Fossil fuel is sort of a dirty word in environmental circles, but it still comprises over 80% of the world’s energy consumption. This week on Sea Change Radio, oil expert Daniel Dicker explains the complex role that oil and gas plays in the world’s economy. First, we take a look at the recent OPEC meetings and the effect that they’ll have on oil prices moving forward, then we get a snapshot of the challenges that the major oil producing countries face today. Lastly, we get a glimpse into how oil markets are reacting to the inevitable transition to renewable energy.
The Montreal Protocol that was signed in 1987 is widely regarded as one of the most important pieces of international cooperation on environmental issues. It created a phased ban on chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, the principal culprit of the so-called hole in the ozone layer, now greatly diminished, due in large part to this agreement. Just this past weekend, nearly 30 years later, representatives from 140 nations gathered in Kigali, Rwanda to amend the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This time, the aim was to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs, which don’t affect the ozone layer, but are among the most potent greenhouse gasses that humans produce. This week on Sea Change Radio, we talk with one of the key figures behind the Montreal Protocol and Kigali Amendment, international environmental lawyer and founder of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, Durwood Zaelke.
You know how hot your car gets on a sunny day? Wouldn’t it be great if all that sun-absorption could actually fuel your ride? Well, this week on Sea Change Radio we profile a small German startup called Sono Motors which is working on making that very thing happen. Sono Motors co-founder Jona Christians outlines how this automobile, draped in solar panels, will charge a battery for up to 250 kilometers of sun-powered driving, discusses the market landscape for this sort of technology, and tells us how the company recently raised $200,000 in crowd-source funding to make their vision real. Then, we revisit host Alex Wise‘s interview with Mike Tinskey from Ford Motors who, in 2014, talked about the company’s promising C-Max Solar Energi Concept car with solar panels built right into the roof.
There’s more than one way to support ecological conservation. Today on Sea Change Radio we talk with two individuals working on different fronts for the same cause. First, host Alex Wise speaks with Dr. Paul Salaman, the CEO of the Rainforest Trust, an international conservation organization. They talk about the organization’s efforts to defend fragile ecosystems, the technologies they use to monitor the species they protect, and their methods for engaging indigenous peoples, governments, and private companies to set aside land and ensure the preservation of vulnerable species. Then we hear from Shilpi Chhotray, an ocean advocate for Mission Blue who’s also the founder of Samudra Skin & Sea, a line of sustainable beauty products. If Chhotray’s name sounds familiar it may be because she was a Sea Change Radio guest in 2014, talking about the role of women in the burgeoning seaweed industry in India. That work in India inspired Chhotray to create a company that offers an alternative to conventional beauty products. Samudra Skin & Sea helps protect the ocean by crafting creams that use sustainably harvested seaweed, avoiding plastic throughout its supply chain, and partnering with ocean advocacy organizations to support a shared mission of ocean conservation.
An issue that didn’t come up in Monday’s presidential debate, and unfortunately may not show up in subsequent debates either, is, “What are the candidates’ water policies?” It is one of the most vital issues for all Americans, and for the globe, and yet it is almost never mentioned on the national political debate stage. But if you look for them, you’ll find that each of the two major party candidates for president do have positions on water — well, one has actual proposals, and the other one has a set of ill-conceived opinions that could theoretically inform policy. This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from the Washington correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle, Carolyn Lochhead, to compare Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on water. We will discuss the preposterous supposition advanced by one candidate that the California drought is just a figment of our collective imaginations ginned up by liberals, the idea that it is wasteful to allow rivers to flow to the sea, and Clinton’s vision for collaborative stewardship. Stay tuned as we dive deep into the politics of water.
What does decarbonization mean? Well, it’s not just what happens when your soda goes flat. Today on Sea Change Radio we talk with Jesse Jenkins, researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, about the decarbonization of the electric grid. We discuss the great progress being made in states like California, Texas, and New York, how fossil fuels and nuclear power might figure in the future, and the potential impact of something called distributed energy management systems.
Can simply changing how and what we grow really make a difference to a changing climate? This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, author and agricultural expert, Eric Toensmeier, is quite certain it can. We discuss smarter agricultural methods like using trees and grazing animals. And we talk about what might turn an enormous, slow-moving industry like agriculture onto a more sustainable path.
As the temperature and population continue to rise in the southwestern United States, water becomes scarcer than ever. How did we get here? Will the water dry up completely? This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss all things Colorado River Basin with author John Fleck, who’s just released a book on the subject. We look back at the struggle over water rights in Arizona, discuss how Mexico and the U.S. are cooperating over the Colorado River Delta, and talk about the complexities of growing alfalfa in the desert.
While some listeners might find it hard to fathom, the perceived unsightliness of rooftop solar panels can actually be a barrier to widespread adoption. There are homeowners associations and even municipalities from the suburbs of Dallas to Bordeaux, France, that restrict the endlessly renewable energy source that rooftop solar panels represent. But our guest today on Sea Change Radio, Oliver Koehler, is the CEO of a company called Suntegra that offers the perfect solution: solar panels that integrate into roof tiles. Koehler gives us a snapshot of his company, talks about Suntegra’s technology, and offers a glimpse of the competitive landscape. Then, we re-visit our discussion with Richard Lunt about transparent solar cells, another cutting-edge technology that can integrate with skylights and windows.
Since 1992, fish ’n chips fans may have noticed that there was no cod in their classic fried dish. That’s the year that the Canadian government issued a moratorium on fishing the popular, tasty species. It devastated the Newfoundland region’s economy, but it had to be done. The cod population had dwindled to nearly nothing at that time due to over-fishing and changing water temperatures. Our guest today on Sea Change Radio is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Abel, who recently wrote a piece for the Boston Globe about how the cod has actually rebounded in recent times. We talk about the region’s historical relationship with cod, how science-informed policy can help reverse human-generated ecological damage, and Abel’s upcoming film on the subject, Sacred Cod.