Episode 311: The Energy Efficiency Megatrend
Play • 35 min

This week we’re joined by Roger Duncan to talk about his new book with Co-Author Michael Webber called The Future of Transportation, Buildings, and Power.  We chat about buildings can get to net zero energy, the changing structure of public utilities, and the energy efficiency megatrend.

Upzoned
Upzoned
Strong Towns
Public Housing and the Housing Crisis
In a recent op-ed for The New York Times, journalist and novelist Ross Barkan wrote about public housing and the housing crisis. An eviction crisis is looming, Barkan wrote, staved off only by an eviction moratorium. But that moratorium will eventually expire. “When it does, a crushing housing emergency could descend on America—as many as 40 million Americans will be in danger of eviction.” Barkan goes on to say the federal government must play an important role in addressing the short-term crisis as well the underlying problems in the housing market. One “major step,” according to Barkan, would be to repeal "an obscure 22-year-old addition to the Housing Act of 1937, the Faircloth Amendment. Passed in an era when the reputation of housing projects was at a low, the amendment prohibits any net increase in public-housing units.” The repeal of Faircloth is a regular feature in progressive proposals, including the Green New Deal and other efforts by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In this week’s episode of Upzoned, host Abby Kinney, an urban planner in Kansas City, is joined by regular co-host Chuck Marohn, the founder and president of Strong Towns, as well as by Strong Towns senior editor Daniel Herriges. The three of them discuss the Faircloth Amendment and the role of the federal government in addressing the housing crisis. They talk about where a federal response could align with a Strong Towns response, the problems with supersized solutions, and to what extent repealing Faircloth will address the underlying dysfunctions in the housing market. Then in the Downzone, Daniel says he’s finally reading E.F. Schumacher, Chuck talks about a course he’s starting on the plague, and Abby discusses a show she’s been binge-watching, a terrifying psychological thriller. Additional Shownotes: * “It’s Time for America to Reinvest in Public Housing,” by Ross Barkan * Online Course: “Creating Housing Opportunities in a Strong Town” * Abby Kinney (Twitter) * Daniel Herriges (Twitter) * Charles Marohn (Twitter) * Gould Evans Studio for City Design * Theme Music by Kemet the Phantom (Soundcloud) * Recent Strong Towns content related to this podcast * “What's Missing From the Green New Deal, by Daniel Herriges * “Form Without Function in Public Housing,” by Johnny Sanphillippo * “What Happens When a Third of U.S. Tenants Don’t Pay Rent” (Podcast) * “Can We Afford to Care About Design in a Housing Crisis?” by Daniel Herriges * “The Connectedness of Our Housing Ecosystem,” by Daniel Herriges
30 min
The Strong Towns Podcast
The Strong Towns Podcast
Strong Towns
Gabrielle Gurley: For Transit, "The Cuts are Coming"
Most American transit systems were fragile before the pandemic—struggling for revenue, dependent for survival on federal money, inadequate fares, debt, and, in some cases, donations from local businesses. The pandemic has exacerbated these problems and turned existing transit models on their heads. In late December, Gabrielle Gurley, a deputy editor at The American Prospect, wrote an article about how transit systems have responded to the pandemic. “Most operators have mastered the virus precautions, requiring masks, social distancing, and deep-cleaning and disinfecting,” she wrote. “Some have coped better than others, though, in rethinking how to serve passengers who are no longer living in 9-to-5 worlds, and accepting the new realities about how to retain and secure funding at a time when Republican elected officials have blocked any federal response since last spring.” A survey last fall found the majority of transit agencies plan to cut service to close funding gaps. Gurley is our guest on this week’s episode of the Strong Towns podcast. She talks with host Chuck Marohn, founder and president of Strong Towns, about the convulsive effects 2020 had on American transit systems, how the transit experience has changed, and why the politics of transit funding is so challenging. They also discuss the cuts many agencies have planned (or have already implemented), how transit funding reflects what we value as a society, and how the pandemic will change spending priorities from expansion to taking care of basics. As Gurley says, “As nice as it would be to have a spiffy, high-speed train going from DC to New York in two hours…maybe we fix the [leaky] tunnel first.” Additional Show Notes * “Public Transportation in Crisis, by Gabrielle Gurley” * Other articles by Gabrielle Gurley at The American Prospect * Gabrielle Gurley (Twitter) * Charles Marohn (Twitter) * The Strong Towns Local-Motive Tour * Select Strong Towns content on transit: * “New York transit is facing "Doomsday" cuts. Should non-New Yorkers bail it out?” by Charles Marohn * “For U.S. Transit, "Death Spiral" Shouldn't Have Been an Option in the First Place” (Podcast) * “In Transportation Costs, ‘It's the System, Stupid.’" by Daniel Herriges * “Can a High-Speed Rail Network Electrify the U.S. Economy?” (Podcast) * “The Only Thing More Expensive Than Saving Transit is Not Saving Transit,” by Daniel Herriges
55 min
The War on Cars
The War on Cars
Proving Ground Media
Humane Streets with Anil Dash
In a sense, cars are a bit like the internet comments section of the real world. Driving, like leaving a reply on a message board or posting something on Twitter, can be done anonymously, dividing people from their fellow human beings and even leading to aggressive behavior… if not the complete corrosion of polite society. With custom details and bumper stickers promoting political ideologies and pithy slogans, cars are also outward expressions of personal identity… just like one’s social media presence. To unpack the similarities between the sprawling systems of online communication and personal transportation, Doug talks to Anil Dash, the tech entrepreneur and pioneering blogger who’s served as a sharp and thoughtful critic of the industry in which he has spent most of his career. Is a better, more humane internet possible? If so, what lessons can be learned for people who want safer, more humane streets? And what would Prince think? SHOW NOTES: Learn more about Anil Dash, including his love of bike sharing and his belief that, as a New Yorker, “there’s never been a better time to walk down the street.” Follow Anil on Twitter: @anildash “New York City Fit How I Thought The World Should Work.” (TransAlt) This episode was sponsored in part by our friends at Cleverhood. Get 20% off your purchase of stylish, functional rain gear designed specifically for walking and biking with coupon code WARONCARS. Support The War on Cars on Patreon for exclusive access to bonus episodes and nifty rewards like stickers and more. Get an official War on Cars coffee mug and other goodies at our new online store. Buy a War on Cars t-shirt or sweatshirt at Cotton Bureau and check out The War on Cars library at Bookshop.org. Rate and review the podcast on iTunes. This episode was produced and edited by Doug Gordon. Our music is by Nathaniel Goodyear. Our logo is by Dani Finkel of Crucial D. Find us on Twitter: @TheWarOnCars, Aaron Naparstek @Naparstek, Doug Gordon @BrooklynSpoke, Sarah Goodyear @buttermilk1 Questions, comments or suggestions? Send a voice memo of 30 seconds or less to thewaroncars@gmail.com. TheWarOnCars.org
52 min
Model Citizen
Model Citizen
Will Wilkinson, Niskanen Center
Why Right-Wing Media Loves Lies
I never thought I'd see a seditious mob of Americans sack the Capitol building as Congress counted electoral votes. But, then again, I never thought the president of the United States would turn out to be a malignant narcissist who lies about everything all the time. The insurrectionists who sacked the capitol were fueled by lies. One thing that struck me when Trump became president was how other Republican officials didn't seem to care all the much that he lied all the time. By the end of his presidency, practically the entire GOP was willing to enthusiastically embrace Trump's biggest lie yet: that he'd won an election he obviously lost. And, of course, right wing media was there the entire time, amplifying and spreading Trump's lies, whether they were petty vanities or outright seditious. Partisan bias is one thing. Blaring propaganda like a foghorn, completely indifferent to the truth, is different animal altogether. That's why I wanted to talk to my old friend Matthew Sheffield. Matthew was one of the founders of Newsbusters, one of the first conservative sites to devote itself entirely to the exposing liberal media bias and left-wing "fake news." At a certain point, the scales fell from Matthew's eyes and he realized that the mainstream media was at least trying to tell truth, but the right-wing media wasn't trying to do anything at all but stick it to left. I think the inside perspective is critical here. One of the biggest biases of the mainstream media is ignorance of the way the conservative media and messaging machine actually works. Matthew really knows what he's talking about. In addition to founding Newsbuster, he was the founding online managing editor of the Washington Examiner. More recently, he's covered the right and rightwing media for Salon, hosts a podcast called Theory of Change and has written a series of penetrating Twitter threads about the conservative media ecosystem that have earned him interviews on a bunch of radio shows as well as the New York Times. Readings NYT interview with Matthew Sheffield Twitter thread on right-wing media Twitter thread on meaning, loss and Christian supremacism in modern conservatism How Right-Wing Media Fuels the Political Divide, On Point, WBUR - Boston Matthew Sheffield's Theory of Change Podcast Credits Host: Will Wilkinson (@willwilkinson) Audio engineer: Ray Ingegneri Music: Dig Deep by RW Smith Model Citizen is a production of the Niskanen Center (@niskanencenter) To support this podcast or any of the Niskanen Center's programs, visit: https://niskanencenter.org/donate
1 hr 47 min
A Matter of Degrees
A Matter of Degrees
Katharine Wilkinson, Leah Stokes
The ‘Darth Vader’ of Electric Utilities
In 2013, a series of attack ads blitzed television sets across Arizona. They warned of a dire threat to senior citizens. Who was the villain? Solar energy. These ads came from front groups funded by Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest utility. It was part of a years-long fight against rooftop solar that turned “I mean, for Star Wars fans, APS became the Darth Vader of electric utilities in America. I mean, I think you would be hard-pressed to find a utility that behaved as badly as APS did in the last decade,” explains former regulator Kris Mayes. But APS isn’t alone. It’s a prime example of how monopoly utilities abuse their power to influence regulatory decisions and slow clean-energy progress. What happens if your electric utility starts doing things you don’t agree with? What if they start attacking solar and proposing to build more and more fossil gas plants? What if they actively resist clean energy progress? Well, you don’t get a choice. You have to buy electricity, and you have to buy it from them. As a customer you’re funding that. In this episode, we’ll detail how it happened in Arizona -- and how public pressure forced APS’ to come clean. Featured in this episode: Ryan Randazzo, Kris Mayes, David Pomerantz. Follow our co-hosts and production team: * Leah Stokes * Katharine Wilkinson * Stephen Lacey * Jaime Kaiser A Matter of Degrees is a production of Post Script Audio. For more episodes and transcripts, visit our website.
52 min
Good Beer Hunting
Good Beer Hunting
Good Beer Hunting
EP-289 Ren Navarro, Founder of Beer.Diversity.
This is Beth Demmon, and you’re listening to the Good Beer Hunting podcast. At the end of every year, it’s common for publications to put together roundups of notable people who’ve made their mark: who you should read, who you should listen to, who you should follow on social media, and so on. And every year, while those mentioned absolutely merit recognition for their work, some people also deserving of attention inevitably get missed. Any list covering the craft beer industry that doesn’t include Ren Navarro falls short (Good Beer Hunting’s end-of-year Signifiers included). The Canadian beer equity advocate is prominent in conversations on Twitter and Canadian outlets, and her tireless efforts to make beer a better place unquestionably deserve the support and attention of people everywhere. As a queer Black woman who seeks to educate, enlighten, and engage, Navarro calls herself a “reluctant advocate” as one of the only people in her immediate area to consistently work towards a more equitable beer community. By calling for actions that incorporate intersectionality in diversity efforts and demanding accountability from peers in the craft beer space, she encourages individuals and breweries to embrace uncomfortable revelations that can drive improvement, despite the challenges and feelings these types of conversations may bring up. She mostly works alone, and while the pandemic has disrupted her ability to educate face-to-face, she’s grateful for the transparency and openness that virtual spaces allow for, giving people the opportunity to raise hard questions in a safe, judgment-free way. In our conversation, we’ll talk about her role in craft beer, how Canada compares—and contrasts—with the United States when it comes to its beer scene, and how social justice movements took off last year and then stagnated. We’ll also discuss the importance of people speaking from within their communities rather than on behalf of a community, how one can earn the title of ally rather than bestow it upon themselves, how concepts like accessibility and inclusion remain closely related, and who she looks to as changemakers of the future. Keep an ear out for numerous new initiatives she has planned for 2021. Navarro knows that we can all do better and be better—now, it’s time to find out how. Listen in.
48 min
Columbia Energy Exchange
Columbia Energy Exchange
ColumbiaUEnergy
Putting Biden's Climate Team in Perspective
Joe Biden is selecting a large, experienced and diversified team to carry out his ambitious program to address climate change. Among them are John Kerry, the former secretary of state; Gina McCarthy, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency; Jennifer Granholm, once the governor of Michigan; and Deb Haaland, a member of Congress who would be the first Native American named to a president’s Cabinet. In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless discusses the Biden administration’s climate change goals and his planned appointments with Carol Browner, who spearheaded climate policy for President Barack Obama following his inauguration in 2009. With a long and distinguished career in environmental and energy policy and regulation at the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House, Carol brings unique insight to the challenges of implementing new policies and the wherewithal that’s needed to make it happen. Carol now is a senior counselor in the sustainability practice at the Allbright Stonebridge Group, or ASG, where she advises clients on environmental impact, sustainable strategies, and partnerships. But her roles in government go back some 30 years. From 2009 to 2011, she was an assistant to President Obama and director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, where she oversaw the coordination of environmental, energy, climate, transport and related policy across the federal government. During that time, the White House secured the largest investment ever in clean energy and established a national car policy that included both new fuel efficiency standards and the first-ever greenhouse gas reductions. From 1993 through 2001, she was administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, where she adopted the most stringent air pollution standards in U.S. history and set for the first time a clean air standard for fine particulates. Her stint at EPA is the longest ever for an administrator at that agency. She had state experience, as well, having served as secretary of environmental regulation in Florida from 1991 through 1993. Among her other involvements, she’s the chair of the board of the League of Conservation Voters. Among the topics that Carol and Bill cover are the challenges the Biden administration faces in fulfilling its sweeping plans to address climate change as well as the roles that his appointments of Kerry, McCarthy and others will play in that undertaking. They also talk about the outlook for congressional action on climate change at a time when Biden and lawmakers will also be consumed with addressing a pandemic and economic troubles, not to mention the repercussions of President Trump’s impeachment.
41 min
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