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The Power Hungry Podcast

Author: Robert Bryce

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The Power Hungry podcast spotlights energy, power, innovation, and politics. Author and journalist Robert Bryce talks with top thinkers, writers, and influencers — as well as regular citizens.
23 Episodes
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Carey King is a research scientist and assistant director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas. In this episode, Robert talks with King about his new book, The Economic Superorganism: Beyond the Competing Narratives on Energy, Growth, and Policy, what he sees as the “hollow narratives” about energy and power systems, Thomas Malthus, why King  calls himself a “finite earther,” the relationship among GDP, energy, and human well-being, and why the global economy should be viewed as a “superorganism.”
Geraldine Thomas is the director of the Chernobyl Tissue Bank and one of the world’s foremost experts on radiation and its health effects. In this episode, Robert talks with Thomas about why people are excessively fearful of radiation, how fear of radiation can be more dangerous than radiation itself, her many visits to Fukushima, and why we must have more nuclear energy if we are to have any hope of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Bjorn Lomborg: False Alarm

Bjorn Lomborg: False Alarm

2020-11-1001:20:19

Bjorn Lomborg is the president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a think tank that “researches the smartest ways to do good.” In this episode, Robert talks to Lomborg about his new book-- False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet – including his views on why climate policies are “often worse than ineffective,” why we need to spend more money on adapting to a changing climate, the prospects for a carbon tax, the need for innovation in nuclear, and yes, why he always wears a black T-shirt.
Meredith Angwin is an author, chemist, and former project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute. In this episode, Robert talks with Angwin about her new book, Shorting the Grid: The Hidden Fragility of Our Electric Grid, why the grid is becoming less reliable at the same time that electric vehicles and bans on natural gas are likely to increase electricity demand, how our increasing reliance on renewables and natural gas will exacerbate the reliability challenge, and why we need to pay more attention to how the electric grid is managed.
Eric Meyer is the founder and executive director of Generation Atomic, a non-profit based in Minneapolis that aims to “energize and empower today’s generations to advocate for a nuclear future.” In this episode, Robert talks to Meyer about how he went from aspiring professional opera singer to pro-nuclear activist, the “stigma” and “dogma” used by nuclear opponents, the environmental sacrifices required to scale up renewables, and why the late nuclear physicist Alvin Weinberg is among his personal heroes.  
Judith A. Curry is a climatologist, entrepreneur, and former academic who has broken with much of the political orthodoxy about climate change. In this episode, Robert talks with Curry, the president of Climate Forecast Applications Network, about why she left academia, why she believes climate science “has become a political party with totalitarian tendencies,” the limits of models, the role of heretics in society, and why nuclear energy and adaptation to a changing climate are the best paths forward.
On September 24, United Latinos Vote published an “Open Letter to the Sierra Club” in the Los Angeles Times that declared, “your world is not our world,” and that “yours feels hypocritical and socially divisive and would disproportionately burden those who you claim to support the most.” In this episode, Robert talks to Robert Apodaca, the executive director of United Latinos Vote about what led his group to publish the letter, the lawsuits that Latino groups in California have filed against the state’s climate policies, and why he believes that the state must rethink its efforts to ban hydrocarbons.
Ted Nordhaus is the co-founder of the Oakland-based Breakthrough Institute and an original signer of the Ecomodernist Manifesto. In this episode, Robert talks to Ted about the ecomodernist movement, the future of nuclear energy, why he disagrees with his uncle (Nobel Prize-winner William Nordhaus) about climate policy, why he believes atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide will not drop any time soon, why adaptation to changes in the climate will be essential, and what California will look like in 10 years.
David French is an American author, journalist, and senior editor at The Dispatch. In this episode, David and Robert talk about his new book -- Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation – as well as the many cultural, political, and geographic divides in America, why, in French’s view, the GOP has “become a party of rage,”  his role as one of America’s most prominent evangelical Christian journalists, basketball, the NBA, LeBron James, and why “we need to view people with grace.”
Chris Wright is the CEO and chairman of Liberty Oilfield Services, a Denver-based company that provides hydraulic fracturing services to drillers. In this episode, Wright talks with Robert about his pioneering work on micro-seismic technology during the earliest days of the shale revolution, Liberty’s recent acquisition of some of Schlumberger’s assets and how that acquisition will make Liberty into one of the biggest oilfield service companies in the country, and why, in his words, “human liberty and abundant energy...changed the world, created the modern world, enabled the modern world.”
Daniel Yergin is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Vice Chairman of IHSMarkit, a research and consulting firm. In this episode, Robert talks with Dan about his new book The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations, how gas pipelines are redefining geopolitics, how a map drawn by Chinese “cartographic combatant” Bai Meichu in the 1930s helps explain the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea, why the world won’t quit using oil anytime soon, and about his first car (it was a Volkswagon station wagon). 
In an August 3 open letter, California Assemblyman Jim Cooper, a Democrat from Elk Grove, called out the state’s environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, saying that they promote policies that “systematically drive racial economic inequities and fuel environmental racism.” In this episode, Robert talks with Cooper about what motivated him to write the letter, why he wants to eliminate California’s EV rebate program, and why the state’s energy and climate policies should be overhauled. 
The Switch Energy Alliance is an Austin-based non-profit that’s “dedicated to inspiring an energy-educated future that is objective, nonpartisan, and sensible.” In this episode, Robert talks with SEA chairman and Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, Scott Tinker, about the alliance’s new energy-focused curriculum, and his compelling new documentary, Switch On, which takes viewers to Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia, Vietnam, and Nepal, to show how people all over the world are struggling to overcome energy poverty.    
During a mid-August heatwave, California utilities were forced to shut off electricity to several hundred thousand customers. In this episode, Robert talks to Lee Cordner, a former Pacific Gas & Electric engineer and long-time energy consultant, about the cause of the blackouts, the myriad problems facing the California electric grid, and why the state needs to keep its nuclear and natural gas-fired power plants operating if it wants to keep the lights on.
In March 2020, Oklo Inc. submitted an application to federal regulators that could allow it to build and operate an advanced type of nuclear reactor. In this episode, Robert Bryce talks to Caroline Cochran, the co-founder and COO of Oklo, about her company’s design – a liquid-metal fast reactor with 1.5 megawatts of capacity -- the hurdles it faces in getting to market, why small reactors may have advantages in the market, and when and where it might be deployed.
If you believe that the term “oligarchs” only applies to Russian billionaires, author and demographer Joel Kotkin has some news for you. In this episode, Robert Bryce talks to Joel about his latest book, The Coming of NeoFeudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class, as well as a wide variety of topics, including the rise of the technocratic elite, the importance of homeownership, suburbs in the time of Covid-19, California’s regressive energy policies, and what he calls “the betrayal of the middle and working class” by policymakers.
Whether the issue is climate, energy, or the response to Covid-19, the use of the word “science” has become -- in the words of Avik Roy, president of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity -- a “cloak of virtue.” In this episode, Robert Bryce talks to Avik about the need to view scientific evidence dispassionately, the limits of models, the American health care system, why his mother is a Democrat, and why, even in the midst of the pandemic, he is hopeful about our future.
Small modular reactors have the potential to transform the nuclear-energy sector and expand the amount of carbon-free electricity available to consumers. In this episode, Robert Bryce talks with Jessica Lovering -- the co-founder of the Good Energy Collective, a new organization working on progressive nuclear policy -- about the challenges facing the nuclear sector, why she is working to engage young climate activists, the advantages of SMRs, and why they have the potential to be, as she put it, the “iPhone of nuclear reactors.”
Roger Pielke Jr., a professor at the University of Colorado, is an expert on climate change, sports governance, and what he calls the “messy interface” between science and government. In this episode, we discuss his eighth and most-recent book -- The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change -- as well as governance failures in sports and politics, cancel culture, the slow pace of energy transitions, and the possibility that college sports will be canceled this fall.
Joyashree Roy: IPCC Author

Joyashree Roy: IPCC Author

2020-07-1401:07:24

In the fourth edition of the Power Hungry Podcast, Robert Bryce talks with economist Joyashree Roy, who was among the members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who, in 2007, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Joyashree and Robert discuss her upbringing in eastern India, why developing countries like India will continue burning coal to produce electricity, and how the pandemic has underscored the need to provide more electricity to people in the developing world.
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