78 episodes

A bipartisan podcast on energy and environmental politics in America. Presented by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute. Political Climate goes beyond the echo chambers to bring you civil conversations, fierce debates and insider perspectives, with hosts and guests from across the political spectrum. Join Democrat and Republican energy experts Brandon Hurlbut and Shane Skelton, along with Greentech Media's Julia Pyper, as we explore how energy and environment policies get made.

Political Climate Political Climate

    • News
    • 4.8, 167 Ratings

A bipartisan podcast on energy and environmental politics in America. Presented by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute. Political Climate goes beyond the echo chambers to bring you civil conversations, fierce debates and insider perspectives, with hosts and guests from across the political spectrum. Join Democrat and Republican energy experts Brandon Hurlbut and Shane Skelton, along with Greentech Media's Julia Pyper, as we explore how energy and environment policies get made.

    How to Jump-Start a Stalled Electric Vehicle Market

    How to Jump-Start a Stalled Electric Vehicle Market

    Buckle up. Electric vehicle sales are expected to take a big hit this year amid the current health and economic crisis. Industry analysts say the long-term prospects for EVs remain strong, but the jury’s still out on how quickly the market will rebound.  

    The EV market outlook could have a major impact on the U.S. economy overall. Boosting government investment in clean transportation is being championed by advocates and several lawmakers as a way to put Americans back to work and build out of the coronavirus downturn. The EV growth trajectory will also have a direct impact on whether or not the U.S. will be able to achieve the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

    In the sixth episode of Political Climate's monthly “Path to Zero” series, supported by the public policy think tank Third Way, we discuss what it will take to decarbonize the transportation sector, with a focus on accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles. 

    We speak to Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, representative for Michigan's 12th congressional district, about what it will take to reboot the American automotive industry and get the U.S. EV market back on track coming out of the economic recession.

    We also speak to James “Jim” Chen, vice president of public policy at the high-profile electric vehicle startup Rivian. The Detroit-based company set out on a mission to “keep the world adventurous” by building rugged, long-range, high-performance electric trucks and SUVs. Rivian’s R1T and R1S have generated a lot of fanfare (and raised a lot of money). But are electric adventure vehicles really going to make a dent in reducing transportation emissions?

    Plus, Political Climate co-host Brandon Hurlbut describes what he likes about driving electric and the killer deal he got on his EV purchases. 

    Recommended reading:Detroit News: Rep. Dingell aims to jump-start Washington electric-vehicle debatePolitico: The One-Woman Campaign to Get Michigan Back for the DemsVerge: Rivian races ahead of other EV startups with $1.3 billion in new fundingAxios: These electric vehicle companies have the best shot at survivingGTM: 4 Takeaways From Amazon’s Huge Electric Delivery Van Order


    Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute.

    “Path to Zero” is created in partnership with the public policy think tank Third Way. Episodes air monthly on the Political Climate podcast feed. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

    • 59 min
    'Need for Speed': Why Solving Climate Change Is About More Than CO2

    'Need for Speed': Why Solving Climate Change Is About More Than CO2

    The skies may look clearer these days. But don’t get too excited. Levels of smog and other short-lived climate pollutants (remember HFCs?) are still high and climbing.

    The good news: there’s a long track record of international cooperation to get these harmful pollutants in check. The challenge: finding the political will to eliminate them entirely.

    Short-lived climate pollutants include black carbon or soot, methane, hydrofluorocarbons and tropospheric ozone, or what we think of as city smog. In addition to heating up the atmosphere, they dirty our air, make people sick and affect the ozone layer.

    In this episode, we speak to legendary environmental litigator, professor, author and advocate Durwood Zaelke about why the world needs to prioritize non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases and what’s being done to curb them (with support from both sides of the political aisle).

    Zaelke is the founder and President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development in Washington, DC and Paris, where he focuses on fast mitigation strategies to protect the climate. He’s received numerous awards for his work on the Montreal Protocol and his efforts to enact the Kigali Amendment to phasedown HFCs for climate protection.

    Recommended reading:NPR: Traffic Is Way Down Because Of Lockdown, But Air Pollution? Not So MuchThe Hill: Trump drags feet on climate treaty, and Republicans aren’t happyThe Guardian: Study finds shock rise in levels of potent greenhouse gasShort-Lived Climate Pollutants


    Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

    This episode is brought to you with support from Eavor, the first truly scalable form of clean baseload power. Learn more at eavor.com.

    This episode is also supported by the nonprofit environmental forum EarthX. The EarthxOcean virtual event takes place June 9-June 11. Tune in to learn about protecting ocean life support systems. Register at www.earthx.org/earthxocean.

    • 42 min
    EU Ambassador: 'Green Growth Will Be the Key' to Europe’s Recovery

    EU Ambassador: 'Green Growth Will Be the Key' to Europe’s Recovery

    Late last year, the European Union introduced a $1 trillion plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and achieve a just transition away from polluting technologies.

    Europe’s Green Deal enjoys strong backing from many of the EU’s top political figures. But it faces pushback from coal-heavy member states. Implementation of the Green Deal has now been further complicated by the urgent need for governments to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

    On this episode, we bring you a conversation with EU Ambassador to the U.S. Stavros Lambrinidis about the implications of COVID-19 for Europe’s energy and climate agenda.

    Not only that — we also discuss the fallout from plummeting oil prices, what to do with stranded fossil fuel assets, the outlook for a U.S. green recovery plan, and corporate clean energy commitments amid coronavirus with a stellar panel of experts from Google, The Aspen Institute and elsewhere. This episode you'll also hear from:Nikos Tsafos, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International StudiesKevin Book, managing director of research at Clearview Energy PartnersMarsden Hanna, head of sustainability and climate policy for the government affairs team at GoogleGreg Gershuny, executive director of the Aspen Institute's energy and environment programPolitical Climate host Julia Pyper moderates this conversation, which originally took place as a virtual event hosted by the EU Delegation to the U.S.

    Recommended reading:GTM: Moonshot Moment: Europe Announces Green DealGTM: EU Green Deal Should Be Canceled Because of Coronavirus, Czech PM SaysEuractiv: EU leaders back ‘green transition’ in pandemic recovery planVirtual event: How COVID-19 affects the climate and energy agenda


    Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

    This episode is brought to you with support from Eavor, the first truly scalable form of clean baseload power. Learn more at eavor.com.

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Julian Brave NoiseCat on Using Data for Climate Action

    Julian Brave NoiseCat on Using Data for Climate Action

    Are progressive ideas on how to tackle climate change a political poison pill? New opinion polling challenges this commonly held assumption.

    On this week's episode of Political Climate, we discuss how data is helping decode where the American public stands on progressive issues with Julian Brave NoiseCat, vice president of policy and strategy at the left-wing think tank Data for Progress.

    We dig into new polling on the Green New Deal and passing a green stimulus bill in response to COVID-19. We also look at public views on nationalizing the U.S. oil and gas industry and potential Democratic picks for vice president.

    Plus, Julian puts a question to co-host Shane Skelton about the Republican response to climate change. As always, we end with our segment “Say Something Nice.”

    Recommended reading:Politico: What AOC Gets that Bernie Didn’tData for Progress: Voters Want a Green StimulusData for Progress: The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Made Voters More Supportive of the Green New DealData for Progress: Nationalize the Fossil Fuel IndustryNo Place Like Home


    Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute. Find us on Twitter @Poli_Climate! Tweet at our hosts at @JMPyper @BrandonHurlbut @ShaneSkelton.

    Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Fighting Energy Injustice and Coronavirus in African American Communities

    Fighting Energy Injustice and Coronavirus in African American Communities

    African Americans are struggling with a disproportionate death toll from COVID-19 and severe financial strain from the economic downturn. This crisis has exposed preexisting racial disparities created by deep-seated social, economic and political factors. 

    These same underlying issues make African Americans more vulnerable to health damage from pollution, as well as from heat waves, storms and other effects of climate change. 

    Meanwhile, African Americans are missing out on wealth creation opportunities in the clean energy economy, which could be an effective solution to some of these underlying issues — bringing jobs and environmental benefits to communities that need it the most.

    In this episode of Political Climate, the fifth in our "Path to Zero" series with Third Way, we look at how COVID-19 and climate change are affecting Black communities, and how these issues can be tackled in tandem. 

    We speak to Jared DeWese and Akunna Cook at Third Way about the multiple crises facing Black Americans today. We also hear from Naomi Davis, a grassroots leader and green village builder in Chicago’s Southside, who succeeded in shaping a landmark clean energy bill in Illinois. 

    Finally, we speak to Tony Reames, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, about the issue of “energy injustice.” We also discuss takeaways from preliminary research on how African Americans are thinking about climate and energy issues in 2020.

    Recommended reading:National Geographic: African Americans struggle with disproportionate COVID death tollNYT: New Research Links Air Pollution to Higher Coronavirus Death RatesQuartz: The overwhelming whiteness of US environmentalism is hobbling the fight against climate changeISEA: Future Energy Jobs Act Workforce Development ProgramsHuffPost: Solar Power Has A Diversity Problem


    Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute.

    “Path to Zero” is created in partnership with the public policy think tank Third Way. Episodes air monthly on the Political Climate podcast feed. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

    • 1 hr 1 min
    John Kerry: 'I Am Optimistic' but 'Angry' This Earth Day

    John Kerry: 'I Am Optimistic' but 'Angry' This Earth Day

    John Kerry isn’t pleased. 

    As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the former senator and secretary of state says a profound lack of leadership is causing the United States to fall behind on climate action and clean energy innovation.

    In this episode of Political Climate, we speak to Secretary Kerry about his outlook on combatting climate change. We get his views on abolishing the Senate filibuster, decarbonizing the power grid, the future role of fossil fuels, American leadership (or lack thereof) on the international stage, and more.

    We also get an update on Kerry’s World War Zero coalition. The initiative was launched last year with a high-profile cast of founding members to mobilize mass action to combat the climate crisis. The coalition's main goal is to host more than ten million “climate conversations” in 2020 with citizens from across the political spectrum. Has the star-studded effort been successful so far?

    Finally, we turn to a brief interview with Tia Nelson, environmental leader, climate program director at the Outrider Foundation and daughter of former Senator and Governor Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day.

    Nelson was 13 years old on April 22, 1970 — the first Earth Day ever. We get her thoughts on how the environmental movement has evolved over time. 

    Recommended reading:WaPo: John Kerry: Why I’m an optimist this Earth DayWBNS: Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Kerry, John Kasich hold town hall on climate change at OtterbeinHeated: A conversation with John KerryIsthmus: Earth Day turns 50When the Earth Moves Film


    Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

    This episode is brought to you by the nonprofit environmental forum EarthX. The Earthx2020 Conference and Film Festival is being held virtually from April 22-27 to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Find more information at www.earthx.org!

    • 47 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
167 Ratings

167 Ratings

ccshatz ,

Bipartisan, yes!

Desperately needed balance equals solutions we can actually envision being implemented.

EdwardMoore7 ,

Great Podcast!

An Informative, timely, and unique climate podcast!

O. Kevin ,

Excellent Podcast

Always informative and relevant. A great way to keep up on developments in the policy and politics of addressing the crisis of climate change.

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