Path to Zero
Path to Zero
1.07 - Human Behavior and a Recipe for a Low Carbon Future

Dr. Joshua RhodesIn this episode of Path to Zero, host Tucker Perkins speaks with Dr. Joshua Rhodes, a research fellow at the Energy Institute and the Webber Energy Group at The University of Texas at Austin, about a seven-step recipe to achieve low carbon energy, implications of the electrification movement and the recent rolling blackouts in California.

Motivated by his curiosity and The Great Recession of 2008, Dr. Rhodes obtained a double bachelors in Mathematics and Economics from Stephen F. Austin State University, a masters in Computational Mathematics from Texas A&M University, a masters in Architectural Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. While building his portfolio in academia, Dr. Rhodes participated in the Pecan Street Project where he took a deep look into how homes are using energy, as well as tactics and technologies that could help create energy efficiency.

show notes

With a magnifying glass on California as they are experiencing rolling blackouts, a question emerges of whether the state could have been proactive about this event, or was it inevitable?

Starting with explaining peak demand, Dr. Rhodes shows how human behavior not only affects a home’s energy bill but also can impact a larger population as seen in California. Think about that mid-summer heat and how many families are turning on the A/C to stay cool. The increase in demand must be met by an energy source one way or another.

Perkins revisits Dr. Rhodes’ seven-step recipe for low carbon energy that would benefit many, especially during occurrences like these. The recipe calls for moving to a low carbon emitting energy, electrifying transportation systems, making buildings more efficient, planning cities in carbon-conscious ways, changing our diet, freeing energy data and implementing a carbon tax.

Fostering these low carbon strategies is only part of the plan. Another key to taking steps against climate change requires balancing nuclear power and clean gas like propane into the energy mix, mobilizing infrastructure and creating the necessary jobs.

While there is not a single solution that applies to every climate change issue, this podcast walks through having a toolbox where sources like electricity and propane can work together to meet energy needs.