Path to Zero
Path to Zero
5.11 - Columbia Climate School’s Dr. Steven Cohen on How We Solve Our Environmental Problems Without Destroying the Economy

In this episode, Tucker has the opportunity to talk to one of the nation’s leading academic thinkers on sustainability. Dr. Steven Cohen is Columbia University’s Director of the Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy. He is a former policy analyst and consultant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The two discuss Dr. Cohen’s recent book, Environmentally Sustainable Growth: A Pragmatic Approach.

The conversion includes:

  • How we’ve demonstrated many times that we can grow economically and reduce pollution at the same time.
  • It requires rules, regulation and more than anything else, technological innovation.
  • Dr. Cohen provides several historical examples of how we solved serious problems with technological innovation, including how smog decreased in Southern California since the 1970s with cleaner fuels and catalytic converters.
  • Two technical innovations developing quickly will help address the climate crisis: electric vehicles and solar technology.
  • Solar arrays and EVs are getting cheaper and easier to use.
  • How recycling will evolve into an entirely different and more efficient system. Garbage will go into a single stream and artificial intelligence and robotics will be used to mine the garbage for resources.
  • How we need to get over our ideological divide to make progress on sustainability.

“Technological developments in solar and battery are going to transform the way we live. Just like the developments in the motor vehicle transformed the way we live,” says Dr. Steven Cohen.