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Explaining the key scientific ideas, technologies, and policies relevant to the global climate crisis.

Recent Podcast
Podcast Episode 1.75

What is the future of carbon capture technology?

featuring LLNL's Carbon Capture Lab

Since its founding in 1952, the mission of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has been to meet urgent national security needs through scientific and technological innovation. Expanding from its focus on nuclear weapons science at the height of the Cold War, LLNL has become a national research leader in counterterrorism, intelligence, defense, and energy, with its emphasis in the latter being to advance national energy security while also reducing its impact. Critical to reducing the environmental impact of the national energy sector is determining how to remove historical greenhouse gas emissions (what has already been released) from the atmosphere in parallel with ongoing global decarbonization efforts.

Climate Now’s James Lawler was invited to tour LLNL’s Carbon Capture Lab, home to a team of scientists working to reduce the cost and bottlenecks of implementing large-scale carbon capture facilities, to learn how this research is developed, where the state-of-the-art is in carbon capture technology, and where we could go next (Direct Air Capture skyscrapers?).

Featuring:

Briana Schmidt
Staff Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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Briana Schmidt

Staff Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Briana Schmidt is a Staff Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She works with the Carbon Initiative, which aims to understand, develop, and implement technologies for the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Her areas of focus are geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide and carbon mineralization and advancing the deployment of these technologies. Briana holds a BA in Earth Science from Boston University and a MS in Geological Sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Corey Myers
Engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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Corey Myers

Engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Dr. Corey Myers is an engineer studying carbon capture technology at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His work focuses on capture and mineralization of carbon dioxide. Corey holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Waseda University, Japan.

Du Nguyen

Elwin Hunter Sellers

Nathan Ellebracht
Staff Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab

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Nathan Ellebracht

Staff Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab

Nathan Ellebracht studies methods to improve Direct Air Capture at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL).  Nathan holds a PhD in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Roger Aines
Energy Program Chief Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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Roger Aines

Energy Program Chief Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Roger Aines is the Energy Program Chief Scientist in E Program at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, which conducts government and private sector research in clean energy technology. Roger leads the Carbon Initiative, which aims to understand, develop, and implement technologies for the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so-called negative emissions technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Carleton College, and Doctor of Philosophy in geochemistry from the California Institute of Technology.

Sarah Baker
Group Leader for the Materials for Energy and Climate Security group, LLNL

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Sarah Baker

Group Leader for the Materials for Energy and Climate Security group, LLNL

Dr. Sarah Baker and her team at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are developing a framework for climate technologies that can scale and mature rapidly for real-world impact. Her research includes natural carbon removal solutions, biomass carbon removal and storage (BiCRS), and turning carbon into ethylene. Sarah holds a PhD in Materials Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Simon Pang
Direct Air Capture Pillar Lead at Lawrence Livermore National Lab

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Simon Pang

Direct Air Capture Pillar Lead at Lawrence Livermore National Lab

Dr. Simon Pang is a Materials Scientist in the Materials for Energy and Climate Group at LLNL.  His research includes development and implementation of materials and technologies for carbon capture, the interface between carbon capture technologies with carbon conversion to develop a circular carbon economy, and systems analysis for carbon and energy technologies. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Date: 11.22.2022 Running Time: 34 min
Recent Episode
Video Episode 5.5

CO2-equivalent explained

In 2021, 40 billion tonnes of manmade CO2 were released globally. But global greenhouse gas emissions for that year are described as 55 billion tonnes in CO2-equivalent (or CO2e). What’s the difference?

CO2 represents around 75% of greenhouse gases emitted by human activities, by weight. But by warming potential, it is much less. Other greenhouse gases (primarily methane, nitrous oxides and fluorinated gases) have much stronger warming effects in the atmosphere, and also remain in the atmosphere for vastly different periods of time. So how can we compare the warming impact of different emissions? By using CO2e.

Date: 10.10.2022 Read Transcript Running Time: 4 min
Recent Podcast
Podcast Episode 1.74

The financial value of healthy ecosystems

w/ Melissa Ho

How many crises can we address at once?

In October of this year, headlines broke that the global animal population in 2018 is 69% smaller than it was a half century ago, in 1970. It is the latest bad news in a string of studies on biodiversity loss, which is happening at a rate not seen on this planet since the last mass extinction. It also follows on the heels of an analysis from the U.N. World Food Program, estimating that due to Russia’s war in Ukraine, a record 345 million people are at risk of starvation this year, and that it is likely that by the end of this decade, the cumulative progress made in reaching the U.N.’s 2015 goal of eradicating hunger by 2030 will be 0%.

Conservation of natural lands and freshwater ecosystems are critical to biodiversity preservation efforts, but how do you feed the world without agricultural development, and how do you stem the impact of climate change without developing land-intensive clean energy solutions like wind and solar? It turns out, solutions to these issues do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Melissa Ho, Senior Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund, joined Climate Now to discuss how WWF addresses the competing priorities for humanity and the natural world, and why a holistic valuation of the services healthy ecosystems provide can help us develop co-beneficial solutions to all of these crises.

Featuring:

Melissa Ho
Senior VP, Freshwater and Food, World Wildlife Fund

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Melissa Ho

Senior VP, Freshwater and Food, World Wildlife Fund

Melissa Ho is the Senior Vice President of Freshwater and Food at World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Her work is focused on protecting freshwater resources and conserving critical landscapes, while strengthening food systems in a more climate and eco-friendly way.

Date: 11.14.2022 Running Time: 28 min
Recent Podcast
Podcast Episode 1.73

Making buildings smarter, greener and healthier

w/ Katie McGinty and Ian Harris

The side benefit of reducing building emissions? Increasing quality of life.

Building operations (heating, cooling and electrification) account for 27% of global CO2 emissions, but represent some of the lowest-hanging fruit in the challenge of global decarbonization. With efficient design and transitioning to cleanly-sourced electricity, like solar panels, building-related emissions could be decreased by as much as 80%.

Katy McGinty, vice president and chief sustainability officer of Johnson Controls and Ian Harris, business development manager at BlocPower, joined Climate Now to discuss how implementing smart control technologies, more insulated building envelopes, and clean-energy technologies like solar power and heat pumps, aren’t just critical to reaching global net-zero goals, they also make homes and buildings safer, more comfortable, and more affordable to live and work in. And with smart business approaches and community buy-in, building decarbonization can be a tool for environmental justice as much as climate mitigation, by engaging low-income communities, underserved communities and communities of color in the fight against climate change.

Featuring:

Ian Harris
Business Development Manager, BlocPower

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Ian Harris

Business Development Manager, BlocPower

Ian Harris is the Business Development Manager at BlocPower. He earned a BA from Harvard University where he studied Politics and Government. He previously worked for the City of New York and the New York State Department of Labor.

Katie McGinty
Vice President and Chief Sustainability and External Relations Officer, Johnson Controls

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Katie McGinty

Vice President and Chief Sustainability and External Relations Officer, Johnson Controls

Katie McGinty is vice president and chief sustainability and external relations officer for Johnson Controls. Katie has served as a top environmental official at both the state and federal level, including as an advisor to former president Bill Clinton. She previously worked as the Senior Vice President of the Oceans Program for the Environmental Defense Fund

Date: 11.07.2022 Running Time: 24 min
Recent Podcast
Podcast Episode 1.72

Making waves with marine carbon capture

w/ Alisha Fredriksson

The global shipping industry emits ~1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, about as much as the sixth highest emitting nation in the world. In hopes of changing course, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has mandated that starting in 2023, most commercial vessels will have to document their CO2 emissions, and demonstrate progress towards reaching the IMO objective of an industry-wide 40% reduction in emissions by 2030.

But that is easier said than done. As we learned in earlier conversations on maritime shipping (here and here), low-emission alternatives to the cheap and extremely dirty bunker fuels that ships currently use are far from ready to deploy at scale. So what can ship owners do to start cutting their emissions as soon as next year?

We spoke with Co-founder and CEO of the start-up Seabound, Alisha Fredriksson, about her teams’ proposed solution: equipping ships with carbon capture devices that trap and store CO2 from fuel exhaust. The CO2 can be brought to port and either sold for CO2 utilization projects, or permanently stored underground. Learn more about how their technology works and their business case for why it is a good idea to get onboard with carbon capture.

Featuring:

Alisha Fredriksson
Co-founder & CEO, Seabound

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Alisha Fredriksson

Co-founder & CEO, Seabound

Alisha Fredriksson is the co-founder and CEO of Seabound, a company that captures CO2 from ships. Before starting Seabound, Alisha launched a climate program at Generation, a non-profit founded by McKinsey & Co.

Date: 10.24.2022 Running Time: 18 min
Recent Podcast
Podcast Episode 1.71

An electrifying look at the future of steel

w/ Adam Rauwerdink and Rebecca Dell

For some sectors of our economy, electrification as a decarbonization strategy is a whole lot easier said than done. Take the steel industry – which is responsible for 11% of global CO2 emissions. A large part of those emissions come from the ‘coking’ process – where coal-fired furnaces burning at up to 1,100 degrees Celsius (2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) are used to break the bonds between iron and oxygen in the ore materials used to make steel. Driving this reaction with electricity, instead of a coal furnace, is an enormous challenge – but one that Boston Metals are taking the lead on.

Climate Now sat down with Adam Rauwerdink, senior vice president of Boston Metals, to better understand the landscape of developing clean steel technologies, and why the electrification process they are developing – “molten oxide electrolysis” – could be the decarbonization solution that the steel industry needs.

Featuring:

Adam Rauwerdink
SVP, Business Development. Boston Metal

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Adam Rauwerdink

SVP, Business Development. Boston Metal

Dr. Adam Rauwerdink is the senior vice president of business development for Boston Metal. Adam received his PhD from Dartmouth in engineering, and worked on energy storage solutions at SUSTAIN X and Vionx Energy before joining Boston Metal in 2017.

Rebecca Dell
Industry Program Director, ClimateWorks Foundation

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Rebecca Dell

Industry Program Director, ClimateWorks Foundation

Dr. Rebecca Dell is the Program Director, Industry at ClimateWorks Foundation. Previously, she worked at the U.S. Department of Energy in the Obama administration, where she coordinated implementation of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and was a lead analyst and author of the U.S. Quadrennial Energy Review. Before her federal service, Rebecca was a scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, studying the interaction between the ocean and land-based ice sheets like those in Greenland and Antarctica. She has a Ph.D. in climate science from MIT.

Recent Episode
Video Episode 4.1

Green Transportation: The Power of Electric Vehicles

Electric vs Gas-Powered Emissions

Adopting green transportation and transitioning to a 100% electric fleet requires a momentous cultural, technological, and infrastructure overhaul of the entire global automotive industry. If we are going to undertake such a task, we have to know that it will bring significant results in reducing emissions. So what is the real impact of going electric?

As part of our decarbonizing transportation series, we sat down and did the math. We looked at the net carbon dioxide emissions of an EV over its lifecycle versus lifecycle emissions of a gas-powered vehicle to find out just what the climate benefit of going electric could be.

Featuring:

Andy Stevenson
EV Battery Materials Advisor and Investor

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Andy Stevenson

EV Battery Materials Advisor and Investor

Andy Stevenson is an electric vehicle battery materials advisor and investor. Previously, Stevenson was Chief Financial Officer of Redwood Materials, a battery recycling company, and a Special Projects Associate at Tesla.

Nathan Ratledge
TomKat Center Graduate Fellow, Stanford University

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Nathan Ratledge

TomKat Center Graduate Fellow, Stanford University

Nathan is the founder of the environmental consulting company Apogee Economics and Policy, and the TomKat Center Graduate Fellow in Sustainable Energy at Stanford University. His research is focused on the economics and financing of clean energy in the developing world.

Date: 03.01.2022 Read Transcript Running Time: 15 min