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Political Climate

Updated 3 days ago

Business
News
Government
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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.

Read more

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

125 Ratings
Average Ratings
116
4
2
2
1

Necessary conversation!

By Hibsize :) - Aug 23 2019
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As a center right voter this is the information we need to hear! There is so much propaganda out there to wade through. This podcast is such a good source to hear both sides of current politics to guide opinions. Keep up the good work!

FRESH AIR!

By Eli Cross - Aug 18 2019
Read more
This podcast is a breath of fresh air... and we NEED this sort of discussion to help move forward so that our descendents will have fresh air to breathe. Why can't the DC politicians show the bipartisanship that is so engagingly demonstrated by Brandon Hurlbut and Shane Skelton? Let's move forward! I'm a liberal so... Hurlbut for President! This podcast is a MUST LISTEN. ***** Five Stars.

iTunes Ratings

125 Ratings
Average Ratings
116
4
2
2
1

Necessary conversation!

By Hibsize :) - Aug 23 2019
Read more
As a center right voter this is the information we need to hear! There is so much propaganda out there to wade through. This podcast is such a good source to hear both sides of current politics to guide opinions. Keep up the good work!

FRESH AIR!

By Eli Cross - Aug 18 2019
Read more
This podcast is a breath of fresh air... and we NEED this sort of discussion to help move forward so that our descendents will have fresh air to breathe. Why can't the DC politicians show the bipartisanship that is so engagingly demonstrated by Brandon Hurlbut and Shane Skelton? Let's move forward! I'm a liberal so... Hurlbut for President! This podcast is a MUST LISTEN. ***** Five Stars.
Cover image of Political Climate

Political Climate

Updated 3 days ago

Read more

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.

Rank #1: 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
1 hour 3 mins
Play

Rank #2: 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
36 mins
Play

Rank #3: Winners and Losers in Trump's America

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President Trump is considering the use of a Cold War-era defense act to shore up struggling coal and nuclear power plants, something the administration argues is essential to U.S. national security. But critics say this is the government picking winners and losers for political purposes. 

Republicans repeatedly slammed President Obama for investing taxpayer dollars in clean energy technologies during his tenure. Obama even invoked the Defense Production Act, the same law Trump is looking to use, to justify testing biofuels in the Navy. Was he picking winners and losers too? Or was he investing in the next generation of American competitiveness?

In this episode of Political Climate we debate who is picking favorites in the energy space, and how solar was a loser in the roll out of Trump’s protectionist trade agenda.

We also touch on the unusually tight Arizona special election, where Democrat Hiral Tipirneni came within a few points of upsetting Republican Debbie Lesko in a deep red district. Did the candidates’ views on climate change play a role in the outcome? 

Next, we discuss the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which recently added two new members. Does the group represent an honest effort to combat climate change? Or is it political greenwashing?

In our final section, “If you can’t say something nice,” our Republican and Democrat co-hosts share something they recently found redeeming about the opposing party. 

Recommended reading:

  • AZ Central: Here's where West Valley congressional candidates stand on climate change
  • Citizens’ Climate Lobby: What is the Climate Solutions Caucus?
  • Bloomberg: Trump's Latest Plan for Saving Coal Comes From the Cold War
  • GTM: The Trumpian Politics Behind SunPower’s Planned Purchase of SolarWorld USA
  • GTM: New Bipartisan Legislation Would Repeal Trump’s Solar Tariffs
  • Time 100: Scott Pruitt

Or you can find it on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play or TuneIn. Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Apr 27 2018
51 mins
Play

Rank #4: 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
45 mins
Play

Rank #5: 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
24 mins
Play

Rank #6: 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
54 mins
Play

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
1 hour 18 mins
Play

Rank #8: Millennials Seek Bipartisan Action on Climate

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What does the rise of millennials mean for climate action? Will this plugged-in generation make climate change a priority? Can they find common ground between liberals and conservatives to solve this issue collectively?

Millennials are on the brink of becoming the largest generation in America. That means they will have an enormous impact on U.S. politics in the years ahead. In fact, they’re having an impact on politics already.

In this episode of Political Climate we talk to millennials who are channeling their concerns about climate change into action — inclusive and bipartisan action.

We speak to Benji Backer, president and founder of the American Conservation Coalition, a nonprofit focused on rallying young conservatives around environmental policy reform; and to Lydia Avila, executive director of the Power Shift Network, an organization working to mobilize the collective power of young people to mitigate climate change and create a just, clean energy future.

But first, we address the latest climate news from Capitol Hill: Congressman Carlos Curbelo’s new carbon tax bill, and a House resolution denouncing the idea of a carbon tax altogether.

Just how hopeful for climate action can Americans be?

Recommended reading:

  • Guardian: Republican lawmaker pitches carbon tax in defiance of party stance
  • Inside Climate: House Votes to Denounce Carbon Taxes. Where Was the Climate Solutions Caucus?
  • GTM: Reading Republicans on Climate a Decade After America’s Cap-and-Trade Collapse
  • Teen Vogue: Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Candidate Scott Wagner Called Me “Young and Naive”
  • Pew: Millennials projected to overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation
  • American Conservation Coalition
  • Power Shift Network

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

Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Jul 25 2018
59 mins
Play

Rank #9: 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
47 mins
Play

Rank #10: UN Chief Guterres: "The Status Quo Is a Suicide"

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We are losing the fight against climate change, warns UN Secretary General António Guterres.

Even if countries were on track to meet their Paris Agreement goals — which they’re not — the world would experience catastrophic levels of warming by the end of the century.

But there are still signs of hope.

In this episode Political Climate, we discuss the state of global climate action with Mr. Guterres in an interview recorded last week at the R20 Austrian World Summit in Vienna.

Plus, Republicans attack their own on climate policy, while Democratic presidential hopefuls Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren roll out bold climate change plans. We begin the show with a check-in on U.S. politics.

Recommended reading:

  • Axios: Paris + 2: Climate jolted faster than projected
  • E&E: GOP criticizes its own on climate
  • NYT: What Biden’s Climate Plan Shows About the Democratic Field
  • FP: China Rises in U.N. Climate Talks, While U.S. Goes AWOL


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 07 2019
38 mins
Play

Rank #11: 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
1 hour 2 mins
Play

Rank #12: Top EPA Official Talks Policy Post Pruitt

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Scott Pruitt is officially out at the Environmental Protection Agency. Former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler has stepped in as acting administrator. What does this mean for U.S. climate policy?

We asked a top EPA official.

In this episode, Mandy Gunasekara, principal deputy assistant administrator at the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, joins us in-studio to discuss the agency's priorities in the wake of the leadership shake-up. 

Gunasekara weighs in on replacing the Clean Power Plan and vehicle fuel economy standards -- two of President Obama's signature policies to combat climate change. We ask how the current EPA squares its deregulatory agenda with the mandate to protect public health and the environment.

We also tackle ongoing controversies, unrelated to Pruitt's personal scandals. Democratic co-host Brandon Hurlbut challenges Gunasekara on the EPA's treatment of climate science, while Republican co-host Shane Skelton raises issues with the Renewable Fuel Standard.

As always, we end on a bipartisan note in our "Say Something Nice" segment.

Recommended Reading:

  • GTM: Scott Pruitt Resigns; EPA Deregulation Poised to Continue
  • BNA: Senate Aide Named a Top Adviser to EPA Head on Climate, Clean Air
  • Inside Climate: In Rebuke to Pruitt, EPA Science Board Votes to Review Climate Policy Changes
  • Bloomberg: Trump to Hit Refiners With Biofuels Boost
  • Des Moines Register: Iowa political leaders cheer EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's resignation
  • Wash Post: Rollback of auto mileage standards advances to White House, bringing conflict with California closer
  • NYT: How Trump’s Policy Decisions Undermine the Industries He Pledged to Help
  • CNN: Woman confronts Scott Pruitt at a restaurant, urges him to resign

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayTuneInOvercast and Stitcher

Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Jul 11 2018
1 hour 13 mins
Play

Rank #13: The Environmental Voter Problem

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The climate movement doesn’t have a persuasion problem; it has a turn out problem. Data reveal that environmentalists don’t show up to vote as often as the overall population in an election. 

So what gives? And could this impact races in 2020?

In this episode of Political Climate we take a hard look at how many Americans care about climate issues, and how many of those people actually vote — or don’t.

To figure this out the podcast team sat down with Nathaniel Stinnett, founder of the Environmental Voter Project, a non-partisan non-profit that identifies environmentalists across the United States and makes sure that they vote in every election.

We also discussed a new Democratic proposal to achieve 100 percent carbon neutrality by 2050. The idea was recently put forward by a group of more moderate, established Democrats rather than progressives. Is this a sign of policy alignment on the left? Or will this so-called Green New Deal alternative be a source of conflict within the party?

We recorded this show live on stage last week at the Sun Valley Forum in Ketchum Idaho. Take a listen!

Recommended reading:


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 01 2019
40 mins
Play

Rank #14: The Invisible Killer

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We often can’t see or feel air pollution — and yet, it is taking a toll.

Air pollution is responsible for the early deaths of some 7 million people every year, around 600,000 of who are children, according to the United Nations. In this episode, we hear stories of how people around the world are calling attention to this invisible killer.

We speak to Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, a mother campaigning to have pollution officially named as her daughter’s cause of death [3:30].

We also talk to Beth Gardiner, the author of “Choked,” a book about science, politics and personal experiences linked to pollution [12:55].

We hear from entrepreneur Romain Lacombe at Plume Labs, about his mission to map out city pollution the way that Google maps out traffic [20:00].

And we learn about how a group of women in Southern California are trying to protect their town from the real-world health impacts of online-shopping in an interview with Grist reporter Justine Calma [28.05].

Recommended reading:

  • BBC: Ella Kissi-Debrah: New inquest into girl's 'pollution' death
  • Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution
  • Bloomberg: This Wearable Pollution Monitor Detects How Dirty Your Air Is
  • Grist: The town that online shopping built — and women are trying to save


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

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, GooglePlay, Overcast or any of these other services!

Jun 28 2019
36 mins
Play

Rank #15: California's Quest for Deep Decarbonization

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“Decarbonization” was the catchword of last week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

Stakeholders from all over the world made new commitments to combatting climate change. But the spotlight was really on California, where Governor Jerry Brown signed an historic bill into law — requiring the state to power its electric grid with 100 percent carbon-free resources by 2045.

That’s not all. Brown kicked off the week with a bang by also signing an executive order committing the California to complete carbon neutrality by 2045.

So the Political Climate team sat down with a man who knows a thing or two about decarbonization in the Golden State: Michael Picker, president of the California Public Utilities Commission.

The CPUC is responsible for regulating the state’s electricity sector, and will oversee many aspects of California’s transition to a low-carbon economy. Managing that transition will be the state’s greatest challenge, according to Picker.

Recommended reading:

  • GTM: On to Governor Brown’s Desk: What 100% Clean Energy Means for California
  • Vox: California Gov. Jerry Brown casually unveils history’s most ambitious climate target
  • NYT: Jerry Brown Made Climate Change His Issue. Now, He’s Not Sure How Much Politicians Can Do.
  • GTM: How Community Choice Aggregation Fits Into California’s Clean Energy Future


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

Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Sep 19 2018
27 mins
Play

Rank #16: LIVE: 'The Only Way to Save Ourselves'

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Republicans are often viewed as enemies of the clean energy transition. Some people believe the GOP will never embrace climate action. So is voting them out the only way to save the planet?

If you ask environmental policy pioneer Terry Tamminen, the solution isn’t that simple. 

As Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pick to lead the California EPA, Tamminen found ways to craft ambitious clean energy policies and programs with buy-in from both Democrats and Republicans. In his current role as CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Tamminen is working to advance sustainability solutions across the country and around the world. 

In this episode of Political Climate, recorded live at GTM’s Solar Summit, we talk to Tamminen about why it’s important to get Republicans on board with the climate change agenda. Even if it means avoiding the words "climate change" altogether.

We also discuss why Democrats are rallying around a 100 percent renewable energy target, when it has yet to be proven technically feasible. Plus, we talk about California's clash with Washington D.C. over fuel economy standards and whether philanthropy is proving we don't need to spend taxpayer dollars on fighting climate change.

Recommended reading:

  • Terry Tamminen: Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
  • LDF: Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation awards $20 million in environmental grants
  • GTM: Solar and Wind Companies Spend More on Republican Candidates Than Democrats
  • GTM: Mark Jacobson Drops Lawsuit Against Critics of His 100% Renewables Plan
  • NYT: California Sues Trump Administration Over Car Emissions Rules
  • BBC: Michael Bloomberg pledges $4.5m for Paris deal

Or you can find it on Apple PodcastsStitcherGoogle Play or TuneIn. Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

May 04 2018
59 mins
Play

Rank #17: Beto O'Rourke and Keeping Up With the Greens

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Democratic Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke unveiled a comprehensive climate change plan this week that seeks to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the U.S. by 2050. The $5 trillion proposal is the most detailed climate plan announced by a 2020 presidential candidate to date.

But the policy wasn't even a day old when the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate group backing the progressive Green New Deal, slammed O'Rourke for not being more ambitious.

O'Rourke isn't the only Democratic politician to face criticism for his climate plan in recent days. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also saw pushback over his Green New Deal plan for the city.

On this week’s episode of Political Climate, we look at how green Democrats need to be to win support from progressive members of their own party. Is this type of in-fighting a genius political strategy to push the envelope on what’s possible? Or will it end up muddling plans to address climate change?

Recommended reading:

  • The Atlantic: Why Beto’s Climate Plan Is So Surprising
  • The Hill: Group backing Green New Deal blasts O'Rourke's climate plan
  • Streetsblog: Garcetti’s Green New Deal for Los Angeles Under Attack for Being Too Car-Centric
  • Bloomberg: Ex-Trump Aide Who Backed Paris Accord to Join House Panel, Sources Say
  • NYTimes: We Asked the 2020 Democrats About Climate Change (Yes All of Them). Here Are Their Ideas.
  • Axios: What Biden and Beto just told us about the 2020 climate fight


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 03 2019
36 mins
Play

Rank #18: 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
40 mins
Play

Rank #19: The Hypocritical Politics of Gas Prices

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Gas prices are always a hot-button political issue, and especially in an election year.

In the latest showdown, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blames a spike in gas prices on President Trump’s “reckless decision” to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Republicans say these claims are insincere. If Democrats are so worried about high gas prices, why do they oppose oil drilling in the U.S. and support increasing gas taxes?

We’ve seen this play out before. When President Obama was in office, Republicans placed the blame for high gas prices squarely on the Democrats — and used cherrypicked statements from then Energy Secretary Steven Chu to help make their case.

In this week’s episode we tackle the hypocritical politics of gas prices. We also discuss the Pope’s upcoming climate summit with leading oil companies.

To kick it all off, we weigh in on a leaked memo with new details on the Trump administration’s unprecedented efforts to bail out struggling coal and nuclear plants. Is this an abuse of power?

Recommended reading:

  • GTM: DOE Plans to Order Guaranteed Profits for Coal, Nuclear Power Plants
  • Axios: Pope convenes Big Oil, investors to talk climate change
  • The Hill: Senate Democrats look for traction on gas prices
  • Rolling Stone: What President Obama Should Have Said About High Gas Prices
  • NY Mag: Higher Gas Prices a Headache for GOP — Except in California
  • The Verge: Three US states will spend $1.3 billion to build more electric vehicle charging

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, TuneIn and Stitcher. Look out for us soon on Spotify!

Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Correction: Rebecca Schenker, who submitted news topics for the "Constituent Services" segment of this show, is a transportation planner with the LADOT. This episode incorrectly referred to her as the head of transportation planning at the LADOT. We regret the error.

Jun 05 2018
38 mins
Play

Rank #20: Fossil Fuel Dollars and Democrats

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The Democratic National Committee recently decided to no longer accept campaign donations from fossil fuel companies. The move signals the party’s commitment to addressing climate change. But could blocking contributions from oil, gas and coal companies end up hurting Democrats in the midterm election?

We discuss the new DNC policy with RL Miller, political director at Climate Hawks Vote, chair of the California Democratic Party’s environmental caucus, and a co-author of the resolution.

Before that, we answer a listener’s question about the influence of billionaire conservative activists Charles and David Koch. Did Republicans start to resist climate action because of the Koch brothers' involvement? 

We also check in on the non-partisan, non-profit Citizens' Climate Lobby, which met with members of Congress last week to advocate for a price on carbon. One participant admits progress is slow, but insists the dialogue is valuable. 

To kick off the show, we briefly circle back on the Climate Solutions Caucus, bipartisan group of lawmakers seeking to advance climate change policies. Several Republican members recently voted against valuing carbon in environmental regulations. Is the Caucus a sham?

Recommended reading:

  • HuffPost: DNC Quietly Adopts Ban On Fossil Fuel Company Donations
  • NYT: How G.O.P. Leaders Came to View Climate Change as Fake Science
  • GTM: Conservative Groups Come Out Against the Suniva, SolarWorld Trade Case
  • E&E News: Here’s how one group pitches a carbon tax to the GOP
  • Washington Examiner: House GOP blocks Obama-era rules on cost of climate change


Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayTuneIn, Overcast and Stitcher. Look out for us soon on Spotify!

Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.

Jun 20 2018
59 mins
Play

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