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.
10 Climate Stats You Need for Holiday Season
39:55As 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
COP26: Mobilizing Trillions in Climate Finance
47:25Climate 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"
Is American Offshore Wind Becoming a Reality?
40:44Where 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
David Roberts, Part 2: Winning Political Messages
40:31Policy 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
David Roberts, Part 1: Glimmers of Climate Optimism
46:29David 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
Big Climate Policies Hang in Limbo
36:35With 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
Senator Heinrich Is Not Compromising on Climate
42:37Senator 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.
Crunch Time for Congress on Climate and Energy
41:56The 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.
Political Climate Will Be Back!
2:49Political 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.
The Current Political Climate
1:19:33We 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!