If you follow tech news, it’s pretty hard to miss stories reminding us of the tremendous potential that lithium-ion batteries have in store for the world – longer times to gaze into our dazzling new smartphones and longer distances to travel in our cutting-edge electric cars without a re-charge. And yet, most of us probably don’t think too much about the environmental cost of mining all of this lithium. In Australia and South America where 80-90 percent of the world’s raw lithium comes from, the extraction process is dirty and energy intensive. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Sammy Roth of the Los Angeles Times about the promise of extracting lithium in a much cleaner way right here in the US. We learn about plans to extract lithium from the Salton Sea geothermal fields in the Southern California desert, how this process will be viewed by environmentalists and what it could mean for the lithium industry.
Even the most casual followers of energy policy have become aware of the controversy surrounding the massive expansion of fracking in this country over the past decade. Successful attempts to lift the curtain on fracking, like Josh Fox’s 2010 documentary film Gasland, have spurred a grassroots movement to push back on natural gas giants and lobbyists who would have us believe that fracking is clean and safe. So who is winning this battle for America’s health and well-being, fought on the parallel fronts of policy and PR?
This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Neela Banerjee, a journalist who covers energy and environmental policy for the Los Angeles Times, to get an update on the latest developments in natural gas exploration. She talks about the fight to keep drinking water safe around the 77,000 natural gas wells throughout the country, and the controversy surrounding the use of unpermitted diesel fuel in the fracking process.
*Here’s a link to Sea Change Radio’s 2012 interview with Josh Fox
When it comes to legitimate, progressive climate change policy, the U.S. has certainly dropped the ball on the global stage. In 2006, California began a bid to reverse this trend with Assembly Bill 32 – the Global Warming Solutions Act, that aggressively tries to address the climate crisis. Since California is the nation’s most populous state and the world’s 8th largest economy, its leadership on climate change can have a far-reaching impact. But the Global Warming Solutions Act is under attack. This Fall, Californians will vote on Proposition 23, a ballot initiative designed to reverse themeasures of the 2006 climate law.
This week on Sea Change Radio, we take an in-depth look at Proposition 23. We hear from LA Times environmental reporter, Margot Roosevelt and speak to activists and legislators working to to defeat Prop. 23, including No On 23 spokesman, Steve Maviglio, California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, and Democracy For America‘s Janet Stromberg.