Challenging Climate

Challenging Climate

Asking tough questions about the science, technology, and politics of climate change, two climate researchers challenge leading experts on one of the defining issues of our age. Every two weeks, they explore how we can fight global warming by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, carbon removal, adaptation and solar geoengineering. Dr. Jesse Reynolds and Dr. Pete Irvine consider the roles of computer models and persuasive narratives, economics and public policy, and renewable energy and national security in the climate debate, and look beyond to issues such as biotechnology and international development. Support us at Patreon. Questions or comments? Email info@challengingclimate.org or tweet @ChalClimate See more information on Jesse Reynolds and Pete Irvine. Subscribe for email updates. music by Peter Danilchuk @clambgramb (IG/Twitter).

Episodes

February 6, 2024 51 mins

This episode’s guest is Janos Pasztor. He has four decades of work experience in the areas of energy, environment, climate change, and sustainable development, including roles as Executive Director of the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative (C2G) and UN Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Change. 

In this episode, we explore the political lens of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and solar radiation management (SRM), dis...

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David Stainforth is a Professorial Research Fellow at the London School of Economics. David has had a long career studying the climate problem and the challenges of making predictions of future climate change. His research spans the philosophy of climate science, climate economics, climate modelling, and decision-making under deep uncertainty.

In this episode, we discuss David’s new book ‘Predicting our climate future’, exploring th...

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David Keith is a Professor in the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago and the Founding Faculty Director of the Climate Systems Engineering initiative. Keith previously led the development of Harvard’s Solar Geoengineering Research Program.

In this episode, we discuss Keith’s Climate Systems Engineering initiatives, carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and geoengineering techniques. Drawing on David’s de...

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Jennifer Allan is a Strategic Adviser and Team Leader with Earth Negotiations Bulletin, and Lecturer at Cardiff University. Jen has attended roughly 40 UN conferences where states negotiate the rules of global climate governance. Her work explores how global rules are made and remade, and currently focuses on the politics of ecosystem services and green recovery. In this episode, we discuss with Jen key agenda themes in the forthco...

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Today’s episode is brought to you in collaboration with our friends at the Energy vs Climate podcast. Energy vs Climate breaks down the trade-offs and hard truths of the energy transition in Alberta, Canada, and beyond with energy experts David Keith, Sara Hastings-Simon and Ed Whittingham.  

In this episode, they speak with Greg Nemet, a Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affai...

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June 27, 2023 8 mins

As we break for the summer, listen here for some highlights of our previous episodes and catch up on the ones you've missed. See you in October!

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Richard S.J. Tol is a Professor at the Department of Economics, University of Sussex and the Professor of the Economics of Climate Change, Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Spatial Economics, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He is also the author of Climate Economics: Economic Analysis of Climate, Climate Change and Climate Policy. In this episode, Tol breaks down climate economics – the economic ...

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Emma Marris is an environmental writer and Institute Fellow at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. She has also written for National Geographic, the Atlantic, the New York Times, Wired, and other publications. In this episode, we dive into the concepts introduced in her book Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, such as wilderness and nature purity. We discuss the relationship between nature...

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Dr John Moore is a Research Professor at University of Lapland, Finland and Chief Scientist of GCESS at Beijing Normal University. His research focuses on geoengineering, sea level change, and ice sheet dynamics. In this episode, we take a deep dive into the cryosphere – the state and future of glaciers, sea ice and permafrost, as well as consider marine glacier geoengineering. John also shares his unique experience as a leader of ...

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Dr Steve Smith is the Executive Director of CO2RE, as well as Executive Director of the Oxford Net Zero initiative, based at the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. He also previously co-led the Climate Science Team at the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. In this episode, we take a holistic deep dive into Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) and discuss his expertise on net zero...

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Dr Heleen de Coninck is a Professor of Socio-Technical Innovation and Climate Change at Eindhoven University of Technology, and Associate Professor in Innovation Studies and Sustainability at Radboud University. She is also the newly appointed deputy chair of the Dutch Scientific Climate Council. 

In this episode, we discuss the four Net Zero transitions set out in the 2018 IPCC 1.5ºC report, and specifically how to facili...

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Dr David Fahey is the Director of the Chemical Sciences Laboratory in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and he also serves as a Co-Chair of its the Montreal Protocol’s Scientific Assessment Panel, which produces the quadrennial assessments of stratospheric ozone depletion. In this episode, we discuss flying planes into the stratosphere to conduct experiments on ozone depletion, the success of the Montreal ...

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Chris Stark is the Chief Executive of the UK‘s Climate Change Committee. Previously, he worked as the Director of Energy and Climate Change in the Scottish Government. In this episode, Chris breaks down the role of the CCC in UK’s climate policy. We then take a close look at how UK has done so far in cutting emissions, what else needs to be done, and the challenges that lie ahead. We end off with a discussion of where geoengineerin...

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Ken Caldeira is a senior scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science and is also a senior scientist at Breakthrough Energy. Ken has a wide-spectrum approach to analyzing the world’s climate systems - with particular interests in modeling the Earth system and the energy transition, and in using experiments and observation to study our changing coasts and coral reefs. 

In this episode, Ken takes us through his fascinat...

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Andrew Revkin is one of the world's leading science and environmental journalists, with over 30 years' experience thinking and writing about climate change and sustainability. He has written at The New York Times and ProPublica, and his current outlet is “Sustain What?” at Substack. He is also the founding director of the new Initiative on Communication and Sustainability at Columbia University's Earth Institute. 

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Dr Daniel Harrison is an oceanographer at Southern Cross University in Australia. His research focuses on how engineering intervention in marine systems can be used to improve ecological, environmental, or societal outcomes. In this episode, we explore Daniel’s work in applying Marine Cloud Brightening (MCB) to protect the Great Barrier Reef against global warming. We find out what MCB is, discuss how it can be implemented responsi...

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January 24, 2023 48 mins

Dr Erica Thompson is a Senior Policy Fellow in Ethics of Modelling and Simulation at the LSE Data Science Institute. Erica's research involves the appropriate use of mathematical and computational modelling to inform real-world decision-making. In this episode, we discuss Erica’s recent book, Escape from Model Land and tackle issues such as bias, disillusioning science communication to help us get out of the ‘Model Land’ world...

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Luke Iseman is the founder of Make Sunsets, a recently launched startup that is selling “cooling credits” on the promise that they will release sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere using weather balloons. In this episode, we discuss Make Sunset’s mission to “substantially lower global temperatures,” the details of their offering, the technical challenges for verifying their cooling credits, and the potential political repercussion...

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December 27, 2022 39 mins

Our year-end special celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Challenging Climate podcast. In this episode, Pete and Jesse reflect on the past 25 episodes, whether we achieved our vision for the podcast thus far, how we’ve navigated controversial guest speakers and learning to balance diversity of thought. 

Looking forward into 2023, we discuss new topics we want to explore, and old topics we hope to dive into at greater depths an...

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Dr Patrick Brown is the Co-director of the Climate & Energy group at the Breakthrough Institute and Adjunct lecturer in Energy Policy & Climate at Johns Hopkins University. In this episode, we discuss Patrick’s expertise on the economic impacts of extreme weather, and unpack trends and attributable risk. We then venture into a broader scope based on his essay, ‘The obvious climate strategy nobody will talk about’, which car...

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