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Political Climate

Updated 2 months ago

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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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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.

iTunes Ratings

168 Ratings
Average Ratings
152
6
4
4
2

Bipartisan, yes!

By ccshatz - May 29 2020
Read more
Desperately needed balance equals solutions we can actually envision being implemented.

Great Podcast!

By EdwardMoore7 - May 14 2020
Read more
An Informative, timely, and unique climate podcast!

iTunes Ratings

168 Ratings
Average Ratings
152
6
4
4
2

Bipartisan, yes!

By ccshatz - May 29 2020
Read more
Desperately needed balance equals solutions we can actually envision being implemented.

Great Podcast!

By EdwardMoore7 - May 14 2020
Read more
An Informative, timely, and unique climate podcast!
Cover image of Political Climate

Political Climate

Latest release on Jul 30, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 2 months ago

Rank #1: David Roberts on 'Radical' Climate Action and Political Tribalism

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Is radical reform needed to remake the U.S. electricity grid? What’s the role of nuclear power in the U.S. energy mix? Which Democratic presidential candidate has the best climate plan? What’s the most effective approach to climate advocacy? And how should journalists be covering highly politicized issues in today’s highly polarized information landscape?

On this week's episode on Political Climate, we put these and other questions to David Roberts, acclaimed energy and politics reporter for Vox.  

As a leading voice in the space, he has helped tens of thousands of readers better understand wonky topics like performance-based utility regulation and how batteries can benefit the power grid. He has also waded into covering broader political issues, like how the impeachment of President Trump is feeding into a bifurcated information ecosystem and may be fueling an epistemic crisis for the country.

We thought it would be enlightening to end the 2019 season of Political Climate by asking Roberts a wide range of questions on American politics and how to save the planet. We hope you enjoy the interview, and we will be back with new episodes in the New Year!

Recommended reading:

  • Vox: The radical reform necessary to prepare California’s power system for the 21st century
  • Vox: John Kerry and the climate kids: a tale of 2 new strategies to fight climate change
  • Vox: Donald Trump and the rise of tribal epistemology
  • Vox: With impeachment, America’s epistemic crisis has arrived


Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, and thanks to invaluable support from producer Victoria Simon.

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle PodcastsOvercast or any of these other services.

Dec 19 2019

1hr 30mins

Play

Rank #2: Global Warming Solutions for a Polarized Political Climate

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Is there a bipartisan path forward on meaningful climate policy in America? If so, what does it look like?

Those are questions we’ve been grappling with on Political Climate this entire podcast season. Now we’re putting them — point blank — to our Democrat and Republican co-hosts.

This is our solutions show, and our final episode for 2018.

We kick it off with a rundown of the latest news headlines and issues to watch heading into the new year, including a coal-friendly Democrat taking a top spot on the Senate Energy and Committee, a new carbon fee and dividend bill, and a big utility’s voluntary 100 percent clean energy target.

Then the pressure is on co-hosts Brandon and Shane to share their climate policy solutions (21:30). We get both a big picture vision and specifics around what they think decision-makers can get done in the coming years. Plus, a cameo from the Governator.

We wind down show by reflecting on our takeaways from Season One of this bipartisan podcasting effort, where things get a little personal (47:50).

Then, as always, we cap it all off with our “Say Something Nice” segment — where our Democrat and Republican co-hosts have to say something redeeming about the opposing political party.

This is our last podcast of the year, but this doesn’t have to be goodbye! You can always catch up on previous episodes you may have missed, featuring interviews with Senator Martin Heinrich, Top Trump EPA official Mandy Gunasekara, Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, and many other decision-makers and thought leaders in climate and energy.

Then look out for a whole new season in 2019! Thank you for listening.

Recommended reading:

  • NYT: Joe Manchin Faces Liberal Opposition in Bid to Be Energy Panel’s Top Democrat
  • Bloomberg: Bipartisan Climate Fee Backers to Plant Flag During Lame Duck
  • GTM: Xcel Energy Commits to 100% Carbon-Free Electricity by 2050
  • Vox: US climate politics just got even more polarized. Here’s how Democrats can move forward.


Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via ApplePodcastsGooglePlayTuneInOvercastStitcher and Spotify.

Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Dec 11 2018

1hr 3mins

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Rank #3: A Climate Policy Firestorm in California

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There has been no shortage of climate related news in recent days ⁠— from President Trump’s attack on California’s emissions-trading system to Senator Schumer’s $450 billion electric vehicle proposal, and disastrous wildfires raging in the West to the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy in the East.

It’s a grab bag of climate headlines on this week’s episode of Political Climate.

We begin by revisiting the wildfire crisis in California, as co-host Shane Skelton copes with a power outage and warnings that his community may soon have to evacuate. Governor Gavin Newsom's administration inherited this challenge, but now that he's in power what's his plan for coping with it?

Next we look at the Trump administration's attack on a foundational California climate policy: its cap-and-trade system. Did California overstep by partnering with the province of Quebec? We also look at the latest developments in the clash over California's clean vehicle standards.

Finally, we check in on the new bipartisan climate caucus in the Senate and debate the Republican backlash over the Democrats' climate agenda in the House.

Recommended reading:

  • Vox: Wildfires and blackouts mean Californians need solar panels and microgrids
  • SacBee: Gov. Newsom calls for Warren Buffett to buy PG&E as widespread power shutoffs continue
  • WSJ: Trump Administration Sues California Over Cap-and-Trade Market
  • Reuters: Senate Democrat Schumer proposes plan to swap gas cars for electric vehicles
  • Reuters: GM, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler back Trump on California Emissions Challenge
  • Washington Examiner: Republicans mount counter to Democrats’ ‘100 by 50’ climate plan


Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, and thanks to invaluable support from producer Victoria Simon.

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle PodcastsOvercast or any of these other services.

Nov 01 2019

53mins

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Rank #4: Big Oil on Trial

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Fossil fuel companies could be facing a Big Tobacco moment.

This fall, Exxon Mobil went to court, facing charges that the oil giant lied to shareholders and to the public about the costs and consequences of climate change. And that’s just one of several legal cases seeking to hold oil and gas firms responsible for their contribution to global warming.

As we discuss with UCLA environmental law professor Ann Carlson in this episode of Political Climate, the litigation could cost fossil fuel companies billions of dollars and fundamentally change the way the world approaches energy production. 

But lawsuits aren’t the only venue for challenging the fossil fuel industry. This battle is also being waged in the court of public opinion, which has put a spotlight on how oil companies can promote their positions on social media. In this episode, we also hear from journalist Emily Atkin, author of the newsletter Heated, about why she and others are angry about the oil industry’s political ads.

With the United Nations COP25 climate summit also taking place this week, fossil fuels are in the crosshairs.

Recommended reading:

  • Inside Climate: Where the Major Climate Change Lawsuits Stand Today
  • Heated: Exxon climate ads aren’t "political," according to Twitter
  • Axios: To tackle climate change, clean energy isn’t enough
  • NYT: ‘Bleak’ U.N. Report on a Planet in Peril Looms Over New Climate Talks
  • GTM: Spanish Oil Giant Repsol Sets Net-Zero Emissions Target for 2050


Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, and thanks to invaluable support from producer Victoria Simon.

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle PodcastsOvercast or any of these other services.

Dec 05 2019

1hr 2mins

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Rank #5: Rep. Sean Casten on the New Democrat Path to Fighting Climate Change

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If you’re following political news then you’ve probably heard of The Squad, a group of four newly elected congresswomen advocating for progressive policies like the Green New Deal.

But have you heard of the New Democrat Coalition and its plans for dealing with climate change? In this episode of Political Climate, we hear from a lawmaker who is leading that charge.

Last year, Sean Casten ran one of the most overtly pro-climate action campaigns of the 2018 midterms, in a historically Republican district. In the end, Casten, a biochemical engineer and a clean energy entrepreneur, beat out six-term Republican Rep. Peter Roskam.

Rep. Casten’s race in the Illinois 6th District was identified as a 2018 battleground that could have determined whether or not Democrats took control of the House. And it’s a moderate, suburban district that Democrats will want to keep in 2020.

As you’ll hear in this interview, Rep. Casten is intent on finding solutions to climate change and doesn’t shy away from getting wonky on topics like energy storage and attracting capital to the solar sector. But he also has a critical view of some of the policies his fellow Democrats have put forward.

Recommended reading:


Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, and thanks to invaluable support from producer Victoria Simon.

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle PodcastsOvercast or any of these other services.

Nov 08 2019

39mins

Play

Rank #6: Decarb Madness! The Policy Bracket Competition

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Welcome to Decarb Madness! The policy bracket game for energy wonks who don’t want to play with our future. 

With March Madness just around the corner and a climate crisis closing in, Political Climate challenged four energy experts to build their ideal policy bracket for decarbonizing the electricity sector.

For the third episode in our “Path to Zero” series, contestants were asked to select five federal-level policies that they think will win the day — both in terms of carbon reductions in 2050 and political feasibility.

Decarb Madness 2020 features Jesse Jenkins, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering Princeton University, and Leah Stokes, assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Political Climate co-hosts Brandon Hurlbut and Shane Skelton also gave it a shot.  

In round one, each player explains why they made their respective policy picks. Following that, host/referee Julia Pyper steps in to explain how each bracket ranks on emissions reductions using the Energy Policy Simulator, a computer model developed by the nonpartisan climate policy firm Energy Innovation.

In round two, each contestant makes the case for why their policy bracket is the most politically and technologically feasible. And then you come in! As soon as you hear this episode, head over to the Political Climate Twitter page @poli_climate and vote for whose bracket you think is the best. We will announce the winner on our next show.

Game on.

Recommended reading:

Political 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 PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Play or wherever you get podcasts!

Feb 27 2020

1hr 8mins

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Rank #7: Origins of the Green New Deal ... and Lil Dicky

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The Green New Deal is all over the news these days. But how did it get there?

Efforts to reform the U.S. economy in a more sustainable and equitable way didn't start with the introduction of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal resolution. And they certainly don't end there.

In this episode, Political Climate sits down with Green New Deal architects Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Demond Drummer and Zach Exley for an in-depth interview on the sweeping -- and evolving -- plan to address both climate change and economic inequality.

What can the climate movement learn from the original New Deal and World War II mobilization? Is there a viable alternative to the neoliberal policy model? Can progressive Democrats ever work with Republicans? We discuss all of this and more in a candid conversation (starts 21:00) with Gunn-Wright, Drummer and Exley, who currently lead the progressive policy shop New Consensus.

Plus, what does rapper and comedian Lil Dicky have in common with AOC? We kick off this episode with a look at two influential climate videos making their way around the Internet.

Recommended reading:

  • Lil Dicky -- "Earth"
  • The Intercept: A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  • E&E: Meet the scholar crafting the 'Green New Deal'
  • GTM: Green New Deal Resolution Calls for 100% ‘Clean, Renewable and Zero-Emission Energy Sources’


Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGooglePlay and Overcast

Apr 27 2019

1hr 18mins

Play

Rank #8: Taking 100% From 'Radical' to Reality

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California lawmakers just passed an historic 100 percent clean electricity mandate. 

A few years ago, advocating for 100 percent clean energy was considered radical. Even some political allies of the cause argued that the concept was so far-fetched it was damaging to the climate movement.

Democratic podcast co-host Brandon Hurlbut recalls the early days of championing 100 percent renewables as a member of the Solutions Project — and the lessons learned.

Next, we hear from Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, to learn how his red Southern state became a top 10 U.S. solar market without any incentives.

And we explore how other states can follow in California’s clean energy wake.

Recommended reading:

  • GTM: On to Governor Brown’s Desk: What 100% Clean Energy Means for California
  • Vox: A beginner’s guide to the debate over 100% renewable energy
  • Inside Climate: How Georgia Became a Top 10 Solar State, With Lawmakers Barely Lifting a Finger
  • NYT: In Trump Country, Renewable Energy Is Thriving
  • GTM: Senator Heinrich: A 100% Clean Energy Grid Is ‘Completely Doable’


Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsGooglePlayTuneInOvercastStitcher and Spotify.

Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Sep 05 2018

45mins

Play

Rank #9: Too Alarmist? Not Alarmist Enough?

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Are people who care about climate change downplaying the issue under social and political pressure? Has their alarmism been too muted? Or has the outcry become so loud that it's drowning out the possibility of collective action? The jury is out.

In this episode of Political Climate, we tackle a difficult question posed by a listener on the severity of the climate threat and the appropriate policy response. Amy Harder, energy and climate reporter for Axios, joins us to discuss.

But first we revisit the Democratic National Committee. The DNC has decided to once again accept donations from fossil fuel interests. The move comes just two months after the committee adopted a separate resolution banning donations from political action committees tied to coal, oil and gas companies. The reversal has spurred a debate among Democrats on matching up policies and values.

We also discuss the Kigali Amendment — a global climate agreement that key U.S. industry players, and many Republicans, are urging President Trump to ratify.

Recommended reading:

  • GTM: Fossil Fuel Dollars and Democrats
  • Huffington Post: Democratic National Committee Backtracks On Its Ban Of Fossil Fuel Donations
  • Axios: Trump clashes with business on Obama-era climate treaty
  • NYT: Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change
  • NYT: Science Alone Won’t Save the Earth. People Have to Do That.

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayTuneInOvercastStitcher and Spotify.

Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Aug 17 2018

54mins

Play

Rank #10: Senator Heinrich's 100% Clean Energy Vision

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Senator Martin Heinrich believes a 100 percent clean energy electric grid is within reach during his lifetime. There will be technical challenges to overcome, but it’s “completely doable,” he said, in an exclusive interview with Political Climate.

This week marks the launch of Senator Heinrich’s “Clean Energy Vision,” a part of his re-election campaign for this fall. The ad and supporting document outline a multi-pronged approach for strengthening New Mexico's clean energy economy — including investments in energy storage, wind and solar, transmission lines and workforce development.

The plan doesn’t explicitly call for a 100 percent clean energy grid, but “clearly stating that the grid should be 100 percent clean energy is so important, because people need an idea to rally around,” said Heinrich.

In this special episode, the senator describes his Clean Energy Vision, and how he intends to make that vision a reality in these highly partisan times.

Recommended reading:


Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayTuneInOvercastStitcher and Spotify.

Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Aug 21 2018

24mins

Play

Rank #11: Coronavirus and Clean Energy Investment: Four Expert Perspectives

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The coronavirus outbreak continues to loom large over the world. Across the globe, countries face major challenges as consumer demand contracts, employee payroll is cut, and capital shrinks as billions of people remain in quarantine. 

The combination of an economic downturn, cheap oil and gas, and global supply chain disruptions will have big consequences for clean energy markets and climate action in the U.S and abroad. But is it all bad news?

In this episode, we bring you a conversation on the implications of COVID-19 for climate and clean energy with four expert voices. Drawing on data and experience, speakers weigh in on the future of sustainable finance, low-carbon technology deployment, and government stimulus efforts.

This discussion was recorded earlier in the week at virtual event presented by the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center and moderated by podcast host Julia Pyper.

Joining her this episode are:

  • Ethan Zindler, Head of Americas at Bloomberg New Energy Finance
  • Rachel Kyte, former CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University
  • Rich Powell, executive director of the ClearPath Foundation
  • Adnan Amin, former Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency and Distinguished Fellow and the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center

Recommended reading:

  • GTM: Coronavirus Derailed COP26 Talks, But Not Europe’s Appetite for Climate Action
  • Vox: How the Covid-19 recession could become a depression
  • CNN: Here's what America's oil CEOs discussed with Trump
  • Atlantic Council: COVID-19: Clean energy and climate impacts


Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute. Listen and subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Play or wherever you get podcasts!

This episode is brought to you by the nonprofit environmental forum EarthX. The Earthx2020 Conference and Film Festival will be held virtually from April 22-27 to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Find more information at www.earthx.org!

Apr 09 2020

1hr 3mins

Play

Rank #12: How 2020 Presidential Candidates Stack Up on Climate (So Far)

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The Democratic presidential primary is heating up, so we break down where the candidates stand on climate.

Labor Day Weekend typically marks a shift in a presidential campaign. Things get more serious and the field starts to winnow down.

And sure enough, the number of Democratic contenders is starting to decline with Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper and Kirsten Gillibrand stepping out of the race in recent days.

In this episode of Political Climate, we examine how the remaining candidates stack up on climate policy, and take a close look at new proposals from Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang.

Emma Foehringer Merchant, staff writer for Greentech Media, has reported extensively on the Democratic primary candidates’ climate and energy plans and helps us walk through the numerous proposals.

Recommended reading:

  • GTM: Bernie Sanders Proposes Huge Renewables Build-Out and Publicly Owned Power
  • Vox: Andrew Yang’s plan to tackle climate change, explained
  • CNN: Jay Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential election
  • GTM: The 2020 Democratic Primary: GTM’s Definitive Climate and Energy Guide


Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute.

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGooglePlayOvercast or any of these other services! 

Aug 30 2019

45mins

Play

Rank #13: The Business Case for Carbon Pricing

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Is an federal carbon price worth pursuing in a politically divided United States?

We hear the case for why it is.

Advocates say an economy-wide carbon tax would send a clear market signal to emitters, while accounting for the externalities and risks that fossil fuels pose to the U.S. economy. The concept aligns with classic conservative principles on small government and rooting solutions in the free-market.

But for all the talk of markets and economics, most Republican lawmakers find a carbon price toxic.

And yet, in recent months several conservative carbon tax proposals have emerged at the national level, including legislation introduced by Republican Representative Carlos Curbelo, and they're shaking up the usual partisan dynamics around climate action.

As the Trump administration continues to roll back Obama-era climate policies, climate activists from across the U.S. are moving forward with a national carbon pricing proposal that they believe can gain bipartisan support.

In this episode, we speak to leaders of the Citizens' Climate Lobby, a nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy group focused drumming up political momentum to pass a carbon fee and dividend proposal. They make the business case for carbon pricing, and explain why they believe a bipartisan federal carbon bill can — and eventually will — get passed. 

Recommended reading:

  • CCL: Carbon Fee and Dividend Policy
  • GTM: Why Only 5,000 Voters Could Help Pass a New Republican Carbon Tax
  • Guardian: Republican lawmaker pitches carbon tax in defiance of party stance
  • E&E: How much is Big Oil working to pass a carbon tax? We checked
  • Daily Chronicle: Shell, BP Go Separate Ways as Washington Voters Weigh New Fee on Greenhouse-Gas Polluters


Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsGooglePlayTuneInOvercastStitcher and Spotify.

Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Oct 03 2018

33mins

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Rank #14: What Conservatives and Climate Hawks Learned From the CNN Town Hall

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Who stood out at the CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall? How did conservatives react? Did general voters even care?

Democratic presidential candidates covered a lot of ground over the course of the seven-hour climate policy telethon — from fracking bans to a new CarbonStar program, coal worker retraining programs to a major environmental justice fund. While there was widespread consensus on the need for climate action, some key differences also emerged between the contenders.

We discuss the top takeaways from town hall, as well as the latest candidate climate plans, in this week’s episode of Political Climate.

To understand how the Democratic platforms resonated on the right, we’re joined by Charles Hernick, director of policy and advocacy at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, a non-profit organization founded to engage Republican policymakers and the public on conservative solutions to meeting the nation’s energy needs while preserving the environment.

Emma Foehringer Merchant, staff writer for Greentech Media, also joins the show to explain what’s new and novel in the latest release of candidate climate proposals. 

Recommended reading:

  • GTM: Climate Town Hall Exposes Key Differences Among Democratic Front-Runners
  • NYT: 5 Takeaways From the Democrats’ Climate Town Hall
  • AP/US News: Democrats Step on Shaky Political Ground With Fracking Bans
  • GTM: Coal Miners Doubt Promises of an Inclusive Energy Transition
  • National Clean Energy Week


Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, and thanks to invaluable support from producer Victoria Simon.

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle PodcastsOvercast or any of these other services.

Sep 11 2019

56mins

Play

Rank #15: Candidates and Climate in the First Democratic Debates

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Twenty Democratic presidential candidates faced off last week in the first debate of the 2020 election. It was a mixed bag — not only for the candidates, but also for climate.

There were more questions on climate change than in previous years, and yet climate issues saw just 15 minutes of airtime over the four hours the contenders were on stage. Did Democrats hit the right notes in their (brief) responses? Or did the first showing justify calls for a dedicated climate debate?

Also, who were the overall winners and losers? And are Democrats more united or divided heading into the race against President Trump?

In this week’s episode, we discuss how did candidates and climate change fared in the first round of debates.

Plus, what the heck happened in Oregon? Republican legislators fled the state last month to resist voting on a cap-and-trade bill, and then fringe right-wing militia groups said they would protect the politicians if law enforcement officials tried to bring them back. We discuss how a climate bill went off the rails and whether Democrats can ever count on Republicans to act in good faith on climate.

Recommended reading:

  • Inside Climate: First 2020 Debates Spent 15 Minutes on Climate Change. What Did We Learn?
  • HuffPo: Democrats To Consider Climate Debate Amid Mounting Pressure
  • NYT: Biden, Recalling ‘Civility’ in Senate, Invokes Two Segregationist Senators
  • NPR: Oregon GOP State Senators Go Into Hiding To Avoid A Climate Vote
  • Oregon Live: How Oregon’s climate-change bill ran out of gas


Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGooglePlayOvercast or any of these other services! 

Jul 04 2019

40mins

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Rank #16: Arnold Schwarzenegger on Terminating Pollution

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What do bodybuilding and gerrymandering have to do with the fight against climate change? Arnold Schwarzenegger explains in an exclusive Political Climate interview.

The former California governor and global environmental leader has been tackling the related issues of climate change and pollution for years by working across the political aisle. In this episode (13:30), Schwarzenegger explains why he still believes in working with people of all political stripes.

The show kicks off with a look at recent headlines, including the clash between former Secretary of State John Kerry and Rep. Thomas Massie over climate science. Plus, Democratic Senators introduce a carbon pricing bill. We ask: is this an effective political strategy?

Recommended reading:

  • Vox: Viral John Kerry-Thomas Massie exchange over climate
  • NYT: The Problem With Putting a Price on the End of the World
  • E&E: Whitehouse, Schatz float latest version of carbon fee bill
  • The Hill: Schwarzenegger teams up with Holder to 'terminate' gerrymandering
  • LA Times: Here’s why Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kevin de León are teaming up on climate change
  • Schnapps

Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGooglePlay and Overcast

Apr 18 2019

40mins

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Rank #17: Where's the Action? COP25, Capitol Hill, and Insights From Sen. Ayotte

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It’s week two of the United Nations COP25 climate summit, and it’s the last few days of Congress before the winter recess. 

What have American policymakers accomplished? 

We get an update from the U.S. Climate Action Center on site at the UN climate talks. We look at wildfire victim relief in California. And we discuss 12 pieces of clean energy legislation that House Republicans are calling on Democrats to support. What's the political strategy at play?

Plus, a prominent former senator weighs in on the climate, energy and security nexus and how to avoid the game of “political football” that climate policy has become today.

Later in this show, we speak to former Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire about what she calls “common-sense” solutions to combat climate change.

Recommended reading:

  • Al Jazeera: As Trump walks away from climate pact, America's Pledge steps up
  • Vox: The future of the Paris climate agreement is being decided this week
  • NYT: PG&E Reaches $13.5 Billion Deal With Wildfire Victims
  • E&C: Bipartisan Solutions to Protect the Environment and the Economy


Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, and thanks to invaluable support from producer Victoria Simon.

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle PodcastsOvercast or any of these other services.

Dec 12 2019

59mins

Play

Rank #18: Greta Thunberg on the Climate Crisis, Schwarzenegger, and Schnitzel

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Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg was all alone when she started protesting the lack of political action on climate change last year outside of the Swedish parliament. Today, climate strikes inspired by Thunberg are drawing out more than 1 million young people around the world. But as she tells Political Climate: the fight is “not over yet.”

This week’s podcast was recorded at the R20 Austrian World Summit in Vienna, where former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger teamed up with Thunberg to call attention to the climate crisis. We sit down with Schwarzenegger to get his reaction to meeting Greta. Plus, we speak with the 16-year-old Swedish protester about her advice to climate activists in the U.S.

We also discuss takeaways from the recent EU Parliament elections, where Green Party members saw big gains in some of Europe’s largest countries. Could these results foreshadow a green wave in the next U.S. election?

Recommended reading:

  • WaPo: Teen activist Thunberg urges leaders to admit climate crisis
  • Guardian: European elections: triumphant Greens demand more radical climate action
  • YouTube: Greta Thunberg Joins Arnold Schwarzenegger & More To Deliver Speeches On Climate


Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGooglePlay and Overcast

May 31 2019

36mins

Play

Rank #19: The Troubling Geopolitics of a Melting Arctic

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The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, which comes with both opportunities and risks.

Climate change is opening up new shipping routes and increasing access to fossil fuel reserves, while also threatening ecosystems and fueling geopolitical tensions. Are we approaching the end of the polar peace zone?

Earlier this month, the Arctic Council met in Finland to frame a collaborative agenda on economic development and environmental protection. But for the first time since the Council’s inception, participants failed to sign a joint declaration after the U.S. refused to accept language on climate change — sparking fury and confusion.

In this episode, we speak with Retired Rear Admiral David Titley (9:45), meteorology professor at Penn State University, about the consequences of a warming Arctic.

We also talk to Malte Humpert (28:35), founder of The Arctic Institute, about the significance of the Pompeo’s statements and takeaways from the latest Arctic Council summit.

Plus, we discuss if there’s any chance of seeing climate policy pass in an infrastructure bill and co-host Brandon Hurlbut celebrates his first semi-viral tweet. As always, Political Climate ends with our segment called “Say Something Nice,” where our Democrat and Republican co-hosts have to say something redeeming about the opposing political party (43:00).

Tweet us your feedback on this episode @Poli_Climate!

Recommended Reading:

  • Reuters: US sinks Arctic accord due to climate change differences
  • The Atlantic: The Next ‘South China Sea’ Is Covered In Ice
  • The Inquirer: Our transportation plan will improve infrastructure and tackle climate change
  • The Hill: Markey releases infrastructure suggestions that align with Green New Deal goals
  • Brandon Hurlbut goes viral


Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGooglePlay and Overcast

May 25 2019

47mins

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Rank #20: Will Republicans Ever Really Embrace Climate Action?

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Democrats are dominating the public dialogue on climate change. That is just a fact. It’s part of their party platform in a way that it’s simply not for Republicans. And yet, things aren’t entirely black and white — or blue and red.

In this episode, we look at a range of Republican views on climate issues, from flat out denialism to reticent acceptance to legitimate climate commitments.

We discuss President Trump’s replacement for Obama’s Clean Power Plan, we look at new polling numbers that show Republican voters are concerned about their party’s stance on climate change, and we dig into conservative alternatives to the Green New Deal.

The Republican Party stance on climate change is shifting — but will any conservative climate proposals actually address the issue?

We sit down with former six-term South Carolina Congressman Bob Inglis, a thought leader of the eco-right, to get his take is on the current state of American politics and hear how he’s continuing to advance a conservative climate platform through his non-profit RepublicEN.

Recommended Reading:

  • The Hill: Addressing Climate Change Is A Win For Republicans - Why Not Embrace It?
  • GTM: Trump Administration Finalizes Revamp of Obama-Era Coal Rule
  • The Hill: GOP Pollster Luntz: Majority Of Younger Republicans Worried By Party Stance On Climate Change
  • Third Way: The New Climate Consensus
  • E&E News: GOP Ready To “Cross The Rubicon” On Climate - Graham
  • Matt Gaetz: Addressing Climate Change Through A Green Real Deal
  • Greentech Media: A Divided Climate Means We All Lose
  • RepublicEN


Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGooglePlayOvercast or any of these other services!

Jun 21 2019

1hr 2mins

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