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Zero: The Climate Race
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Zero: The Climate Race

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Zero is about the tactics and technologies taking us to a world of zero emissions. Each week Bloomberg’s award-winning reporter Akshat Rathi talks to the people tackling climate change – a venture capitalist hunting for the best cleantech investment, scientists starting companies, politicians who have successfully created climate laws, and CEOs who have completely transformed their businesses. The road to zero emissions has many paths and everyone’s got an opinion about the best route. Listen in.
113 Episodes
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At the Bloomberg Green Festival, Akshat Rathi sits down with voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams and Ari Matusiak, who leads the nonprofit Rewiring America. Together, Abrams and Matuisiak are trying help middle and low-income families access the tax breaks that can help them affordably electrify their homes. They discussed why household emissions are such a big deal, how to connect existential questions about the future of the planet to kitchen-table decisions, and whether Joe Biden is still the right Democratic candidate for 2024.  Explore further: Past episode with Bill Gates about what another Donald Trump presidency could mean for green investments Past episode with Bill Gates about the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act Past episode with political scientist Leah Stokes on whether the US could become a global climate policy leader Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producer is Mythili Rao. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim and Matthew Griffin. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In fractured times, what does it take to reach agreement? That’s the question writers Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson set out to explore in a new play about the drama of climate negotiations. Kyoto, now running at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theater in Stratford-upon-Avon, tells the story of the 1997 Kyoto Summit as seen through the eyes of Don Pearlman, a notorious fossil fuel lobbyist and chain-smoking lawyer dubbed “the high priest of the Carbon Club” by der Speigel. Actor Stephen Kunken, who plays Pearlman, tells Akshat Rathi why he was drawn to the character, and what Kyoto can teach us about how agreement is achieved.    Explore further: Past episode with Al Gore about breaking the petrostates stranglehold on climate progress Past episode about climate change storytelling with Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Ministry for the Future Past episode with Extrapolations writer and executive producer Dorothy Fortenberry about the growing demand for climate stories Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producer is Mythili Rao. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim, Alicia Clanton, Anna Mazarakis, and Jessica Beck. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tackling climate change now requires not just reducing planet-warming emissions to zero, but also finding a way to draw down existing carbon dioxide from the air. Over the past few years, tech companies have taken the lead to seed hundreds of startups that want to sell carbon removal credits and help companies meet climate goals. But the failure of a major startup, Running Tide, has raised questions about the long-term viability of the market. This week on Zero, we hear from Nan Ransohoff, head of climate at Stripe, and pioneer of the carbon-removal market. Explore further: Past episode with Jennifer Wilcox of the US Department of Energy’s two gigantic carbon removal hub projects  Past episode with Mark Trexler of The Climatographers about what’s wrong with carbon offsets and how to fix them Past episode with Notre Dame professor Emily Grubert about the state of carbon capture Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producer is Mythili Rao. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim, Alicia Clanton, Anna Mazarakis and Jessica Beck. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Earlier this month, tech billionaire Bill Gates broke ground on a new nuclear plant in Kemmerer, Wyoming– a historic coal town. Gates tells Zero why he hopes the plant, which uses sodium for cooling, rather than water, will be the first of many in the country– no matter who wins this year’s election. “The idea of the US being more energy secure and US innovation allowing us to export, those things are still somewhat bipartisan in nature,” he says. Plus, he weighs in on AI as both a major generator of emissions and as a potential source of climate solutions. Explore further: Past episode with BNEF’s Claire Curry on how energy startups can dodge the valley of death Past episode with Brookfield Asset Management CCEO Connor Teskey on making renewables a profitable bet Past episode with Bill Gates on the significance of the Inflation Reduction Act Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producer is Mythili Rao. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim, Kate Evans, and Alicia Clanton. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We are living through the hottest year on record. That’s not news, but growing climate impacts make bigger and bigger news. At 1.3C of warming beyond pre-industrial levels, people are reckoning with a planetary system that’s out of whack. It’s not like the scientists didn’t see worsening impacts coming, but many of them have been surprised by the ferocity with which some have played out. On this week’s episode of Zero, Bloomberg Green’s Akshat Rathi speaks with his colleague Eric Roston, and Texas Tech University professor Katharine Hayhoe explains why we’re all experiencing “global weirding.” Explore further: Past episode about the role fire will play in shaping the 21st century. Past episode with UN’s global chief heat officer about redesigning cities. Past episode about finding trillions of dollars needed for climate adaptation. Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producers are Mythili Rao. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim, Anna Mazarakis and Alicia Clanton. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The 2016 fire that encircled the oil-producing town of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, forced more than 80,000 people to evacuate and left billions of dollars in damage in its wake. It was a disaster of record-breaking proportions, but also an inevitable byproduct of mankind’s obsession with burning fossil fuels. In this episode, John Vaillant, author of Fire Weather: A True Story from A Hotter World, explains how Canada’s fossil fuel industry came into being, why its existence made the Fort McMurray disaster more likely, and what our collective obsession with fire means for the future of our species. Explore further: Past episode about the COP28 text and the significance of agreeing to transition off fossil fuels Past episode with Bloomberg Opinion columnist David Fickling about whether the world has reached peak crude oil demand Past episode about how wildfire smoke and air pollution affect your health Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producer is Mythili Rao. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim, Anna Mazarakis and Alicia Clanton. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
All of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors were shut down after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. As the country's energy needs soar, debate is heating up over whether to bring the world’s largest nuclear plant back online. In this bonus from The Big Take Asia, host K. Oanh Ha speaks to reporter Shoko Oda about her visit to the Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant and the challenges to rebooting it.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Over the past 18 months, Tesla has missed its sales goals, seen its share price fall and waded through a series of dramatic decisions from Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, who cut car prices, fired much of the Supercharger team and announced nebulous plans to release a robotaxi. All of that looks like a pivot away from the original mission of making mass-market electric cars, but does Tesla going off course really matter to the EV transition? On this week’s Zero, Bloomberg Opinion columnist Liam Denning digs into Tesla’s strategy and what its evolution means for global adoption of electric cars.  Explore further: Past episode with Carnegie Mellon University professor Venkat Viswanathan on the futuristic promises of flying cars and emission-free aviation Past episode with Bloomberg NEF’s Colin McKerracher on why China has been successful in the EV transition where others haven’t been Past bonus episode with Bloomberg NEF’s Colin McKerracher on electrifying vans, trucks, and buses. Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producer is Mythili Rao. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim, Brendan Newnam, Anna Mazarakis and Alicia Clanton. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Depending on who you ask, AI is either going to save the world or end it. The technology’s capacity for data-crunching and problem-saving can help predict weather events, making it easier to optimize power grids, prepare for natural disasters and maximize crop output. But artificial intelligence is also energy intensive – and easy to apply to ethically questionable ends. For all of these reasons, Priya Donti, professor of electrical engineering and AI at MIT, decided to found Climate Change AI, a group dedicated to applying AI to tackle climate problems.   Donti tells Akshat Rathi about some of the projects the group is funding around the world, and what the democratization of AI would look like in practice.   Explore further: Past episode about Microsoft’s rising AI emissions, and President Brad Smith’s claim that the AI will do more good than harm Past episode with African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina about climate innovation projects across the African continent Past episode with climate scientist and  champion for developing countries Saleemul Huq Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producer is Mythili Rao. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim, Anna Mazarakis and Alicia Clanton. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Microsoft’s recent push to capitalize on artificial intelligence has made it the world’s most valuable company. But according to new figures, that ambition is coming  at the expense of its climate goals. In 2020, the company pledged to be carbon-negative by the end of the decade. Instead, its emissions rose 30% between 2020 and 2023. Microsoft President Brad Smith says the company isn’t giving up on its green goals — and that the good AI can do for the world will outweigh its environmental impact.  Akshat tells Zero producer Mythili Rao about his conversation with Smith, and how other tech giants will be making similar calculations. Explore further: Past episode  with BNEF’s Jenny Chase on how to triple renewable energy by 2030 Past episode with Notre Dame professor Emily Grubert about the possibility of carbon capture Past episode with Electra CEO Sandeep Nijhawan on making zero emissions steel Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producer is Mythili Rao. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim, Dina Bass, and Alicia Clanton. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
After 14 years as a member of Parliament for the UK’s Conservative Party, Chris Skidmore quit the government in January — an act of protest over Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision to allow new oil and gas licenses. Skidmore says the party has lost its way when it comes to climate issues, costing the UK lives, jobs and opportunities for economic growth. In this episode, Skidmore also discusses the Net Zero Review he published while in office, and talks through climate solutions emerging outside of Westminster.  Explore further: Past episode with Chris Stark of the UK’s Climate Change Committee about whether the era of climate consensus is over  Past episode with Bryony Worthington, one of the authors of the UK’s Climate Change Act  Past episode with three US governors– Republican and Democrat– about how they  navigate partisan politics and the need for climate action.  Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producer is Mythili Rao. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim and Alicia Clanton. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Five years ago, the Green Party celebrated its best-ever results in European elections, ushering in a new era of legislative progress But Covid-19, inflation, supply chain woes and Russia’s war in Ukraine stalled its ambitions. Now, in the face of lagging poll numbers, Dutch Member of European Parliament Bas Eickhout is trying to convince voters that the party’s vision of an equal and ecological Europe is still relevant – and isn’t too costly.  Explore further: Past episode with Daniel Fiorino on the challenge of democratic consensus-building when it comes to prioritizing climate policy Past episode exploring the government interventions that allowed Danish fossil fuel giant Orsted to become the world's largest developer of wind power Past episode with Europe's top industrialist Jim Hagemann Snabe on helping industrial behemoths reach climate goals Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producer is Mythili Rao. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim, Alicia Clanton and John Ainger. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Africa currently loses between $7 billion and $15 billion a year because of climate change. If that trend continues, the sum could reach $50 billion by 2030. But African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina sees a way forward. He describes the financial instruments the bank is using to encourage investors to fund green development projects across the continent. Adesina talks about making climate investments more attractive globally, and unpacks the projects the bank is already funding – from solar panels in the Sahel to a hydroelectric dam in Mozambique.  Explore further: Past episode with Avinash Persaud on simplifying the complexities of climate finance Past episode exploring how Brookfield Asset Management is making renewables profitable all around the world Past episode discussing how to get big money to invest in projects that help people adapt to a world that's already hotter than ever before Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producers are Mythili Rao, Magnus Henriksen, and Oscar Boyd. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Denmark’s Vestas has been making wind turbines exclusively since 1989 — well before the notion of an energy transition was commonplace. But that foresight hasn’t made for smooth sailing: When Henrik Andersen joined Vestas in 2013 as a board member, the company was deep in debt and shareholders were worried. A decade later, Andersen is CEO and has pulled Vestas out of trouble yet again, just as wind power is starting to play a critical role in the global energy transition. Andersen describes some of the government policies that have hindered or helped the growth of this sector, and describes the innovations making wind harvesting even more efficient.  Explore further: Listen to last week’s episode on the wind industry’s struggle and how one big player remains bullish. Read about how the wind industry is breaking free of European bureaucracy. Listen to an earlier episode on how to make the renewable energy industry profitable in developed and developing countries. Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producers are Mythili Rao, Sommer Saadi and Magnus Henriksson. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim and Will Mathis. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
If you've paid much attention to the wind industry lately, the news isn’t great. Building new projects is getting more expensive and getting government permission to do it is taking longer than ever. Even major players like Orsted, Vestas and Siemens are struggling.  But it's not all negative — there are still big players winning in wind. One of them is Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. This week, Bloomberg Green senior reporter Akshat Rathi speaks with CIP founder and managing partner Jakob Baruël Poulsen to understand how the industry is dealing with its many challenges, why CIP is still profitable and what will be needed for wind deployment to keep pace with climate goals.  Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producers are Tiffany Tsoi, Sommer Saadi and Magnus Henriksson. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim and Will Mathis. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Clean energy technologies saw a record influx of investment last year: $1.7 trillion in total. But that still falls short of what’s needed to meet climate goals. With venture capital investment now falling, it’s increasingly difficult for startups to gain traction.  Claire Curry, global head of technology, industry & innovation at BloombergNEF, follows the journeys of many young companies in the clean-tech space. On this week’s Zero, Curry tells Akshat Rathi about the kinds of innovative pathways that have proven successful. LanzaTech, for example, a nine-year-old carbon recycling technology company, works with Chinese steel companies looking for low-emissions solutions. H2 Green Steel also scaled quickly, in part through agreements reached with Mercedes Benz, IKEA and other big brands looking to access low-carbon steel. Curry explains how these approaches could be replicated by other startups. Listen to Zero’s episode about green-iron startup Electra. Listen to Switched On’s episodes on clean-energy investments and plastic recycling. Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producers are Mythili Rao, Magnus Henriksson, and Sommer Saadi. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
When the UK’s Climate Change Committee was formed in 2008, it both signaled the country’s seriousness about its environmental goals and gave other nations a template for setting their own climate policy. More recently, though, the UK appears to be backpedaling: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has approved new oil and gas licenses and pushed back a ban on fossil fuel cars. To understand how we got to this contentious moment, and how the UK can reclaim leadership, Zero host Akshat Rathi sat down with the CCC’s chief executive, Chris Stark.  Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producers are Mythili Rao, Sommer Saadi and Magnus Henriksson. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim and Jessica Nix. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The plastic problem is everywhere: in our oceans, communities, even inside our bodies. Plastic is abundant and very cheap, and the amount we produce is expected to triple by 2060 from 430 million tons a year to 1.2 billion tons, according to the OECD. The large amount of plastic could produce four billion tons of greenhouse gases, so a fix is becoming increasingly necessary. This week, Bloomberg Green senior reporter Akshat Rathi sat down with Inger Andersen, head of the UN’s Environment Program, to talk about an upcoming treaty that tackles increasing levels of plastic. You can read the transcript of this conversation here. Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producer is Oscar Boyd and our senior producer is Christine Driscoll. Special thanks to Kira Bindrim, Leslie Kaufman and Tiffany Tsoi. Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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When Brookfield Asset Management launched a $15 billion fund to expand clean energy in 2021, it was the largest private fund of its kind in the world. Now Brookfield is starting a second fund with billions from Alterra, which is backed by the United Arab Emirates. Zero host Akshat Rathi sat down with Brookfield Renewable Partners CEO Connor Teskey to talk about making climate finance work. You can read the transcript of the conversation here.  Zero is a production of Bloomberg Green. Our producers are Tiffany Tsoi, Sommer Saadi and Magnus Henriksson. Special thanks this week to Kira Bindrim and Jessica Nix. Thoughts or suggestions? Email us at zeropod@bloomberg.net. For more coverage of climate change and solutions, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/green.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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