The best climate-related podcasts – GoClimate recommendations!

We at GoClimate listen a lot to podcasts! It’s a brilliant way to learn new things, when sometimes it can be demanding or impractical to read books and some of us actually get restless by watching movies. In addition, it is nice to be accompanied by someone who talks to you when you are out walking, cooking or just being alone at home. So now we thought we’d share our top tips on podcasts about the climate!

All you need to get deep into a podcast!

Note that the Swedish version of this post has more recommendations to podcasts in Swedish, and links to the podcast episodes that feature our founders Kalle and Cissi!

There is a Swedish podcast called Klimatpodden which also features episodes in English. However, it’s not possible to filter for them, so you have to do some digging. But it might be worth the effort – the episode with Kevin Anderson was what convinced Cissi to stop flying! The podcast is arranged in interview format, where you get to listen to inspiring people ranging from researchers and politicians to entrepreneurs and activists who are engaged in fighting climate change. It really shows that anyone and everyone can and should do what they can to help the climate!

A tip from Kalle is the podcast My Climate Journey by Jason Jacobs, a software developer who sold his successful company (Runkeeper) and was looking for deeper meaning to life when he stumbled upon climate change. In his quest to understand the issue he talked to many experts, and those interactions developed into a podcast where we can jointly learn about the subject and get inspiration for what we can do to contribute to the solution.

Tove recommends The Wardrobe Crisis – a podcast for those interested in fashion and who want to know more about how fashion and culture are related to sustainability, ethics, activism and the environment. It’s so inspiring to see people who are willing to drive change within their industry! And there are many episodes for those who are not trend geeks too 🙂

If you instead are very interested in the energy issue (or have a specific query), it might be worth listening to The Interchange about the global energy transition! It was recommended to us by a friend who works with renewable energy – gracias! 🙂

Another one of the more niche podcasts out there is Resources Radio on the topic environmental economics, with episodes on global emissions trading and how the oil market is affected by COVID-19. Great source if you want to understand the interconnection between the climate and the global market, which can be super hard to grasp on your own.

A broader approach to topics in the environmental field is offered by the BBC podcast Costing the Earth. It deals with current issues discussed by leading experts who are working for a cleaner and greener planet. If you want to know more about how COVID-19 affects the climate, plastics, or what would happen if the whole UK went vegan, this is the podcast for you!

Alexandra and Emma are both very fond of the Swedish radio show SRs Sommar & Vinter i P1, where selected Swedes get one hour to talk about whatever they want. One of our idols in the climate field, the world renowned scientist Johan Rockström, made an episode that is just perfect about this – and it is available in English!

We also have a recommendation from a member of our community, who shared Not Cool – A Climate Podcast with us! Thanks a lot! It’s an American podcast which digs deep into serious aspects of climate change, such as tipping points, national security and information gaps. We will definitely give this one a try!

Isn’t it impossible to get bored when there is so much to listen to! What are your best climate podcast recommendations? Leave a comment to your community!

Our team is growing and doing more good for the climate than ever before!

We have recently almost doubled the number of team members at GoClimate, with three new co-creators that allow us to proceed even faster and more efficiently towards our goal of creating a better tomorrow and a healthier planet.

Alexandra Palmquist is GoClimate’s climate advisor who came to us from the United Nations Development Programme in Bolivia, where she worked on climate and environmental projects. Previous positions include the European Commission in Belgium and the NGO We Effect, where Alexandra was stationed in Mozambique. Alexandra will work with measuring and reducing both individual and corporate climate impacts, and review of the climate projects we finance. Outside of work Alexandra recharges her energy by going running or dancing tango!

Tove Westling is the founder of the London-based PR agency VARG, which has worked with the establishment of brands such as Dagmar, DAY Birger et Mikkelsen, Filippa K, CDLP and Samsøe Samsøe on the British market. Tove has also been responsible for the agency’s focus on sustainability, and managed Vestiaire Collective’s PR in Scandinavia. With us, she works primarily with increasing climate commitment both locally in Scandinavia and globally. Beyond the climate issue, Tove’s heart is pounding for animal rights, above all with a commitment to stray dogs around the world.

Emma Bäckström is a trained civil engineer in media technology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and has most recently worked as a developer at Mentimeter. At GoClimate, in addition to development, she also works with user experience and product development of our web service. In addition to saving the world, Emma wants to pet dogs and go running in the woods!

Besides the fact that we find it so exciting to have a living, growing team, we are extremely happy about what climate benefits this entails – as we can see that the number of co-creators is directly related to how much difference we make for the benefit of the climate. In 2017 we contributed to 660 avoided tonnes of CO2e per co-creator, in 2018 18, 000 avoided tonnes and in 2019 36,670 avoided tonnes per co-creator. We look forward to expanding the team further in 2020 and thus make even more positive difference!

Belen Wind Power Plant

We have now offset another 50,000 ton CO2eq in a Gold Standard certified project! Thank you for taking part in this!

Renewable energy has to make up a larger share of the market globally, which is why we are now financing the Belen Wind Project in Turkey. The major purpose of the project activity is providing electricity from renewable sources to the rapidly growing Turkish electricity market.

The project is expected to generate about 135,000 MWh of electricity per year and prevent approximately 74,444 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually compared to the baseline scenario. Even though wind is increasing in Turkey, there is a heavy reliance on fossil fuels such as oil and coal, and the share of natural gas has grown to reach the same proportion as the other sources. We want to finance this kind of projects to show that there is support for sustainable energy, and spread awareness of the feasibility of better alternatives.

This project consists of an installation of 16 wind turbines, each having a capacity of 3000 kW, in Belen, on the Southeast Mediterranean coast of Turkey. The wind farm provides a total capacity of 48MW and is connected to the national grid. The project employs state of the art technology and installed high capacity 3MW turbines instead of 1.5MW turbines that used to be installed in the earlier days of wind energy developments in Turkey. These new turbines enable better use of the wind potential with a reduced project footprint area, minimising the impact on the natural environment.

It is worth mentioning that if not prepared and designed properly, wind energy can have negative environmental impacts. This is why it is important to do a so-called Environmental Impact Assessment. As we purchase credits from projects certified by Gold Standard, there has been a rigorous control of the risks as all projects have to comply with the “Safeguarding Principles and Requirements” . This covers human rights, gender issues, corruption, water and land use, and other potential impacts. Another important part of the project preparation is the stakeholder consultation, which is also documented in Project Design Document. 

For this project in particular, it is described in the Project Design Document that ”…some trees will be cut in order to enlarge the road to the site and to clear the surroundings of the turbines. However; it was assured that new plantation will be done in return by local Forestry Management”. Other issues addressed in the preparation phase was the concern for bird migration in the area, and potential impact from waste and water usage during the construction phase. Having this information available is mandatory, and is how we know we can trust the project. It allows for accountability, so that we can hold the project developer responsible for the impacts and mitigation measures. 

More information about this project in the Gold Standard registry (including verification and monitoring reports) HERE

See our retired credits HERE, HERE and HERE

Sidrap Wind Energy Project

We have now offset another 25,000 ton CO2eq in a Gold Standard certified project! Thank you for making this happen!

This time, your contributions are funding the first ever wind farm in Indonesia. With 30 wind turbines reaching a total capacity of 75 MW, it is also the largest wind farm in all of South East Asia. Through this project, we are supporting Indonesia and its island Sulawesi to see beyond fossil fuels and stimulate both the development of the electricity grids and the national politics in a climate-positive direction.

Indonesia is a country that depends heavily on fossil fuels for its energy production. That in itself is not unique, but given its large population of 264 million, it is remarkable that there has been no wind power at all – until now. The potential for renewable energies in Indonesia is massive, estimated to 14 times their current demand. However, the country has very cheap coal, which sells domestically for less than the global market price, so the economic incentive for renewable energy is weak. In cases like these, the possibility to finance the development with sales of CO2-credits can be one solution to implement green energy projects.

This project has several benefits – Indonesians will now be able to see the positive impact of the wind power for themselves and we are proving the feasibility of this energy source in a local context. The project will also stimulate capacity development, as locals are recruited for the construction and operation of the facility. This breaking of new ground will facilitate for future wind energy projects. Moreover, it puts pressure on the development of the grids to become more flexible and interconnected, so that the electricity can be distributed in an efficient way.

The capital of Indonesia had a major power blackout earlier this year, highlighting the need for grid flexibility and a robust energy system. The politicians in Indonesia have also made a point to set the national target for renewable energy to 23% for 2025, which is twice as much renewables as in 2018 and therefore a significant contribution to the common goal of the Paris Agreement. Impressive! We hope that this is the first of many wind power plants in Indonesia, and are happy to see that there is already another one being built on the same island.

More information about this project in the Gold Standard registry (including verification and monitoring reports) HERE

See our retired credits HERE and HERE

New Year’s Climate Resolution

2020 is just around the corner, and it has to be the year we all step up our efforts to stop climate change!

This needs to be a year of massive action, on all levels. Of course, we are all hoping for radical climate policy on national level, but we also have to be part of the transition on an individual level. That way, we signal to both politicians and big business that we are serious about wanting change! And we need to move towards minimal CO2 lifestyles, as fast as possible.

I have always travelled a lot, and it is a major part of my identity. The world is such a glorious place and I am so curious to experience it! I am convinced that it has helped me become both more informed about the complexities of today, but also more compassionate towards others. This, however, has had a massive CO2 footprint. Only in 2019, my flight emissions were 3,19 tonnes of CO2e.

Feeling regret about our past emissions is hardly helpful. We need to start somewhere, and it is never too late to do better. But if we want to stop climate change, we need to start now!

Therefore, my new years climate resolution is to stay on the ground to keep fossil fuels in the ground! I am keen to explore my more immediate surroundings by train, foot and other climate friendly means of transportation. After all, travelling in Sweden and Europe has a lot to offer! On top of that, knowing how many tonnes of CO2 I can keep from getting into the atmosphere is definitely a good motivation.

On a train through Austria in 2017. Those landscapes!

Kalle is already standing steadily with both feet on the ground! So his commitment to the climate and the environment for 2020 is to not buy any new electronics or clothes! The GoClimate blog has posts about electronics and sustainable fashion if you want some inspiration to join Kalle on his journey. A pair of jeans is estimated to emit 6 kg CO2eq, whereas a 15-inch MacBook Pro is 560 kg CO2eq – and that is not considering the potential pollution and ethical concerns regarding mining for minerals.

Cissi has worked a lot on her own emission sources, and for 2020 she wants to, at least, participate at twice as many climate strikes compared to 2019 and have a larger impact on her surroundings by influencing her tenant owners’ association. By talking to her neighbours, she is aiming to take the lead to make the apartment block more sustainable. That way, they can make collective decisions (perhaps some solar panels?) but also she can reach individuals in her immediate surrounding and lead by example.

Evelina wants to focus on food and soil health for 2020. She wants to lower her food waste, eat more locally produced and learn more about regenerative farming.

Our collaborator Marlena has decided to “be a more annoying customer” – to ask at the restaurant if they have sustainable (MSC certified) fish, if the taxi company has electric cars, etc. By doing so, she will voice the demand for sustainable offers from customers to service providers. Doing so, in a positive and encouraging way! Take the lead!

Are you also staying on the ground in 2020? What is your pledge for a cooler future? Let us know and join us in being part of the solution!

This is how we manage the 1.5 degree target!

What do we have to do to manage the 1.5 degree target and avoid the worst consequences of climate change?

Managing the 1.5 degree target is challenging to say the least, but still reachable if we start doing things differently today from yesterday. According to calculations that we have done based on a few studies, in practice, all of us will have to keep a yearly “carbon dioxide budget” and emit maximally 5 tonnes greenhouse gases by the year 2020 (excluding public consumption). Currently, the average Swede emits nearly 9 tonnes greenhouse gases per year (excluding public consumption). The global average is 6 tonnes greenhouse gases every year.

What is possible to do within a carbon dioxide budget of 5 tonnes?

To create an understanding of what can be included within a carbon dioxide budget of maximally 5 tonnes, here are some general estimates of the emissions of a few activities:

  • Driving 10 000 km with a petrol-powered car corresponds to approx. 1 tonne CO2eq emissions.
  • Eating non-processed vegan food corresponds to approx. 0.5 tonne and above CO2eq emissions.
  • Eating a diet based on a lot of red meat and dairy products corresponds to approx. 2.5 tonnes CO2eq emissions.
  • Living in an apartment – electricity, heating and hot water corresponds to approx. 1,5 tonnes CO2eq emissions/apartment (based on Swedish averages with low carbon intensity electricity).
  • Living in a house – electricity, heating and hot water equals approx. 2,7 tonnes CO2eq emissions/house (based on Swedish averages with low carbon intensity electricity)
  • A 5-hour’ flight corresponds to 1 tonne CO2eq (including high altitude emissions). This means that traveling to and from Frankfurt-New York emits approx. 3 tonnes CO2eq. Traveling to and from London-Mexico corresponds to approx. 4 tonnes CO2eq.

If I offset all my CO2eq emissions – can I emit more than 5 tonnes then?

No. Sorry, but it is not that easy. We have been letting out huge amounts of carbon dioxide for so many years now that we are in a hurry, and we have to do everything that we can to even have a shot at managing the 1.5 degree target. A dream scenario would be if we could reduce our emissions to a maximum of 5 tonnes CO2eq by 2020 and at the same time offset all the emissions that we currently cannot prevent (such as public consumption, to give an example).

So, from where did we get “a maximum of 5 tonnes”?

To begin with, we looked at the study 1.5 degree lifestyles (2018). According to this study, globally, in the year 2030, we will be able to emit maximally 2.5 tonnes CO2eq/person to have a chance of managing the decisive 1.5 degree target. In 2040, we will be able to emit maximally 1.4 tonnes CO2eq/person, and in 2050 – a maximum of only 0.7 tonnes CO2eq/person.

Thereafter, we used the theory of the “Carbon Law” from A roadmap for rapid decarbonisation (Rockström et al, 2017). According to the Carbon Law, we must halve our CO2eq emissions every decade to have a 75% chance at keeping the global temperature below 2 degrees Celcius.

We then combined the results from the two studies, starting with the amount of maximally 2.5 tonnes CO2eq emissions in the year 2030 according to 1.5 degree lifestyles, and doubling this amount according to the Carbon Law to reach the number of a maximum of 5 tonnes CO2eq emissions by 2020. This amount excludes public consumption, however, does not include the justice aspect. Used in for example the Paris Agreement, the justice aspect states that poorer countries should be allowed a longer time to adjust their CO2eq emissions than richer countries. For this reason, we use the wording a maximum of 5 tonnes CO2eq.

So, based on these studies, we would have a pathway to managing the 1.5 degree target if we as soon as possible reduced our CO2eq emission levels to below 5 tonnes and at the same time offset all the emissions that we currently cannot prevent. This way, we would give poorer people in the world a greater chance to better life standards and have a bigger chance at stopping climate change.

1) The numbers from the 1.5 degree lifestyles report do not take into consideration the possibilities that negative emission techniques (NETs) could provide. However, the calculations for the Carbon Law presume NETs to manage the target and keep the global temperature below 2 degrees.

2) Our calculated maximum of 5 tonnes CO2eq emissions per person by 2020 also corresponds with WWF’s goal of 7 tonnes CO2eq emissions per person by 2020 (5 tonnes of CO2eq excluding public consumption).

References

https://www.aalto.fi/department-of-design/15-degrees-lifestyles
https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/research-news/2017-03-23-curbing-emissions-with-a-new-carbon-law.html 
https://www.klimatkalkylatorn.se/downloads/Metoddokument.pdf
https://www.klimatkontot.se/


UK Parliament unanimously passed the motion to declare environment and climate emergency

Extinction Rebellion Brussels by Nour Livia

Mayday May Day

The first of May is a day of importance every year, by celebrating labourers and the working class. But on the first of May 2019 this day made history with a massive step forward in the fight against Climate Change, as the UK Parliament declared Environment and Climate Emergency.

The votes were unanimous and this is hopefully just the first of many nations to take the same step in declaring a state of emergency. And while this is a thing to celebrate, we must not let our fists down and think this will change anything. We must put pressure on the politicians to make necessary changes. Words have no meaning without action.


But let’s back up a little.

What does it even mean to “declare a state of emergency” for a nation?

A government can declare a state of emergency during a disaster or warfare and gives the government power to take actions that they normally wouldn’t be authorized to.

When a nation declares emergency it also sends a clear signal to the citizens that there indeed is an emergency, and that changes most likely will be made to deal with said emergency.

Nowadays, a lot of legislations and changes takes a very long time to pass.

A state of emergency gives the government freedom to make important decisions faster.

Because no matter how bleak it sounds, we are indeed in the midst of an enormous crisis. The biggest crisis and challenge since the history of mankind. And we need to act fast. The people with the power to make big changes need to be able to act now. Because we are running out of time.

What now?

As mentioned before, without action this declaration means very little. Hopefully it will lead to more nations taking after the U.K. and vote to declare Climate and Ecological Emergency as well.

Extinction Rebellion and other environmental movements and activists need to keep fighting. Keep spreading the pressure on people in power, and gaining more support from the people.

Because even though it’s the people in power who can make the large changes, they won’t do it unless there’s enough pressure from the people.

And we, the people must act now.

Illustration by Ingram Pinn in Financial Times

This post is written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here

To keep in mind for the bumpy and uncomfortable road ahead

A lot of what I will write here on this blog will hit home and will hit you hard. It will bring up things that you probably do, either with or without knowledge of its environmental effect. And I want you to know that this is not to judge anyone, but simply to share facts, ideas and tips. I understand that you can’t do it all.

I understand that some changes are either very hard to make or in some cases basically impossible.

Whether it’s for health, economical or in other ways hard for you to change I just want you to be more aware of your actions and make your choices from a place of deeper understanding of the backgrounds and the consequences, rather than blindingly do what we’ve “always” done.

Because the harsh truth is that our house, the earth, is metaphorically on fire. We can’t keep acting like we have and still are. We need to make drastic changes. And it will be hard. It will mean sacrifices. But we don’t have any other choices. People have already and are currently – dying from the effects of climate change. And it will only get worse.

I also want to point out that most of these posts, if not all, are directed towards the privileged who are living way above a sustainable lifestyle above 2 tons/year.

And while it’s largely because of the society in which we live, we still need to strive to lower our impact as much as possible.

My hope is that you will read this with an open mind and not take it hard or as direct criticism. We all make mistakes and things we can’t fully endorse. Be open to the fact that you’ve made mistakes and don’t beat yourself up about it and instead try to do better from now on. We can’t change what we’ve done in the past, but how we act from the knowledge and insightfulness.

Cause what is life if we don’t evolve and learn from our mistakes and move forward more enlightened?!

So prepare for the ride.

It will be bumpy, it will be uncomfortable and you might want to jump off and just stand still – but we need to get there. We need to arrive to where we can slow down climate change and stay below 2 degrees, or as low as we possibly can.

Buckle up.

Evelina Utterdahl during one of her talks at Bournemouth University about Quitting Flying. Photographer: Roxanne Furman

This post is written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here

Our best beach reads!

Here are our best summer beach reads if you want to change the world or at least understand it a bit better! What is your best tip?

Henrik
⇒ Factfulness – Hans Rosling. 2018.
“…Factfulness is a new thinking habit that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to challenges and opportunities of the future.”
⇒ No one is too small to make a difference – Greta Thunberg. 2019.
“Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.”

Kalle ⇒ Drawdown, the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming – Paul Hawken. 2017.
New York Times bestseller. This book describes the 100 solutions that makes the biggest difference for climate change.

Cissi ⇒ The history of bees – Maja Lunde. 2015.
A novel that deals with the high-level topic of species extinction in a captivating and easy-to-read format.

Evelina
⇒ How bad are bananas, Mike Berners-Lee, 2011
⇒ The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, David Wallace-Wells, 2019
⇒ Cradle to Cradle, William McDonough, 2009
⇒ This is not a drill, Extinction Rebellion, 2019

Sommarläsning

Is train a feasible alternative to flying?

As I write this I’m sitting on a train headed back to Sweden, pondering the result of a year’s experimentation with travelling by train instead of flying. Is this an effective way to reduce my carbon footprint? The jury is in! Read on.

One common rallying cry among climate advocates is to fly less (or ideally not at all). I consider myself a climate advocate (here’s my entry ticket), but I’m also a pragmatist. I’ve worked enough with behavioural change to know that it’s unrealistic to expect many people to change their habits unless there is a convenient and compelling alternative. For example, Spotify killed music pirating, not by attacking pirate sites, but by providing a better and more convenient alternative.

So what are the alternatives to flying, if you want to get from A to B?

  • Option A: Don’t go. Stay at A. This option won’t fly (pun intended) with most people. There’s a reason why they want to go from A to B, and only a small number of people will be willing to sacrifice that (kudos to those people though!).
  • Option B: Walk or bicycle. Not feasible. A distance that is long enough to take a flight is usually waaay too long for a walk or bicycle ride, unless you are an enthusiast with LOTS of time on your hands.
  • Option C: Car. This makes sense only if you travel in a group, or if you drive an electric car. If you drive alone in a fuel car, the climate impact is about the same as flying, just takes longer and is more dangerous and clogs up the road.
  • Option D: Bus. I haven’t found any long-distance bus options  to the places I go. Might be more feasible in other countries than mine.
  • Option E: Train. Is train a feasible alternative? Definitely climate friendly, but what about price, convenience, reliability, and time? Read on!

Continue reading “Is train a feasible alternative to flying?”