Political Climate

Political Climate

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.

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Trailer 2 min 19 sec

All Episodes

As we enter the holiday season, our hosts run through 10 powerful stats that will help you navigate the inevitable question from a curious family member: “So, what’s going on with the climate?” As a listener of this podcast, you are probably no stranger to these conversations with loved ones. But this year in particular — amid more in-person visits and a slew of recent headlines on climate policy, climate impacts, and global climate summits — there is a lot of catching up to do. These stats will equip you with the content you need to deliver a brief climate keynote address over the third helping of potatoes. To kick things off, we catch up on the big ticket items in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and what’s next for the Build Back Better Act, which together could be the most significant pieces of American climate legislation passed in our lifetimes. (And that’s a good thing, should your aunt ask).Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate.Recommended reading:White House: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Fact SheetPrinceton University's REPEAT ProjectCanary Media: The vast majority of Americans love solar and wind powerE2: Clean Jobs AmericaIHS: Corporate US renewable procurement outlookIEA: COP26 climate pledges could help limit global warming to 1.8 °CBBC: How China shapes the world's coalInside EVs: Global Plug-In Car Sales Doubled To A New Record, September 2021California Solar and Storage Association: An S.O.S. In The Sand – Governor: More Solar, Not OilArs Technica: Natural gas customers in Texas get stuck with $3.4 billion cold-snap surcharge

Nov 24

39 min 55 sec

Climate finance has been center stage at COP26. Meeting the globe’s climate goals will require mobilizing trillions of public and private dollars. So what exactly does that look like?During the first week of the UN climate summit, 450 financial institutions with $130 trillion in assets under management pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The announcement from the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) led by UN Special Envoy Mark Carney represents a massive commitment to shift funds out of fossil fuels and into creating sustainable economies.But will the promise live up to the hype? We break down the significance of this and other major finance pledges made at COP26 with Justin Guay, director for global climate strategy at the Sunrise Project.Plus, a commitment from wealthy countries to spend $100 billion per year on helping poorer nations mitigate and adapt to climate change remains a sticking point in the global climate negotiations. But even if rich nations deliver more money in climate aid, many countries will see little benefit because they face enormous hurdles accessing the funds available.In the second half of this episode we speak to Benjamin Bartle, project director with RMI's Climate Finance Access Network (CFAN) about what it really takes to put these climate dollars to work.Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate.Recommended reading:Bloomberg: Carney Unveils $130 Trillion in Climate Finance CommitmentsScientific American: U.S. Agrees to End Fossil Fuel Financing AbroadAP: UK sets net-zero plan for its financial sectorRMI: The Crisis of Climate Finance: “Access Means Survival"

Nov 12

47 min 25 sec

Where are the offshore wind projects in America? While turbines have become a familiar sight in states across the country, offshore wind is virtually non-existent. Even with thousands of miles of coastline, the U.S. only has around 40 MW of offshore wind production, most of it from a single wind farm. This pales in comparison to other parts of the world, particularly Europe, which has more than 25 GW of offshore wind capacity from more than 100 offshore wind farms.But the market landscape for offshore wind in the U.S. is poised to change dramatically, with industry and policy efforts aligning to finally access this untapped clean energy resource.In this episode, we discuss this new frontier in the U.S. energy transition with Heather Zichal, Chief Executive Officer, of the American Clean Power Association.Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate.Recommended reading:Heather Zichal: Testimony House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Energy Subcommittee “Offshore Wind, Onshore Benefits: Growing the Domestic Wind Energy Industry”USC Schwarzenegger Institute: California’s Offshore Wind Electricity OpportunityCanary: Could the US lead​​ the world in floating offshore wind? Canary: California offshore wind could save billions and help prevent blackouts. What’s holding it back?Axios: Biden plan expected to include at least $500B for climate

Oct 28

40 min 44 sec

Policy debates on Capitol Hill today fit into a bigger political picture. In Part 2 of this conversation with David Roberts, hosts Julia Pyper, Brandon Hurlbut, and Shane Skelton talk about political sentiments, campaign messaging, and things Democrats don’t want to hear — as well as asymmetry in the media landscape and its impact on electoral politics today.Plus, David shares what he’s genuinely excited about when it comes to clean energy technology and how Illinois recently passed a big, bold climate bill that offers a new model for the nation. David Roberts is the founder and writer of the newsletter Volts, host of the podcast by the same name, and Editor-At-Large at Canary Media. Check out Part 1 of this conversation on last week's episode. Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate.Recommended reading:Canary: The unstoppably good news about clean energyCanary: Illinois’ new climate bill is ambitious, justice-focused and a model for the nationNYT: David Shor Is Telling Democrats What They Don’t Want to Hear

Oct 21

40 min 31 sec

David Roberts is worried. Democrats have control of the House, Senate and the White House and an opportunity to pass bold climate policy and political reform — perhaps their last opportunity for a long time — but are stuck in political gridlock. The stakes are high, with procedural deadlines and the COP26 global climate summit looming. On this episode, Julia Pyper, Brandon Hurlbut and Shane Skelton speak to clean energy and politics reporter David Roberts about the state of play in Washington D.C. and why he’s both anxious and (surprisingly) optimistic. Roberts is the founder and writer of the newsletter Volts, host of the podcast by the same name, and Editor-At-Large at Canary Media. Part 2 of this conversation will air on the podcast feed next week! Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate.Recommended reading:Politico: Dem tension keeps spiking ahead of make-or-break 3 weeksCanary: What’s in the latest version of House Dems’ proposed clean energy legislation?Axios: Pondering Biden's Plan(et) BVolts: The most important job ahead for DemocratsMSNBC: All In with Chris Hayes, 10/12/21

Oct 14

46 min 29 sec

With several major deadlines looming, U.S. lawmakers remain divided on how to move forward with the bipartisan infrastructure bill and Democrats’ larger $3.5 billion spending package — both of which contain critical funding and programs to fight climate change and promote clean energy. At the same time, Congress must immediately pass a spending package to avoid a government shutdown. Also (because there isn't enough going on) lawmakers must act quickly to raise the debt limit, with the nation’s borrowing authority set to expire on October 18, which would be devastating for the U.S. economy.On this episode of Political Climate, hosts Julia Pyper, Brandon Hurlbut and Shane Skelton discuss the rifts on Capitol Hill and what to expect from Congress in the coming days. Plus, they talk through some of the most significant commitments made by governments and the private sector during Climate Week NYC — a stepping stone to the UN’s COP26 climate summit.Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate.Recommended reading:The Guardian: Fate of Biden’s economic agenda at stake as House faces crucial voteCNN: Why we're willing to put our votes on the line for the Build Back Better ActNYT: Biden Administration Makes First Major Move to Regulate Greenhouse GasesCanary Media: Climate Week NYC 2021

Sep 30

36 min 35 sec

Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico is no stranger to climate and energy issues. In recent months, he’s sponsored legislation on zero-emission homes, electric transmission, energy storage, a civilian climate corps, and more. Now, these proposals are being considered as part of Democrats’ sweeping $3.5 trillion budget plan. What’s likely to stay in and what’s likely to get cut?On this episode of Political Climate, Sen. Heinrich weighs in on what’s at stake with the budget reconciliation and bipartisan infrastructure bills, and how climate impacts are influencing political action. Plus, we discuss the significance of President Biden’s cross-country climate tour and Governor Gavin Newsom’s big win in the California recall.Recommended reading:Canary Media: What’s in the latest version of House Dems’ proposed clean energy legislation?Rewiring America: Electrifying America’s Future ResolutionNYT: Your Next Car and Clothes Dryer Could Help Save Our PlanetListen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate.P.S. We have a brand new show page on Canary Media! Check it out. 

Sep 16

42 min 37 sec

The U.S. political climate has changed a lot in 2021, especially when it comes to climate and energy issues on Capitol Hill. The Political Climate podcast has changed too. Rather than debate macro politics, we’re focused on analyzing concrete proposals, policy choices, and getting at the “how” of achieving our shared climate goals. Unlike in the past, there is no shortage of policy action!On August 10, the U.S. Senate approved a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill — the largest spending for infrastructure projects in the country in over a decade — with bipartisan support. Senators also approved a budget measure along party lines that paved the way for Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending package, which includes a suite of climate and social initiatives.After a weeks-long stalemate between moderates and leadership in the House over the two large pieces of legislation, it’s now crunch time for Democrats to pass their climate and clean energy priorities. This episode offers an insider perspective on how policy negotiations are evolving, what the top priorities are for House and Senate leadership, as well as the Biden White House, and what we can expect in the next month as both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and Democrats’ massive spending package move forward (or not). Recommended resources:Vox: What’s in the new infrastructure bill — and why it’s a big dealCanary Media: Infrastructure bill contains less transmission funding than advertisedCanary Media: We need gargantuan investment in EV charging stations. Where will the money come from?E&E: Uncertainty on reconciliation as House returnsCanary Media: Climate policy crunch time: We need Congress to pass a clean energy standard and tax creditsListen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate.

Sep 2

41 min 56 sec

Political Climate is coming back to the airwaves! Catch new episodes every two weeks — wherever you get podcasts — starting Thursday, September 2nd. Brandon Hurlbut, Shane Skelton and Julia Pyper will be discussing all of the climate and energy issues that you want to know about, along with a roster of fantastic guests who know the ins and outs of the politics and policies shaping the future of our planet. This reboot of Political Climate is presented in partnership with Canary Media, and with support from the USC Schwarzenegger Institute. There is no shortage of action on climate and energy these days. Get the latest news and analysis with a side of debate and friendly banter on upcoming episodes of Political Climate.Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts. Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate.

Aug 27

2 min 50 sec

We always new that 2021 would start with a bang — between the Georgia Senate runoff election, the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden, cabinet announcements, coronavirus relief and, of course, earnest discussions on the future of American climate policy. A deadly assault on the United States Capitol incited by the President was not on the calendar, although the seeds of division and misinformation were sown long ago. So what’s the path forward? Democrats have secured a narrow majority in Congress, which will have an enormous impact on how policy moves in the months ahead. We discuss pathways for climate action. We also opine on the future of the Republican Party and how that could influence the broader political landscape.But first, we kick it all off with some Political Climate news!Recommended reading:Volts: What the Georgia Senate wins do (and don't) mean for climate policyWaPo: Schwarzenegger compares Capitol mob violence to Kristallnacht destruction by Nazis in viral videoVox: How Joe Biden plans to use executive powers to fight climate changeListen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate!

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Jan 15

1 hr 19 min

The past few years have been a mixed bag for climate. U.S. emissions declined to their lowest level in three decade this year, but these reductions came at an incredible cost as the economy shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. The challenge now is to make these emissions cuts sustainable for years to come, while getting millions of Americans back to work.We dig into a new analysis on how to put the U.S. on a path to deep decarbonization and economic growth on this episode of Political Climate — the final episode in our "Relief, Rescue, Rebuild" series. Lindsey Walter, senior policy advisor for Third Way’s Climate and Energy program, breaks down the policies and technology pathways to reach net zero emissions by 2050 in an equitable and affordable way. Plus, we speak to two wind energy technicians who are training the next generation of wind workers in the Midwest about how the industry has affected their region, the opportunities for growth and their message to policymakers. Mike Gengler is the wind energy coordinator at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville, Iowa. Jay Johnson in an assistant professor for the wind energy technician program at the Lake Region State College in Devil’s Lake North Dakota.The "Relief, Rescue, Rebuild" series is supported by the think tank Third Way. The series theme song was created by @AYMusik.Recommended resources:USA Today: Due to COVID-19, 2020 greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. are predicted to drop to lowest level in three decadesThird Way: Congress Makes a Downpayment on Our Clean Energy FuturePrinceton: Big but affordable effort needed for America to reach net-zero emissions by 2050Relief, Rescue, RebuildPath to ZeroListen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate!

Dec 2020

51 min 40 sec

It will take a massive war-time mobilization effort to effectively address the climate emergency, argues Saul Griffith — inventor, MacArthur genius fellow, CEO of Otherlab, and co-founder of Rewiring America, an organization dedicated to creating millions of American jobs while combating climate change. So, what does a war-time mobilization effort look like? How much will it cost? Will we have to make sacrifices in the process? What does this shift mean for the future of utilities? And will politicians ever get on board? Griffith explains in this episode of Political Climate. Plus, he weighs in on the massive year-end spending bill that passed in Congress this week and includes significant climate and clean energy measures. If signed into law, will this legislation put the U.S. on the right track to achieve deep decarbonization?Recommended reading:Rewiring America HandbookNo Place Like Home: Fighting Climate Change (and Saving Money) by Electrifying America’s HouseholdsMobilizing for a zero carbon America: Jobs, jobs, jobs, and more jobsNYT: To Cut Emissions to Zero, U.S. Needs to Make Big Changes in Next 10 YearsNYT: Climate Change Legislation Included in Coronavirus Relief Deal'Need for Speed': Why Solving Climate Change Is About More Than CO2Political Climate is hosted by Julia Pyper, Brandon Hurlbut and Shane Skelton and supported by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute. Listen and subscribe to on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts! We're also on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

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Dec 2020

1 hr 12 min

Crowdfunding, blockchain, artificial intelligence and neobanks. What do all of these buzzwords have to do with fighting climate change? On this episode of Political Climate’s DITCHED series, host Julia Pyper speaks to the authors of a new report on “climate fintech,” an emerging ecosystem that leverages digital technology to help move more capital into climate change solutions. The report, published by the startup accelerator New Energy Nexus, offers a valuable overview of what this rapidly evolving ecosystem looks like today. Andrew Chang, New Energy Nexus climate fintech program director based in Shanghai, and Aaron McCreary, New Energy Nexus fintech lead for Europe and the United States, describe how and why traditional finance is being disrupted by new technology — and what this means for decarbonization. Recommended resources:Climate Fintech Report: An Emerging Ecosystem of Climate Capital CatalystsDITCHED: Greening the BanksIf you’re just joining us, the DITCHED series is all about fossil fuel divestment and the rapidly evolving world of green finance. We’re airing these episodes in addition to our regular Thursday shows on climate and energy politics and policies.You can find all segments in the DITCHED series on the Political Climate podcast feed, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get podcasts! You can also find the series on the Political Climate website or via the leading independent environmental news platform Our Daily Planet.

Dec 2020

37 min 19 sec

2020 has been a remarkable year. It witnessed the coronavirus pandemic, an economic crash, a historic and divisive U.S. election, widespread protests for racial justice and more. And yet, amid all of the turbulence, the world took several major steps toward realizing a low carbon future.The numbers are still coming in and the trends are still formalizing, but we have a pretty good sense of how the climate and energy landscape evolved over the past several months.On this episode of Political Climate, hosts Brandon Hurlbut, Shane Skelton and Julia Pyper discuss how climate action and the clean energy transition fared in 2020.Recommended reading:Reuters: Solar the new 'king of electricity' as renewables make up bigger slice of supply: IEAS&P: Global emissions peaked in 2019 as pandemic hastens energy transition – reportDITCHED: Why 2020 Could Be a Tipping Point for Fossil FuelsInside EVs: Global Plug-In Electric Car Sales October 2020: Near Record LevelE&E: Biden's energy agenda hinges on FERC, red statesAtlantic: Why the 2020s Could Be as Dangerous as the 1850sPC: David Roberts on 'Radical' Climate Action and Political TribalismListen and subscribe to Political Climate on on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

Dec 2020

43 min 20 sec

Cities and states have powerful roles to play in divesting from fossil fuels and directing investments toward sustainable industries. There are a number of ways for these sub-national actors to participate in the divest/invest movement and help pave the way for more widespread action. In this episode of Political Climate’s DITCHED series, we go to the home of Wall Street and look at steps being taken by New York City and New York State to accelerate the movement of funds from brown to green resources. We speak to NYC’s chief climate policy advisor Dan Zarrilli about the city’s pledge to fully divest its pension funds from fossil fuels. Then, in the second half of the episode, we speak to NY Green Bank President Alfred Griffin about how green banks operate and the role they fill in transforming financial markets.*Since this podcast aired, New York State announced it will divest its $226 billion pension fund from fossil fuels, becoming the largest pension fund to make such a commitment to date. Both New York City and New York State have now pledged to fully divest from fossil fuels. New York State went even further by setting a 2040 carbon-free target for all parts of its portfolio.Recommended reading:NYC: Mayor, Comptroller, Trustees Announce First-In-The-Nation Goal to Divest From Fossil FuelsSmart Cities Dive: 12 major cities pledge fossil fuel divestmentInside Climate: Could New York’s Youth Finally Convince the State to Divest Its Pension of Fossil Fuels?NRDC: First Global Survey of Green Banks Finds Rapid Growth in their Numbers and Importance in Low-Carbon FinanceVox: New York just passed the most ambitious climate target in the countryCatch all DITCHED episodes in addition to our regular Thursday shows! Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

Dec 2020

47 min 38 sec

When Neil Chatterjee was appointed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by President Trump in 2017, stakeholders in the climate and clean energy space were concerned about what his agenda would be. Headlines dubbed him “McConnell’s coal guy” and “fossil fuel champion Chatterjee,” referring to his role as a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). But Chatterjee has proven to be much more than a “coal guy,” despite his sympathies for struggling Kentucky coal communities. The Republican leader recently voted in favor of rules supporting distributed energy resources and carbon pricing, and views these decisions as powerful steps in advancing the energy transition. His openness to supporting policies that benefit clean energy may have cost him his leadership position at FERC. President Trump demoted Chatterjee from the chairman role last month, although he remains on the commission and will serve alongside two new appointees confirmed by the Senate this week.In this episode, we speak to FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee about several of the agency’s recent rulemakings, past controversies and his outlook for the future of U.S. energy policy in today’s shifting political landscape.Recommended reading:GTM: Why Rick Perry’s Coal-Friendly Market Intervention Was Legally DoomedGTM: FERC Orders PJM to Restrict State-Backed Renewables in Its Capacity MarketUtility Dive: FERC confirms carbon pricing jurisdiction in wholesale markets, Chatterjee 'encourages' proposalsUtility Dive: Competitive generators move away from FERC's PJM order, toward carbon pricingGTM: ‘Game-Changer’ FERC Order Opens Up Wholesale Grid Markets to Distributed Energy ResourcesQuartz: How one obscure federal agency is clearing the path for a US carbon priceThe Hill: Senate approves two energy regulators, completing panelListen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate!

Dec 2020

56 min 2 sec

2020 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for fossil fuel divestment. Despite economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a growing number of countries, companies and financial institutions are committing to quit coal and are beginning to ditch oil and gas projects, too. In this episode of Political Climate’s special DITCHED series, host Julia Pyper speaks to Tim Buckley at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) about what’s driving the increase in fossil fuel exits around the globe, including in historically coal-dependent economies such as China and India. Will 2020 prove to be a tipping point in the energy-finance transition?Recommended resources:IEEFA: Why 2020 is turning out be a pivotal year for fossil fuel exitsIEA: Renewable power is defying the Covid crisis with record growth this year and nextArgus: Coal India to diversify into solar powerPV Tech: Indian solar tariffs fall to record low following SECI auctionReuters: Satellites reveal major new gas industry methane leaksIEEFA: Is the Gas Industry Facing Its Volkswagen Moment?Episodes of DITCHED will air Mondays over the next several weeks. Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts! You can also find DITCHED episodes via Our Daily Planet.

Dec 2020

50 min 10 sec

The coronavirus pandemic has created an opportunity to reboot the American economy in a way that is cleaner and helps to mitigate climate change for future generations. But it’s not only that, this is also a moment to build back the U.S. economy with more resilience. The word “resilience” is thrown around frequently. But what does it really mean? And how should leaders be factoring resilience into their recovery efforts?In this episode, we speak to Norfolk, Virginia City Councilwoman Andria McClellan about how her coastal city, home to the world's largest naval station, is coping with rising seas and worsening flooding. And we hear what she hopes lawmakers in Washington D.C. will do to help address the growing crisis. But first, we check in with Josh Freed, founder and leader of Third Way's Climate and Energy Program. We discuss how President-Elect Joe Biden’s administration is shaping up and what to watch for on the policy front post-election. This is the fourth episode in our "Relief, Rescue, Rebuild" series supported by Third Way. The series theme song was created by @AYMusik.Recommended reading:E&E: Here are Biden's next moves on climateWaPo: Climate Change Turns the Tide on Waterfront LivingSciAm: A Running List of Record-Breaking Natural Disasters in 2020New Deal Forum: Policy Proposals for Growing a Clean Economy and Protecting CommunitiesThird Way: Clean Energy Targets are TrendingListen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate!

Nov 2020

54 min

A growing number of financial institutions are moving their investments from fossil fuels into less polluting projects and resources. So what do oil and gas companies make of this shift? Some of them are waking up to the clean energy transition in response to investor pressure. But there are leaders and laggards when it comes to oil and gas companies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. There are also valid concerns about greenwashing. And yet, some of these firms are fundamentally reshaping the way that they do business.In this episode, the latest in Political Climate’s special DITCHED series, we look at the pressures oil and gas companies are under to go low-carbon with Valentina Kretzschmar, vice president of corporate research at the research firm Wood Mackenzie.Recommended resources:FT: Why ExxonMobil is sticking with oil as rivals look to a greener futureWoodMac: Could clean energy be the winner in the oil price war?NYT: Shell and Total report big drop in profits, but made clean-energy investments.Earther: Maybe It's Time to Retire the Phrase 'Big Oil'E&E: How one fossil fuel company became a green giantPolitical Climate: Is There a Role for Oil and Gas in a Green Recovery?Episodes of DITCHED will air Mondays over the next several weeks. Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts! You can also find DITCHED episodes via Our Daily Planet.

Nov 2020

27 min 2 sec

In the past two years, climate change has gone from the back burner to the center stage. Why? It all started with a protest in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in 2018. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez teamed up with a then-obscure youth activist group called Sunrise Movement to launch the fight for a Green New Deal. It took a lot of planning, courage, and luck to make the protest happen. We bring you the inside story of the Pelosi sit-in on this special episode from Generation Green New Deal, a new podcast from Critical Frequency.Host Sam Eilertsen takes a look at how scrappy organizations led by teenagers and twenty-somethings have brought the U.S. closer than ever to addressing the issue that will define the future of humanity: climate change. This episode features Varshini Prakash and Sarah Duckett of Sunrise Movement and Waleed Shahid of Justice Democrats.Listen and subscribe to Generation Green New Deal on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

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Nov 2020

37 min 20 sec

Banks don’t just hold on to your dollars and cents, they also play a role in addressing the climate crisis. In the latest episode of Political Climate's DITCHED series, we take a closer look at the banking sector and what institutions like JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and others can do to fight global warming.Patrick McCully, climate and energy director at the Rainforest Action Network, explains how activists are pressuring banks to clean up their act through initiatives like Stop the Money Pipeline. Plus, Joe Sanberg, founder of the financial firm Aspiration, explains how this traditional bank alternative is putting climate at the center of its business strategy. But first, we kick off the episode with Monica Medina and Miro Korenha, founders of leading independent environmental news platform Our Daily Planet, which Political Climate is thrilled to be partnering with to bring you the DITCHED podcast series!Recommended reading:Reuters: Fed moves closer to joining global peers in climate-change fightCeres: Measuring and Addressing Climate Risk for BanksFortune: How one of the world’s biggest banks plans to tackle climate changeRAN: Banking on Climate Change 2020Banking Dive: Aspiration CEO banks on customers' social conscienceEpisodes of DITCHED will air Mondays over the next several weeks. Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

Nov 2020

50 min 5 sec

Young Americans voted in record numbers during the 2020 election and played a key role in tipping the scales to Joe Biden. Early research shows that climate change was a major driver of that robust turnout.The Sunrise Movement and other environmental groups mounted extensive campaigns to register and mobilize voters to oppose President Trump and vote climate champions into office. Biden’s climate platform isn’t the Green New Deal plan that many climate activists called for, and Democrats will have a tough time passing progressive climate policies unless they win both Senate runoff races in Georgia. Still, Donald Trump’s defeat gives the planet a better chance of avoiding an apocalyptic future. We speak to first-time presidential election voters, Troy Distelrath in Michigan and Gabriela Rodriguez in Florida, about what they want to see next from their political leaders.Plus, while Biden’s win represents a new era in the climate fight, the United States remains deeply divided and the policy path forward remains murky. So in the second half of this episode, we speak to Andreas Karelas about his critically acclaimed new book Climate Courage, and how to advance climate solutions in these polarized times. Recommended reading:Inside Climate: Young Voters, Motivated by Climate Change and Environmental Justice, Helped Propel Biden’s CampaignBoston Globe: Biden has a climate mandateTufts CIRCLE Report: Election Week 2020Climate CourageListen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @Poli_Climate.

Nov 2020

48 min 21 sec

Americans are waiting with bated breath for the results of a long and contentious election. At the time of publication, former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden looks poised to take the White House, while Republicans are likely to hold on to the Senate. But the final outcome of this unprecedented pandemic election remains uncertain, with ballots still being counted in several key states.In this episode, we discuss what we know so far — from the top of the ticket down to local ballot initiatives — and what those results mean for climate and clean energy policy. Then we look at what a divided Congress would spell for a Biden presidency and the future of his ambitious climate plan. From solar tax credits, to vehicle fuel economy standards, to oil drilling permits, what's likely to advance and what doesn't stand chance? We discuss with Glenn Schwartz, director of environmental and energy policy at Rapidan Energy Group. Recommended reading:NYT: Democrats’ ‘Blue Wave’ Crashed in Statehouses Across the CountryWashington Examiner: Republicans win key House races with energy policy implicationsGTM: Prospect of Republican Senate Majority Narrows Democrats’ Options on Clean Energy PolicyLaw 360: Nevada Voters Approve Renewable Energy MandateListen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

Nov 2020

58 min 38 sec

What comes after November 3? As presidential candidates make their closing arguments, many stakeholders in the climate and energy community are already looking beyond Election Day. In this episode, experts discuss the top action items they’re watching for in a potential Biden versus returning Trump administration. What are the most tactical policy moves? Who will be making decisions? How will the private sector respond? What role will the courts play?We hear from Josh Freed, founder of Third Way’s Climate and Energy Program. Podcast co-hosts Brandon Hurlbut, senior advisor at NGP Energy Technology Partners III, and Shane Skelton, energy policy consulting firm S2C Pacific, also weigh in. In the second half of the show (39:00), we discuss the ongoing health and environmental crisis in cities with high levels of lead poisoning. While it doesn’t appear in print, grassroots activists say tackling this issue is very much on the ballot this year. We speak to Michelle Mabson of Black Millennials for Flint about what she wants to see from political leaders. This is the fourth episode in our "Relief, Rescue, Rebuild" series supported by the think tank Third Way. The series theme song was created by @AYMusik.Recommended reading: HuffPost: EPA Veterans Eyed As Potential Picks To Lead The Agency If Biden WinsE&E: House races to watch on energy, environmentThird Way: The Election ClimatePath to ZeroListen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

Oct 2020

1 hr

At least 40 million Americans have already cast a ballot in early voting, with still more than a week until Election Day.  In this episode of Political Climate, we examine if environmental issues are mobilizing voters the way that analysts anticipated. Who are those voters and do they hold sway? We discuss with Nathaniel Stinnett, founder of the Environmental Voter Project, a non-partisan organization focused on identifying inactive environmentalists across the United States and turning them into reliable voters in every election. This year, the stakes are especially high. Control of the U.S. Senate is very much in play, while Joe Biden and Donald Trump duke it out for the White House with wildly different policy platforms. Could environmental voters tip the scales?We also consider how fracking and natural disasters are playing into the 2020 election cycle, as well as the rise of “big green” political donors. Plus, we check in on a Texas election bet. Recommended reading:WaPo: Early Voting Numbers So FarNPR: Wall Street Is A Big Source Of Campaign Cash For DemocratsNYT: 'Climate Donors’ Flock to Biden to Counter Trump’s Fossil Fuel MoneyGuardian: Trump has made fracking an election issue. Has he misjudged Pennsylvania?NPR: MacArthur 'Genius' Brings National Attention To Local Fight Against Sewage FailuresListen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate.This episode is brought to you with support from Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

Oct 2020

55 min 44 sec

There is a lot of money in American politics. Campaign spending in 2020 is expected to reach $11 billion dollars — making it the most expensive election in U.S. history. In light of these growing dollar figures, a group of billionaire donors from across the political spectrum say they’re laying down arms and joining forces to transform politics and tackle critical issues, such as climate change. The action plan is entitled: In This Together.In this episode, we speak to Dallas real estate scion and environmentalist Trammell S. Crow about why he and social entrepreneur Bill Shireman launched this new collaborative effort and how they plan to redirect billions in political spending toward solutions that can unite a governing majority of Americans, from left to right.**From now until November 3rd the Political Climate podcast will donate $2 for every new subscriber to the American Red Cross for every new subscription to the show! If you’re already a subscriber, share the podcast with a friend. To participate, simply have a new subscriber send a screenshot of their subscription on whichever podcasting platform they like best to politicalclimatepodcast@gmail.com. Or send us a message via Twitter or Instagram @poli_climate. That’s it!**Recommended reading:In This Together: How Republicans, Democrats, Capitalists and Activists Are Uniting to Tackle Climate Change and MoreDallas Innovates: EarthX’s Trammell S. Crow Launches ‘World’s Only’ Environmental Conservation Streaming PlatformThe Hill: EarthX Founder Trammell S. Crow talks about EarthX and the 50th Anniversary of Earth DayListen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate.This episode is brought to you with support from Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

Oct 2020

50 min 24 sec

How do you elect political candidates who will make tackling climate change a priority? In this episode, we speak to two groups attempting to figure that out and put climate change at the center of races up and down the ballot. In 2018, Caroline Spears launched the Climate Cabinet Action Fund to offer bespoke climate data, policy ideas and messaging suggestions to candidates and lawmakers. The organization currently focuses on the state level, where races are low-budget but highly consequential. We speak to Caroline about the policy “menus” that Climate Cabinet creates for individual candidates, and dig into the role that special interests play in the election infrastructure of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Later in the show, we turn to Karyn Strickler, founder and president of Vote Climate U.S. PAC, a political action committee tracking key races in the U.S. House and Senate and ranking candidates based on their climate record. There are 26 days until the contentious 2020 election and climate issues could sway the outcome.**From now until November 3rd the Political Climate podcast will donate $2 for every new subscriber to the American Red Cross for every new subscription to the show! If you’re already a subscriber, share the podcast with a friend. To participate, simply have a new subscriber send a screenshot of their subscription on whichever podcasting platform they like best to politicalclimatepodcast@gmail.com. Or send us a message via Twitter or Instagram @poli_climate. That’s it!**Recommended reading:CNN: New climate group will offer district-specific policy 'menus' to every congressional candidateGTM: Virginia Mandates 100% Clean Power by 2045Pew Research: How important is climate change to voters in the 2020 election?Climate Cabinet: The Divided States Of Climate ActionVote Climate U.S. PAC: 2020 Climate Change Voter’s GuideListen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate.This episode is brought to you with support from Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

Oct 2020

58 min 30 sec

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off in their first debate this week. To the surprise of many, Fox News moderator Chris Wallace asked the presidential candidates a series of questions on climate change.Energy and environmental issues got more air time on Tuesday night than at all 2016 presidential debates combined. On this week's episode of Political Climate, our hosts discuss takeaways from the debate (from snippets in between interruptions). Did Trump shift his tone on climate? Did Biden successfully sell his vision for a clean energy economy?Later in the show, we address what changes at the Supreme Court could mean for the future of climate policy and discuss prospects for clean energy legislation currently moving through the House and Senate. Plus, we ask: is there an electric vehicle that can accommodate three car seats? And more!Recommended reading:NYT: The Trump Administration Is Reversing 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.PolitiFact: Fact-Check: Have Carbon Emissions Increased Under Trump?The Hill: House passes sweeping clean energy billNRDC: House Bill Would Deliver Needed Steps Toward a Clean EconomyGTM: Clean Energy Gets a Surprisingly Big Role in First Presidential DebateListen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts! Follow us on Twitter at @Poli_Climate.This episode is brought to you with support from Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

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Oct 2020

1 hr

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more Americans worked in clean energy than there were school teachers in the country. The once booming sector is now experiencing hundreds of thousands of job losses as a result of the coronavirus recession. What will it take to not only get these jobs back but to grow the clean energy sector beyond where it was at the start of the year, putting the industry at the center of a U.S. economic recovery?In this episode of Political Climate, we speak to Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, former chief economist for the Obama Administration's Department of Commerce, as well as clean energy business leaders from Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania to learn how the clean energy sector has been affected by COVID-19 and what it will take to reboot the industry.This conversation comes as bipartisan clean energy legislation is advancing in both the House and Senate. But prospects for a final bill remain uncertain as Republicans focus on nominating a new Supreme Court Justice following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.This is the third episode in our "Relief, Rescue, Rebuild" series supported by the think tank Third Way. The series theme song was created by @AYMusik.Recommended reading: Third Way: How Clean Energy Businesses Can Survive and Thrive After COVID-19PV Tech: Lacklustre job growth leaves 14% of US’ clean energy workforce unemployedE&E News: Clean energy push caught in congressional chaosThe Hill: House passes sweeping clean energy billVerge: Democrats unveil new agenda for economic recovery and climate actionA Green Economic Recovery: Global Trends and Lessons for the United States“Relief, Rescue, Rebuild” episodes will monthly on the Political Climate podcast feed. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!Have a moment? Please leave us a review! You can also chat with us on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Sep 2020

59 min 37 sec

“Climate change poses a major risk to the stability of the U.S. financial system and to its ability to sustain the American economy.” That’s the top line takeaway from a landmark new report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.While the core finding isn’t entirely new, the CFTC report carries weight. “Managing Climate Risk in the U.S. Financial System,” commissioned by a panel of President Trump appointed federal regulators, is the first comprehensive federal government study to focus on the risks climate change presents to Wall Street.Divya Mankikar is an investment manager at the California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS, where she works to shed light on integrating environmental, social and governance factors across the roughly 400 billion fund — the largest public pension fund in the U.S. She’s also a member of the subcommittee that authored the recently released CFTC climate risk report.In this episode, Divya outlines the report’s main findings and details how CalPERS and other large investors are acting on a growing body of climate risk information.This is the fifth episode in the Political Climate miniseries called DITCHED: fossil fuels, money flows and the greening of finance. Listen and subscribe to Political Climate wherever you get podcasts!Recommended reading:CFTC: Managing Climate Risk in the U.S. Financial SystemResponsible Investor: CalPERS says it plans to align with TCFD amid new California climate legislationGuardian: Investors that manage US $47tn demand world’s biggest polluters back plan for net-zero emissionsGuardian: New Zealand minister calls for finance sector to disclose climate crisis risks in world firstCatch all DITCHED episodes in addition to our regular Thursday shows! Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!This episode is brought to you with support from Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

Sep 2020

42 min 11 sec

The youth climate movement has gained enormous momentum over the past few years. While progressive groups tend to be the most well known, conservative youth activists are also expanding their presence in American politics. The Republican Party stands to lose an entire generation of voters if it doesn’t embrace a more environmentally friendly agenda. We speak to Benji Backer, founder and president of the American Conservation Coalition, about what he thinks Republicans are getting right and wrong on climate heading into the 2020 election. Benji and a group of college-aged friends created The American Conservation Coalition in 2017 with a dream of making environmental issues nonpartisan again. The Republican-leaning group says it’s dedicated to mobilizing young people around climate action and environmental protection through common-sense, market-based and limited-government ideals — even if that means criticizing members of their own party. We talk to Benji about what young conservative climate activists want and debate Republicans’ existing track record on climate action.Recommended reading:Electric Election 2020 Road TripConservative climate group runs pro-environment ads on Fox NewsWaPo: In rare bipartisan climate agreement, senators forge plan to slash use of potent greenhouse gasThe Atlantic: How a Plan to Save the Power System DisappearedPolitical 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 Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

Sep 2020

53 min 35 sec

In the face of a mounting climate crisis, financial institutions are reevaluating their relationships with coal, gas and oil. But while the divestment movement is picking up speed, it isn’t on a one way street. There is still lots of money flowing into fossil fuels through various public and private channels. At the same time, fossil fuel interests are spending heavily to influence policy that protects their assets and future growth opportunities. In this episode, we speak to Leah Stokes, assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara about her research on how fossil fuel companies and electric utilities are slowing the shift away from polluting resources.This is the fourth episode in the Political Climate miniseries called DITCHED: fossil fuels, money flows and the greening of finance. Listen and subscribe to Political Climate wherever you get podcasts!Recommended reading:Guardian: How the oil industry has spent billions to control the climate change conversationSierra: Bailout: Billions of Dollars of Federal COVID-19 Relief Money Flow to the Oil IndustryE&E: Big Oil, meet Big Green  Bloomberg: Utilities Are Slowing Down the Clean Energy TransitionS&P: Ohio bribery scandal increases scrutiny of how utilities use 'dark money' groupsEnergy and Policy Institute: Paying for Utility PoliticsShort Circuiting PolicyCatch all DITCHED episodes in addition to our regular Thursday shows! Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!This episode is brought to you with support from Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

Sep 2020

44 min 29 sec

Financial regulators have a key role to play in addressing the systemic risks presented by climate change. Arguably, it’s part of their mandate to safeguard financial markets and the real economy from disruptive shocks.Like the COVID-19 pandemic, change change has the potential to wreak havoc on asset valuations and economic stability, as well as the lives and livelihoods of millions of people — particularly if these events are poorly managed. We discuss the steps regulators can take to protect against potentially devastating climate-related impacts in this episode of DITCHED, a Political Climate miniseries on fossil fuels, money flows and the greening of finance. What exactly do those regulatory actions look like? Who is responsible for taking them? What is the upshot for fossil fuels use? And how does this play politically?Steven Rothstein, managing director of the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets, explains.Episodes of DITCHED air on Mondays. To catch all of these shows, subscribe to Political Climate wherever you get podcasts!Recommended reading:NYT: Climate Change Poses ‘Systemic Threat’ to the Economy, Big Investors WarnPolitico: Ottawa seizes Covid-19 opportunity to require climate risk reportingBloomberg: Fed opens door for oil company loans after lobbying campaignCeres: Addressing Climate as a Systemic RiskPolitical 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 Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

Sep 2020

38 min 55 sec

Is a green recovery within the oil and gas industry a contradiction in terms? Can these fossil fuel firms meaningfully decarbonize their businesses, while creating new jobs in a struggling economy and volatile energy market? We discuss with a panel of experts, including oil and gas giant BP, in this episode of Political Climate.The oil and gas industry was hit hard by COVID-19, but business was already rocky ahead of the pandemic. Oil and gas companies were under mounting societal pressure to transition away from fossil fuel production and toward clean energy technologies.Now, as countries seek to stabilize their economies and investors look for environmentally friendly growth opportunities, it’s an open question as to what role oil and gas companies will play in building new, low-carbon lines of business. This discussion was originally recorded in late July for a live event hosted by the Atlantic Council and the Center for Houston’s Future, featuring the following speakers:Cindy Yeilding, senior vice president at BP AmericaGavin Dillingham, clean energy policy program director at Houston Advanced Research CenterAlex Dewar, senior director at the Boston Consulting Group’s Center for Energy ImpactRJ Johnston, managing director for energy, climate, and resources at the Eurasia groupRecommended reading:Atlantic Council: Public sector investment opportunities for a green stimulus in oil and gasGTM: BP Aims to Build 50GW of Renewables by 2030, Cut Fossil Fuel Output by 40%CNBC: BP reports second-quarter loss after major write downs, halves dividendPolitical Climate: What the Oil Price War Means for CleantechPolitical 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 Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

Sep 2020

55 min 45 sec

Fossil fuel divestment ain’t what it used to be. In a good way, if you ask advocates.In this episode — the second episode of Political Climate's special DITCHED miniseries — we get further into the weeds on what’s driving the Divest/Invest movement and where it’s going. We cover a lot and connect the dots in an interview with Justin Guay, director of global climate strategy at the Sunrise Project.Prior to joining Sunrise, Justin managed grant-making and strategy development for global coal campaigns at the ClimateWorks Foundation and Packard Foundation. He also ran the Sierra Club’s International Coal Campaign, with a special focus on international finance.In this conversation, we discuss how cutting off the flow of capital into fossil fuels has taken on a variety of different forms, as well as lessons learned from coal divestment that could influence a shift away from oil and gas. Justin addresses the tricky question of whether making fossil fuels harder to finance will actually curb demand for these products. We also talk about what a future without fossil fuels would look like, and how it could affect individual workers and even geopolitical relations. And that’s not all. We launched the DITCHED miniseries to shed light on the divestment movement, and the growing trend of moving money out of fossil fuels and into more sustainable investments. Episodes air Mondays on Political Climate. Subscribe here!Recommended reading:Foreign Affairs: Coronavirus Bailouts Stoke Climate ChangeIEEFA: Over 100 Global Financial Institutions Are Exiting Coal, With More to ComeGTM: Devil in the Details for World’s Largest Coal InvestorReinsurance News: California to conduct first climate-related stress test for re/insurersFT: JPMorgan Chase removes former oil boss from lead director roleWorld Oil: Chesapeake joins more than 200 other bankrupt U.S. shale producersPolitical 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 Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

Aug 2020

53 min 23 sec

The Golden State is in a dark place. Power outages in the midst of a historic heatwave were followed by devastating wildfires. All of which comes on top of persistently high COVID-19 case numbers and a once roaring economy now faced with a $54 billion budget shortfall. But despite these challenges, there’s reason to believe that California can build back in an economically and environmentally sustainable way, says Tom Steyer, former Democratic presidential candidate, billionaire climate activist and co-chair of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s economic recovery task force. We speak to Tom on this episode of Political Climate, the second episode in our "Relief, Rescue, Rebuild" series, supported by Third Way. We take a look at California and how the most populous state in the nation with ambitious climate goals is crafting its economic recovery plan in the midst of the pandemic, extreme heat and brutal wildfires.The "Relief, Rescue, Rebuild" series explores what a green recovery from the COVID-19 economic downturn would look like. What kinds of actions will produce the best results in terms of economic growth, improved health, lower emissions and greater resilience?Recommended reading: Politico: Steyer emerges as Newsom economic point person — and business groups are concernedCalMatters: California’s clean-air programs take a hit in new funding squeezeE&E News: Biden launches 'climate engagement' council to target voters Third Way: How Clean Energy Businesses Can Survive and Thrive After COVID-19“Relief, Rescue, Rebuild” episodes will air monthly on the Political Climate podcast feed. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

Aug 2020

33 min 58 sec

A decade ago, hopes that world leaders would rally around meaningful policies to combat climate change were at a low. The 2009 United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen had ended with little to show for it and the U.S. failed to pass a major climate bill the following year.Then in 2011, the first divestment campaigns struck up on college campuses.In the climate space, divestment is all about shifting capital out of fossil fuels — the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activity worldwide. The concept of divestment isn’t new, but it is gaining momentum. It’s also evolving and expanding into other areas of the financial system. Meanwhile, there is a separate but related flurry of activity on the invest side of the equation and moving money into socially responsible and environmentally friendly solutions. Divest/Invest.On this episode of Political Climate — the first in a new miniseries we’re calling DITCHED: fossil fuels, money flows and the greening of finance — host Julia Pyper speaks to Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the Wallace Global Fund, about the origins of the Divest/Invest movement.The Wallace Global Fund, a private foundation focused on progressive social change, is a founding member of the Divest Invest: Philanthropy, a coalition of more than 170 foundations committed to deploying their investments to address the climate crisis and accelerate the clean energy transition.Episodes of DITCHED will air Mondays over the next several weeks. Listen and subscribe to Political Climate wherever you get podcasts!Recommended reading:Divest Invest Philanthropy: Five Years After LaunchNYT: Rockefellers, Heirs to an Oil Fortune, Will Divest Charity of Fossil FuelsGuardian: Insurance giant Suncorp to end coverage and finance for oil and gas industryNYT: BlackRock CEO Larry Fink: Climate Crisis Will Reshape FinanceWSJ: Harvard University Board Gains Backers of Fossil Fuel Divestment Tom Steyer and Bill McKibben in GTM: 2030 Is the New 2050: The Oil Industry Begins to UnwindBIV: Divestment can’t hold back ocean of demand for oil: analystsCatch all DITCHED episodes in addition to our regular Thursday shows! Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

Aug 2020

36 min 10 sec

You may have seen the headlines about universities ditching their fossil fuel investments. Or perhaps you saw the news that BlackRock, one of the world’s largest financial firms, is getting out of coal and putting climate change at the center of its investment strategy.Pension funds, insurers, family offices and others are also moving their assets out of the fossil fuel industry and re-assessing the risk these resources present to the planet and their bottom line.These are all pieces of a growing, global divestment movement, which is the focus of a new Political Climate miniseries we’re calling "Ditched: Fossil fuels, money flows and the greening of finance."Catch "Ditched" episodes every Monday over the next few weeks, wherever you listen to Political Climate.Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!

Aug 2020

2 min 24 sec

Texas, home of the U.S. oil and gas industry, has become a clean energy superpower. The state already leads the nation in wind-power generation and solar is booming. Last year, Texas generated more electricity from renewable energy sources than from coal.Now, as the coronavirus pandemic delivers a blow to the state’s struggling oil and gas industry, wind and solar production remain on a trajectory for continued record growth.The rise of renewable energy isn’t the only notable change taking place in Texas, the state’s politics appear to be shifting too. Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden is polling very close to President Trump, who swept the state in 2016. How did Texas become a clean energy leader? What are the politics behind this rise? And what are the politics in Texas likely to be more broadly going forward? Could a growing green economy turn this red state blue?Political Climate speaks to Pat Wood, former head of the Texas Public Utility Commission named by Governor George W. Bush and former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, where he led FERC’s responses to the 2000-2001 California energy crisis and the 2003 Northeastern power blackout. Wood compares the Texas and California energy systems and weighs in on the Golden State's recent blackouts.Finally, co-hosts Brandon Hurlbut and Shane Skelton make a new election bet.Recommended reading: Dallas Observer: Texas Produced More Energy from Renewable Sources Than Coal Last YearGTM: Texas Is the Center of the Global Corporate Renewable Energy MarketPost and Courier: All electricity customers can benefit from competitionReuters: As Trump falters, Democrats and Biden eye an elusive prize: TexasGTM: California’s Shift From Natural Gas to Solar Is Playing a Role in Rolling BlackoutsPolitical 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 Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

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Aug 2020

59 min 5 sec

Tony Seba gets a lot of things right. The world-renowned thought leader, entrepreneur, educator and author accurately predicted the rapid decline in solar photovoltaic costs and lithium ion batteries. He also predicted the collapse of the coal industry and oil prices.Now, he’s out with a new book, “Rethinking Humanity,” that predicts the 2020s will be “the most disruptive decade in history” — not just in terms of energy technology, but across every major industry in the world today. This disruption will have major implications for policymaking and geopolitics, and civilization as a whole. In this episode, we speak to Tony Seba about the emergence of a new world order he calls "The Age of Freedom" that's based on decentralization and resource creation, rather than extraction. We also discuss the collapse of incumbents and the impact this will have on societies around the world, and what policy leaders can do to get out ahead of these changes.Seba breaks down why technological innovation in the next 10 years will either see the American Dream realized for virtually everyone on the planet in a cheap and sustainable manner, or trigger societal collapse akin to the fall of empires in the past. He argues that the future of humanity depends on what humans decide to do.Recommended reading:Rethinking HumanityVice: How Solar Power Could Slay the Fossil Fuel Empire by 2030 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 Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

Aug 2020

1 hr 3 min

There’s been a lot of talk recently about a “green recovery” and “building back better.” But what do these concepts really mean? What are the most compelling ideas being put forward by economists, policymakers, grassroots leaders and other experts? What kinds of actions will produce the best results in terms of economic growth, improved health, lower emissions and greater resilience?These are questions Political Climate will explore in the coming months in the new podcast series “Relief, Rescue, Rebuild,” sponsored by Third Way. Earlier this year, we launched a series called “Path to Zero,” which explored the technologies and policies needed to rapidly drive down carbon emissions. Now, we’re shifting our focus to the path to economic recovery and what that would look like if equitable, low-carbon solutions were baked in.In this first episode, we speak to Leah Stokes, assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara and author of the new book Short Circuiting Policy. Leah makes the case for a green economic recovery, barriers to implementation, and what she would put in her ideal green stimulus bill. In the second half of the show, we turn to a joint interview with Oni Blair, executive director at LinkHouston, and Alex Laska, transportation policy advisor at Third Way. In this discussion, we focus on clean transportation policy and the need to “fix it first” — both with respect to infrastructure and equity issues — before tackling entirely new projects.“Relief, Rescue, Rebuild” episodes will air monthly on the Political Climate podcast feed. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get podcasts!Recommended reading:Third Way: Building Back Better: Investing in Clean Infrastructure to Drive Economic RecoveryEquitable Growth: Green stimulus, not dirty bailouts, is the smart investment strategy during the coronavirus recessionEquitable Growth: Americans want green spending in federal coronavirus recession relief packagesUtility Dive: Senate Republicans urge McConnell to include efficiency, clean energy in COVID-19 recovery packageThe “Relief, Rescue, Rebuild” theme song was created by AY Musik. AY is the founder of Battery Tour, a sustainable music festival and global movement actively bringing renewable energy solutions to people in need around the world. You can hear the original version of this song, “Save the Planet,” on AY’s website or via his instagram @AYMusik.

Jul 2020

1 hr 10 min

Few people have more experience working in modern Democratic politics than John Podesta. From Senate staffer to White House chief of staff, progressive think tank founder to presidential environmental policy counselor, campaign manager to climate action advocate — Podesta has seen a lot.In this exclusive, in-depth interview, we get the veteran Democrat’s perspective on the state of climate politics amid the pandemic and intensifying 2020 election. We hear how he would advise Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden to address climate change if elected, including actions a new Biden administration could take within its first 100 days. We also discuss why Podesta has beef with Facebook, what he thinks about ending the Senate filibuster, and we get his thoughts on President Trump’s campaign strategy. Plus, Podesta shares his preferred pick for Joe Biden’s running mate.John Podesta previously served as White House chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. He is the founder of the progressive think tank Center for American Progress and served as counselor to President Barack Obama, where he focused on climate and energy policy. Podesta chaired Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president in 2016. He is currently a member of Climate Power 2020, a campaign created to change the politics of climate.Recommended reading:The Atlantic: The Audacity of John PodestaGrist: Climate leftists and moderates have a radical new plan to defeat Trump: Work togetherMother Jones: Democratic Leaders Want to Know Why Facebook’s New Oversight Board Won’t Deal With Climate LiesThe Hill: COVID-19 relief and economic recovery must dismantle environmental racismPolitical 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 Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

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Jul 2020

1 hr 5 min

There’s a lot of discussion these days about “building back better” and passing “green economic stimulus.” But what exactly does this entail?On this bonus episode, we share insights and resources from a group of energy leaders in California. They discuss new ways to think about environmental investments in COVID-19 recovery packages, how the public sector can advance sustainability goals at the local, state, and federal level, and lessons from the 2008 recession that could be adapted to today. This discussion was co-hosted by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation.Speakers include:Fran Pavley, former California State Senator and USC Schwarzenegger Institute Environmental Policy DirectorJ. R. DeShazo, Director of the UCLA Luskin Center for InnovationBob Keefe, Executive Director of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)Matt Petersen, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)Recommended reading:E2: Build Back Better, Faster: How a federal stimulus focusing on clean energy can create millions of jobs and restart America’s economySF Chronicle: Newsom’s environmental budget cuts escalate tensions with state activistsUCLA: Employment Benefits from California Climate Investments and Co-investmentsCarbon Brief: Leading economists: Green coronavirus recovery also better for economyLACI: Keeping America Working, Protecting Public Health, and Strengthening our CommunitiesPolitical 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 Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

Jul 2020

52 min 54 sec

Joe Biden has just released the details of his $2 trillion plan to combat climate change, firming up a key pillar of his platform heading into the 2020 election. The proposal is being pitched as a way to boost the American economy, create millions of jobs and “build back better” coming out of today’s profound public health and economic emergencies.The Biden climate plan comes on the heels of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force recommendations on addressing climate change and environmental injustice, as well as House Democrats’ 500-page report on solving the climate crisis.We break down key elements of these proposals on this episode of Political Climate. Resident Democratic co-host Brandon Hurlbut, co-founder of Boundary Stone Partners and former chief of staff at the US Department of Energy, and Republican co-host Shane Skelton, co-founder of S2C Pacific and former policy advisor to House Speaker Paul Ryan, discuss the details and political implications of Biden’s climate plan.A key feature of the proposal is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the electricity sector by 2035. We also take a look at recent industry-led progress toward that goal. Plus, we discuss the House-passed “Moving Forward Act,” a comprehensive surface transportation bill that aligns closely with the Biden platform.In theory, there’s a lot in all of these proposals for leaders across the political aisle to love.Recommended ReadingGTM: Biden Pledges $2T in Clean Energy and Infrastructure SpendingResources Magazine: A Close Look at the New Report from the House Select Committee on the Climate CrisisGTM: Can the Clean Energy Industry Deliver on the Biden-Sanders Climate Plan?GTM: Finding Bipartisan Opportunities in House Democrats’ Climate PlanForbes: Moving Forward Act Is A $1.5 Trillion Congressional Bill That Loves Electric VehiclesPolitical 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 Lyft. Lyft is leading the transition to zero emissions vehicles with a commitment to achieve 100% electric vehicles on the Lyft platform by 2030. Learn more at lyftimpact.com/electric.

Jul 2020

55 min 6 sec

In a series of major wins for the environmental community, three multibillion-dollar pipeline projects — the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — were recently delivered devastating setbacks. The business and legal decisions undermine President Trump’s multiyear effort to ease environmental regulations and expand oil and gas development in the U.S. Meanwhile, the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force has released its roadmap on combating the climate crisis that calls for immediate action “to reverse the Trump Administration’s dangerous and destructive rollbacks of critical climate and environmental protections.”On this week’s episode of Political Climate, we dig deeper into the pipeline project defeats and their implications for the energy sector in an interview with Steven Mufson, renowned reporter covering the business of climate change for The Washington Post. We discuss the environmental movement’s strategy and recent success in the courtroom, against the backdrop of President Trump’s deregulation agenda. Plus, we address how these developments are playing politically ahead of the 2020 election.Steven Mufson joined the Washington Post in 1989. This year, he shared the Pulitzer Prize for the climate change series "2C: Beyond the Limit." He’s also the author of “Keystone XL: Down the Line.”Recommended reading:WaPo: Major oil and gas pipeline projects, backed by Trump, flounder as opponents prevail in courtGTM: As Fossil Fuel Pipelines Fall to Opposition, Utilities See Renewable Energy as Safe BetWaPo: Citing an economic emergency, Trump directs agencies across government to waive federal regulationsBiden-Sanders Unity Task Force RecommendationsPolitical 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!Have a moment? Please leave us a review! Find us on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Jul 2020

35 min 44 sec

There’s more political momentum than ever around achieving net zero emissions by 2050, especially following the release of House Democrats’ new Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy. But where do we currently stand on that trajectory? And is the path to zero as inclusive as it should be?On this episode, the last in our monthly “Path to Zero” series supported by the public policy think tank Third Way, we talk climate targets and what it’s going to take to meet them. To bookend the series, we speak to Josh Freed, the founder and leader of Third Way’s climate and energy program, to get a read on progress toward carbon neutrality in America amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and renewed calls to combat racial injustices.Then in the second half of the show, we speak to Nathaniel Smith, founder of the Partnership for Southern Equity, an organization working to advance racial equality and shared prosperity in Atlanta and across the South, about making the low-carbon economy inclusive of Black communities.We look at what policymakers are getting right and getting wrong. And we end by discussing what Black voters want to see from candidates in 2020. Hint: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.Recommended reading:GTM: House Democrats Spell Out Climate, Clean Energy Priorities in Sweeping PlanWaPo: Most Americans believe the government should do more to combat climate change, poll findsPath to ZeroPolitical 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!

Jul 2020

53 min 42 sec

There aren’t many sporting events taking place amid the pandemic, but athletes and the brands that support them aren’t sitting idle. Protect Our Winters, a non-profit representing the outdoor sports community on climate issues, recently spent a week virtually lobbying Congress for bolder climate action and environmental protections.  Professional snowboarder and two-time X-Games gold medalist Danny Davis was among the participants in POW’s advocacy week. Steve Fechheimer, CEO of New Belgium Brewing, also took part.Sports have always been political to some degree. But these days, athletes, teams and entire sporting organizations are choosing to get off the sidelines and take a more active role in public policy.On this show, we speak to Danny and Steve about why they decided to be more outspoken on climate issues, about leadership and corporate responsibility, and about how sports and beer are intertwined with one of the biggest challenges of our time.Recommended reading:CNN: Climate change is threatening winter sports' very existenceWired: Don't Save the Planet for the Planet. Do It for the BeerProtect Our Winters: Policy AgendaPolitical 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!Have a moment? Please leave us a review! Chat with us on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Jun 2020

41 min 34 sec

Lyft is going 100% electric. The rideshare company just pledged to transition every vehicle on its platform to an EV by 2030.But this decision isn’t as simple as buying a few new cars. It will require building out an entire ecosystem of electric vehicle infrastructure and incentives, and getting into the weeds on policy. On this episode, we speak to Lyft’s director of sustainability, Sam Arons, about this bold new strategy.We talk to Sam about the EV target and how to meet it, as well as related policies and how electric rideshare vehicles can support the power grid. We also talk a lot about the broader transportation ecosystem, the future of cities, and Lyft’s evolving role as a “multimodal technology platform,” as Sam put it.Lyft's announcement also speaks to how companies are looking to play a bigger role in the fight against climate change, in an era of increasing public pressure for greater corporate responsibility. Learn more about Lyft's sustainability strategy in this exclusive, in-depth interview. And while you're listening, we'd love you to give Political Climate an Apple Podcasts review! Your 5-star ratings help us grow and bring this content to wider audiences. Thank you!Recommended reading:Lyft: Leading the Transition to Zero Emissions: Our Commitment to 100% Electric Vehicles by 2030GTM: Lyft Pledges Shift to 100% Electric Vehicles by 2030 LA Times: Taking an Uber or Lyft pollutes more than driving, California finds. Next stop: RegulationsGTM: Electric Ridesharing Benefits the Grid, and EVgo Has the Data to Prove ItPolitical 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!Find us on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Jun 2020

47 min 12 sec

Deep-seated racial justice issues have been brought to the fore in recent weeks by a series of nationwide protests over police violence. These protests are taking place in the midst of a global pandemic, which has exposed, and in many cases worsened, long-standing issues of racial inequality. The energy and climate space is not immune to racial discrimination. But some politicians have questioned whether this is the right moment to talk about issues such as pollution, calling it a misplaced political move.Mustafa Santiago Ali has been on the frontlines of the fight for environmental justice since he was a teenager and throughout his 24 years at the EPA. Now, as vice president of environmental justice, climate and community revitalization for the the National Wildlife Federation, Ali says he’s hopeful this historic moment will accelerate equitable energy solutions.On this episode, Ali connects the dots between the clean air, affordable energy and the racial justice movement. We also discuss the implications of recent environmental rollbacks by the Trump Administration and take a hard look at how the clean energy industry can promote greater diversity. Plus, we discuss Republican approaches to combatting inequality, teeing off of comments made by Representatives John Shimkus (R-Illinois) and David McKinley (R-West Virginia) at this week’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on frontline communities — where Ali testified.Recommended reading:The Hill: Trump's latest environmental rollback threatens minority communities, experts warnPolitico: California lawmakers rebuke top regulator who invoked 'I can't breathe' in air quality fightHuffPost: Solar Power Has A Diversity ProblemGTM: ‘We Too Must Improve’: Clean Energy Industry Looks Into Mirror on Racial InequityPolitical Climate: Fighting Energy Injustice and Coronavirus in African American CommunitiesPolitical 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!

Jun 2020

35 min

Democrats are beginning to rally around a progressive, three-part climate platform that prioritizes environmental justice. But will Joe Biden fully embrace it? If so, could it sway the 2020 election? Or will few voters care in this turbulent year?On this episode of Political Climate, we speak to Maggie Thomas, political director at Evergreen Action, a new group created by former Jay Inslee campaign staffers to promote a comprehensive climate plan for Democrats.We discuss how the left came to unite around the concept of pursuing rapid decarbonization through sector-specific standards, large-scale public investments, and a commitment to justice and equity (as Vox's David Roberts first reported). We also learn how Thomas and her colleagues crafted Inslee’s environmental justice plan — a plan that’s all the more relevant in light of recent protests. Plus, we get a read on the most politically attractive elements of the crystalizing climate platform. Are there policies that progressive Bernie Sanders supporters, moderate Biden fans and perhaps even some Republicans could support?Recommended reading:Evergreen Action PlanVox: At last, a climate policy platform that can unite the leftVox: Joe Biden has a chance to make history on climate changeMedium: A Week of Podcasts for the Advocate New to Climate JusticeWaPo: I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet.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 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.

Jun 2020

45 min 20 sec