Podcast: How to solve climate change and make life more awesome

We already have all the tools we need to fix climate change. We just need to use them.

This broad, authoritative, and positive podcast with MacArthur fellow Saul Griffith is about decarbonizing our energy and why that future will be better. It’s 1.5 hours and well worth the time, recorded in December. A summary of some of the ideas:

  • We must create and communicate compelling visions of a decarbonized future.
  • Instead of more doom and gloom from climate scientists and economists overestimating the costs, we need to feature the awesome co-benefits of decarbonization.
  • We have the technologies necessary to achieve the 2030 IPCC requirement (45% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030).  
  • Instead of daily consumption decisions, there are only a few infrastructure investment decisions that dominate and lock in the major emissions of consumers. [The only country demonstrating the necessary EV adoption rate uses both tax breaks and lifetime emission fees.] 
  • Clean technologies will keep getting cheaper, but financing options are possibly the most important innovation necessary now. We need financing that enables most consumers to afford clean infrastructure, like GM enabled car ownership in the 1920s and the federal government enabled home ownership in the 1930s.
  • Griffith says there’s plenty of climate policy work for attorneys, but he hasn’t found a useful role for economists.  

He addresses only energy, plus some comments on carbon sequestration. He attributes 80% of current emissions to energy, potentially too high, given the unknowns and controversies around agricultural and forestry emissions. He also doesn’t talk about the R&D necessary for aviation fuels, seasonal storage, or atmospheric carbon capture.