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Smart Prosperity: The Podcast
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Smart Prosperity: The Podcast

Author: Smart Prosperity Institute

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Fresh takes on the current affairs, business, technology and ideas behind the green economy. With a decidedly Canadian twist. New episodes every two weeks.
29 Episodes
The post-covid fossil fuels boomDon’t look now but the world is in a fossil fuels boom. As the economy bounces back from covid-19, the global demand for oil, gas and coal is skyrocketing. Yet didn't international leaders just make new climate pledges that promise to cut out these fossil fuels? How do we make sense of this contradiction? How long will the fossil fuel boom last? And will it send our climate goals out of reach?Guests: Tim Gould (Chief Energy Economist, IEA), Jackie Forrest (Executive Director, Arc Energy) & Aaron Cosbey (Sr. Associate, IISD)For more info and links, go to:
Are your savings fuelling climate change?Canadians are sitting on record levels of savings. These household savings are being leveraged, in turn, by banks and pension funds to make major investments. But what kinds of investments? Are your savings being used to finance major fossil fuel projects? What is your bank and your pension fund doing with your savings behind your back? w/ Barbara Zvan (President and CEO at University Pension Plan) & Toby Heaps (Publisher & Editor-in-Chief at Corporate Knights).For more info and links, go to: 
How to spend $2-trillion on climate changeA new report says it will cost $2 trillion for Canada to transition to net-zero carbon pollution by 2050. What does the money get spent on? Who's going to pay? How big is the return on investment? And what does Canada’s biggest bank plan to do about it? w/ John Stackhouse (RBC)For more info and links, go to:
Catherine McKenna on the upcoming Glasgow climate talksCanada’s former environment minister takes us behind the scenes of the upcoming UN climate negotiations in Glasgow: what are the big issues, who are the key players, who’s doing the arm twisting, who’s getting their arms twisted, and can the international community get the job done.  w/ Catherine McKenna (Canada’s second longest-serving environment minister)For more info and links, go to:
Why the housing crisis is an environmental problem Canada’s severe housing shortage is driving up prices for wannabe renters and homeowners. Yes it’s an economic and equity problem, but is it also an environmental problem? On this episode, three experts expose the environmental angles of the housing crisis, including how it fuels urban sprawl, stifles the green workforce and shortchanges Canada’s cleantech sector. With: Tim Gray (Environmental Defence), Hannah Teicher (Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions) & Mike Moffatt (Smart Prosperity Institute)For more info and links, visit:
Is climate change a ballot box issue? With Canada’s 44th federal election looming, we dig deep into Canadian attitudes on climate change. How high a priority is it for Canadians? Is that being reflected in the various leadership campaigns? How have Canadian attitudes evolved over the past ten years? And how do we explain the seismic shift in party positions on the issue? w/ David Coletto (Abacus Data)For more info and links, go to:
A conversation with Katharine Hayhoe Katharine Hayhoe is the most influential climate scientist on the planet. She’s also one of the most plain-spoken and down-to-earth. On this episode, she sits down with Eric Campbell to talk about conservative America, the UN’s new climate report, her new book, and why she wants you to talk to your friends about climate change.  w/ Katharine Hayhoe (Climate scientist extraordinaire, too many affiliations to list here)For more info and links, go to:
The carbon footprint of cryptocurrency What do Sweden, Argentina, Norway, Belgium, Ukraine and Chile have in common? They all consume less electricity in one year than Bitcoin does. Yes, Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that is shaking up the financial world, is a massive energy hog. In fact, Bitcoin “miners” have been responsible for bringing retired coal and natural gas plants back online in order to satisfy their energy needs. Why is Bitcoin so dirty? Can cryptocurrencies go green?  Guest: Alex de Vries - Economist and founder of Digconomist.comFor more info and links, go to:
The environmental impacts of space tourism Who has the greener rocket, Jeff Bezos or Sir Richard Branston? Or is it Elon Musk’s Space X?! From the rocket fuel to the emissions to the material waste, we ask what the rise of space tourism means for climate change and the environment here on Planet Earth. With astrophysicist Dr. Parshati Patel  (University of Western) & atmospheric scientist Dr. Eloise Marais (University College London).For more info and links, go to:
The high price of wildfires It’s the middle of July and hundreds of deadly wildfires are already on our doorsteps, many of them being described by authorities as out of control. This is the kind of runaway “megafire” season scientists have been warning about. Can we afford it? From paying for migrant firefighters to covering billions in insurance claims, this episode looks at what wildfires cost us.  With Edward Struzik, Author of "Firestorm: How Wildfire will Shape our Future".More info and links at:
The costs of extreme heat As temperature records were melted around the world over the past few weeks, what do we now know about the costs of extreme heat to our economy, our critical infrastructure and our health? w/ Sarah Gibbens (National Geographic), Jan Polderman (Village of Lytton), Rick Smith (Canadian Institute for Climate Choices)More info and links at:
Paying for nature Everybody agrees we should protect more nature. But nature protection doesn’t come cheap. Experts warn that Canada and the world have a multi-billion dollar funding gap. Here are 3 experts on how to close that gap by drawing in capital from unusual suspects.For more info and links, go to:
COVID’s environmental impact The drop in global economic activity due to COVID has had some upsides for the environment. But how big have those upsides been? And how long will they last? The brainiacs at the OECD have some new answers.  With Rob Dellink from the OECD.10 green technologies to watchWe’re going to need the help of new and exciting green technologies if we want to keep climate change in check. Here are ten smart bets. With Tyler Hamilton from MaRS Discovery District. For more info and links, go to:
Provincial climate report cards [min 1:03]The federal government sets the international targets, but it’s Canada’s provinces that have the primary jurisdiction over reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Have we been letting them off the hook?  w/  Shawn McCarthyTrouble in BC’s old growth forests [min 12:28]Forestry is one of Canada’s oldest economic sectors. But with protests bubbling up across British Columbia, we get a balanced look at what needs to happen for the sector to evolve. w/ Gary Merkel, co-chair of BC’s Old Growth Review PanelFor more info and links, visit:
What big business really thinks about climate actionThere’s a romance a-brewing between big business and strong climate action. But how deep is the love?  Interview with Goldy Hyder from the Business Council of Canada.Oil workers planning a career changeA union representing Canadian oil and gas workers just came out in favour of more ambitious climate targets. What gives? Interview with Joie Warnock from Unifor. For more info and links, go to
Green recovery from COVID?Fifteen months in to COVID-19, countries around the world have spent trillions on relief, corporate bail-outs and economic stimulus. Is that spending putting us on pace for a green recovery, or a historically dirty one? Canada’s new X-Prize winner Two weeks ago, Nova Scotia’s Carbon Cure took home the top prize in X-Prize’s latest $20-million competition. Jennifer Wagner talks about the company’s unique technology that plugs carbon pollution into concrete.  For more info and links, go to
To divest or not to divest? The fossil fuel divestment movement is gaining momentum around the world. But is taking pension and personal investment money out of the oil and gas sector having the desired effect?The second-hand clothing economy Look out, this isn’t your mom and dad’s neighbourhood thrift store! The second-hand clothing market is set to hit $64 billion by 2024. And it’s a critical foil for the massive environmental impacts of fast fashion. More info and links at:
1.   Is this the end of carbon tax politics? [min 1:08]Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the federal government’s right to enforce a minimum price on greenhouse gas emissions. Four political insiders and one lawyer that argued the case consider the ramifications.  Gerry Butts – Vice Chairman of Eurasia Group & Former Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Justin TrudeauKen Boessenkool – Professor at the Max Bell School, McGill University & Former Chief of Staff to BC Premier Christy Clark and Former Advisor to Prime Minister Stephen HarperDianne Saxe – Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Ontario & Former Environmental Commissioner of OntarioBrian Topp – Founding Partner at GT & Company, & Former Chief of Staff to Alberta Premier Rachel NotleyStewart Elgie – Executive Chair at Smart Prosperity Institute & Counsel representing the Ecofiscal Commission at the Supreme Court2.   How close is “carbon removal” to reality? [min 9:45]World-leading expert, Dr. Jennifer Wilcox, shares the price tag for removing carbon from the air, and what needs to happen for costs to come down. And then a Canadian carbon removal innovator shares his excitement.    Dr. Jennifer Wilcox – Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Fossil Energy at the US Department of Energy & Presidential Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania (on leave)Mike Kelland – CEO, Planetary Hydrogen3.   60-Second Report: “Waste Prevention: The Environmental and Economic Benefits for Canada” [min 20:20]Mayor Jack Froese – Mayor of the Township of Langley (BC) & Chair, National Zero Waste Council4.  “Five Other Things Happening in the Green Economy This Week” [min 22:01]Mike Moffatt – Senior Director of Policy, Smart Prosperity InstituteFor more info and links to:  
1.     A plan for cutting pollution from cars and trucks [min 1:45]Canadians drive the dirtiest cars on the planet, making transportation the second biggest source of climate pollution. There’s a three-step solution.  Merran Smith – Executive Director, Clean Energy Canada & Co-chair of the B.C. government’s Climate Solutions Council 2.     The problem with carbon offsets [min 10:56]Does paying two dollars to plant a tree undo the emissions of your last flight or of driving your car?  Nic Rivers – Associate Professor & Canada Research Chair in Climate and Energy Policy, University of Ottawa3.     60-Second Report: “Reality Check: Carbon Emissions Inventory in the GTHA” [min 20:47]Maryam Shekarrizfard – Carbon & Co-Benefits Quantification Manager, The Atmospheric Fund4.     “Five Other Things Happening in the Green Economy This Week” [min 22:28]Mike Moffatt – Senior Director of Policy, Smart Prosperity InstituteFor links and other materials, go to:
1.     Growing food without growing emissions [min 1:04]Agriculture accounts for 10% of Canada’s (and the world’s) total climate pollution – thanks to methane emissions from animal manure, Nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer, and Carbon dioxide emissions from machinery. Can a change in farming practices turn agriculture into a climate solution? Karen Ross – Director, Farmers for Climate SolutionsBrent Preston – Co-owner, The New Farm 2.     The economics of public transit [min 13:25]How does one of the most environmentally-friendly commuting options make ends meet? And what happens after COVID?Marco D’Angelo – President & CEO, Canadian Urban Transit Association3.     60-Second Report: "Canada in a Changing Climate: Regional Perspectives Report – Prairie Provinces” [min 20:37]David Sauchyn – Director, Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative and Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Regina4.     “Five Other Things Happening in the Green Economy This Week” [min 22:22] Mike Moffatt – Senior Director of Policy, Smart Prosperity InstituteFor more info and links,  go to:
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