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Earth. We broke it; we own it; and nothing is as it was: not the trees, not the seas – not the forests, farms, or fields – and not the global economy that depends on all of these. Bionic Planet is your guide to the Anthropocene, the new epoch defined by man's impact on Earth, and in each episode, we examine a different aspect of this new reality: sometimes financial, sometimes moral, but always practical.
 
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A conversation with WRI Senior Fellow Frances Seymour, who says there's plenty of reason to believe the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use could deliver on its high ambition of ending and reversing deforestation -- not so much because of the declaration itself, but because of the constellation of world events that birthed it. Fran…
 
From year-end climate talks in Glasgow: Want to put your money where your mouth is by investing in companies that move us closer to a net-zero economy? Matthias Krey of pureclimatestocks.com can help. He's identified hundreds of companies that he call "pure climate stocks", meaning stocks of companies that make 100% of their revenue from products a…
 
On the ground at year-end climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, Maria Carvalho and Frédéric Gagnon-Lebrun of South Pole Climate Solutions dissect the intricacies of Article 6 of the Paris Climate Agreement. They explain not only how it works, but how it fits into the net-zero movement and the larger effort to meet the climate challenge.…
 
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which is the United Nations specialized agency charged with promoting sustainable tourism, today unveiled the “Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism” at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) here. The Declaration commits companies to cutting their emissions in half by 2030 and achieving net-zer…
 
We need to slash greenhouse-gas emissions while supporting activities that remove greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere, and carbon markets can both accelerate reductions and ramp up removals. Why, then, is the debate so contentious? For answers, I turned to Eli-Mitchell Larson, a self-proclaimed “Carbon Removal Evangelist” who's helping to build u…
 
Biologists, economists, and environmental activists often seem like members of warring tribes, but Gabriel Eickhoff, CEO of Lestari Capital, says they're more like estranged family members who just haven't started talking to each other yet. In a wide-ranging discussion, we look at the legacy of the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, the…
 
Guest: Eron Bloomgarden, Emergent Capital Launched on Earth Day, the LEAF (Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance) Coalition aims to double the price of forest-carbon offsets and multiply the amount of money going into forest protection. Heres's how it works. Featuring: Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg; US Climate Envoy John Kerry; …
 
We cannot adapt our way out of the climate mess, as Allie Goldstein of Conservation International and Mark Trexler of the Climate Web make clear. We discuss the realities of systemic climate risk. Research cited in today’s show: "The private sector’s climate change risk and adaptation blind spots" https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0340-5 "…
 
Carpetmaker Interface has won accolades for its carbon-negative carpet, the manufacture of which pulls more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it emits. He're a look back on the company's 20-year journey from plundered of nature to climate leader. Guest: Buddy Hay, Interface VP for Sustainability…
 
What do Bill Gates, Mark Carney, Annette Nazareth, and Agustin Silvani have in common? They all believe that well-designed voluntary carbon markets can help the world achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions in time to avert disaster. Today, they explain the new Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVDM) Most music provided by Blue Dot …
 
The UN's Emissions Gap Report showed that the current Paris Agreement Climate Plans (NDCs )will leave us nowhere near where we need to be to avert a climate catastrophe. Will Burns of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy at American University joins me in a year-end retrospective.By Steve Zwick
 
Today I speak with environmental scientist Jason Funk, who runs the Land Use and Climate Knowledge Initiative (LUCKI) about the important findings of a paper called "Long-term thermal sensitivity of earth's tropical forests," which looks at whether forests can continue to pull carbon from the atmosphere as temperatures rise. What they found is: it'…
 
In this episode, we speak with oceanographer and sedimentologist Steve Crooks, one of the world's leading authorities on coastal ecosystems and climate change. Related Link: https://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/articles/em-audio-and-video-em-vietnamese-deputy-prime-minister-opens-katoomba-xvii-vows-to-integrate-economy-and-environment/…
 
In this episode, which originally aired in October, 2018, we speak with the Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley, who says climate change and civil rights are inexorably intertwined, and not just because the destruction of our living ecosystems is robbing us of our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Born in Kansas and raised in California,…
 
Global greenhouse-gas emissions will drop 5.5 percent this year because of COVID-19, but they must drop 7.6 percent every year to meet the Paris Agreement's 1.5C target. Forest carbon offsets provide one way of getting there fast, but can we trust these offsets? Do they do what they say they do? This week, we hear how the Verified Carbon Standard (…
 
When US President Donald Trump disbanded his country's pandemic response team, he did so because "I don't like having thousands of people around when we don't need them." That cost-cutting measure could cost hundreds of thousands of lives, and it's a classic example of what happens when we value efficiency over resilience. What are efficiency and r…
 
Costa Rica says it will have zero net greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, and its electrical grid already runs on 99 percent renewable energy. Today's guest is a key part of its success. As Minister of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez has overseen programs that tripled the country's forest coverage while slashing it…
 
Today's guest, Daniel Palken, volunteers with a group called the Citizens Climate Lobby, or "CCL", which aims to slash US greenhouse-gas emissions by imposing a fee on fossil fuels. The fee will be based on the amount of greenhouse gas that the coal, gasoline, and jet fuels will generate when we burn them, and it will probably make fossil-fuel ener…
 
Developing countries are the most vulnerable to – and least responsible for – climate change, but new research shows that some of them can dramatically boost their economies by managing their forests, farms, and fields in ways that pull greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. At a carbon price of $50 for every metric ton of CO2 removed from the atmo…
 
There's a lot of money sloshing around forests, and most of it goes into agricultural subsidies and investments that destroy forests, while only a trickle goes into programs that save them. That's why today's guest, Charlotte Streck, wants to implement a Marshall Plan for Forests.
 
On the eve of year-end climate talks in Madrid, I revisit my 2017 conversation with Bronson Griscom, Director of Forest Carbon Science for the Nature Conservancy. He headed up a team of three dozen researchers from almost two dozen institutions tasked with identifying once and for all the realistic potential of using nature as a bulwark against cli…
 
The third episode of our three-part look at the birth of REDD+, we speak with Annie Petsonk of the Environmental Defense Fund. Related Articles: “Shades of REDD+: A Marshall Plan for Tropical Forests?” Link: https://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/articles/shades-of-redd-a-marshall-plan-for-tropical-forests/ “Forests, Farms, and the Global Carbon Sink…
 
In this second part of our three-part series on the history of forests in the Paris Climate Agreement, we hear how REDD+ got its name and made its way into the climate negotiations. Special Guest: Kevin Conrad of the Coalition for Rainforest NationsBy Steve Zwick
 
2019 is shaping up to be a pivotal summer in a pivotal year in the critical race to meet the climate challenge, with major media finally discovering the role that healthy forests can play in fixing the mess. In this episode, we examine the 40-year effort to slow climate change by saving forests. It's the first of three parts developed in accompanim…
 
We eat to live, but the food we’re eating is killing us – not just because of what it does to our bodies, but because of what it does to our climate. Beef, for example, comes from cows that burp out methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps up to 80-times more heat than carbon dioxide does, and we often chop carbon-absorbing forests to…
 
Environmental NGOs have long pressured companies to reduce their impact on forests, and companies have long complained that every NGO seems to come with different demands. Now a coalition of more than a dozen NGOs have called the corporate bluff by creating a framework that provides a universal way of accounting for deforestation. They call it the …
 
It's an article of faith among some on the left that markets and capitalism are the roots of all evil, while some on the right see pure, free markets as the invisible hand of God, and regulation as the work of the Devil. Most economists will tell you they're both wrong, because there's no such thing as either a pure free market or a marketless soci…
 
Environmental scientist Tim Male has worked the conservation puzzle from both the NGO and governmental sector -- first with NGOs like Environmental Defense Fund, then as an elected councilman, and finally as an adviser to the Obama Administration's Council on Environmental Quality. In 2017, he distilled his views in a paper called "Nature, Paid on …
 
We've been fairly US-centric lately, but only because so much is finally happening there. In today's episode, we speak with Rhiana Gunn-Wright of New Consensus. That's the Think Tank that's helping freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and veteran Senator Ed Markey develop policy to support the Green New Deal they proposed last month.…
 
We're losing pollinators at an alarming rate, which scientists attribute at least in part to the loss of native plants, which evolved alongside hundreds of native pollinators -- including bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. Dave Neu and Joe Krischon of the Conservation Land Stewardship have been helping to resurrect a degraded ravine north of Chic…
 
Wetlands cover 274 million acres of the United States, and they ultimately provide more than half the country's drinking water, which is one reason the federal government protects them -- or has, until now. Back in December, the US EPA and Army corps of engineers unveiled new rules for regulating water, and you'd be surprised what it leaves out. Mo…
 
We hear a lot about the Sustainable Development Goals, or "SDGs" these days, with major pension funds like Calvert aligning their portfolios with them, and up to $12 trillion in finance, by one estimate, ready to do the same the same. But what are they? That's a question I tried answering almost three years ago -- way back in 2016. It was right aft…
 
Yvo de Boer served as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from August, 2006 to July, 2010; and in November of last year, he became president of the Gold Standard, which is an NGO-led global partnership that sets standards for everything from carbon projects to the way we recognize contributions …
 
Agriculture emits roughly 20 percent of all greenhouse gasses, but sustainable management of forests, farms, and fields can turn the world's farms into massive carbon sinks that absorb greenhouse gasses by the gigaton, yet farmers -- as opposed to agriculture ministers -- have been nearly invisible at year-end climate talks. That changed this past …
 
The first week of year-end climate talks have wrapped up in Katowice, Poland, where natural climate solutions are finally getting the attention they deserve -- both in negotiations and on the sides. Everyone, it seems, agrees that we need to improve the way we manage our forests, farms, and fields -- which can get us more than a third of the way to…
 
Samuel Avaala shakes his head as he dips his fork into a bowl of red-red, a traditional Ghanaian stew that gets its color – and name – in part from red palm oil. “It doesn’t make sense,” he says. “Oil palm evolved here. It’s in our food; it’s in our medicine; but we built an economy on cocoa with little attention to oil palm.” Oil palm is the tree …
 
Ilson López is the President of Belgium. Not the European country, but the indigenous village in the district of Tahuamanu, in the Peruvian state of Madre de Dios, at the western edge of the Amazon forest. He’s part of the Yine people, who are scattered from here all the way to Cusco, the capital of the old Incan empire, about 500 kilometers to the…
 
In this episode, we speak with the Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley, who says climate change and civil rights are inexorably intertwined, and not just because the destruction of our living ecosystems is robbing us of our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Born in Kansas and raised in California, Rev Durley finished high-school in Orego…
 
When countries around the world ratified the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, they pledged to prevent average global temperatures from rising to a level more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.7 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels. They picked that number because 2 degrees Celsius is the point at which climate models start going haywire, but …
 
Hindou Ibrahim grew up in rural Chad, a member of the nomadic Mbororo people. Today, she co-chairs the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, and she advises -- some would say cajoles -- everyone from major corporations like Asia Pulp and Paper to small indigenous communities from Ecuador to Indonesia to take action on climate ch…
 
This is the fifth in a five-part series. You can find the first installment here. US Environmental Protection Agency boss Scott Pruitt is gone – not because of his environmental malfeasance, but because his $43,000 phone booth, his $100,000 trip to Disneyland, and his attempts to get his wife a lucrative job were too tacky even for an administratio…
 
Today I speak with Bronson Griscom, Director of Forest Carbon Science for the Nature Conservancy. Last year, he headed up a team of three dozen researchers from almost two dozen institutions tasked with identifying once and for all the realistic potential of using nature as a bulwark against climate change. The result is a report called "Natural Cl…
 
Jos Cozijnsen shakes his tangled black mane and adjusts his leathery blue suit – fashioned, it turns out, from overalls discarded by German railroad workers and available through his sustainable clothing company, Goodfibrations. “[If you have] an office park, the Building Act says how much energy efficiency you need,” he explains. “But if you go to…
 
I've produced 19 episodes of Bionic Planet since the election of Donald Trump, mostly focused on the work of people trying to fix the climate mess -- and in today's episode I look back on some of the ones that seemed to resonate most with listeners. Today's guests include: Mike Korchinsky, who runs the private conservation group Wildlife Works Form…
 
More and more countries across the developing world are launching large-scale, climate-smart initiatives to transform the way local communities derive their livelihoods from forests and broader land use. A key component to the success of these programs is engaging the private sector to shift behavior toward sustainable business models. The World Ba…
 
Under the Paris Agreement, countries were asked to present their own climate action plans, and 90 percent of these action plans -- technically called NDCs, for "nationally-determined contributions" -- incorporated farming fixes -- or shiftint to sustainable agriculture. That led to a major breakthrough this week at year-end climate talks here in Bo…
 
Towards the end of summer, climate negotiators learned of three trademark applications that were filed in May of this year. One was for the logo “REDDPLUSX”, which is described as a carbon credit brokerage. Another was for the logo “RRU”, which are proposed carbon credits generated by saving or supporting forests under the Paris Agreement. But it w…
 
The DOGWOOD ALLIANCE is an environmental NGO based in the Southeastern United States -- a region that produces 12 percent of the world's wood, pulp, and paper. STAPLES is a massive stationary and office-supply chain based up in the northern part of the country, in Massachusetts, and it buys reams and reams of paper from suppliers like Georgia Pacif…
 
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