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On 23 May 2022, the Australian Labor Party entered government for the first time since 2013, under the leadership of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Alasdair spoke to Dr. Marija Taflaga, Director of the Australian National University's Center for the Study of Australian Politics, to talk about shifting climate politics in the county, and what the new government could mean for the green transition. Further reading: 'The frontline: Inside Australia's climate emergency' in The Guardian. Read here. Superpower: Australia's Low-Carbon Opportunity by Ross Garnaut. Read more and purchase here. How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way That Makes a Difference by Rebecca Huntley. Read more and purchase here. The Carbon Club: How a network of influential climate sceptics, politicians and business leaders fought to control Australia's climate policy by Marian Wilkinson, Allen and Unwin, 2020
Lauren talks to Tania Li, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, about the sustainability of the oil that's in 50% of supermarket food products - and the issues with labour and land rights in Indonesia's palm oil industry. Further reading: Tania's books and other publications can be found on her website, Oil palm development in Thailand: economic, social and environmental considerations, by Jonas DallingerRainforest Alliance:  Our Response to the EU Regulation on Deforestation-Free Products Chain Action Research:  EU Deforestation Regulation: Implications for the Palm Oil Industry and Its Financers Chain Action Research:  Indonesian Moratoria: Loopholes, Lack of Sanctions Fail to Stop Palm Oil-Linked Deforestation 
Sri Lanka is in the midst of an acute economic, energy, and political crisis. With fuel, food and electricity shortages, protestors have taken to the streets and are now being arrested in the thousands. On June 8, Bertie spoke to Melani Gunathilaka, an activist with Extinction Rebellion and Climate Action Now who has become a leading voice in the Gotagogama protests. They discussed the role of climate policy in the cascading crises and corruption allegations that have recently plagued the country. Further reading: Is organic farming really to blame for Sri Lanka's ongoing food crisis?What is the financial cost of loss and damage from climate change? Watch: 'Inside Sri Lanka's economic crisis'Melani shared a list of demands made by Gotagogama protestors. You can read page one of the demands here, and then page two here. 
Bertie talks to Drew Pendergrass, coauthor of Half Earth Socialism, recently published by Verso books. They discuss geoengineering, population scaremongering, climate colonialism, and the big question for many on the left: will we be able to mitigate the climate crisis under capitalism?Further reading: Buy Half Earth Socialism from Verso, currently at a discount.Read Bertie's review of the book on ELCI here. Play Troy and Drew's climate simulation game here.Find more from Troy and Drew on their website. 
Lauren talks to Assaad Razzouk, host of the Angry Clean Energy Guy podcast and British Lebanese clean energy entrepreneur. They talk about the recent elections in Lebanon, systemic problems with climate finance, and the ways a clean energy transition could help struggling economies. 
Daniel Klier is CEO of ESG Book, and was previously HSBC's first Head of Sustainability, and Chair of the Bank of England Climate Risk Working Group. Alasdair spoke to him about how banks are confronting climate mitigation, and what needs to be done for banks and the finance industry to meet net zero targets. Daniel's suggested further reading: The IEA's Net Zero Scenario Bloomberg New Energy Finance Publications from the Energy Transition Commission Impact Investing InstituteESG Book Insights
The controversial election of Bongbong Marcos as President of the Philippines on May 9th overshadowed another Filipino news item of global importance that week. After a nearly 7-year-long inquiry, the Philippines Human Rights Commission published a huge document detailing how human rights are infringed by climate change, who is responsible, and what courts could do about it. ELCI Assistant Editor Bertie Harrison-Broninski talked to the Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Yeb Saño, about the groundbreaking report. Further reading: You can read the report in full here. Read Greenpeace International's press release about the report here. Read Greenpeace's summary of the Filipino presidential candidates' climate platforms here. 
Award winning author and journalist Sonia Shah talks to Alasdair about her book, The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move. She talks about what we can learn about human migration from wildlife, why climate migration should be seen as an adaptation strategy rather than a coming crisis, and the dangers of elitism in scholarly science. Further reading: Details about The Next Great Migration and where to buy it, as well as Sonia's other books, can be found here on her website.'First Came the Hurricane, Then Came the Campaign of Terror', by Sonia Shah in The Nation.Native Species or Invasive? The Distinction Blurs as the World Warms, by Sonia Shah in Yale School of the EnvironmentClimate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law by Jane McAdamClimate and Human Migration: Past Experiences, Future Challenges by Robert McLeman.'Follow the science: but whose science, and to where?' by Lauren Sneade on ELCI, and check out our other articles and podcasts on
Did you know that methane is more than 25 times more potent than CO2 in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere? In this episode we look at reducing methane emissions without mandating veganism. Our guests Anatoli Smirnov and Sabina Assan are researchers at Ember, international data analysts for clean energy solutions in the power sector. Despite drives to plant-based eating in the West, meat consumption is only going up and will not change any time soon. The other big methane emitters come from the power sector. Coal mining emits 52 million metric tons of methane per year, more than is emitted from either the oil sector, which emits 39 million tons, or the gas industry, which emits 45 million tons. So closing coal mines is the only viable alternative in tackling methane. Global methane emissions from the energy sector are about 70% higher than the amount national governments have officially reported. Methane reduction is  critical. Check out the methane hub to find out about how world leaders and businesses are looking to fulfil the 2030 methane pledge: You can read more about Ember's work here:
The day before 80 countries meet in Palau to discuss ocean governance, Bertie talked to Dame Meg Taylor DBE about the changes the Pacific Elders' Voice are campaigning for, including pollution of plastics and nuclear waste, illegal and unsustainable fishing, and loss and damage. Pacific Elders' Voice is a group of diplomats, academics, and creatives who work together to platform issues important to the future of the Pacific Islands. Meg Taylor's distinguished career includes serving as the Ambassador of Papua New Guinea to the United States, Mexico and Canada (1989-1994), Vice President of the International Finance Corporation (1999-2014), and most recently, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum (2014-2021). She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2002.Further Reading: Read more about the Our Ocean Conference 2022Read the Pacific Elders' Voice Statement on Oceans 'UN ocean treaty summit collapses as states accused of dragging out talks', The Guardian, 21 Mar 2022'Nations commit to develop a legally binding agreement': press release announcing the proposed treaty on plastic pollution, with links to the full text. 'This dome in the Pacific houses tons of radioactive waste – and it's leaking', The Guardian, Fri 3 Jul 2015Follow Pacific Elders Voice here on Twitter, and here on Facebook.
Dr. Howard Herzog is a pioneer of carbon capture and storage research, having studied it since 1989 in what is now called MIT's Energy Initiative. He was also a Coordinating Lead Author for the IPCC's 2005 Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage, and he is author of the 2018 book Carbon Capture. Bertie Harrison-Broninski talked to Dr. Herzog about the different forms of CCS, issues around direct air capture's cost, why enhanced oil recovery and CCUS are not the way forward, and what policies need to be put in place to incentivise CCS deployment.Further reading: ELCI has begun publishing our series of long reads on CCS. The first two are linked here: What is happening with carbon capture and storage? Why Carbon Capture and Storage matters: overshoot, models, and moneyPublications by Dr. Herzog from recent years on CCS include:Hard-to-Abate Sectors: The role of industrial carbon capture and storage (CCS) in emission mitigation Applied Energy (2021).Assessment of CCS Technology in a Climate Mitigation Portfolio (CCS Assessment Phase 1 Report) MIT Joint Program Special Report (2019)Read Dr. Herzog's 2018 book Carbon Capture, part of the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series.
Bertie talked to renowned peatland expert Professor Roxane Andersen, of the University of Highlands & Islands, the Environmental Research Institute, and the Flow Country Research Hub. They talked about the Flow Country in Scotland, her research on restoration, monitoring, and peatland fires, and more generally about why peatlands are so important for climate mitigation. After our podcast last year with Ed Struzik, listeners got in touch to say they wanted more content on peatlands, especially covering the science! We reached out to Professor Andersen, and were delighted she agreed to come on the show: do get in touch with recommendations or feedback, if there is anything you would like to hear about. We love hearing from you all.Further reading from this episode: - Read about the InSAR monitoring technology here, and in even more detail here!- Read about the FireBlanket project here- Read about the damaging afforestation on peatlands in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s here- Read about the Flow Country here, including the application to make it a UNESCO world heritage site
Alasdair MacEwen talks to Associate Professor Wim Carton of Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies about offset markets, carbon removal technologies, and IPCC modelling. They wade into some tricky questions: are scientists watering down recommendations to make them politically palateable? How are neoclassical economics affecting the world's approach to climate mitigation? Why do the IPCC working groups have contradictory messages on saviour tech?Further reading - Carbon Unicorns and Fossil Futures: Whose Emission Reduction Pathways Is the IPCC Performing?- Seize the Means of Carbon Removal: The Political Economy of Direct Air Capture- Undoing Equivalence: Rethinking Carbon Accounting for Just Carbon Removal- The meaning of net zero and how to get it right- Social Science Sequestered
With the invasion of Ukraine ongoing, ELCI's Assistant Editor Bertie Harrison-Broninski talks to Sam Lawson, Director of investigative NGO Earthsight, following a public letter from 120 NGOs calling for a boycott on Russian and Belarusian wood. The public letter was led by Ukrainian environmental groups in response to the invasion, but Earthsight have been investigating illegal and unsustainable Russian and Belarusian logging for years. Their work has exposed major failings of EU, UK, and US law, and particularly of certifiers like FSC, SBP and PEFC.  NOTE: this is a faster-moving story than we normally cover in our podcasts. Since recording this conversation on Tuesday 8th March, SBP and FSC have both announced that they are longer certifying Russian wood. Further reading: ·         The campaign backed by 120 NGOs to boycott Russian and Belarusian wood·         Russia’s timber oligarchs – new Earthsight analysis·         Earthsight’s ‘Taiga King’ investigations exposing illegal Russian logging for European export·         IKEA’s House of Horrors – Earthsight’s investigation into IKEA’s illegal Russian supply chain·         2020 investigation by The Telegraph exposing unsustainable Russian logging in Drax’s supply chain
Sami Yassa, senior scientist at the US based NGO the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and their scientific lead on forests and forest biomass,  sets out NRDC research on the use of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) which looks at whether it can really produce negative emissions.  He also explains NRDC's work with the US Congress on biomass.Further reading from Sami Yassa:·         NRDC's recent research on BECCS·         Further explanatory documents and data from the research ·         NRDC US Congress work around biomass and ensuring scientific independence for US environmental agencies
Liz Carlisle talks to Bertie about her new book, soon to be published by Island Press: 'Healing Grounds - Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming'. The agroecologist, Environmental Studies Professor and award-winning author has spent the last year talking to Indigenous communities & farmers of colour across North America about their approaches to land, crop cultivation and livestock. Originally looking to learn more about soil sequestration, she was confronted with bigger picture issues about the relationships between climate policy, social justice, and agriculture.Liz's further reading: ·        HEAL Platform for Real Food·        Soul Fire Farm·        Vox’s coverage of Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren’s farming legislation·        IPES Food reports ·        Adam Calo’s work on Scottish low carbon farming·        You can order Liz Carlisle’s previous books on agroecology on her website
Alasdair talks to John Sterman about his groundbreaking research that proved burning wood for energy will "increase atmospheric CO2 for at least a century". John Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, the Director of the MIT System Dynamics Group and the Director of the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. His team developed a model for dynamic bioenergy lifecycle analysis, which he hoped would prove burning "wood was part of the solution" for the climate. Instead, "it came out the other way". Further reading: ·         Professor Sterman’s paper about the outcomes from his bioenergy modelling·         More details on the study, in reply to a comment on the paper·         En-Roads, MIT Sustainability Initiative’s interactive climate simulator that allows users to explore the impacts of different climate policies·       Read more about bioenergy and BECCS, and listen to more podcasts on the topic, in ELCI's bioenergy hub
Louisa Casson from Greenpeace (now on an Antarctic expedition) explains her work looking into carbon offsets and how they have developed since COP26.  She also gives her view on the  development of voluntary carbon markets.Here is some of Louisa's suggested further reading on the issue:- Oxfam’s report on the use of offsets in net zero  - European Climate Foundation CEO, Laurence Tubiana's commentary on offsets  
"There is more CO2 contained in the oil and gas reserves already being extracted than in our entire global carbon budget to keep warming under 1.5 degrees C."Romain Loulalalen from NGO Oil Change International (OCI) tells Alasdair at ELCI where we are on the global phase out of fossil fuels, what the current challenges are, how COP26 was significant and what political changes to expect in the next few years on oil and gas.  He also comments on whether the oil majors are genuinely committed to net zero targets.Further reading: Production Gap Report 2021Managing Peak Oil: a recent report by Carbon TrackerOil Change International's Big Oil Reality CheckBeyond Oil and Gas AllianceThe Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty initiative
Is the net zero approach to climate mitigation working, or is it an unrealistic framework that does more to help corporations than the planet?Professor Holly Jean Buck of the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, New York comes onto the podcast to discuss her new book, 'Ending Fossil Fuels: Why Net Zero is Not Enough' with ELCI Assistant Editor Bertie Harrison-Broninski. You can order the book here from Verso, or read Bertie's review of it here. 
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