Path to Zero
Path to Zero
2.01 - Climate Policy Shift with Greentech Media’s Julia Pyper

Tucker kicks off the new year and a new season of Path to Zero by talking to a journalist and podcast host who has some amazing perspective on climate policy and what we can expect with the changes in Washington.

Julia Pyper is a Contributing Editor at Greentech Media covering the clean energy movement and a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, an international affairs think tank.

She’s also the host and producer of the podcast “Political Climate,” which bills itself as an inside-the-trenches view on how energy and climate decisions get made and the political interests powering them.

show notes

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (Left) is Joe Biden’s pick for Energy Secretary; Michael Regan (Center) to head the US Environmental Protection Agency; and Debra Haaland (Right) is nominated as Interior Dept. chief.

Biden’s Climate and Energy Team
Pyper shared her view on the team Joe Biden has selected for climate and energy policy. Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has been nominated as energy secretary, North Carolina environmental official Michael Regan to head the EPA and Debra Haaland is nominated as Interior Department chief. A new position has been created for John Kerry as the special presidential envoy for climate and former EPA chief Jenna McCarthy will be the new White House climate czar.

Pyper says the Biden administration is optimizing for experience and diversity and he assembled a team of people who have been fighting for justice for a long time. She emphasized the significance of Haaland as Interior Secretary, the first Native American cabinet member. Pyper pointed out how federal lands play a major role in what happens with decarbonization since nearly a quarter of the U.S. emissions come from fossil fuel production on federal lands.

In a positive sign for bipartisanship in the coming months, Pyper talked about both parties showing signs of coming together on energy innovation technology in budget talks. Senators such as Republican Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Joe Mansion are working together on decarbonization policies.

Political Climate Podcast
Tucker appreciated the opportunity to talk to a fellow podcast host. Pyper discussed the effort to make her show bipartisan by including Republican and Democratic co-hosts. She also talked about some of her more notable guests, including former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Political Climate is supported by the University of Southern California’s Schwarzenegger Institute. Pyper says Schwarzenegger believes strongly in trying to find unity in the country and the show’s affiliation with the Institute has been beneficial.

Pyper shared how one of her favorite guests on her podcast was futurist Tony Seba, who predicted several years ago the pace and acceleration of renewable energy and the decline in costs around electric vehicles. People called him crazy at the time but some of his predictions have come to fruition.

Low Carbon Fuels
Tucker and Pyper also had a lively discussion on the role of low carbon fuels in addressing climate change. Pyper sees a place for natural gas and propane but emphasized the importance of curbing the methane leakage issue with natural gas. She said if we don’t avoid that, she’s concerned about ending up in a scary place climate-wise. Pyper mentioned the importance of getting all the information on the table to have an honest look at where we are and what we need to do to make these resources truly more sustainable.