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31 minutes | Sep 17, 2021
Measuring CO2 from space: the science of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory missions
In the first episode of our two-part series, we learned how NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory made it to space despite overwhelming odds from David Crisp, the mission's principal investigator.Today, we released the sequel, where we explore the science of carbon dioxide remote sensing, and how the data collected by the OCO missions 2 and 3 can be used to address the climate crisis.Dr. David Crisp returns, and with Dr. Annmarie Eldering, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Project Scientist for the OCO-3 mission, explains what we have learned so far from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory missions.
29 minutes | Sep 14, 2021
Measuring CO2 from space: a journey of perseverance, heartbreak, and scientific breakthrough with David Crisp
On the 24th of February, 2009, David Crisp was in the control center at Vandenberg Air Force base counting down the seconds for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory to launch.It was a project he had led for a decade - and it was the first NASA mission that would measure atmospheric carbon dioxide from space.Hundreds of millions of dollars and years of work had gone into that moment, but David and his team had yet to face their greatest challenge...This week, Climate Now is releasing a two-part series on NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) missions, including the saga of its multi-decadal journey to completion and the impact it could have on the fight to end climate change.David Crisp, Senior Research Scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, shares his experience as the Principal Investigator for the OCO missions with Climate Now in this episode.
21 minutes | Sep 10, 2021
Saving two birds with one stone: tackling biodiversity and climate together
Many climate change mitigation proposals are land-use intensive. Are these proposals feasible without negatively impacting biodiversity? Can we develop solutions for both the climate and biodiversity crises?There has been an historic lack of collaboration between climate and conservation efforts. To address this, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) produced their first-ever joint report in June to determine solutions that benefit both biodiversity and climate change.Dr. Pete Smith, a co-author of the IPBES/IPCC report and professor of Soils and Global Change at the University of Aberdeen, joined Climate Now to explain why biodiversity should not be forgotten in the climate fight.
30 minutes | Sep 7, 2021
Calculating Climate Financial Risks with Tory Grieves
The climate crisis has myriad effects on American businesses, from where properties are located and their likelihood of encountering extreme weather, to where materials are sourced and potential supply-chain complications. These effects inevitably carry with them financial risks and opportunities which can impact pensions, stock markets, and business operations.So how can businesses begin to calculate their financial risk from the effects of climate change? And why is this seemingly impossible task important?We'll address this question with Tory Grieves, Vice President of Analytics for The Climate Service, a company that provides businesses the tools to calculate their climate-related financial risks and opportunities.
32 minutes | Sep 3, 2021
Building stars on Earth: the potential of nuclear fusion
Is there such a thing as "perfect" energy? With nuclear fusion, the answer is maybe.Fusion energy would be safe to human health, environmentally clean, and essentially limitless. But, developing a sustainable fusion reaction still faces significant engineering hurdles and is likely decades away from becoming a reality.So, where are we in the development of fusion technology? What technical challenges remain? And what practical challenges must be overcome to make fusion a competitive energy source?Sir Steven Cowley, director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and Dr. Aneeqa Khan, Research Fellow in Nuclear Fusion at The University of Manchester, answer these questions in this episode.
28 minutes | Aug 27, 2021
Nuclear Energy: What are the real risks? with David Keith
Despite being a reliable, zero-emissions alternative to energy derived from fossil fuels, nuclear energy remains mired in controversy.Opponents often cite four reasons not to include nuclear in the portfolio of alternative energy sources that will replace fossil fuels: its cost, what to do with radioactive waste, the increased risk of nuclear weapons proliferation, and environment and health impacts resulting from accidents or meltdowns.But how are these risks quantified and how do they compare to other energy sources, including carbon-intensive energy? As the climate crisis worsens, can we really afford to exclude nuclear from the list of solutions?Dr. David Keith, internationally-recognized climate and energy scientist and entrepreneur out of Harvard University, helps us understand how the risks of employing nuclear compare to the risks of not using it.
24 minutes | Aug 20, 2021
Investing in the Energy Transition with Salim Samaha
Transitioning to a sustainable energy economy will require significant input of investment capital. But how do investors decide which companies and technologies to back as society moves toward a carbon neutral future?Salim Samaha heads energy project investments in the Americas for Global Infrastructure Partners. GIP is a national leader in private equity investments in renewable energy, with ownership stakes in over 90 gigawatts of operating or developing renewable energy projects.In this episode, Mr. Samaha explains the role of private equity investments in the clean energy transition and the types of projects GIP is funding.
23 minutes | Aug 17, 2021
Optimizing reforestation to mitigate climate change with Susan Cook-Patton
Trees are an incredible resource for mitigating climate change, with myriad environmental benefits - not least their ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it for hundreds to thousands of years. Reforestation - the process of replanting trees in depleted areas - should be included in the array of climate solutions, but it isn't as simple as merely planting any tree anywhere. Dr. Susan Cook-Patton and her colleagues created the Reforestation Hub, which provides county-level information about the best regions and geographic areas to plant trees to maximize CO2 uptake via reforestation.
24 minutes | Aug 13, 2021
Will China reach net-zero emissions by 2060?
China currently produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the next three biggest emitters - the United States, European Union, and India - combined, making a commitment from China to decarbonize its economy essential to reaching global carbon neutrality. But given China is the manufacturing epicenter of the world, the path to decarbonization is not straight forward. So, what targets were set in China's most recent 5-year plan and does this put them on track to meet their goal of net-zero emissions by 2060?How does China's political landscape affect its ability, and willingness, to transition to clean energy? And where is China currently investing its resources?We explore these topics with Georgetown University's Joanna Lewis, Center for American Progress' Laura Edwards, and Sustainable Finance Institute's Johnny Huang (Huang, Zhong).
39 minutes | Aug 10, 2021
Carbon Dioxide Removal with Roger Aines
How do we reach global net-zero emissions by 2050, when there is almost no chance of completely ending our dependence on fossil fuels by that time? The solution will require Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) – a host of natural and technological techniques for drawing CO2 out of the atmosphere, effectively producing ‘negative emissions’.We spoke with Dr. Roger Aines, the Energy Program Chief Scientist and lead of the Carbon Initiative at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, to learn about the various carbon dioxide removal methods, their advantages, costs and challenges, and who is helping advance them.
28 minutes | Aug 6, 2021
Carbon Sequestration with Julio Friedmann
In order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we must (in addition to reducing emissions) capture carbon and permanently store it where it cannot be released, a process known as carbon sequestration.So, what is currently being done to advance carbon sequestration? What policy and economic levers need to be implemented to incentivize its wide-scale deployment?To answer these questions, Climate Now spoke with Dr. Julio Friedmann, Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA and previously the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy.
47 minutes | Aug 3, 2021
Clean Aviation Fuel with Steve Csonka
What incentives are needed for airlines to adopt sustainable aviation fuel (#SAF) and decarbonize air travel? How does SAF get tested and approved for use in commercial aviation?Who are the players in this space now and how much SAF is already being used? Steve Csonka joins Climate Now to discuss this important new technology.Steve Csonka is the Executive Director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), where he connects a coalition of airlines, aircraft manufacturers, energy producers, researchers, and U.S. government agencies to advance sustainable jet fuel for commercial use.Note: This podcast was recorded on April 13, 2021, and there have been a few updates since then. In addition to World Energy, Gevo, and Neste, Eni and Air BP are now also producing SAF, and Fulcrum completed construction of its waste-to-fuel facility in Nevada and will likely be producing fuel by the end of 2021.
36 minutes | Jul 30, 2021
What's Wrong with Carbon Offsets? with Mark Trexler and Derik Broekhoff
As the climate crisis worsens, more and more companies are committing to go "net-zero". Most of these commitments include the purchase of carbon offsets or investment in negative emissions projects, designed to offset the emissions resulting from companies' operations.The carbon offset market is in high demand due to this surge of net-zero pledges, but does the market actually work? How can companies be sure their dollars are removing carbon that otherwise wouldn't be removed from the atmosphere? And what are the risks of a market that doesn't uphold its promise of truly offsetting emissions?Dr. Mark Trexler of the Climatographers and Derik Broekhoff of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) joined Climate Now to discuss the carbon offset market, what's wrong with it, and what its future could be.
24 minutes | Jul 27, 2021
Hydrogen Electrolysis with Ben Wiley
Declining renewable energy costs have sparked a renewed interest in green hydrogen, which has the potential to decarbonize sectors that are harder to electrify. Because hydrogen doesn't occur by itself on Earth, it must be separated from other elements, such as oxygen in water. Electrolysis is the process of using electricity from renewable energy to extract hydrogen from water.Dr. Ben Wiley, Duke University Professor of Chemistry, joins Climate Now to explain hydrogen electrolysis, where it makes sense to integrate into the energy economy, and the technology he is helping develop to improve its productivity.
33 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
Bioenergy Conversion with Jerry Tuskan
How exactly are plants converted into liquid transportation fuel? And what obstacles does bioenergy need to overcome in order to displace fossil fuels in the US energy economy and abroad?Jerry Tuskan is the CEO of the Center for Bioenergy Innovation and Group Lead for Plant Systems Biology in the Biosciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he has been since 1990.He also holds a joint appointment at the Joint Genome Institute - a Department of Energy Office of Science user facility - where he helps lead the Plant Science Program.Dr. Tuskan joined Climate Now to help us understand the biomass to biofuel process and how the sector can expand to meet our net-zero emissions targets.
35 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
Biomass Availability with Matthew Langholtz
Bioenergy is a renewable energy for its carbon neutrality - plants absorb CO2 during photosynthesis and emit the same amount when combusted for energy. But to significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, substantial amounts of biomass, or organic matter, are required.What types of biomass can sustainably and economically be used for energy? What policy or market adjustments can be made to allow bioenergy to compete with more affordable oil or gasoline?Climate Now hosts James Lawler and Katherine Gorman spoke with Matthew Langholtz, Natural Resource Economist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to better understand biomass availability and the role bioenergy could play in the transition away from fossil fuels.
38 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
Climate Modeling with Joeri Rogelj
Climate impact assessment models carry significant weight when developing mitigation and adaptation strategies. So, what climate models exist, and what factors do they include? What scenarios are they projecting, and what should we make of these projections?We had the opportunity to ask these questions to Dr. Joeri Rogelj, a lead author of the IPCC's forthcoming sixth assessment report. Dr. Rogelj is Director of Research and Lecturer in Climate Change and the Environment at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London.
41 minutes | Jul 6, 2021
Climate Policy with Danny Richter
National governments are best-suited to provide the bold, swift action required by the climate crisis through policy. But which policies, exactly, should be passed? What are the pros and cons of each, and which are already proven to be effective in other countries?In this episode, we talk with Danny Richter, Vice President of Government Affairs at Citizens' Climate Lobby, to discuss some of these questions, including what a price on carbon might look like in the United States.
19 minutes | Jun 29, 2021
Net-Zero by 2050 with Eric Larson
What are the possible paths and necessary steps to achieve net-zero emissions in the United States by 2050? Which energy sources could sufficiently decrease our reliance on natural gas and oil to meet that target? And how much will those new energy sources need to scale from where they are today?Dr. Eric Larson is a lead author of the Net-Zero America Report - a Princeton University research initiative that presents five possible pathways to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 - and Senior Research Engineer at Princeton's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.In this episode, Dr. Larson takes Climate Now hosts James Lawler and Katherine Gorman through the various pathways to net-zero, including the technologies that could help us achieve it.
36 minutes | Jun 22, 2021
Carbon Capture 101 with Howard Herzog
According to the IPCC's 2018 report, carbon capture and storage - in addition to a significant reduction in emissions - will be necessary in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. But what is carbon capture, how does it work, and what is its potential? Dr. Howard Herzog, MIT Energy Initiative Senior Research Engineer, and a pioneer of carbon capture technology, joined Climate Now to help us understand carbon capture and storage and its role on our path to net-zero emissions.
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