The global legal construct around climate change was born in 1992, when the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was negotiated at the UN Conference on Environment and Development, more commonly known as the Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro. In this podcast, we take a tour through a short history of UN climate talks (now in their 27th year at what’s called a “Conference of the Parties”, in short a COP) – whereby the Angry Clean Energy Guy concludes that climate action is happening everywhere, except at the UN climate talks
Sustainable aviation fuels are a fraud. Study after study say that no matter how you look at the data, their production will fail to meet aviation needs no matter how much money is thrown at the problem. Not only does the industry have to be created from scratch, creating enough “sustainable” fuels to replace jet fuel by 2050 assumes we can convert all of the planet’s grasslands to biofuel crops. Worse, they give airlines, aircraft manufacturers and oil & gas companies public relations cover to continue to do incredibly little to tackle their emissions and pollution, while increasing the use of jet fuel as the growth of air travel continues unabated.
Climate optimism is in short supply, so this is a podcast about ten BIG, BIG reasons to be optimistic that we are pushing back against global warming. I put this podcast together because climate anxiety is real: distress related to worries about climate impacts is widespread. We feel powerless in the face of crisis of epic proportion manifesting itself through biblical floods, epic droughts, powerful heatwaves and cascading consequences on our daily lives and livelihoods. Indeed this is so far the decade of words such as “since records began”, “for the first time in human history”, “millions affected”, “breaking multiple records”, “has no parallel in recorded history” and possibly the word of the decade, “unprecedented” – all the more reason to focus on why we can be optimistic about the future, at least in a relative sense (it could have been worse and warming of 2°C for example is a lot better than warming of 2.5°C!). Yes, some warming is already baked-in, probably 2°C or more, but the judgment is out on where we will end up and YOU can do something about it.
There is something sordid taking place out there. Over the past few weeks, shareholders – that is, investors, asset management firms, banks and pension funds – blocked proposals to accelerate carbon emission reductions at oil & gas producers including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum, Shell and TotalEnergies.
While India was roasting under a record heatwave; the Amazon was recording record after record of deforestation destruction; dust storms were sending thousands to hospital in Iraq; Ethiopia was facing its worst drought in at least 40 years; and global average atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were reaching their highest level on record for any calendar month in April, consultants McKinsey were busy preparing yet another report obfuscating the reasons why climate finance flows continue to be appallingly inadequate.
The Angry Clean Energy Guy on why your “luxury cruise” is just a floating garbage trash can; how the shipping industry in its entirety has gone rogue in terms of climate action, ocean pollution and public health impact; and why the International Maritime Organization needs to be either fundamentally restructured or closed: it’s not fit for purpose and it’s doing everything in its power to do absolutely nothing at all.
The Angry Clean Energy Guy on the top 5 climate action myths busted by the Ukraine war: the different ways governments and big business had justified, sometime for decades, why they couldn’t take this or that climate action, then suddenly took them in days in a different context.
Greenwashing – drowning consumers with vague or false claims to deceive them into believing that a business’ products or image are green – has gone viral: Most businesses are at it, irrespective of their sectors, some more vociferously than others. Here are the Angry Clean Energy Guy’s “Greenwashing Top 15:” the Top 15 ways we are being deceived – on a daily basis if not more frequently – by Big Oil, businesses, the financial sector, politicians and many others.
We need to talk about corporate evil: companies knowingly doing harm. In this episode, the Angry Clean Energy Guy features a massive company many around the world don’t know about which is overtly trying to greenwash its deeds by using children, while simultaneously – and boldly – trying to fry the planet.
The Angry Clean Energy Guy on a little known, secretive, stealthy tool undermining climate action, the innocuously named the Energy Charter Treaty, threatening to ensure global heating exceeds 2 degrees Celsius by driving tens of billions of dollar more to Big Oil, Big Gas and Big Coal
The Angry Clean Energy Guy on pretty much everything you really need to know about nuclear energy. That’s for example the fact that conventional nuclear energy is not only finished, but has also become a massive distraction in our climate emergency, diverting precious dollars away from sun, wind and water.
Over the past year, multiple oil and gas companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in planting trees, or threatening to do so, to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. There are, however, several fundamental problems with what they are doing, or probably more accurately, pretending to do.
“Fresh air” is a myth. In reality, 90% of us (worldwide) are breathing dirty air on a permanent basis. Because we can’t see the pollution in our air, we don’t tend to think about it enough. But our air is weakening all of us and killing 7 million a year, as well as placing an undue burden on health systems in every country. This has to stop and it can: No more petrol or diesel cars, trucks, buses, two- and three-wheelers, or trains – all of which can be replaced today by clean alternatives. Soon, no more petrol or diesel ships and planes too. Let’s get going.
The latest, newest attacks against clean energy, namely “Oh my God, what are we going to do with all those solar panels and wind turbines and batteries at the end of their lives” and “Oh my God, what about the mining practices employed to get the materials necessary for clean energy ” are, in one word, bollocks.
October, 2020 marked the end of an era: The world’s largest solar and wind power generator, the US utility NextEra, surpassed ExxonMobil – literally the embodiment of Big Oil’s recklessness and once the most valuable company on earth – in stock market worth: It took a pandemic to show the markets that the time for clean energy and clean air is right now, and here we are.
Indonesia, population 270m and basking in abundant sunshine most of the year while stretched across the Equator, has less installed solar power capacity (198MW) than Finland (215MW), an Arctic country with just 5.5m people.
That’s one of the reasons South East Asia remains the global laggard on renewable energy while at the same time threatening to set the world on fire through the world’s last great expansion in coal and gas infrastructure.
I am sharing good news on this podcast: Natural gas is done in 10 years. Certainly in Europe. Give it another 5 years on top and it will also be done in Asia and in the US too. It’s going the same way as coal. Why? In short, because the information fog is lifting after decades of obfuscation: We now know it’s about as dirty as coal. Whoever named it “Natural Gas” instead of “Highly Explosive Climate Change Accelerating Fossil Fuel Gas” deserves a branding award.
The plastic industry says it’s a “hero” of the coronavirus pandemic. What is driving this propaganda? Single-use plastic is a big chunk of the future demand for oil forecast by OPEC or by the International Energy Agency and their other friends trying to cook the books. So if you take out single-use plastic, future demand for oil and gas will decline immediately and so will the projected revenues of that entire industry.
Recently, an open letter from dozens of investors, business leaders, researchers and climate policy advocates accused the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based intergovernmental organization mistakenly labelled as “authoritative”, of marginalizing key climate goals in its research. They were being too polite: The IEA is a very dangerous organization and should simply be closed, because it’s a fossil fuel relic incapable of reform. I’m afraid this podcast is entirely dedicated to explaining why.
The Angry Clean Energy Guy on the incredible resilience of renewable energy in the midst of a pandemic, and why that means its rise will accelerate further post COVID-19; and on the incredible non-resilience of the airline industry, its irresponsible and reckless mis-management and why the earthquake in its midst means it has already seen its carbon emissions peak
In our arsenal of anti-virus weapons, a powerful force is emerging. It’s one of the most hygienic alternatives for the prevention of the virus and it’s changing the world before our eyes. This not-so-secret weapon is cheap and promotes cleaner air. It’s healthy. It allows us to move about. It contributes powerfully to the fight against climate change, yet effortlessly delivers social distancing. It’s also allowing us to re-imagine our “after Coronavirus” world. In this Episode 35, The Angry Clean Energy Guy sets out future trends that you can already bank on across the real estate, transportation, consumer, healthcare and energy sectors, all of which are driven by the humble bicycle.
“If you want a proper adaptation strategy to the Coronavirus, then you must finally properly tackle climate change. There. I said it.”
In this Episode 34, The Angry Clean Energy Guy describes what the “exit strategy” is for the global Coronavirus lockdown and how this exit strategy is so similar to the one from climate change; and then he describes some of the future trends that we can already see shaping our society post-Coronavirus and what these mean, especially from the perspective of climate change.
Twenty five per cent of the western world could be unemployed by the end of March: COVID19 shows that society failed to provide, to most, secure jobs and pensions, income support, skills training, clean air, clean water and healthy food. We must change the way we work, move, eat and live and do capitalism differently, by focusing on people not corporations. So as airlines, hotels, the retail industry, banks and other financial institutions and astonishingly, even the oil & gas industry come asking for bailouts, let’s move them from their 19th century design to a 21st century one: Focus them on green new deals
What do Amazon, Microsoft, Finnair, Teck Frontier, Llyods Bank, Equinor and Singapore have in common? Buried in the news so far in 2020, there’s been a deluge of good climate change developments around the world, signifying a clear uptick in momentum in the fight against global heating. In Episode 32, The Angry Clean Energy Guy, less angry for once, goes through these positive developments and continues to build on the case for climate optimism made in Episode 27.
There is so much anti-electric vehicles propaganda around, I’ve started hearing kids repeating it recently: “Oh, EVs aren’t clean because of how batteries are made” and “oh, we don’t know what to do with batteries when discarded.” In this Episode 31, The Angry Clean Energy Guy sets out why this is propaganda; where it’s coming from; why it’s flat out wrong; and what to do about it
The Angry Clean Energy Guy’s definitive guide (sort of) of what works, and what doesn’t, in fighting climate change: How much can you fly? Should you eat any meat? What about plastic? What’s the best approach to transport? Should you buy any carbon offsets? How much should you recycle?
Big Data, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence are being harnessed by Big Tech in an unholy alliance with Big Oil aimed at increasing oil & gas production, climate emergency be damned. This Episode tells you much more about that, as well as about how we can derail this alliance.
Hero of the Week: Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, for the EU Green Deal she tabled in record time. Villain of the Week: Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, for dereliction of duty while his country burns.
A cataclysmic event (well, sort of) happened recently: The largest multi-lateral lender in the world, the European Investment Bank, said no to lending more money to oil, gas and coal. Why cataclysmic? It’s the gas bit. Because we’ve been told, time and time again, by oil companies that “natural gas” is clean, or is a bridge to a cleaner future. Now the biggest multilateral bank in the world says: It’s not true. The Angry Clean Energy Guy on why this decision is historic in the context of global climate finance flows; what these are; who’s playing their part and who’s not.
The Angry Clean Energy Guy on insects, what they do for us, why we should love them and how new shock findings confirm that we are in the middle of an insect Armageddon of planetary ecological breakdown proportions. Hero of the Week: James Shaw, Minister of Climate Change of New Zealand, for working on a new regime that would require companies to assess and report their climate-related financial risks. Villains of the Week: 7 banks with no moral compass that want to finance a new $2.2 billion coal plant in Vietnam to fry us all.
On how in 1982, Exxon Mobil published a beautiful 46 page report and estimated with stunning accuracy that the atmosphere would contain 415 parts per million of carbon dioxide this year. Then: They lied; They lobbied; They corrupted; They profited. And so we ended up, in 2019, with a climate emergency. Hero of the Week: 1,000 Australian engineers rebelling and putting engineering firms under pressure to abandon fossil fuel projects. Villain of the Week: Shell Oil, for trying to rip off British drivers at the pump
On (almost) everything you need to know about the dangerous global boom taking place in the petrochemicals industry, the plastic myths and cons it peddles and (some of) what we should do about it. Hero of the Week: Ban ki-Moon for acting on climate in South Korea. Villain of the Week: Liv Lønnum, Deputy Minister in the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, for being a pretend conservationist and a hard-core apologist for Big Oil, aiding and abetting the destruction of the Arctic
On the Saudi Aramco IPO, what it is, its risks, valuation, flawed rationale and why the IPO of the third largest polluter in history, in the era of fighting climate change, is pure hubris and greed. Hero of the Week: Every person that went out for a climate strike worldwide, notwithstanding the deafening silence in Asia. Villain of the Week: Norway’s Equinor, for lying to the British public about natural gas’ “low carbon footprint” (not!) and getting caught by UK regulators
On Shell and Exxon having their social license to operate dirty and dangerous gas fields revoked in Groningen in the Netherlands; and on China’s Belt and Road initiative and the bad rap it gets for being environmentally unfriendly. Villain of the Week: Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada. Hero of the Week (and probably of every week): Greta Thunberg
There is so much to be angry about, if you are a clean energy guy.
Every day, so many things that happen around the world make me angry when I look at them with lenses colored by the climate change chaos unfolding everywhere around us. And I am especially angry because I know we can solve the climate change crisis if we were only trying.
Periodically, I will share with you a few topics that struck me and that I was very angry about – and this will generally have to do with climate change, energy, solar or wind power, plastic pollution, environmental degradation, wildlife, nature and forests, the oceans and other related topics.