27 episódios

New Climate Capitalism is a podcast about change-makers working at the intersection of activism, finance and investment.


New Climate Capitalism Denise Young

    • Negócios

New Climate Capitalism is a podcast about change-makers working at the intersection of activism, finance and investment.


    #25 Why we need indigenous expertise for the water crisis

    #25 Why we need indigenous expertise for the water crisis

    The summer of 2022 may go down in history as the moment the world woke up to the global water crisis. So I’m thrilled to introduce today’s conversation with Nigel Crawhall, who heads up the local and indigenous knowledge division at UNESCO.

    What I wanted to learn about is a recent upsurge in demand for indigenous perspectives and solutions in the water space. Nigel recently attended an important UN meeting on water in Tajikistan where he facilitated a first ever forum for indigenous people to have a voice in this political process to reshape how we think about and and act on water in an era of crisis.

    Nigel explains the nuts and bolts of how to bring indigenous perspectives into fora previously dominated by Western knowledge. We also talk about the new geopolitics of water - why high altitude actors, for example, are now influential players, the role of decolonization in closed-door meetings and everything you need to know about the latest IPBES assessments on wild species and values of nature. 

    Nigel has a fantastic ability to convey vast amounts of knowledge through great storytelling. So if you’ve found this topic challenging in the past, our conversation will definitely open new doors.

    What we talked about:

    2.34 The paradigm shift on indigenous knowledge dates back to the 2007 UN Declaration on rights of indigenous peoples. Over time, this converged with global challenges around sustainability - the idea that we need everyone at the table, that exclusion is part of the problem so participation is part of the solution

    4.13 The new normal is bringing in multiple streams of evidence including indigenous knowledge into scientufuc assessments and decision making.

    6.38 For too long we have been focused on western models & urban living & missed out on the majority of human understanding & knowledge about the world.

    7.38 Zoom into the politics of water: why did the UN wait nearly half a century to hold a big international conference in water next March in NY?

    8.41 Why is it difficult for indigenous people to be involved in water policy ?

    9.28 What is the UN water action decade ? UN Decades are major areas of international policy concern -they are a global agenda setting tool. Alongside water currently there are Decades on Ocean Science & Ecosystems Restoration

    10.07 one distinctive feature of the Water Action Decade has been the scant public participation - mostly a technical process. Until the Dushanbe conference opened the door.

    13.00 From the Arctic to the Kalahari to the Mekong, traditional knowledge holders bring a wealth of insight on water governance. Hearing their stories helps build a bridge between the rights based and the knowledge based approach.

    17.05 Why is water so political?

    One reason is that the state is the main arbiter of the management of water, yet thé living experience of water happens at the ground level.

    18.50 high altitude countries with glacial systems have emerged as influential actors in mulltilateral negotiations on water.

    20.21 Why the Dushanbe declaration is an extraordinary document, a mini Paris agreement

    22.17 what to know about the latest IPBES assessments approved in Bonn?

    The values assessment gets to the heart of « what matters ». While many want to quantify the value of nature, others say if you put a price on it it means you intend to extract it & turn it into cash value. What the assessment does is look at what is the value of nature from different perspectives.

    26.05 Should we talk about decolonization as a context for understanding north/south & east/west stressors in multilateral negotiations? The developing world sees itself as having collective interest about global justice & equity.

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit thezeroist.substack.com

    • 40 min
    #24 The IPCC Big Edit: finance, net zero, and the human factor

    #24 The IPCC Big Edit: finance, net zero, and the human factor

    This is a special edition of the podcast, the Big IPCC edit.

    IPCC reports are notoriously hard to read - they are long and very technical. This means that few people actually read them.

    But they matter to all of us - the insights from these reports affect the way we vote, invest, consume and just generally how we live our lives.

    To make this bumper episode, I talked to three different authors from three chapters in the latest Working Group 3 report on mitigation solutions.

    Demand-side solutions, a fast growing area of knowledge, the new, good news chapter of the entire report

    Investment and finance - volume of literature on this tripled between previous 2014 assessment and this one

    Long-term emissions pathways - the heart of net zero

    In the second segment, I talk to Joyashree Roy, Coordinating Lead Author for the new chapter on demand, services and social aspects of mitigation. This is a big deal, as previous reports focused mostly on supply-side solutions like renewable energies. But this report shows with high confidence that demand-side strategies can reduce 40-70% of emissions across all sectors.

    But first, I talk to Christa Clapp and Glen Peters from the CICERO Centre for International Climate Research in Norway.

    Our conversation is an important primer for anyone who wants to get their head around net zero.

    Among the highlights: why the “three more years to reduce emissions” thing is wrong. Why peak emissions are an important signal for the oil and gas sector, and why does the report have an entire chapter on finance and investment, yet the IPCC doesn’t target financial decision makers with its report?

    We also talk about #climatetwitter - how is it changing and what does that mean for the IPCC and its reports?

    What we talked about:

    Part One: Christa Clapp and Glen Peters

    2.35 The finance chapter is 3 times bigger than in the previous assessment. A lot is happening, but we still don’t know the impact of that activity

    6.31 Why “three more years to reduce the emissions curve” is an error, one that sends the wrong signal about having more time

    10.02 What is “peak emissions” and why does it matter? In fact, what matters most is the reduction after the peak. (Glen)

    11:59 The language around peak emissions matters to the oil and gas sector because it affects decisions around when to reduce production. Most oil and gas majors in their scenarios have emissions peaking between 2030 and 2040.

    15.44 Emissions were back at 2019 levels in 2021. So we’re essentially at a new peak emisssions.

    18.20 War in Ukraine is driving new interest in nuclear, and we’re starting to see nuclear energy deals being labelled as green.

    22.08 Everyone agrees climate specialists from different areas such as finance and carbon cycle specialists should communicate and collaborate more, but there are many barriers.

    27.08 Glen says that an Integrated Assessment Model is like a jack of all trades but a master of none.

    28.22 The finance sector is a whole new consumer group for climate scenarios, and sometimes this means they use the scenarios in a way they weren’t intended. We should be clearer about what the models are doing and not doing, and provide extra information.

    29.21 The IPCC doesn’t target financial decision makers as an audience with their reports.

    30.18 One thing the scientific literature shows is that all the activity in the finance sector is focused on financial regulation around climate risk transparency, which builds capacity within institutions but does not, for the moment, drive emissions reductions.

    34.33. Glen talks about climate twitter and how it’s changed in recent years.

    Part Two: Joyashree Roy

    42:02 Literature on demand solutions has proliferated since the Fifth Assessment, especially from the social


    44.38 Lifestyle and behaviour changes can reduce energy demand and our carbon footprint without reducing our wellbeing

    49:07 Demand-side strategies can reduce 40-70%

    • 1h 8 min
    #23 Mining in the energy transition: fact, fiction and misinformation

    #23 Mining in the energy transition: fact, fiction and misinformation

    Ian Morse, publisher of “Green Rocks” newsletter; Thea Riofrancos, Assistant Professor Political Science, Providence College

    Lithium mining is in the spotlight right now - prices have gone insane, as Elon Musk tweeted only just last week, saying that Tesla may get into the mining business itself as a result.

    Lithium, along with cobalt and nickel, are critical elements of electric vehicle batteries and we’re hearing everywhere these days that there isn’t enough of this stuff to go around.

    I wanted to know if this is actually, geologically, true? And is this the dirty secret of the clean energy revolution?

    To find out, I talked to Thea Riofrancos. She is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Providence College, and Ian Morse. He is science writer and publisher of the “Green Rocks” newsletter

    What I found out was that this is a really big conversation that touches everything from global supply chains to climate action to human rights to geopolitics to commodity markets.

    Some of the big questions we tackled were: Are we in locked a global struggle for scarce mineral resources that are critical for the energy transition?

    Does this mean we have to mine like crazy to get them?

    And is there such a thing as clean and responsible mining?

    Spoiler alert - nothing may be actually quite what it seems on the outside.

    Oh, and, by the way, Elon Musk says that Tesla have some cool ideas for sustainable lithium extraction and refinement. But, as Ian explains at the end of our interview, Tesla’s batteries are notorious for being impossible to recycle, thereby driving even more demand to mine for lithium.

    So, buckle up for a fascinating and thought provoking discussion.

    We talked about:

    01:25 “Critical minerals” is a term with military origins, Thea cautions against replicating that idea - that national security depends on the control or dominance of the supply chains that these minerals feed.

    5.54 Calling them “climate” or “decarbonisation” metals allows mining companies to re-brand extractive activities as sustainable and responsible.

    8.57 Why are prices so high right now? Thea & Ian talk about market speculation and the financialization of commodity prices, the role of commodity traders.

    14.27 Mines on average take a decade to build and operationalize - this creates a lag between demand and supply, and drives markets shortages and price rises.

    19.27 Relying exclusively on mining to drive the energy transition may be one of the slowest ways to do climate action, because we know we’ll only have enough materials in 15 years.

    22.42 The global map of lithium extraction is changing. Right now there are four main producers, in 10 years from now that will probably double. Rivalries will change, and nation states will shift their economic policies around these stakes.

    24.03 Market shortages of critical minerals is driving two big new trends: On-shoring of extractive activities and vertical integration of supply chains.

    Car companies like Tesla and VW are contracting directly with raw material companies, either via direct investment or joint ventures. This further drives market shortages as it takes years of supply off the market.

    24.13 Ian talks about his experience covering nickel mining in Sulawesi, Indonesia, “where the ground was dug up, shipped elsewhere. And people there were left with red seas, polluted air, no rainforest.”

    32.45 The “global race” media narrative crowds out discussion of solutions to the climate emergency, and it allows mining companies to brand themselves as climate heroes.

    35.00 The worst way to organize an energy transition is to change only the fuel source. The fastest way to decarbonize the transport sector is to scale up public transportation.

    40.50 What can we learn from the recent example of Chile, a mineral powerhouse with a new left-wing government breaking new ground on policy approaches to the extractive sector.

    57.49 Our EV batteries were not d

    • 58 min
    #22 Behind the scenes of the mega-report on adaptation

    #22 Behind the scenes of the mega-report on adaptation

    Edwin Castellanos & Joern Birkmann; IPCC AR6 WG2 Coordinating Lead Authors

    The latest IPCC report on adaptation is out, and it came out 4 days after Russia invaded Ukraine.

    If you're asking yourself: what did I miss?

    The UN Secretary General described it as "an atlas of human suffering". He said, I quote: “Nearly half of humanity is in the danger zone right now”.

    For the first time, scientists have given us a number, 3.3 billion people, who are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

    Second, we now know where many of them are located. And while there are groups in all countries vulnerable to climate change, the IPCC report shows that in some places - called “global hotspots” - the level of human vulnerability is a lot higher. 

    For example, in the most vulnerable regions, deaths due to floods, storms and droughts are 15 times higher per event compared to countries like Germany and the United States.

    There’s a map (see below) in the report which shows where many of the most vulnerable are, and it includes parts of East Africa, South Asia, Central America, and the small island states.

    If you’re nodding, and saying to yourself “hmm that makes sense”. In fact, this map was highly contested by delegates from both rich and poor countries at the approval session for the Summary for Policy Makers. Those objections led to it being removed from the summary - the most widely read part of the 3,500-page report. 

    To find out why, and to learn about the highlights of this important report, stay tuned for my interview with IPCC authors Joern Birkmann from Germany and Edwin Castellanos from Guatemala. It’s not all gloom and doom, there are even a few reasons to be hopeful.

    We talked about:

    5.08 Billions more people will face dengue risk by the end of the century, and among them many people in non-tropical regions such as Europe

    7.54 Reflections on the final approval session

    11.42 Why language matters so very much in the negotiations between governments and scientists over the Summary for PolicyMakers

    12.23 Imbalance between developing and developed countries in terms of who speaks up in the approval session, and size of delegations

    13.53 What happened with the figure on vulnerability (see below) at the final approval session. Why was it contested?

    16.01 The art of defining “policy-prescriptive”

    17.14 Quantifying the 3.3 billion number: a first for the IPCC and an important message of the report

    19.17 What else is new? Approaches to vulnerability have changed from the Fifth to the Sixth Assessment

    19:43 First ever reference to “colonialism” as a driver of vulnerability, few governments contested this

    21.55 Global hotspots of human vulnerability

    24.41 The idea of climate-resilient development is something new & important in this report

    25.55 Regional approaches were also a highlight

    28.21 What’s the good news? The Sixth Assessment has a lot more literature on adaptation; the challenge is how to assess the effectiveness of what’s happening, especially in developing countries

    34.19 How are we doing on adapting to extreme heat events in Europe?

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit thezeroist.substack.com

    • 44 min
    #21 What's the 2022 climate story?

    #21 What's the 2022 climate story?

    Alice Bell, author of “Our Biggest Experiment”; Alina Siegfried, author of “A Future Untold”

    So, we made it to the end of 2021. That was definitely an achievement.

    But what will our 2022 story be?

    Today I’m talking with two brilliant authors about the new stories that are bubbling up on climate change in 2022.

    And how each of us has a choice to invest in a certain storyline, one that designs a shared future that is all about love, about care, about human agency.

    Alice Bell’s “Our Biggest Experiment”, tells the incredible story of the history of climate change, and traces the journey of where we came from, while Alina Siegfried’s “A Future Untold”, digs into some of the shifting myths that could shape the way the 2020s unfold.

    We talked about COP26, and which stories are likely to bubble up in its aftermath, things like “polluter elite”. Spoiler alert here - its not just the super rich, but its people like you and me.

    On whether the 2020 window for disruptive change might be closing.

    We find out that the term “tree hugger” comes from 18th century India and some courageous women who gave their lives to save their trees.

    But above all, the message that shines through loud and clear is that change is coming, and we all have a choice to choose the story that we tell ourselves about how that change unfolds.

    So wherever you are, however hard it was to get there in these final days of an epic year, let’s take a moment to make that choice and make it a beautiful one.

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit thezeroist.substack.com

    • 37 min
    #20 How much growth is enough

    #20 How much growth is enough

    If you’re familiar with the term degrowth, you’ll probably have noticed that it’s popping up more and more frequently.

    At last month’s battle in France for the Green Party leadership in next year’s presidential race, degrowth was referenced but never tackled in depth or in detail. Yannick Jadot, a green growth candidate, won by a narrow margin over his “eco-feminist” rival, Sandrine Rousseau.

    Degrowth made an appearance recently on the front page of the international edition of the New York Times. It was an opinion piece called “Degrowth as a saviour to the planet”.

    Ezra Klein talked about it on his podcast in August. He said “I understand its appeal, but I don’t understand its politics.”

    You can study degrowth. There’s a masters programme at a university in Barcelona in Political Ecology, Degrowth and Environmental Justice.

    So what’s driving this interest in degrowth, and how is degrowth different from green growth?

    Green growth is the idea that we can have economic growth and sustainable development at the same time. It’s an idea that’s been around for over a decade. And it’s the underlying assumption of almost all current policy discussions about net zero.

    What’s changed is that that assumption is starting to come under scrutiny as being not fit for purpose for the scale of our crisis.

    So is degrowth the alternative to green growth? Or are they two sides of the same coin.

    To find out, I talked to two experts in the field - Julia Steinberger, from the University of Lausanne and Malcolm Fairbrother of Umea University in Sweden.

    The first thing I learned is that degrowth is not what it seems. It’s not about less economic growth, nor is it about voluntary simplicity.

    For anyone who has ever stumbled trying to follow this debate, or who wants to understand what’s at stake and how our actions can count, then this episode is for you.

    We talked about:

    2.09 Green growth is not just economic growth with a bit of sustainability tacked on as an afterthought.

    3.16 Degrowth: the main goal is to decouple human prosperity and wellbeing from environmental degradation and resource use emissions.

    5.27 Difference between GDP as a goal and saying that GDP growth can be reconciled with sustainability

    7:56 Why is degrowth getting more attention?

    15:30 Julia points out one reason why green growth isn’t working: when we communicate on the basis that we don’t need to change our economic systems, we just need to throw extra money at R & D, what policy makers hear is “You don’t have to do anything.”

    16:44 Scientific literature on degrowth is growing; the IPCC’s WG3 report in 2022 includes more radical alternatives in terms of what the economy could be doing & more literature critical of existing models which equate prosperity with growth.

    18:06 Malcolm explains a key point of divergence between green growth and degrowth: we’ve have success in solving environmental problems with policy shifts to induce shifts in production and consumption in the past - if we use our existing tools to their full capacity, we can save the planet. The real problem is politicians not doing their jobs because of corporate lobbying.

    27.00 Degrowth also emphasizes distribution and sufficiency: we need to make sure that everyone has access to basic standards for a good life. This goes against the political winds of our time related to neoliberalism which says whoever can afford whatever it is, they get to do that thing.

    34.38 Malcolm warns of the risk that if we don’t communicate which positive changes we can achieve through policies, people will get cynical and think than nothing good can come of politics or policymaking

    36.23 Julia and Malcolm agree that it’s all about political action. It doesn’t matter who your politician is, you need to make their life a living hell until they do the right thing.

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get

    • 41 min

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