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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.
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 today10:09 Russia’s energy role14:12 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?
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 industry6:49 What are the emissions reduction goals of the shipping industry?9:36 Strategies to reach these reduction goals14:10 Challenges to accomplish the emissions reduction goals
Soil - 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 carbonand 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. 
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 part of regional and national conservation strategies, and how to finance the necessary infrastructure developmentListen wherever you like to get your podcasts, or listen with the transcript at our website!
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.
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 background02:08 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 shipping-14:25 What needs to happen to convert shipping to ammonia-powered?-17:18 Addressing the challenges of ammonia23:10 What startups are tackling shipping's emission problem?25:25 Wind-powered propulsion in the shipping industry28:12 Battery-electric shipping and carbon captureCheck out our other episodes and video series at www.climatenow.com!
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?Subscribe to our podcast to be notified of new releases, and visit us at climatenow.com.
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 Brook's background04:30 What type of company will succeed?10:00 Wright's Law of innovation11:20 Is there a template for low-risk, high yield investment in climate tech?13:13 VC typical startup failure rate14:18 What trends is G2V following?27:00 How does policy impact venture investments?29:13 Hydrogen vs Electric cars33:54 Technologies to decarbonize aviationClimate Now is made possible, in part, by science partners like the Livermore Lab Foundation. The Livermore Lab Foundation supports climate research and carbon cleanup initiatives underway at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, which is a Department of Energy applied science and research facility. More information about the Foundation's work can be found at livermorelabfoundation.org.
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.
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 share what she is learning.Listen now!
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. 
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.
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 emissions1:44 Verne Hydrogen introduction6:03 Remora Carbon Capture introduction7:14 Why it's hard to decarbonize trucking9:35 Why use fuel cells?12:23 Verne technology14:50 Remora technology22:08 Verne market timeline27:05 Remora market timeline29:35 Wrap-up discussion with hosts Darren and James
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 industry9:35 Technologies for decarbonizing trucking15:25 Are hydrogen fuel cell vehicles scalable?17: 20 Understanding total cost of ownership (TCO) for trucks - traditional, electric, hydrogen24:13 Fueling the 3-way "horse race": infrastructural requirements for electric, gas, and hydrogen trucks27:43 NACFE tested 13 real electric trucks on real roads with real drivers: here's what they found.31:04 The state of the electric trucking market today
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (COP26) 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.
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