War has suddenly returned to Europe. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been swift, shocking, and devastating. In addition to killing thousands of civilians and soldiers, the incursion has rocked global financial markets and galvanized the West against Russia in ways not seen since the Cold War. This week on Sea Change Radio, we talk to Russian foreign policy expert Dr. Anne Clunan to learn more about this unilateral act of military aggression. We examine Vladimir Putin’s possible motivations in invading a sovereign nation like Ukraine, look at the ways the war will affect energy markets, and talk about how Russia’s massive nuclear arsenal may influence diplomatic and military strategy.Read the show transcript
When momentum starts to build, people like to exclaim, “Now we’re cooking with gas!” Well, a recent study out of Stanford University might have us re-thinking that expression. The study found that methane leaking from stoves inside U.S. homes has the same climate impact as about half a million gasoline-powered cars and, furthermore, that these stoves expose household members to respiratory disease-triggering pollutants. Findings like these are prompting some jurisdictions, like the US’s largest urban center, New York City, to ban gas hook-ups in new buildings. Keep in mind that approximately 2000 new buildings are erected there each year. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with Eric Lebel, part of the Stanford research team that conducted the study, to learn more about their methods and findings. We discuss the impact that America’s 40 million gas stoves might be having on the air we breathe (both inside and out of our homes), how to transition away from these types of appliances, and why in many ways it’s an environmental justice issue.Read the show transcript
On the heels of being impeached by the House of Representatives, Donald Trump unsurprisingly created a diversion, having a key Iranian General assassinated by US drones. But as tensions in the Middle East mounted, the price of oil somehow remained relatively steady. Why was this the case? This week on Sea Change Radio, we talk oil with energy expert Daniel Dicker. We discuss the current state of global oil markets, learn the important differences between sweet and sour crude, and examine Dicker’s contention that the best thing for the environment would be much higher oil prices.Read the show transcript
It comes as little surprise that the author of a book entitled Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future is a critic of the natural gas industry and a proponent of peak oil theory. With the recent plunge in oil prices, it feels like the right time to check back in with Richard Heinberg of the Post-Carbon Institute and get his perspective on how plunging oil prices will affect the energy and transportation industries. Read the show transcript
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.
Imagine how you’d feel if instead of paying you the usual $5,000 a month, your employer suddenly whittled your paycheck down to $500 a month – in order to pay for your boss’s new private jet. Well, that’s pretty much how thousands of landowners who leased their land to natural gas giant, Chesapeake Energy feel right about now.
When we think of the downside of the natural gas boom in this country, we usually think of the potential of environmental harm. But as residents in places like Pennsylvania and West Virginia are discovering, financial hazards lay in the weeds as well. This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, award-winning journalist, Abrahm Lustgarten, of Pro Publica, discusses his recent investigation that has exposed alleged mass-scale financial wrongdoing by Chesapeake Energy, one of the nation’s biggest oil and gas companies. Lustgarten will explain how sometimes when you make a deal with the devil, you get burned.
We’ve spoken to Richard Heinberg in the past about several problems inherent to our carbon-based economy, from peak oil, to coal to what he has dubbed “the end of growth.”
Now the author and senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute has a new book focusing on the natural gas industry’s practice of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise talks with Heinberg about his book, titled Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future, and delve into the economic and environmental factors behind the natural gas boom, which to some is an important bridge fuel and to others is fool’s gold.
Did you see how they covered President Obama’s recent big environmental speech on the Sunday political talk shows? No? That’s because none of the Sunday morning shows discussed it at all. In spite of its paltry coverage on the major networks, the speech is being heralded by some environmentalists as historical, while others are critiquing the president for not going far enough. This week on Sea Change Radio, we do our part to make up for the networks’ deficient analysis of this important speech by talking with Alex Trembath of the Breakthrough Institute. The Breakthrough Institute is an American think tank interested in “modernizing environmentalism for the 21st century.” While their positions on nuclear power and natural gas have raised controversy in environmental circles, they are a leading voice on progressive energy policy and how the government can advance innovation that promotes a healthy planet.
One of the most alluring answers to the climate change conundrum is a transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to a hydrogen-based economy. As hydrogen power technology continues to evolve, it certainly seems like a promising way to decarbonize our energy system – but what are the practical considerations? Unlike carbon-based energy sources, there are no natural reservoirs of hydrogen on the planet; moreover, it must be bound to a carrier like natural gas or water. This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio is hydrogen vehicle fuel technology expert, Robert Boyd. Boyd and host Alex Wise discuss this relatively clean and plentiful resource, and what he and others are doing to help get us over the production and distribution hurdles that stand between us and a shift to a hydrogen-based economy.
Remember when the tobacco industry hired a PR firm to convince us all that smoking wasn’t addictive and didn’t cause cancer? Now we know better but the next big lie is coming from the natural gas industry who hired that same PR firm to convince us that fracking isn’t bad for us or the earth. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Josh Fox, director of the 2010 Oscar-nominated film, Gasland, which showed audiences all over the world the devastating impact of hydraulic fracturing, from cancer to flammable tap water. His latest project, The Sky Is Pink, is a documentary short that uncovers the obfuscation campaign the natural gas industry has launched in response to Gasland and growing activism against this controversial drilling practice. On the eve of New York’s decision to frack or not to frack, Fox’s insights and this film couldn’t be more timely.