Monthly Archives: March 2016

Alexandria Sage on Self-Driving Vehicles

AlexSageThe glamour of the limousine is undeniable – who wouldn’t want to be shuttled about town without a care in the world? Traffic, parking, sobriety? Somebody else’s problem! With the introduction of the self-driving car, limo luxury could become pretty commonplace. As with many new technologies, though, self-driving cars bring up myriad sustainability, legal. and ethical questions. These questions notwithstanding, it appears that the self-driving car is coming, and coming soon: the Obama administration recently announced that the US government will be pledging to invest nearly $4 billion in autonomous driving technology over the next decade. Meanwhile, deep-pocketed companies like Google, Toyota, Über and General Motors have made their own investments into self-driving vehicles. This week on Sea Change Radio, we learn more about this emerging technology from Reuters Transportation Technology Correspondent, Alexandria Sage.

MIT Team Turning Fumes Into Fuel

GregStephanopoulosYou know that sick feeling when you look at a smokestack belching noxious gases into the air? Well, what if you knew that the gas waste coming from that smokestack was getting turned into a usable, liquid fuel? That’s the technology that an MIT professor, Gregory Stephanopoulos, and his colleagues are working on and so far, the results have been quite promising. This week on Sea Change Radio, we learn more about this ground-breaking technology from Prof. Stephanopoulos and the promise that it holds. Then, we hear from entrepreneur Todd Thorner about independent power producers and the potential of home battery storage technology.

Desalination: Is It Time To Drink The Pacific?

SammyRothTransforming ocean water into potable drinking water seems so remarkably cool on so many levels. But alas, desalination remains both expensive and energy intensive. Up to this point, it has only been tried in relatively wealthy, arid nations like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. But with the serious threat that the ongoing drought poses to the nation’s breadbasket, it’s possible that desalination technology could soon be arriving on the golden shores of California. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with energy reporter from The Desert Sun, Sammy Roth. He recently researched a piece about efforts to make desalination more commonplace in California.

David Rolf: The $15 Minimum Wage Fight

DavidRolfBack in 2014 we spoke with David Rolf, president of the Pacific Northwest branch of SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, about his efforts to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, and what happens to sustainability in the face of this trend. Since then, Seattle actually raised its minimum wage and what happened? The sky has certainly not fallen. In Seattle, unemployment has bottomed out to 3.5%, which is considered essentially full employment. Costco, the nation’s second largest retailer recently announced it will be raising the minimum wage for its employees to $13 an hour and discussions of increasing the minimum wage have played prominently in the Democratic debates. Today on Sea Change Radio we revisit host Alex Wise‘s conversation with David Rolf, covering the interconnections between economic and environmental health, and how a movement to improve wages and work conditions can also support efforts to protect the earth.

Methane Disdain

TimMcDonnellAlong with the Affordable Care Act, the Clean Power Plan may end up being one of President Obama’s signature accomplishments. We learned recently, though, about the US Supreme Court’s potential role in determining the fate of the plan. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with two journalists who have been covering other aspects of the plan. First, Mother Jones journalist Tim McDonnell joins us to talk about methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas that is not targeted in the Clean Power Plan or the Paris Agreement, and whose emissions from the oil and gas industry are largely unknown. We discuss the Aliso Canyon leak, efforts to monitor methane, and how much of the methane problem is cows. Then, Washington Post reporter Steven Mufson provides a who’s who in the efforts to obstruct the implementation of the Clean Power Plan.