• Summary

  • Explaining the key scientific ideas, technologies, and policies relevant to the global climate crisis. Visit climatenow.com for more information and our video series.
    © 2022 Climate Now
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Episodes
  • May 23 2022

    Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Princeton University, and the IPCC have all published proposed climate mitigation pathways: strategies for economically reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century for California, the U.S., and the world, respectively. And they are not alone (for example: here and here and here). Any given pathway to net-zero emissions offers some combination of efficiency improvements, expansion of renewable energy sources, and some amount of so-called "negative emissions," using technologies and natural processes that capture and store carbon. But what determines the ratio of these three decarbonization methods? What determines which particular ratio will produce the lowest-cost and most feasible pathway for society?

    Climate Now sat down with Dr. EJ Baik, to discuss her research on the least-cost pathway for decarbonizing California’s electrical grid by 2045. EJ explains how major decarbonization pathways are modeled, the assumptions behind those models, and why sometimes the most economical way to reach net-zero is not what you’d expect.



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    34 mins
  • May 16 2022

    For years we’ve been hearing that the clean energy transition is going to be expensive. But the recent working paper, Empirically grounded technology forecasts and the energy transition, suggests that the high estimates of the expense to transition to renewable energy have been inflated, and that it may in fact be cheaper to transition to renewables than to stay on fossil fuels, regardless of the costs of the changing climate. Using probabilistic cost forecasting methods, the authors of the paper project that because of the exponentially decreasing cost curve of renewables like wind and solar, fossil fuels will become nearly obsolete in just 25 years.

    Climate Now spoke with co-author of the paper, Dr. Doyne Farmer, to better understand their model and what that might mean for policy and investments. Dr. Farmer is the Director of the Complexity Economics program at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, Baillie Gifford Professor in the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute.



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    28 mins
  • May 9 2022

    Among the top importers of Russian oil are the EU, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and France. The EU accounted for 71% of oil imports from Russia 2 months after the war in Ukraine began. But cutting off oil and gas imports from Russia completely can pose great challenges. The EU is attempting to wean off of Russian oil dependence in response to the invasion of Ukraine by hastening renewable energy adoption. 

    The 1970’s oil crises led to a flattening of the exponential demand growth for oil globally. It never recovered thanks to improvements in efficiency. What lessons can we learn from the past as we face the current oil and gas crisis brought on by Putin’s war? We spoke with Amory Lovins, co-author of a recent RMI article assessing the geopolitical dynamics driving a pivot away from fossil fuels.


    Chapters:

    1:29 The 70’s energy crisis compared to today

    10:09 Russia’s energy role

    14:12 Policy change following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    23:15 How might this impact Europe’s energy sources over the next several years?

    26:48 How might this impact renewable energy adoption around the world?

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    29 mins

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