58 episodes

Explaining the key scientific ideas, technologies, and policies relevant to the global climate crisis. Visit climatenow.com for more information and our video series.

Climate Now James Lawler

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 17 Ratings

Explaining the key scientific ideas, technologies, and policies relevant to the global climate crisis. Visit climatenow.com for more information and our video series.

    How to meet electricity demand while greening the grid

    How to meet electricity demand while greening the grid

    Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Princeton University, and the IPCC have all published proposed climate mitigation pathways: strategies for economically reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century for California, the U.S., and the world, respectively. And they are not alone. Any given pathway to net-zero emissions offers some combination of efficiency improvements, expansion of renewable energy sources, and some amount of so-called "negative emissions," using technologies and natural processes that capture and store carbon. But what determines the ratio of these three decarbonization methods? What determines which particular ratio will produce the lowest-cost and most feasible pathway for society?
    Climate Now sat down with Dr. EJ Baik, to discuss her research on the least-cost pathway for decarbonizing California’s electrical grid by 2045. EJ explains how major decarbonization pathways are modeled, the assumptions behind those models, and why sometimes the most economical way to reach net-zero is not what you’d expect.

    • 34 min
    Will the clean energy transition be cheaper than we thought?

    Will the clean energy transition be cheaper than we thought?

    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.

    • 28 min
    Diluting dependence on Russian oil: How renewable energy can defund a war

    Diluting dependence on Russian oil: How renewable energy can defund a war

    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 today
    10:09 Russia’s energy role
    14:12 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?

    • 29 min
    The bottom line on sustainable shipping: Can the shipping industry reach zero emissions?

    The bottom line on sustainable shipping: Can the shipping industry reach zero emissions?

    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 industry
    6:49 What are the emissions reduction goals of the shipping industry?
    9:36 Strategies to reach these reduction goals
    14:10 Challenges to accomplish the emissions reduction goals

    • 28 min
    Buried treasure: Unearthing the power of the soil carbon bank

    Buried treasure: Unearthing the power of the soil carbon bank

    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. 

    • 29 min
    How can water reuse help solve the global water crisis?

    How can water reuse help solve the global water crisis?

    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 development
    Listen wherever you like to get your podcasts, or listen with the transcript at our website!

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
17 Ratings

17 Ratings

Michael Tobiasz ,

Highly recommend this podcast!

Great podcast! Climate Now does an excellent job of explaining complex climate issues in a way that inspires action at every level. If we know more, we can do more. Climate Now is really informative on how we can all play a part in protecting our planet.

Eleanora Evens ,

Great experts great questions

This podcast goes so in depth with experts it’s almost like I got to interview them myself. Especially love the policy and business lenses.

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