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Kevin Anderson: “The Uncomfortable Link between Climate and Equity”

August 2, 2023

Conversation recorded on July 17th, 2023)

Show Summary

On this episode, Nate is joined by climate scientist Kevin Anderson to discuss the possible paths of averting severe climate outcomes and how this is interconnected with equity. As nations plan their climate goals and coordinate with each other, it’s clear that extreme actions would be needed from everyone to meet the goal of keeping the global average temperature increase below 2ºC – if this is even possible. At the same time, there are wide disparities in the greenhouse gas emissions between the materially wealthiest and poorest within and across countries. How are past inequities already affecting people in presently climate impacted zones? How can concerned individuals begin incorporating changes and communicating with others in their own lives – and is it even worth it to do so? How can we attempt to balance the equity in standards of living and create rapid reductions in emissions, all while grappling with growing geopolitical tensions, declining energy availability, and the multitude of other converging risks in this impending poly-crisis.

About Kevin Anderson

Kevin is professor of Energy and Climate Change at the University of Manchester and visiting professor at the Universities of Uppsala (Sweden) and Bergen (Norway). Formerly he held the position of Zennström professor (in Uppsala) and was director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (UK). Kevin engages widely with governments, industry and civil society, and remains research active with publications in Climate policy, Nature and Science. He has a decade’s industrial experience in the petrochemical industry, is a chartered engineer and fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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Show Notes & Links to Learn More

Suggested Reading from Kevin Anderson on inequity reinforcement in the IPCC Working Group III Models: IPCC scenarios project highly unequal future between North and South, Equity Assessment of Global Mitigation Pathways in the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report

00:00 – Kevin Anderson Works + Info, Climate Uncensored

06:43 – 2 consecutive days of record hot temperatures for the last 100,000 years

07:30 – Length and increasing accuracy of global temperature measurements

10:50 – Don’t Look Up

16:45 – Energy consumption reduction after 2008 recession

19:49 – Lucas Chancel and Thomas Piketty

20:18 – 50% of emissions come from 10% of the population

20:30 – The top 1% produce twice as much CO2 as the bottom half

24:32 – Economic models with greater levels of equity tend to be more aligned with climate

24:47 – A majority of fertilizer goes to producing animal feed

25:30 – If top 10% of global emitters reduced their emissions to the average European (6 tonnes/person), and nothing else changed, that would cut CO2 by ⅓

27:12 – Emissions have risen by 60% since the first IPCC report

29:58 – Ukraine/Russia War and Effects

30:20 – Global North Debt

30:48 – Complex 6-continent supply chain

32:47 – Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats

36:48 – Likelihood of 1.5 degrees, 2 degrees

36:54 – Peak Oil

38:58 – Planetary Boundaries

41:57 – Every .1 degree is worth fighting for

43:24 – James Hansen, New Paper

47:30 – Carbon Budget

50:17 – Most homes in the US are very poor quality in terms of energy efficiency

52:27 – Carbon Pulse

1:05:08 – Regenerative Agriculture

1:06:40 – Sequestration technologies are in their infancy and are not a guarantee

1:09:50 – Renewables aren’t substituting fossil energy, but adding to total energy currently

1:10:40 – Ecological Economics

1:11:00 – Care Economies

1:12:06 – Economics for the Future – Beyond the Superorganism

1:16:15 – The rise of anti-establishment

1:23:28 – Successful social change has required protesting historically

1:24:12 – Taimur Ahmad TGS Episode

1:26:35 – Emergence

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens is the Director of The Institute for the Study of Energy & Our Future (ISEOF) an organization focused on educating and preparing society for the coming cultural transition. Allied with leading ecologists, energy experts, politicians and systems thinkers ISEOF assembles road-maps and off-ramps for how human societies can adapt to lower throughput lifestyles. Nate holds a Masters Degree in Finance with Honors from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He teaches an Honors course, Reality 101, at the University of Minnesota.

Tags: climate change responses, economic inequality, social change