Bionic Planet: Reversing Climate Change by Restoring Nature

Bionic Planet: Reversing Climate Change by Restoring Nature

We've entered a new epoch: the Anthropocene, and nothing is as it was. Not the trees, not the seas – not the forests, farms, or fields – and not the global economy that depends on all of these. What does this mean for your investments, your family's future, and the future of man? Each week, we dive into these issues to help you Navigate the New Reality.... Show More

Episodes

January 1, 2021 63 min

The UN's Emissions Gap Report showed that the current Paris Agreement Climate Plans (NDCs )will leave us nowhere near where we need to be to avert a climate catastrophe.

Will Burns of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy at American University joins me in a year-end retrospective.

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Today I speak with environmental scientist Jason Funk, who runs the Land Use and Climate Knowledge Initiative (LUCKI) about the important findings of a paper called "Long-term thermal sensitivity of earth's tropical forests," which looks at whether forests can continue to pull carbon from the atmosphere as temperatures rise. What they found is: it's complicated.

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In this episode, we speak with oceanographer and sedimentologist Steve Crooks, one of the world's leading authorities on coastal ecosystems and climate change.

Related Link: https://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/articles/em-audio-and-video-em-vietnamese-deputy-prime-minister-opens-katoomba-xvii-vows-to-integrate-economy-and-environment/

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In this episode, which originally aired in October, 2018, we speak with the Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley, who says climate change and civil rights are inexorably intertwined, and not just because the destruction of our living ecosystems is robbing us of our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Born in Kansas and raised in California, Rev Durley finished high-school in Oregon and then marched with Martin Luther King J...

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If there's one thing COVID-19 reminds us, it's that global institutions matter. For that reason, I'm replaying this 2016 episode looking at the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Global greenhouse-gas emissions will drop 5.5 percent this year because of COVID-19, but they must drop 7.6 percent every year to meet the Paris Agreement's 1.5C target. Forest carbon offsets provide one way of getting there fast, but can we trust these offsets? Do they do what they say they do? This week, we hear how the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) handles carbon accounting at different scales. And my guest, Naomi Swickard,...

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When US President Donald Trump disbanded his country's pandemic response team, he did so because "I don't like having thousands of people around when we don't need them."

That cost-cutting measure could cost hundreds of thousands of lives, and it's a classic example of what happens when we value efficiency over resilience. 

What are efficiency and resilience?

Today we draw on the work of Cardiff University L...

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Costa Rica says it will have zero net greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, and its electrical grid already runs on 99 percent renewable energy.

Today's guest is a key part of its success.

As Minister of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications,  Carlos Manuel Rodriguez has overseen programs that tripled the country's forest coverage while slashing its use of fossil fuels -- all while growing its economy.

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Today's guest, Daniel Palken, volunteers with a group called the Citizens Climate Lobby, or "CCL", which aims to slash US greenhouse-gas emissions by imposing a fee on fossil fuels.

The fee will be based on the amount of greenhouse gas that the coal, gasoline, and jet fuels will generate when we burn them, and it will probably make fossil-fuel energy more expensive.

But there's a catch -- or, the opposite of a catch...

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February 1, 2020 50 min

Developing countries are the most vulnerable to – and least responsible for – climate change, but new research shows that some of them can dramatically boost their economies by managing their forests, farms, and fields in ways that pull greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere.

 

At a carbon price of $50 for every metric ton of CO2 removed from the atmosphere, for example, Costa Rica can go beyond net-zero and end up pulling four t...

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There's a lot of money sloshing around forests, and most of it goes into agricultural subsidies and investments that destroy forests, while only a trickle goes into programs that save them.

That's why today's guest, Charlotte Streck, wants to implement a Marshall Plan for Forests.

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On the eve of year-end climate talks in Madrid, I revisit my 2017 conversation with Bronson Griscom, Director of Forest Carbon Science for the Nature Conservancy.  He headed up a team of three dozen researchers from almost two dozen institutions tasked with identifying once and for all the realistic potential of using nature as a bulwark against climate change.  The result is a report called "Natural Climate Solutions", whi...

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In this second part of our three-part series on the history of forests in the Paris Climate Agreement, we hear how REDD+ got its name and made its way into the climate negotiations. Special Guest: Kevin Conrad of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations

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2019 is shaping up to be a pivotal summer in a pivotal year in the critical race to meet the climate challenge, with major media finally discovering the role that healthy forests can play in fixing the mess.

In this episode, we examine the 40-year effort to slow climate change by saving forests. It's the first of three parts developed in accompaniment with the Ecosystem Marketplace series "Forests, Farms, and the Global Car...

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We eat to live, but the food we’re eating is killing us – not just because of what it does to our bodies, but because of what it does to our climate.

Beef, for example, comes from cows that burp out methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps up to 80-times more heat than carbon dioxide does, and we often chop carbon-absorbing forests to graze those methane-emitting cows, only to throw away one-third of all the food we p...

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Environmental NGOs have long pressured companies to reduce their impact on forests, and companies have long complained that every NGO seems to come with different demands.

Now a coalition of more than a dozen NGOs have called the corporate bluff by creating a framework that provides a universal way of accounting for deforestation.

They call it the Accountability Framework, and today's guest, Jeff Milder, is one of the people he...

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It's an article of faith among some on the left that markets and capitalism are the roots of all evil, while some on the right see pure, free markets as the invisible hand of God, and regulation as the work of the Devil.

Most economists will tell you they're both wrong, because there's no such thing as either a pure free market or a marketless society. We need markets to get things done, and we need governance to keep m...

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Environmental scientist Tim Male has worked the conservation puzzle from both the NGO and governmental sector -- first with NGOs like Environmental Defense Fund, then as an elected councilman, and finally as an adviser to the Obama Administration's Council on Environmental Quality. In 2017, he distilled his views in a paper called "Nature, Paid on Delivery", which examines the ways the US states of Louisiana, Maryland, ...

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We've been fairly US-centric lately, but only because so much is finally happening there. In today's episode, we speak with Rhiana Gunn-Wright of New Consensus. That's the Think Tank that's helping freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and veteran Senator Ed Markey develop policy to support the Green New Deal they proposed last month.

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