Asking tough questions about the science, technology, and politics of climate change, two climate researchers challenge leading experts on one of the defining issues of our age. Every two weeks, they explore how we can fight global warming by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, carbon removal, adaptation and solar geoengineering. Dr. Jesse Reynolds and Dr. Pete Irvine consider the roles of computer models and persuasive narratives, economics and public policy, and renewable energy and national security in the climate debate, and look beyond to issues such as biotechnology and international development.
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music by Peter Danilchuk @clambgramb (IG/Twitter).
28. Erica Thompson on escaping Model Land
Dr Erica Thompson is a Senior Policy Fellow in Ethics of Modelling and Simulation at the LSE Data Science Institute. Erica's research involves the appropriate use of mathematical and computational modelling to inform real-world decision-making. In this episode, we discuss Erica’s recent book, Escape from Model Land and tackle issues such as bias, disillusioning science communication to help us get out of the ‘Model Land’ worldview and into the real world.
Erica Thompson’s profile Erica’s website Check out Erica’s book, Escape from Model Land Support the show
27. Luke Iseman on his for-profit solar geoengineering venture - Make Sunsets
Luke Iseman is the founder of Make Sunsets, a recently launched startup that is selling “cooling credits” on the promise that they will release sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere using weather balloons. In this episode, we discuss Make Sunset’s mission to “substantially lower global temperatures,” the details of their offering, the technical challenges for verifying their cooling credits, and the potential political repercussions of their efforts
Make Sunsets official website: https://makesunsets.com/
Make Sunsets contested cooling calculations: https://makesunsets.com/blogs/news/calculating-cooling
Luke’s blog post from just before he launched this effort, “Geoengineering Now”: https://www.dirtnail.com/2022/04/04/geoengineering-now/
Some reactions to Make Sunsets:
Ted Parson’s essay on Make Sunsets, “A Dangerous Disruption”: https://legal-planet.org/2023/01/02/a-dangerous-disruption/
David Keith on why not to commercialize geoengineering: https://twitter.com/DKeithClimate/status/1608085360927457281
Gwynne Dyer’s comment in Stuff: https://www.stuff.co.nz/opinion/130909204/balloon-goes-up-on-geoengineering-sulfur-scam
Another podcast interview with Luke Iseman by Reviewer 2 Does Geoengineering: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2Fr15fdX20qyyfVX8VCF3Q
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26. The Anniversary Special
Our year-end special celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Challenging Climate podcast. In this episode, Pete and Jesse reflect on the past 25 episodes, whether we achieved our vision for the podcast thus far, how we’ve navigated controversial guest speakers and learning to balance diversity of thought.
Looking forward into 2023, we discuss new topics we want to explore, and old topics we hope to dive into at greater depths and different angles. Have any ideas for future topics or guest speakers?
Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our twitterPete Irvine's websiteJesse Reynold's websiteSustainability by numbers, a substack by Hannah RitchiePandora's Toolbox, by Wake SmithSupport the show
25. Patrick Brown on extreme weather and the obvious climate strategy
Dr Patrick Brown is the Co-director of the Climate & Energy group at the Breakthrough Institute and Adjunct lecturer in Energy Policy & Climate at Johns Hopkins University. In this episode, we discuss Patrick’s expertise on the economic impacts of extreme weather, and unpack trends and attributable risk. We then venture into a broader scope based on his essay, ‘The obvious climate strategy nobody will talk about’, which carries the rest of the discussion into climate targets and bias in climate communication.
Patrick Brown’s profile Patrick’s essay in Foreign Policy: The obvious climate strategy nobody will talk about His paper in PLOS, 'Approximate calculations of the net economic impact of global warming mitigation targets...' Another article on heat deaths versus cold deaths Support the show
24. Glen Peters and Linda Steg on the Paris Agreement, the feasibility and psychology of the 1.5ºC target
Our guests are Dr Glen Peters, the research director for the Climate Mitigation group at Center for International Climate Research (CICERO), and Dr Linda Steg, Professor of Environmental Psychology at the University of Groningen.
In light of the recent COP27 hosted in Sharm el Sheikh, we pose the question: is the 1.5 Celsius goal still alive? In this episode, we dissect this complex question from the model-driven approach of Peters’ research, as well as from the angle of societal and behavioural change — Steg’s expertise. Covering climate anxiety, venture capitalists and CDR, this episode’s got it all.
Glen’s profile Linda’s profile Interview with Laurence Tubiana on 1.5ºC overshootGlen's articles:
'Can we really limit global warming to "well below" two degrees centigrade?'Linda's articles:
'Limiting climate change requires research on climate action' 'Motivating Society-wide Pro-environmental Change''A Spiral on (in)action'Support the show
23. Luke Kemp on defining, evaluating and managing catastrophic climate risk
Dr Luke Kemp is a Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, University of Cambridge. He has a PhD in international relations from the ANU and previous experience as a senior economist at Vivid Economics. In this episode, Luke sheds light on a surprisingly understudied and overlooked topic – catastrophic climate risk. This episode explores catastrophic and extinction risk, why the topic is understudied, and how we can weigh out the catastrophic risks of climate change and solar geo-engineering.
Luke Kemp’s profile Check out Luke’s paper, Climate Endgame: Exploring catastrophic climate change scenariosLuke's paper on the risky perspective shift in temperature rises: Focus of the IPCC Assessment Reports has shifted to lower temperatures Cambridge release, Climate change: potential to end humanity is “dangerously underexplored” Additional reading: Catastrophic climate risks should be neither understated nor overstated (Burgess et al., 2022)Support the show