Table of Contents
Podcast’s Essential Bites:
[1:07] SS: "People in Europe and the United Kingdom are living in the climate future now. [...] Parts of England are hitting nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit or peeking over 37 degrees Celsius. That's not normal. But it is normal now. Most homes are not built for this kind of heat anywhere in Europe."
[3:24] SS: "Several parts of France have hit record temperatures. This has affected some of the nuclear plants in France, where France gets a lot of its electricity from. [...] Spain [is] experiencing an avalanche of uncontrollable wildfires. [...] This is all supersized by climate change. We will see much more of this every summer."
[4:40] SS: "The reason why Europe is so important [in terms of climate policy] is that it contains some of the biggest industrialized countries on earth. And then if you add the United Kingdom to that, you're talking about some of history's biggest emitters. And Europe, as well as the UK, had set out some really ambitious climate plans. So the European Union has enshrined in law a promise to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by more than half by 2030. [There is a] very similar law in the United Kingdom."
[5:37] SS: "The Russian invasion of Ukraine has absolutely challenged Europe's climate plans. [...] The Russian invasion of Ukraine squeezed the energy supply in Europe and it really accelerated a debate over which way Europe will go. Will it kind of double down on the development of its renewable energy sources, so they're no longer as dependent on the gas from Russia? Or will they accelerate efforts to get gas from anywhere other than Russia? [...] And they made a decision a couple of weeks ago, that seems to put their thumb on the get gas from anywhere other than Russia."
[6:35] SS: "Two weeks ago, the European Parliament voted to classify gas as a "green fuel". Gas is actually a fossil fuel, it's not green. Its principal component is methane, which is a gas that warms up the Earth's atmosphere really, really quickly. [...] It basically greenlights a bunch of new gas projects and makes them eligible for cheap loans, and in some cases, public subsidies. So in reality, this means more new gas projects and it means that Europe will prolong its reliance on gas."
[7:32| SS: "The implication of this vote is pretty big, because on the one hand it allows more gas projects to be built, not just for the next two, three years, but potentially for the next 20-30 years. But it also sends a signal to other countries that [...] these rich industrialized nations are willing to prolong their reliance on fossil fuels."
[10:44] SS: "When we came out of the international climate talks in Glasgow, you heard world leaders saying, our goal is to keep global temperatures from rising past 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, as compared to the beginning of the Industrial Age. [...] We are already 1.1 degree Celsius hotter. I'm talking about global average temperature today compared to the beginning of the Industrial Age."
[16:21] SS: "Europe still has a law on its books to reduce emissions by more than half by 2030. So Europe is continuing to do quite a bit. For example, it has a law that says no new internal combustion engine cars to be sold by 2035. It is pressing all commercial buildings to put solar panels on their roofs. It is rolling out a lot of wind. In some countries like Denmark, two thirds of its electricity comes from wind energy. And then in European cities, you're also seeing [...] congestion taxes, restrictions on internal combustion engine cars coming into the city. [...] Europe does still have something of a plan. But that's not enough. You need to have all of the big emitters, including the US, rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to avert climate catastrophes like the ones we're seeing now."