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💬 "Climate Crisis, Climate Grief, Climate Action & US Climate Policy"

CleanTech Talk

Photo by Li-An Lim / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Zach Shahan
Guest: Bill McKibben | Author
Category: 💬 Opinion

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[3:01] “I'm feeling more of [climate grief] right at the moment than I have in a long time. […] This summer, the pictures flooding in from around the world […] are just remarkable and incredibly powerful. And, of course, more powerful when one knows that for every picture we get out of Western Europe, there are 10 such scenes in the developing world where there aren't camera crews […]. In my experience, the only way to deal with that emotional toll, and it's not a perfect solution, but it's a partial one, is to be as active […] possible. And I think that there are times when the only antidote in my life for that sadness that works is anger, and anger particularly at the forces in our society, the fossil fuel industry, above all, that have systematically lied about this for decades and put us in the position where we are. I'm not sure that that anger is any emotionally healthier than the grief, but it's probably more productive in terms of getting stuff done, because we're still at a place where breaking the political power of the fossil fuel industry is crucial to working at the pace that we now need to go.”

[5:55] “It feels to me like the Biden administration is doing what they can right now. […] It now looks like we've got this bipartisan infrastructure bill, which isn't particularly good on climate and includes a lot of stupid giveaways to the fossil fuel industry. But it's something and it was the price forgetting this other reconciliation, three and a half trillion dollar thing that we're going to be fighting over for the next couple of months. And it really seems to represent the one big chance that America will take a big cut at the climate crisis in this decade. And so I think it's incumbent on all of us to figure out how we can help make that happen. […] Our political machine is clearly geared to prevent change, not to accelerate it. It's an antiquated system in every way from the filibuster on the electoral college on down. And right now, in an era when we need incredibly urgent action, that's particularly frustrating. But that said, what a difference a year has made. […] The fact that we came into 2020, with a president of the United States who believed that climate change was a hoax invented by the Chinese. […] So thank God for small blessings anyway.”

[9:05] “I think there are three things that are now working in conjunction [with] giving us an opening here. One is […] that Mother Nature is a very good educator. And at the moment, she's basically hitting us upside the head […]. It turns out that warnings from scientists were not enough. We didn't pay attention. […] The second thing that matters is that we've spent the last 10 years building movements. And so we can, to some extent, capitalize on those opportunities, and help people see what they mean. And you can see the effects of those movements, for instance, in the fact that there's now lots […] of good climate journalism out there in a way that wasn't even [there] five years ago […]. The third thing, equally important […] is the work that engineers did over the last decade. And the fact that we've dropped the price of solar power, wind power, battery storage, to the point where it's the cheapest way to produce energy on this planet, makes everything less scary for most people.”

[13:20] “California is the most interesting place in the world to watch what's going on. Because on the one hand, they're doing more with tech, clean tech in particular, than any place outside of China. […] And at the same time, […] it's an open question about how much of this state is going to be habitable by humans going forward. […] The summer and early autumn are just periods of fear for people as they wait for the next fire to break out. And the rest of us sense that because our skies here in Vermont were filled with haze from the big wildfires out west. […] They told us our air quality was unhealthy, we should go indoors, but you really sense it if you're living there, in the place that we used to think was sort of our synonym for kind of paradise.”

[19:40] “Our basic task is to stop burning things on planet Earth, coal, gas, oil, wood. […] Because the fossil fuel industry has big political power, there'll be huge amounts of money spent, trying somehow to prop up their system. So hydrogen, carbon storage […], none of it makes much sense. You can do it, some of it. But once you've put the huge capture and sequestration thing on the smokestack and built all the pipe to put it down in the salt mine […], you're obviously way better off just having spent the money building wind turbines. The only thing that we're preserving, by doing this, is the business model of the fossil fuel industry. [..] There's more jobs to be had, building out an electrified world. The only thing that suffers in that world are the fortunes of people who own coal mines and oil wells.”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 23 min | 🗓️ 09/24/2021
✅ Time saved: 21 min

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