A Matter of Degrees

A Matter of Degrees

Give up your climate guilt. Sharpen your curiosity. Join Dr. Leah Stokes and Dr. Katharine Wilkinson as they tell stories about the powerful forces behind climate change — and the tools we have to fix it. This show makes sense of big climate questions and critical topics. Our episodes are filled with stories of bold climate leadership, groundbreaking campaigns, and people doing their best to be part of the solution. A Matter of Degrees is produced in partnership with FRQNCY Media, The 2035 Initiative at UC Santa Barbara, and The All We Can Save Project.


December 1, 2022 37 min

In this episode, we investigate corporate climate commitments and how to make them stronger. We get to the root of zero-emissions pledges and greenwashing — specifically in the oil and gas industry. 

Dr. Paasha Mahdavi, associate professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, joins us to report this story. Paasha talks with Louise Rouse, a consultant who teams up with investors to push corporations fo...

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This episode delves into the murky world of cryptocurrency and its impact on our planet. Join Katharine and Leah as they discover how digital currencies are breathing new life into previously shuttered coal plants across the United States. 

This episode features Alex de Vries, data scientist and founder of Digiconimist, an online platform that tracks Bitcoin’s energy consumption; Anne Hedges, the director of policy and legislative a...

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November 3, 2022 59 min

This episode is all about feelings. You’ve heard the phrase “climate grief,” right? But how do we deal with what it does to our hearts, minds, and bodies? And how might it impact the climate action we take?

This episode features Dr. Britt Wray, a Stanford-based author and researcher on climate and mental health; somatic coach and climate grief worker, Selin Nurgün; and Zen priest and Environmental Defense Fund senior scientist, Dr. ...

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"We must understand that we are in a very specific moment in time, and this window is going to shut on us. But it doesn’t have to shut on us, if we act.” — Vice President Kamala Harris on A Matter of Degrees

Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, we had the honor of joining Vice President Harris live in San Francisco for a conversation about climate leadership, justice, and solutions. She underlined the critical importance of the ...

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The third and final installment of our miniseries considers the question “What can I do?” from a political perspective. Our expert guests share stories of nailbiter elections for local office and the victorious legislative campaign to ban gas in new buildings in New York City. We lay out a four-step guide to getting pro-climate candidates elected, supporting them in office, and keeping them accountable.

This episode features Carolin...

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In this episode, we continue to unpack the question “What can I do?” The second installment of our miniseries zeroes in on our professional lives — ways to approach climate action within the workplace. We learn that almost any job can be a climate job. And, if need be, we can pursue “career divestment.”

This episode features Amanda Suter Gallardo, deputy petroleum administrator for the City of Los Angeles and former Terra.do fellow,...

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As climate people, we hear this question again and again: “What can I do?” Many of us are trying to figure out how to help address the climate crisis. So, we’re taking on that critical question in a three-part miniseries. The first episode is all about The Personal — key ways we can act on climate in our own lives and create meaningful, durable change. Hint: it involves stoves and cash.

This episode features Sarah Lazarovic, artist,...

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Welcome back, climate-curious friends — it’s time for Season 3 of A Matter of Degrees. This season we’ll tackle some critical topics and big questions, starting with one we’re all asking when it comes to the climate crisis: “What can I do?”

Season 3 kicks off (September 15!) with a three-part miniseries to answer that question. We’ll talk with some brilliant folks and illuminate what we can do personally, professionally, and politic...

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Welcome back to A Matter of Degrees! While we’ve been hard at work producing season three of the show, the climate movement has been going through a lot of twists and turns. Most recently, after announcing he would not support climate investments in a budget reconciliation deal, Senator Joe Manchin abruptly made a historic climate deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA).

The bill inc...

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September 29, 2021 52 min

This episode is a collaboration between A Matter Of Degrees and the Gimlet podcast How To Save A Planet.

Take a look at many of the spaces where climate-related decisions are being made — from government to business to media — and you'll notice a numbers problem. Despite being roughly half the people on the planet, women rarely have equal representation in critical climate decision-making spaces. This isn’t just bad for women. I...

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September 16, 2021 35 min

In the jungles of the Brazilian Amazon, groups of farmers and their families get by on what they can grow with the land beneath their feet. They're known in Brazil as “landless workers,” a social movement with the goal of increasing land access and ownership for the country’s rural poor. 

These landless workers -- sometimes called land guardians or protectors -- are a symbol for the power imbalances that have destroyed the Amazo...

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This episode is a collaboration between A Matter Of Degrees and the Gimlet podcast How To Save A Planet.

Coal-fired power plants are closing at record rates. But many are still scheduled to remain operational for the foreseeable future -- despite losing lots of money every year.

How do we shut these uneconomic coal plants down faster? One answer: coal debt securitization.

Coal debt securitization is like refinancing a mortgage. States...

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Since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2015, banks and large investors have dumped $3.8 trillion into fossil fuels.

It's a staggering number. This is why writer and activist Bill McKibben calls money the "oxygen" that fuels the fire of global warming. While the wildfires burning around the world are getting worse each year, it’s like the world's bankers are blowing on those fires, making them even bigger.


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Advocates are turning their attention to a new front in the climate war: the fossil-gas hookups in our homes that fuel burners, boilers, and other household appliances.

If we want to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we need to electrify the hundreds of millions of machines inside our homes and buildings as fast as possible. But the gas industry won’t go down without a fight.

Gas industry front groups are infiltrating neighborhoo...

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When Hurricanes Maria and Irma hit Puerto Rico in 2017, they destroyed the island’s fragile food system. Farms of all sizes were battered, with around 80 percent of the island's crop value wiped out.

But a group of Puerto Rican farmers practicing an old way of farming, called agroecology, saw their operations bounce back much faster than conventional farms. What does their experience tell us about how to build and protect food s...

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July 26, 2021 43 min

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan promises big investments in the clean-energy economy, including clean energy workforce and education programs. Economic progress and clean climate action are inextricably linked. 

But how can we make sure that those dollars go to communities of color who have already been most impacted by climate change and consistently shut out of past federal programs promising transformational change? And to g...

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July 19, 2021 37 min

Abuse of soil, the atmosphere, and communities of color have gone hand in hand. Through reclaiming ancestral connection to the soil, Black farmers are healing the entangled harms of colonization, capitalism, and White supremacy and moving agricultural climate solutions forward in the process. 

In this episode, we feature an audio essay that wrestles with these themes. The essay is titled “Black Gold” by Leah Penniman, an activist, f...

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Baked into the American Jobs Plan is an ambitious proposal to set a federally-mandated Clean Electricity Standard of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035. It would put the US on track to get emissions under control and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. That is, if it gets through Congress. 

In this episode, Co-host Leah Stokes speaks with a variety of guests who are part of the broad coalition supporting the proposal. What ...

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Fossil fuel companies are tapping into America’s “best and brightest” at top banks, public relations and advertising firms, law firms, and strategy consulting firms.

These organizations supply critical services to keep the fossil fuel industry humming: creative work, strategy, legal representation, financing. They’re services that oil and gas companies need to remain powerful.

In this episode (our first of the second season!) Dr. Kat...

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We're back with another live edition of the show! So much is happening in the Biden era. We didn't want to wait until our second season to unpack all the activity.

This week, we feature a conversation with Julian Brave NoiseCat that we recorded at the Crosscut Festival. 

Julian is a writer, activist, and policy expert with a deep understanding of Washington climate politics. Julian was actually a guest correspondent in season...

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