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Political Climate

Updated 3 days 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

138 Ratings
Average Ratings
125
4
5
3
1

Much needed dialogue

By isurusen - Nov 14 2019
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In the age of tribalism and partisan cacophony, this show is a breath of fresh air delving into how differences in values leads us towards different policies. But more perhaps importantly, how we can see the best in the other side and bring about bipartisan solutions to the most challenging problems of today. My biggest complaint is that the show-runners seem to miss how Carbon Dividends changes the whole climate debate by reframing the solution from a burden to benefit for a vast majority of people (7/10 households, per a Treasury Dept study). It would be great if you delved deeper into this idea from various angles, especially since it’s universal property been described as a ‘libertarian socialist’ idea.

Lacking female and POC perspective

By Alliebomba - Oct 10 2019
Read more
I really wanted to like this podcast and stuck with it for the first season and then some...but without more of an intentional effort to incorporate female and POC perspectives, Political Climate is inevitably stuck in its own status quo echo chamber. Pyper-you don’t need these guys...

iTunes Ratings

138 Ratings
Average Ratings
125
4
5
3
1

Much needed dialogue

By isurusen - Nov 14 2019
Read more
In the age of tribalism and partisan cacophony, this show is a breath of fresh air delving into how differences in values leads us towards different policies. But more perhaps importantly, how we can see the best in the other side and bring about bipartisan solutions to the most challenging problems of today. My biggest complaint is that the show-runners seem to miss how Carbon Dividends changes the whole climate debate by reframing the solution from a burden to benefit for a vast majority of people (7/10 households, per a Treasury Dept study). It would be great if you delved deeper into this idea from various angles, especially since it’s universal property been described as a ‘libertarian socialist’ idea.

Lacking female and POC perspective

By Alliebomba - Oct 10 2019
Read more
I really wanted to like this podcast and stuck with it for the first season and then some...but without more of an intentional effort to incorporate female and POC perspectives, Political Climate is inevitably stuck in its own status quo echo chamber. Pyper-you don’t need these guys...
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

1hr 3mins

Play

Rank #2: 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

Play

Rank #3: 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 #4: Introducing Climate 2020

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This week, we bring you a special episode from our friends at The Years Project. 

David Gelber, creator of the Emmy Award-winning series “Years of Living Dangerously,” has teamed up with Jeff Nesbit, executive director of Climate Nexus and author of the book This is the Way the Earth Ends, on a new podcast called Climate 2020

Each week David and Jeff will discuss the latest developments in the political fight to mitigate the climate crisis in the lead up to the 2020 election. In this episode, they speak with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes about where the Democratic candidates stand on climate and which policy proposals make the most sense. 

They also discuss the recent climate strikes and UN Climate Action Summit, as well as new climate news project from veteran journalist Kyle Pope. Then they hear from voters in a Pennsylvania swing district.  

Political Climate has a shared mission to create a robust climate action dialogue in the lead-up to the 2020 election, so we’re publishing the first episode of Climate 2020 this week on the feed. Next week, we will return to our regularly scheduled programming. 


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.

Oct 10 2019

41mins

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

24mins

Play

Rank #6: 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

36mins

Play

Rank #7: 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

38mins

Play

Rank #8: 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 #9: 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 #10: 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

36mins

Play

Rank #11: 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

Play

Rank #12: 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 #13: 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

59mins

Play

Rank #14: A New Era in Climate Politics

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Political Climate is back after a four-month hiatus. Did we miss anything?

Well, there was the Green New Deal resolution and launch of the new House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. There was also the introduction of a Republican-backed clean energy plan and the kickoff of a climate-centric presidential election. So there’s that.

In this episode, the Political Climate co-hosts catch up on the latest headlines. Plus, the podcast makes some news of its own!

Recommended reading:

  • Slate: Why the Green New Deal Rollout Was Kind of a Mess
  • Axios: Democrats vote "present" as Green New Deal fails Senate test
  • Newsweek: Here's How the Green New Deal Compares to a Proposed Republican Climate Plan — The Green Real Deal
  • The Hill: Newly-formed House climate panel holds first hearing
  • Axios: Green New Deal: Where the 2020 presidential candidates stand
  • Vox: Nancy Pelosi is trying to force Trump to return the US to the Paris climate agreement
  • Political 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 Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, GooglePlay and Overcast

Apr 08 2019

28mins

Play

Rank #15: Youth v. Climate Crisis

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Youth activists are spearheading a powerful political movement around addressing the climate crisis.

For many people, this is a moment of both fear and hope — global carbon emissions continue to increase, at the same time as demands for global climate action grow louder. Will 2019 be remembered as the year humanity turned a corner in the fight against climate change?

In this episode of Political Climate, we bring you a special interview with a group of leading youth activists ahead of the Global Climate Strike and United Nations Climate Change Summit.

We speak with Kelsey Juliana and Vic Barrett, two of the 21 plaintiffs in the Juliana v. United States lawsuit over the right to a safe climate and livable future, as well as and Jamie Margolin, co-founder of the organization Zero Hour and a plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging Washington State has failed to adequately regulate greenhouse gases.

But first we hear from Jonah Gottlieb, director of Schools for Climate Action and the executive director of the National Children’s Campaign, who is currently in Washington D.C. with famed teen activist Greta Thunberg and other youth leaders. What does it feel like for these young people to finally have so much attention on the climate threat?

Recommended reading:

  • Grist: How 21 meddling kids could force a major turnaround on climate
  • New Yorker: The Right to a Stable Climate Is the Constitutional Question of the Twenty-First Century
  • CNN: NYC says its 1.1 million students can skip class for the climate strike (as long as their parents say OK)
  • Rolling Stone: The Climate Crisis and the Case for Hope


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 18 2019

47mins

Play

Rank #16: Climate Sees Some Legitimate Debate. Did Anyone Care?

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There were several moments of legitimate engagement on climate change at last week’s Democratic presidential debates. But did any of it resonate with voters?

In this episode, we break down the key points candidates made on stage in Detroit — from promoting direct air capture to climate justice — with help from Jigar Shah, president and co-founder of Generate Capital and co-host of the Energy Gang podcast.

Plus, top Republican pollster, Frank Luntz, gives Senate Democrats a lesson on climate change communication. We discuss the GOP strategist’s about face on climate change.

Finally, lawmakers in Ohio just passed an enormous subsidy package for coal and nuclear plants, while gutting the state’s renewable energy and efficiency standards. Utility FirstEnergy lobbied hard and helped elect allies to office to get $1.1 billion in ratepayer funds for its aging nukes. We round out the show with a look at Ohio’s controversial new law. 

Recommended reading:

  • Grist: In Detroit, Democratic candidates actually did some climate debating
  • Mother Jones: Joe Biden’s Climate Plan Melted During the Debate
  • The Hill: Democratic senators turn to GOP for help in reaching conservatives on climate messaging
  • Vox: Ohio just passed the worst energy bill of the 21st century
  • Inslee profile pic


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 08 2019

54mins

Play

Rank #17: Sunrise, Inslee, Paris and the Grim Reaper

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Democrats came together last week to present a united front on tackling climate change, but will it matter before 2020?

Political Climate speaks with Representative Kathy Castor (FL-D) on the passage of HR 9, the first meaningful climate change bill to pass the House of Representatives in nearly a decade. We find out why passing a bill to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement was an important political move, despite zero chance of getting it past the self-proclaimed “Grim Reaper” Mitch McConnell.

Also, we revisit the scuffle between Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke and the youth-led climate activist group The Sunrise Movement. In a quick turnaround, Sunrise walked backed their critique of Beto’s climate action plan, while Beto signed on to the "No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge." Is this a kumbaya moment or egg on their faces?

Not to be outdone by O'Rourke, fellow presidential hopeful, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, presented part one of his “Climate Mission” plan last week. Political Climate discusses the details and whether Biden will offer up his own climate change plan now that he’s entered the race.

Recommended Reading:

  • Roll Call: House Passes Climate Bill With Few Republican Backers
  • Slate: Why The Left Needs More Climate In-Fighting
  • Earther: How Students Convinced Beto O’Rourke To Stop Taking Fossil Fuel Money
  • Vox: Jay Inslee Promised Serious Climate Policy and He’s Delivering


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 09 2019

46mins

Play

Rank #18: Climate Action or Climate Distraction?

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What is going on in Washington D.C.? A bubbling House Democrat feud followed by a series of racially offensive presidential tweets has unleashed chaos in the U.S Capitol. Meanwhile, there’s one thing we’re not seeing much of: governing

In this episode of Political Climate we look at where we’re seeing attempts at climate action, and where we’re seeing a whole lot of climate distraction. A slate of clean energy bills have been introduced in Congress this year. Do they have any hope of passing before the 2020 election?

We also take a look at President Trump’s recent speech on the environment and the launch of a new Republican caucus on conservation. Does this prove that Republicans are seeing a real need to show leadership on the environment?

Finally, we check in on the Democratic presidential primary, which just saw billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer enter the race and momentum slide for a candidate forum of climate change. 

Recommended reading:

  • GTM: Clean Energy Policy Push Faces Steep Climb Ahead of 2020 Election
  • The Hill: Republicans form conservation caucus to take on environment, climate change
  • Huffington Post: Fox News Cuts Into Trump Speech To Deliver A Brutal Real-Time Fact Check
  • Gizmodo: Update on Our 2020 Climate Summit
  • Politico: Schwarzenegger to Trump: 'You have to dial down Donald'


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 20 2019

40mins

Play

Rank #19: Tom Steyer on Why He's Running for President

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Billionaire hedge fund executive and environmental activist Tom Steyer is officially making a run for the White House — and putting an aggressive climate action plan at the center of his campaign.

In this episode of Political Climate, we speak with the newest contender in the 2020 Democratic primary about why he entered the crowded race, and how he plans to use "emergency powers" to combat climate change.

After the first Democratic debate it looked as though the field of presidential candidates could be thinning out. That is, until Steyer entered the race, pledging to spend $100 million on his bid.

He boosted his campaign on July 25 with the launch of a bold climate action plan — the only climate action plan to effectively address the climate crisis with the urgency that it demands, according to Steyer.

Political Climate sat down with the candidate for an in-depth interview the day after he announced his new climate policy.

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! 

Jul 27 2019

33mins

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Rank #20: How States Are Leading the Way on Climate Policy

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Federal news tends to steal the limelight, but when it comes to spearheading innovative climate and energy policy states are really where the action is at.

World leaders gathered at the United Nations Climate Action Summit earlier this week, where Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on countries to boost their commitments to fighting the climate crisis with concrete plans rather than platitudes. But while President Trump stopped by the summit on Monday, the U.S. was effectively absent from the high profile event.

In fact, the federal government has been pulling back on its climate commitments. But there is still climate leadership to be found in the United States ⁠— it’s just coming largely from the subnational level.

In this week's episode of Political Climate, we discuss how states are leading the way on climate and clean energy policy in the absence of federal action.

We'll share an interview with New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on how she’s transitioning her fossil fuel heavy state to 100 percent clean electricity while also cleaning up the extraction industry.

Then we'll bring you a conversation recorded live at the National Association of State Energy Officials annual meeting earlier this month , where we sat down with NASEO’s seasoned legal expert Jeff Genzer to discuss how both red and blue states (including some you might not expect) are implementing innovative carbon reducing policies. 

Recommended reading:

  • NYT: At U.N. Climate Summit, Few Commitments and U.S. Silence
  • GTM: New Mexico Governor to Sign 100% Clean Electricity Bill ‘As Quickly As Possible’
  • Reuters: Minnesota, New Mexico to adopt California vehicle emissions rules
  • EcoWatch: States March toward 100% Clean Energy – Who’s Next?
  • CCL: Bipartisan climate working group forms in Senate, led by Sens. Coons, Braun


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 28 2019

56mins

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