Climate Accords. So why was there so much anticipation leading up to this year's COP? What were the expectations, and were they met? And do the new commitments made at COP 26 put us on track to meet global climate targets? Megan Darby, Editor of Climate Home News, a UK-based news organization that covers the international politics of the climate crisis, joined Climate Now to unpack the key results from COP 26.
Dec 10, 2021
Scaling wind energy: What it will take to reach global net-zero, with Simon Watson
Wind energy is one of the cheapest sources of energy today, but it accounts for only ~6% of global electricity generation. To limit global warming to 2 degrees C or less, wind energy will need to scale up to about 5 times its current size. | So, how can this be achieved? What are the challenges to scaling wind energy to this degree? How does off-shore wind fit into this equation? And what needs to happen this decade to put us on track? Climate Now is joined by Dr. Simon Watson, Director of the Delft University of Technology Wind Energy Institute, to discuss the role of wind energy in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Nov 30, 2021
Adaptation in North America: What's happening and what needs to happen, with Beth Gibbons
Much of the focus surrounding climate action is on mitigation: how do we reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and avoid catastrophic climate change in the coming decades? But the reality is the climate is already changing - and will continue to change even under the most optimistic mitigation scenarios. So what is being done to adapt and prepare for these changes? Beth Gibbons, Executive Director of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals, joined Climate Now to discuss how - and whether - North American cities are adapting to a changing climate, and what still needs to happen to ensure people and places are protected.
Nov 22, 2021
How to Ensure Climate Impact Investing Actually Has an Impact with Amit Bouri
"The [investment market] we have in place now is not working for people, it's not working for the planet, and it's actually not working for most investors." This is according to Amit Bouri, Co-founder and CEO of the Global Impact Investing Network (the GIIN), an international community dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing. Impact investments are made with the intention of producing a positive change, for example in addressing the climate crisis, while simultaneously earning financial returns. And it appears more and more investors are showing interest, as the impact investment market reached $715 billion in 2020, according to the GIIN, and is expected to keep rising. Climate Now sat down with Amit Bouri to discuss the growing impact investment market and its drivers, how climate change plays a role, and how investors can measure the impact of their dollars.
Nov 16, 2021
Water Strategy and Climate-Induced Drought: How to mitigate and prepare with Will Sarni
A growing population, groundwater depletion, poor water infrastructure, overuse, and water waste threaten our global freshwater supply. Throw climate change into the mix, and the water crisis is exacerbated, as precipitation becomes less reliable and average global temperatures rise. The water crisis, like the climate crisis, is projected to get worse, but there are solutions both corporations and governments can adopt to mitigate the negative impacts and prepare. Climate Now spoke with Will Sarni, Founder and CEO of Water Foundry and a global thought leader on water challenges, to learn about the strategies and technologies available to assuage the water crisis.
Nov 2, 2021
Improving Climate Models with Machine Learning with Laure Zanna
Most climate models in use today are based upon large-scale, well-understood physical relationships that drive global temperature and precipitation trends. But the effects of complicated interactions that occur on smaller scales, which may still be significant, are harder to capture in these models. That is why Dr. Laure Zanna of New York University and her colleagues are employing machine learning techniques, which can "learn" the effects of these interactions without explicitly solving the physics, to improve climate modeling. Climate Now spoke with Dr. Zanna to learn more.
Oct 26, 2021
Trash to treasure: One man's journey to make CO2 waste a usable product
What does it take to turn an idea that could help fight climate change into a self-sustaining business? We often hear the glamorous stories of startups that have made it, but little about the struggles, the learning, and the luck required to get there. Pol Knops, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Green Minerals, joined Climate Now to share his ongoing journey to design, develop and market a process that transforms carbon dioxide emissions into a useful product. Green Minerals speeds up the natural process of mineralization, in which CO2 chemically reacts with iron, magnesium or calcium-rich minerals to form a new mineral, permanently trapping the CO2. The Green Minerals mineralization process uses olivine to react with captured CO2 to create feedstocks for the concrete and paper industries.
Oct 19, 2021
Pricing carbon around the globe: Why it's so difficult
How do we finance the cost of mitigating climate change, while discouraging continued use of fossil fuels? The largest public statement of economists in history argues for a carbon tax - which would charge a fee for every ton of carbon dioxide emitted. But, if one country charges a different carbon tax than another, what would happen to international trade? Would fossil fuel use and emissions-intensive industrial processes actually decrease, or just move to a country without a carbon tax? Carbon border adjustments attempt to address these issues, and come with their own legal, economic and practical complexities. Listen to Climate Now's new podcast episode featuring conversations with Dr. Adele Morris, former Policy Director for Climate and Energy Economics at the Brookings Institution, Dr. David Weisbach, Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, Dr. Brian Flannery, Visiting Fellow for Resources for the Future, and Shuting Pomerleau, Climate Policy Analyst at the Niskanen Cent…
Oct 12, 2021
Do you get what you pay for? Monetizing Forests via Carbon Credits
A rapidly expanding list of companies have announced plans to go "carbon neutral" or "net zero". Often, these plans include at least some offsetting of greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing credits from forest carbon offset programs. But buyers beware: our look into how forest carbon offsets are determined and sold suggests that there is a lot of work to be done before we will be able to monetize the carbon absorptive power of trees in our effort to reduce net emissions. Climate Now spoke with four experts: Dr. Charles Canham of The Cary Institute, Dr. Danny Cullenward, Policy Director of CarbonPlan, Dr. Grayson Badgley of Black Rock Forest and Columbia University, and Christine Cadigan of the American Forest Foundation to better understand what is and is not working in the forest carbon offset market.
Sep 24, 2021
Climate impacts profits: How businesses should report climate risk
For businesses, a changing climate is not just about worsening weather patterns. Businesses must be prepared for what is likely to be an era of rapidly accelerating change to many dimensions of their operations, including changes in shareholder expectations, supply chains, multi-dimensional risks to physical assets, and impacts on labor, among others. A critical dimension to preparing for these changes is risk assessment and reporting. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) was established in 2015 to provide businesses with guidance on how to disclose both financial risks and opportunities that are associated with our changing climate. Emily Wasley runs WSP USA's Corporate Climate Resilience practice. We spoke with Emily to gain a better understanding of the TCFD guidelines, and some perspective on the growing interest from businesses seeking to become resilient to a changing climate.
Sep 17, 2021
Measuring CO2 from space: the science of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory missions
In the first episode of our two-part series, we learned how NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory made it to space despite overwhelming odds from David Crisp, the mission's principal investigator. Today, we released the sequel, where we explore the science of carbon dioxide remote sensing, and how the data collected by the OCO missions 2 and 3 can be used to address the climate crisis. Dr. David Crisp returns, and with Dr. Annmarie Eldering, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Project Scientist for the OCO-3 mission, explains what we have learned so far from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory missions.
Sep 14, 2021
Measuring CO2 from space: a journey of perseverance, heartbreak, and scientific breakthrough with David Crisp
On the 24th of February, 2009, David Crisp was in the control center at Vandenberg Air Force base counting down the seconds for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory to launch. It was a project he had led for a decade - and it was the first NASA mission that would measure atmospheric carbon dioxide from space. Hundreds of millions of dollars and years of work had gone into that moment, but David and his team had yet to face their greatest challenge... This week, Climate Now is releasing a two-part series on NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) missions, including the saga of its multi-decadal journey to completion and the impact it could have on the fight to end climate change. David Crisp, Senior Research Scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, shares his experience as the Principal Investigator for the OCO missions with Climate Now in this episode.
Sep 10, 2021
Saving two birds with one stone: tackling biodiversity and climate together
Many climate change mitigation proposals are land-use intensive. Are these proposals feasible without negatively impacting biodiversity? Can we develop solutions for both the climate and biodiversity crises? There has been an historic lack of collaboration between climate and conservation efforts. To address this, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) produced their first-ever joint report in June to determine solutions that benefit both biodiversity and climate change. Dr. Pete Smith, a co-author of the IPBES/IPCC report and professor of Soils and Global Change at the University of Aberdeen, joined Climate Now to explain why biodiversity should not be forgotten in the climate fight.
Sep 7, 2021
Calculating Climate Financial Risks with Tory Grieves
The climate crisis has myriad effects on American businesses, from where properties are located and their likelihood of encountering extreme weather, to where materials are sourced and potential supply-chain complications. These effects inevitably carry with them financial risks and opportunities which can impact pensions, stock markets, and business operations. So how can businesses begin to calculate their financial risk from the effects of climate change? And why is this seemingly impossible task important? We'll address this question with Tory Grieves, Vice President of Analytics for The Climate Service, a company that provides businesses the tools to calculate their climate-related financial risks and opportunities.
Sep 3, 2021
Building stars on Earth: the potential of nuclear fusion
Is there such a thing as "perfect" energy? With nuclear fusion, the answer is maybe. Fusion energy would be safe to human health, environmentally clean, and essentially limitless. But, developing a sustainable fusion reaction still faces significant engineering hurdles and is likely decades away from becoming a reality. So, where are we in the development of fusion technology? What technical challenges remain? And what practical challenges must be overcome to make fusion a competitive energy source? Sir Steven Cowley, director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and Dr. Aneeqa Khan, Research Fellow in Nuclear Fusion at The University of Manchester, answer these questions in this episode.
Aug 27, 2021
Nuclear Energy: What are the real risks? with David Keith
Despite being a reliable, zero-emissions alternative to energy derived from fossil fuels, nuclear energy remains mired in controversy. Opponents often cite four reasons not to include nuclear in the portfolio of alternative energy sources that will replace fossil fuels: its cost, what to do with radioactive waste, the increased risk of nuclear weapons proliferation, and environment and health impacts resulting from accidents or meltdowns. But how are these risks quantified and how do they compare to other energy sources, including carbon-intensive energy? As the climate crisis worsens, can we really afford to exclude nuclear from the list of solutions? Dr. David Keith, internationally-recognized climate and energy scientist and entrepreneur out of Harvard University, helps us understand how the risks of employing nuclear compare to the risks of not using it.
Aug 20, 2021
Investing in the Energy Transition with Salim Samaha
Transitioning to a sustainable energy economy will require significant input of investment capital. But how do investors decide which companies and technologies to back as society moves toward a carbon neutral future? Salim Samaha heads energy project investments in the Americas for Global Infrastructure Partners. GIP is a national leader in private equity investments in renewable energy, with ownership stakes in over 90 gigawatts of operating or developing renewable energy projects. In this episode, Mr. Samaha explains the role of private equity investments in the clean energy transition and the types of projects GIP is funding.
Aug 17, 2021
Optimizing reforestation to mitigate climate change with Susan Cook-Patton
Trees are an incredible resource for mitigating climate change, with myriad environmental benefits - not least their ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it for hundreds to thousands of years. Reforestation - the process of replanting trees in depleted areas - should be included in the array of climate solutions, but it isn't as simple as merely planting any tree anywhere. Dr. Susan Cook-Patton and her colleagues created the Reforestation Hub, which provides county-level information about the best regions and geographic areas to plant trees to maximize CO2 uptake via reforestation.
Aug 13, 2021
Will China reach net-zero emissions by 2060?
China currently produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the next three biggest emitters - the United States, European Union, and India - combined, making a commitment from China to decarbonize its economy essential to reaching global carbon neutrality. But given China is the manufacturing epicenter of the world, the path to decarbonization is not straight forward. So, what targets were set in China's most recent 5-year plan and does this put them on track to meet their goal of net-zero emissions by 2060? How does China's political landscape affect its ability, and willingness, to transition to clean energy? And where is China currently investing its resources? We explore these topics with Georgetown University's Joanna Lewis, Center for American Progress' Laura Edwards, and Sustainable Finance Institute's Johnny Huang (Huang, Zhong).
Aug 10, 2021
Carbon Dioxide Removal with Roger Aines
How do we reach global net-zero emissions by 2050, when there is almost no chance of completely ending our dependence on fossil fuels by that time? The solution will require Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) – a host of natural and technological techniques for drawing CO2 out of the atmosphere, effectively producing ‘negative emissions’. We spoke with Dr. Roger Aines, the Energy Program Chief Scientist and lead of the Carbon Initiative at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, to learn about the various carbon dioxide removal methods, their advantages, costs and challenges, and who is helping advance them.
Aug 6, 2021
Carbon Sequestration with Julio Friedmann
In order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we must (in addition to reducing emissions) capture carbon and permanently store it where it cannot be released, a process known as carbon sequestration. So, what is currently being done to advance carbon sequestration? What policy and economic levers need to be implemented to incentivize its wide-scale deployment? To answer these questions, Climate Now spoke with Dr. Julio Friedmann, Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA and previously the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy.
Aug 3, 2021
Clean Aviation Fuel with Steve Csonka
What incentives are needed for airlines to adopt sustainable aviation fuel (#SAF) and decarbonize air travel? How does SAF get tested and approved for use in commercial aviation? Who are the players in this space now and how much SAF is already being used? Steve Csonka joins Climate Now to discuss this important new technology. Steve Csonka is the Executive Director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), where he connects a coalition of airlines, aircraft manufacturers, energy producers, researchers, and U.S. government agencies to advance sustainable jet fuel for commercial use. Note: This podcast was recorded on April 13, 2021, and there have been a few updates since then. In addition to World Energy, Gevo, and Neste, Eni and Air BP are now also producing SAF, and Fulcrum completed construction of its waste-to-fuel facility in Nevada and will likely be producing fuel by the end of 2021.
Jul 30, 2021
What's Wrong with Carbon Offsets? with Mark Trexler and Derik Broekhoff
As the climate crisis worsens, more and more companies are committing to go "net-zero". Most of these commitments include the purchase of carbon offsets or investment in negative emissions projects, designed to offset the emissions resulting from companies' operations. The carbon offset market is in high demand due to this surge of net-zero pledges, but does the market actually work? How can companies be sure their dollars are removing carbon that otherwise wouldn't be removed from the atmosphere? And what are the risks of a market that doesn't uphold its promise of truly offsetting emissions? Dr. Mark Trexler of the Climatographers and Derik Broekhoff of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) joined Climate Now to discuss the carbon offset market, what's wrong with it, and what its future could be.
Jul 27, 2021
Hydrogen Electrolysis with Ben Wiley
Declining renewable energy costs have sparked a renewed interest in green hydrogen, which has the potential to decarbonize sectors that are harder to electrify. Because hydrogen doesn't occur by itself on Earth, it must be separated from other elements, such as oxygen in water. Electrolysis is the process of using electricity from renewable energy to extract hydrogen from water. Dr. Ben Wiley, Duke University Professor of Chemistry, joins Climate Now to explain hydrogen electrolysis, where it makes sense to integrate into the energy economy, and the technology he is helping develop to improve its productivity.
Jul 20, 2021
Bioenergy Conversion with Jerry Tuskan
How exactly are plants converted into liquid transportation fuel? And what obstacles does bioenergy need to overcome in order to displace fossil fuels in the US energy economy and abroad? Jerry Tuskan is the CEO of the Center for Bioenergy Innovation and Group Lead for Plant Systems Biology in the Biosciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he has been since 1990. He also holds a joint appointment at the Joint Genome Institute - a Department of Energy Office of Science user facility - where he helps lead the Plant Science Program. Dr. Tuskan joined Climate Now to help us understand the biomass to biofuel process and how the sector can expand to meet our net-zero emissions targets.
Jul 13, 2021
Biomass Availability with Matthew Langholtz
Bioenergy is a renewable energy for its carbon neutrality - plants absorb CO2 during photosynthesis and emit the same amount when combusted for energy. But to significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, substantial amounts of biomass, or organic matter, are required. What types of biomass can sustainably and economically be used for energy? What policy or market adjustments can be made to allow bioenergy to compete with more affordable oil or gasoline? Climate Now hosts James Lawler and Katherine Gorman spoke with Matthew Langholtz, Natural Resource Economist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to better understand biomass availability and the role bioenergy could play in the transition away from fossil fuels.
Jul 9, 2021
Climate Modeling with Joeri Rogelj
Climate impact assessment models carry significant weight when developing mitigation and adaptation strategies. So, what climate models exist, and what factors do they include? What scenarios are they projecting, and what should we make of these projections? We had the opportunity to ask these questions to Dr. Joeri Rogelj, a lead author of the IPCC's forthcoming sixth assessment report. Dr. Rogelj is Director of Research and Lecturer in Climate Change and the Environment at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London.
Jul 6, 2021
Climate Policy with Danny Richter
National governments are best-suited to provide the bold, swift action required by the climate crisis through policy. But which policies, exactly, should be passed? What are the pros and cons of each, and which are already proven to be effective in other countries? In this episode, we talk with Danny Richter, Vice President of Government Affairs at Citizens' Climate Lobby, to discuss some of these questions, including what a price on carbon might look like in the United States.
Jun 29, 2021
Net-Zero by 2050 with Eric Larson
What are the possible paths and necessary steps to achieve net-zero emissions in the United States by 2050? Which energy sources could sufficiently decrease our reliance on natural gas and oil to meet that target? And how much will those new energy sources need to scale from where they are today? Dr. Eric Larson is a lead author of the Net-Zero America Report - a Princeton University research initiative that presents five possible pathways to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 - and Senior Research Engineer at Princeton's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. In this episode, Dr. Larson takes Climate Now hosts James Lawler and Katherine Gorman through the various pathways to net-zero, including the technologies that could help us achieve it.
Jun 22, 2021
Carbon Capture 101 with Howard Herzog
According to the IPCC's 2018 report, carbon capture and storage - in addition to a significant reduction in emissions - will be necessary in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. But what is carbon capture, how does it work, and what is its potential? Dr. Howard Herzog, MIT Energy Initiative Senior Research Engineer, and a pioneer of carbon capture technology, joined Climate Now to help us understand carbon capture and storage and its role on our path to net-zero emissions.
Jun 11, 2021
The US Housing Market's Exposure to Climate Risk with Amine Ouazad
Sea levels are rising, storms are worsening, and flooding is consistently exceeding FEMA's 100-year floodplain maps. Yet, an increasing percentage of new mortgages are used to purchase homes in at-risk areas. And lenders are selling mortgages in areas hit by hurricanes at higher rates to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who are backed by American taxpayers, according to research done by Dr. Amine Ouazad, Professor of Economics at HEC Montreal. Dr. Amine Ouazad speaks with Climate Now about his research, and how these conditions could spark the next financial crisis.
Jun 8, 2021
Climate Projections with Sergey Paltsev
Dr. Sergey Paltsev, Deputy Director of MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, spoke with Climate Now hosts James Lawler and Katherine Gorman about climate projections and the tools he and his colleagues at MIT use to communicate projected outcomes to policymakers and the public.
Jun 1, 2021
The Cost of Climate Change with Ian Bolliger
Dr. Ian Bolliger, Climate Data Scientist at Rhodium Group and affiliate of the Climate Impact Lab, joins Climate Now podcast hosts Katherine Gorman and James Lawler to explain how we measure the costs of climate change (in dollar terms) across sectors and communities. Putting a number on these costs can help businesses, governments, and communities better allocate funding towards adaptation and prevention.
May 25, 2021
Government's Role in Climate Action with Caroline Spears
Hosts Katherine Gorman and James Lawler discuss how politicians can create climate campaigns and what role regional, state, and the federal governments play in advancing climate action.
May 11, 2021
Social Cost of Carbon with Tamma Carleton
How do we determine the real cost of a ton of carbon? Listen to find out.
Apr 27, 2021
Sea Level and Social Cost of Carbon with Bob Kopp
Hosts Katherine Gorman and James Lawler interview Dr. Bob Kopp, Climate Scientist at Rutgers University and Director of the Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, about sea level change and how we estimate the costs of climate damages.
Apr 20, 2021
Climate 101 with Kerry Emanuel
Dr. Kerry Emanuel, professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT and co-founder of the MIT Lorenz Center discusses how we can solve climate change.
Mar 31, 2021
Climate Now Introduction
Hi and welcome to the Climate Now podcast, hosted by Katherine Gorman and James Lawler! Climate Now is a multi-platform resource on the science of climate change, covering the key scientific theories underpinning our understanding of how and why the climate is changing; our global energy system and the emissions we produce; the various approaches to addressing and reversing climate change and their respective costs; policy opportunities and pitfalls; energy and climate-related technologies; and other topics. Check out our videos, articles, and podcasts at climatenow.com