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Greta's Generation

Greta's Generation

By Dr. Kyle S. Herman
Who are the Climate Leaders and what do they do? How did they get to where they are now in their career? What are the solutions, political, economic, and physical, that can help the world to avert devastating effects from climate change? The interviewees on this show, whom include academics, entrepreneurs, policymakers and practitioners, speak about their actions that are ensuring a clean world for Greta's generation.
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Econometric and Economic Tools to Solve Complex Climate Change Problems

Greta's Generation

Keep Driving Forward: You Are the Difference
This inspiring podcast from a former colleague at UCL brings to light the reality that climate change—and related endeavours—mark a long journey. We might have to face some “ugly situations”, but think about our grandparents and great-grandparents, this is our “Great War”, and we must fight long and hard to ensure life on earth remains Professor Raimund Bleischwitz acted as the Deputy Director of the Institute for Sustainable Resources at University College London (UCL), from  2013 to 2018. From 2018 to 2021 he was the Director of UCL's Bartlett School of Environment Energy & Resources. In January 2022 Bleischwitz was appointed Scientific Director at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany. Beginning in the German Parliament during the 1980s when, indeed, caring about the environment  was still in its infancy if one can believe, he then pursued a Ph.D. because he had several burning questions which he sought to answer through research. His research and courses focus on the “triple challenge” of dealing with the economic, the socio-political, and the environmental dimensions of using the worlds resources, especially as they become more hotly contested the world over. Quite often there is a tendency for actors to focus on only one of these dimensions, either predominantly supply-oriented (“raw materials strategy”) or demand-oriented (“resource efficiency, “sustainable consumption and production”). Last, he has done much work on a hot topic, “rare earth materials”, which are key ingredients to modern technologies, foremost among these renewable energy technologies
September 22, 2022
Global Environmental Politics and Policies
Gabriela Kuetting, originally from Germany, has held top academic posts in Germany, the U.K. and the U.S.  Currently , she heads the department, The Division of Global Affairs, at Rutgers University.  She is widely published in the field of environmental politics and policies. This is a non-exhaustive list of her books: Beyond Regime Theory: Towards Environmental Effectiveness (2000), Globalization and the environment, (2000) , The Global Political Economy of the Environment and Tourism (2010),and Global Environmental Politics: Concepts, Theories and Case Studies. (2018). In this episode, she details her career path: first, she worked with NGOs  and ENGOs (Environmental NGOs), before becoming attracted to academia for the research freedom. Moving into academia gave her more opportunity to write about conceptual and theoretical problems with intergovernmental climate and environmental issues. She gives provides a coherent overview of climate change policies from the early 1980s onward. Her fluency in global and transnational climate and environmental politics is evident, as she speaks intelligently but understandably to the lay audience. This episode is a great opportunity to learn the many nuances of the Climate Change Negotiations, Ozone pollution and policies, eco-tourism, as well as environmental justice and equity (her latest research).
August 19, 2022
Global Climate Change Governance: UCL's GGI
This is an exciting episode with a very close colleague of mine at UCL, Julia Kreienkamp at the Global Governance Institute (GGI). We have the unique connection of having the same two bosses (and the three of them published an important book on climate governance)! GGI is truly a great place to research, work, and connect with policy-makers, academics, and business leaders. It also has its own podcast, found here. She discusses details about biodiversity and climate change, and looking for nature-based solutions (e.g. not “technological fixes”, on their own), as well as the spiritual values of creating a biodiverse society—the bio-economy—which is still not valued in standard economic measures such as GDP.
August 19, 2022
The Circular Economy: Sustainability, Resources, and Life-cycle Governance
Nino Jordan is a Lecturer (Teaching) in Sustainable Resources and Circular Economy at UCL's Bartlett School, Environment, Energy & Resources. Nino has been working professionally on environmental challenges since 2010, first with the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy and then with the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, where he is currently the Programme Lead for the MSc in Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policies and Transitions. Nino has taught Climate Policy in Comparative Perspective at master's level and used to be the dissertation tutor for the MSc in Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policies and Transitions, teaching a variety of methods and research approaches. Currently heis the module lead for Policies for Sustainable Resources and Environmental Lifecycle Governance, part of the MSc in Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policies and Transitions. Previously, Nino studied political science and international relations at the University of Bremen. As an exchange student he studied international political economy at the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires and was an assistant in research at Yale University. He wrote his PhD thesis on climate policy and the governance of embodied emissions at UCL.
May 27, 2022
Econometric and Economic Tools to Solve Complex Climate Change Problems
This is a special episode where I speak with a current research collaborator, Yeong Jae Kim. We are finalising research on green growth data from G-7 countries (Canada, U.S., France, Germany, Italy, U.K., Japan).  "YJ" is a junior scientist at EIEE  (the European Institute on Economics and the Environment). He has been a visiting professor at KAIST College of Business. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy (Environmental Economics) from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. His main interest is in applied economic analysis, with a focus on the dynamics of innovation, technology transfer, green growth, and the economic impacts of environmental and energy policies. We address salient climate change problems surrounding green growth and competitiveness, trade, productivity, and innovation. Some of his important contributions to the researcher community include quantifying the impacts of environmental and energy policy instruments on innovation and the innovation spillovers across sectors and countries, focusing on clean energy technologies. He also explored the extent to which the dynamics of embodied emission in trade are affected by changes in the stringency of environmental policies.  Prior to joining EIEE, he was a senior researcher at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the U.K. He worked on the project called SET-Nav. During the project, he operationalised a conceptual framework of energy technology innovation systems developed by Professors Arnulf Grubler (IIASA), Kelly Gallagher (Tufts), Greg Nemet (Wisconsin), and Charlie Wilson (Tyndall). He extended and developed a comprehensive set of indicators to measure influential innovation system processes and applied it in several empirical contexts.
February 07, 2022
Green Growth, Competitiveness, Big Data and Climate Transitions
In this episode I have the pleasure to speak with Dr. Ashley Lloyd, Senior Lecturer in Information Management at the University of Edinburgh Business School. He has a truly unique story about working on big data, climate transitions, business competitiveness, innovation, and consumer behavior. In some parts of the episode, we get into some very technical conversations, but if you stay tuned, Dr. Lloyd does a wonderful job explaining the difficult subjects and concepts.
December 05, 2021
AI, algorithms and teamwork for sustainability
In this episode Dr. Catalina Spataru, professor of global energy and resources, and founder and the head of the Islands Laboratory at UCL, discusses her transition from the private sector into academia, the importance but also the weaknesses of algorithms and AI for sustainability, and her work in global climate policymaking. Her illustrious and accomplished career includes lecturing in energy system modeling, lab demonstrations of PV solar and wind turbine technologies, an invited visiting fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and countless interviews with outlets such as the BBC and the Telegraph in the UK. Among other accomplishments, she has also contributed to the World Energy Council Scenarios Composing Energy futures to 2050 and Global Systems Science Orientation.
November 03, 2021
Dedication, focus and commitment: How to become a climate change scholar
Dr. Soheil Shayegh has an immensely colourful background. Born in Iran, having worked in Africa, the US, and now in Italy, his life journey is incredibly interesting. In this episode we trace his development from an engineer, to a start-up founder, to working with developing countries, and finally his realization that an academic career made the most sense for him. Listen in to how he has found success: it is not just about talent and hard work. As he describes, there were many instances where he sent 'cold-call-type' emails to preeminent academics, which occasionally led to important connections. This is a key take away from this episode: if you are dedicated, it shows, and don't be afraid to put yourself out there because people take notice of your commitment and tenacity, and you will be rewarded in due time.
February 04, 2021
Economics of Climate Change with Ajay Gambhir
Ajay has a unique story to tell. He did not, when he was younger, plan on being a Climate Leader. Instead, he did what many other well-educated young people do—he got into business and finance, and made some good money. But, as he explains on the show, something was missing. Ajay discusses his circuitous career path—his transition from industry, to government, and finally to academia—where he is starting to feel at home. His research and understanding of climate change economics and policy is high-level to say the least. He is widely published in top academic journals, on topics as diverse as: renewable energy, energy storage, China’s de-carbonization, as well as critiques about climate-energy modelling.
December 03, 2020
Metrics Matter: Carbon and Corporate Consulting for Climate Change
In this episode, Dr. Maria Carvalho talks about transitioning out of academia in  order to participate directly with on-the-ground climate-change solutions. As a pure  researcher, in academia, she felt her actions were not leading  to measurable results. She wanted to become more involved in driving the  transition to a no-carbon world.  Maria is an expert in global carbon  trading markets, green growth, low-carbon transitions, green-growth and  competitiveness. She will give you a no-frills explanation of what  carbon pricing is, where it came from, and who the actors are that use it (or control it). As a bonus, she also tells us what it’s like to be  young and indecisive on your career: follow your heart, but have a  vision
November 11, 2020
Sustainable Transitions Research and Policy-Making with Dr. Benjamin Sovacool
Dr. Sovacool is a prominent academic, consultant, and climate policy leader. Currently, he is one of the leading authors of the IPCC’s latest Assessment Report.  He has written over 300 peer-reviewed articles and 18 books. His  research comprises energy transitions, green technology procurement and  innovation, as well as social and economic impacts of climate change. In  this episode, we discuss his latest work as well as some of his most highly cited papers (he has nearly 30,000 total citations). He is also divulges some wonderful advice to young listeners out there keen on joining the climate change movement.
September 03, 2020
Cleantech and Environmental Entrepreneurship with Keith Hays
In this episode, Keith describes how he successfully scaled-up two start up companies, one dealing with renewable energy infrastructure and data, and the other focused on water scarcity issues. Originally from the U.S., Keith has lived in Barcelona for 20 years.  He shows that following your passion, dreaming big, and taking on difficult problems can lead to lucrative business successes while also helping fight climate change. Beyond his successes in business, however, he also shows how following your heart can lead to great success while doing good for the planet. This is an important lesson, and is not highlighted enough in today’s world. If you’re passionate about something, and it is clearly doing good for humanity, go for it! Don’t let anyone, even that tiny voice in your head, or voices in your head (I just have one), steer you away from that.
August 04, 2020
Building Global Climate Policy with Gunnar B. Olesen
Gunnar has led the International Network for Sustainable Energy (INFORSE), an Environmental NGO (ENGO) based in Aarhus, Denmark, for almost thirty years.  He coordinates action for over 150 ENGOs working on climate change worldwide. In this episode, Gunnar details his career as a practitioner in climate change at local, regional, and global levels. He speaks fluently about policies, technologies, politics, and solutions.  INFORSE was the first organization to promote 100% renewable energy solutions, while others thought it a complete fiction. RE-100 is a new non-profit that now supports these solutions, but failed to recognize that it was INFORSE that spearheaded the idea and created the first models. He also speaks about how Denmark, one of the tiniest countries in the world, became a global leader in renewable energy development, policy, and innovation. His story is both informative and inspiring; it is clear and focused on the vision of 100% clean energy.
August 04, 2020
Introduction: How Did We Get Here?
There are some out there, many of them leaders of large corporations, countries, and other organizations, who take on a “doing good” persona of driving down carbon emissions, while they do nothing. Talk is cheap, as they say. Greta Thunberg, a Climate Activist, calls this out for what it is: How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just "business as usual" and some technical solutions? With today's emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than eight and a half years (UN Climate Summit, NY). In many ways, she is spot on. How dare we leave this mess for our descendants, for our children to clean up? In eight years, her generation will be in their mid twenties, with little to look forward to but a life of cleaning up other’s mess. It is more than embarrassing; it’s appalling. The science has been clear since at least the 1980s  (in fact, suggested since 1898): Climate Change is real. To solve it, we must undertake a massive societal reorganization. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or the IPCC, was set up in 1987 with the sole purpose to solidify the science (see: 2019 report; all other IPCC reports).  The IPCC is comprised of hundreds of the world’s top economists, engineers, systems and social scientists. These scientists come from many different countries. Can science be wrong? Sure. Scientific debate and uncertainty are welcomed in scientific research. Yet, it indicates something that hundreds of scientists from nearly every corner of the globe have come to a consensus, based on troves of data, modelling, and evidence, that this thing is real. And that many scientists, with careers dependent on external funding, have a much higher incentive to produce good research than to lie. Indeed, there has never been a more expansive scientific report in the history of humankind. The overwhelming scientific evidence suggests: “Houston, we’ve got a problem”. Yet this scientific evidence, growing stronger each year, has not resulted in many real actions. In a speech among the world’s elite, Greta adds: “Well I’m here to tell you that unlike you, my generation will not give up without a fight…Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour”. Many are complacent. To come to a tentative conclusion, before the real leaders are introduced, let me say one more thing. In this space, on this podcast, and throughout this community that I hope will blossom, let us not get clouded by inter-generational inequity, but instead come together. I am well aware that the name, Greta’s Generation, might seem like intergenerational inequities are a theme here. But that is not the purpose of the show’s name. Rather, the purpose is to bring all generations together to learn, to be inspired, and to take actions. We can all do this. And, if we want to see benefits to our shared planet, we will all have to take actions.
August 04, 2020