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A biweekly — and bipartisan — podcast on energy and environmental politics in America.

A biweekly — and bipartisan — podcast on energy and environmental politics in America.
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A biweekly — and bipartisan — podcast on energy and environmental politics in America.




Global Warming Solutions for a Polarized Political Climate

Is there a bipartisan path forward on meaningful climate policy in America? If so, what does it look like? Those are questions we’ve been grappling with on Political Climate this entire podcast season. Now we’re putting them — point blank — to our Democrat and Republican co-hosts. This is our solutions show, and our final episode for 2018. We kick it off with a rundown of the latest news headlines and issues to watch heading into the new year, including a coal-friendly Democrat taking a...


The Sunrise Movement and a Blue Wave

The Sunrise Movement over a blue wave. It sounds like a tropical scene, but it was actually the state of affairs last week on Capitol Hill. As Democrats prepare to take control of the House in 2019, a group of young activists — backed by Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — have put climate change front and center on the post-election agenda. And on protest signs right in front of Nancy Pelosi’s office door, as she seeks to become the next House speaker. In this episode of...


Midterm Results: Was Climate a Winner?

Democrats have claimed the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections. It gives the party powerful new oversight authority. But will it translate to meaningful action on climate and clean energy? Several moderate Republicans were voted out of Congress this week, casting doubt on any hope of bipartisan legislation. At the same time, Democrats now have chance to block the GOP's deregulatory activity and put climate and clean energy back the national agenda. Then there are the...


LIVE: A Green Wave Election?

We’ve heard a lot about the potential for a "blue wave" in this year’s midterms — but what about a green one? We’re talking about all things climate and clean energy in the 2018 midterm election in this special episode of Political Climate, recorded live at Yale University. It’s less than a week until voting day. So how are climate and clean energy playing into this year’s election, for both Democrats and Republicans? In this show we’ll dissect campaign ads, talk about some tight races,...


California’s Clean Air Czar on the Fight for Fuel Economy

A battle over the future of U.S. clean car standards just stepped up a gear. We sit down with the woman leading the charge against Trump to keep more stringent fuel economy rules in place. Mary Nichols is currently on her second tour as chair of the California Air Resources Board. Arguably no single individual has done more to advance the Golden State’s pioneering — and bipartisan — effort to clean up its air and combat climate change. In this episode, we get the backstory on California’s...


No Planet, No Politics

Time is running out to combat climate change. The United Nations has released an alarming new climate science report — but will it even matter? We discuss how the report is being received by leaders in the U.S. and abroad. Plus, we look at the politics of ditching coal power. The new UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report calls for a global coal phase out by 2050. How feasible is that? Finally, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed. We wrap up the show by wading into what...


Finding (Politically Viable) Climate Solutions

Cutting fossil fuel subsidies, updating building codes, offering electric vehicle ridesharing programs for farm workers, and more. In this show, we talk climate solutions. A new landmark United Nations climate report concluded that world leaders have just 12 years to fundamentally restructure society, including dramatic changes to the energy system, if we are to avoid the most disastrous impacts of climate change. That’s not a very sunny outlook. Particularly in today’s partisan political...


The Business Case for Carbon Pricing

Is an federal carbon price worth pursuing in a politically divided United States? We hear the case for why it is. Advocates say an economy-wide carbon tax would send a clear market signal to emitters, while accounting for the externalities and risks that fossil fuels pose to the U.S. economy. The concept aligns with classic conservative principles on small government and rooting solutions in the free-market. But for all the talk of markets and economics, most Republican lawmakers find a...


California's Quest for Deep Decarbonization

“Decarbonization” was the catchword of last week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. Stakeholders from all over the world made new commitments to combatting climate change. But the spotlight was really on California, where Governor Jerry Brown signed an historic bill into law — requiring the state to power its electric grid with 100 percent carbon-free resources by 2045. That’s not all. Brown kicked off the week with a bang by also signing an executive order committing the...


Taking 100% From 'Radical' to Reality

California lawmakers just passed an historic 100 percent clean electricity mandate. A few years ago, advocating for 100 percent clean energy was considered radical. Even some political allies of the cause argued that the concept was so far-fetched it was damaging to the climate movement. Democratic podcast co-host Brandon Hurlbut recalls the early days of championing 100 percent renewables as a member of the Solutions Project — and the lessons learned. Next, we hear from Georgia Public...


Senator Heinrich's 100% Clean Energy Vision

Senator Martin Heinrich believes a 100 percent clean energy electric grid is within reach during his lifetime. There will be technical challenges to overcome, but it’s “completely doable,” he said, in an exclusive interview with Political Climate. This week marks the launch of Senator Heinrich’s “Clean Energy Vision,” a part of his re-election campaign for this fall. The ad and supporting document outline a multi-pronged approach for strengthening New Mexico's clean energy economy —...


Too Alarmist? Not Alarmist Enough?

Are people who care about climate change downplaying the issue under social and political pressure? Has their alarmism been too muted? Or has the outcry become so loud that it's drowning out the possibility of collective action? The jury is out. In this episode of Political Climate, we tackle a difficult question posed by a listener on the severity of the climate threat and the appropriate policy response. Amy Harder, energy and climate reporter for Axios, joins us to discuss. But first we...


LIVE: 'What's So Upsetting?'

Political tribalism has created gridlock on climate policy — even more so than the polarization on climate science — according to a new peer-reviewed study. If that’s the case, is there any hope of action any time soon? Tensions are running high. It’s officially less than 100 days until the 2018 midterm election. Democrats are angry and hell-bent on taking back Congress. Republicans are fighting to keep it. Will climate change even be on the election agenda? We discuss in this episode,...


Millennials Seek Bipartisan Action on Climate

What does the rise of millennials mean for climate action? Will this plugged-in generation make climate change a priority? Can they find common ground between liberals and conservatives to solve this issue collectively? Millennials are on the brink of becoming the largest generation in America. That means they will have an enormous impact on U.S. politics in the years ahead. In fact, they’re having an impact on politics already. In this episode of Political Climate we talk to millennials...


Top EPA Official Talks Policy Post Pruitt

Scott Pruitt is officially out at the Environmental Protection Agency. Former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler has stepped in as acting administrator. What does this mean for U.S. climate policy? We asked a top EPA official. In this episode, Mandy Gunasekara, principal deputy assistant administrator at the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, joins us in-studio to discuss the agency's priorities in the wake of the leadership shake-up. Gunasekara weighs in on replacing the Clean Power Plan and...


Fossil Fuel Dollars and Democrats

The Democratic National Committee recently decided to no longer accept campaign donations from fossil fuel companies. The move signals the party’s commitment to addressing climate change. But could blocking contributions from oil, gas and coal companies end up hurting Democrats in the midterm election? We discuss the new DNC policy with RL Miller, political director at Climate Hawks Vote, chair of the California Democratic Party’s environmental caucus, and a co-author of the...


The Hypocritical Politics of Gas Prices

Gas prices are always a hot-button political issue, and especially in an election year. In the latest showdown, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blames a spike in gas prices on President Trump’s “reckless decision” to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Republicans say these claims are insincere. If Democrats are so worried about high gas prices, why do they oppose oil drilling in the U.S. and support increasing gas taxes? We’ve seen this play out before. When President...


The 2018 Election Preview

There are a lot of questions swirling around the 2018 midterm election — including how energy and climate issues will play into this broader political moment. Can pro-climate Republicans hold on to their seats in Congress? Will Democratic candidates with cleantech industry experience win over voters? Could the outcome of Nevada’s Senate race affect how the nation deals with nuclear waste? Then there’s California and Texas, the nation’s leading clean energy states, where the results of this...


LIVE: 'The Only Way to Save Ourselves'

Republicans are often viewed as enemies of the clean energy transition. Some people believe the GOP will never embrace climate action. So is voting them out the only way to save the planet? If you ask environmental policy pioneer Terry Tamminen, the solution isn’t that simple. As Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pick to lead the California EPA, Tamminen found ways to craft ambitious clean energy policies and programs with buy-in from both Democrats and Republicans. In his current role as...


Winners and Losers in Trump's America

President Trump is considering the use of a Cold War-era defense act to shore up struggling coal and nuclear power plants, something the administration argues is essential to U.S. national security. But critics say this is the government picking winners and losers for political purposes. Republicans repeatedly slammed President Obama for investing taxpayer dollars in clean energy technologies during his tenure. Obama even invoked the Defense Production Act, the same law Trump is looking to...