Resources Radio

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Resources Radio is a weekly podcast by Resources for the Future. Each week we talk to leading experts about climate change, electricity, ecosystems, and more, making the latest research accessible to everyone.

Episode Date
Shedding Light on Rural Energy Access, with Subhrendu Pattanayak
Host Daniel Raimi talks with Professor Subhrendu Pattanayak of Duke University. Over the last several years, Subhrendu has literally trekked the Himalayas to do research on how to provide access to electricity for communities in hard-to-reach places. Daniel and Subhrendu talk about what policy and market factors might make it easier to expand energy access, and Subhrendu explains how dynamics within these communities can affect the likelihood of small-scale electricity projects to succeed or fail. References and recommendations: "Earth" by Lil Dicky; (explicit) "Power to the Poor" by Morgan D. Bazilian; "Reducing Risk for Private Investment in Off-Grid Energy" by Oliver Waissbein; "Energizing Finance 2017" Sustainable Energy for All; "Energizing Finance 2018" Sustainable Energy for All; "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss;
Jun 16, 2019
Refined Coal: The Billion-Dollar Subsidy You've Never Heard Of, with Brian Prest
Host Daniel Raimi talks with RFF postdoctoral fellow Brian Prest about a little-known topic: refined coal. Brian and coauthor Alan Krupnick have published a new RFF working paper that takes a close look at a $1-billion-a-year federal subsidy for refined coal. So, what is refined coal? What's the purpose of the subsidy? And does the subsidy deliver? References and recommendations: "How Clean is Refined Coal?" by Brian C. Prest and Alan Krupnick; "The Last Lobster: Boom or Bust for Maine's Greatest Fishery" by Christopher White;
Jun 07, 2019
The Money Behind Wind Power, with Jay Bartlett
Host Daniel Raimi talks with Jay Bartlett—a research associate at RFF—about his recent work on wind energy development. Jay explains how wind projects actually get built, i.e., how developers raise money for their projects and who they sell their electricity to. Daniel and Jay also discuss how state and federal policies shape these markets, and how the coming changes in the policy landscape are likely to affect future wind development. References and recommendations: "Reducing Risk in Merchant Wind and Solar Projects through Financial Hedges" by Jay Bartlett; "News of the World" by Paulette Jiles; "The Son" by Philipp Meyer; "Our Planet;"
Jun 04, 2019
Biodiversity, Food Security, and Sustainability, with Sue Lieberman
Host Daniel Raimi talks with Dr. Sue Lieberman, vice president for International Policy at the Wildlife Conservation Society. They discuss a major new report that synthesizes the literature on the global state of biodiversity. The report warns about a variety of risks, including species extinction, habitat degradation, food insecurity, and much more. Sue describes the scale of some of these risks, and shares her views on how policymakers can respond to prevent them. References and recommendations: IPBES Summary; "The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming" by David Wallace-Wells; "Our Planet;" "Why the Guardian is Changing the Language it Uses about the Environment;"
May 27, 2019
How the Trump Administration's ACE Rule Affects Emissions, with Amelia Keyes
Host Daniel Raimi talks with RFF Research Associate Amelia Keyes about her recent research on the Trump administration's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. Amelia and several colleagues have estimated the effect of the rule on emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide, finding that ACE could actually increase these emissions rather than reduce them. References and recommendations: "Mapping America’s Wicked Weather and Deadly Disasters"; "Mothers of Invention";
May 21, 2019
New Mexico's Path to a Low-Carbon Future, with NM Cabinet Secretary Sarah Propst
Host Daniel Raimi talks with Sarah Propst, the Cabinet Secretary of the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department for the state of New Mexico. New Mexico recently enacted legislation to transition to 100 percent zero carbon electricity by the year 2050, and to provide transition assistance to workers and communities affected by the changing energy landscape. Daniel and Sarah discuss how the bill was developed, how much it's going to cost, and what other steps New Mexico is taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. References and recommendations: "The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs" by Steve Brusatte;
May 12, 2019
Sen. Whitehouse Dives in on a Carbon Fee and Ocean Pollution
Host Kristin Hayes talks with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) about the reintroduction of the American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act. Sponsored by the senator and several colleagues, the legislation would impose a carbon fee on fossil fuels, starting at $52 per metric ton of CO2 emitted. They also discuss the challenges facing our planet’s oceans—a topic of great importance to the senator from the Ocean State. Top of the Stack: "Our Planet";
May 07, 2019
A Master Plan for Protecting Louisiana's Coast, with Denise Reed
Host Kristin Hayes talks with Dr. Denise Reed, an internationally recognized expert in coastal marsh sustainability and the role of human activities in modifying coastal systems. They discuss Louisiana's coastal master plan, on which Denise has be an adviser to state officials leading the plan development. This ambitious, long-term planning process has grown even more important in the face of rising sea levels. References and recommendations: Richard Campanella books on New Orleans; "Do Renewable Portfolio Standards Deliver?" by Michael Greenstone and Ishan Nath;
Apr 30, 2019
Exploring the Resource Curse and Enhancing Energy Access, with Todd Moss
Host Daniel Raimi talks with Dr. Todd Moss, Executive Director of the Energy for Growth Hub. Todd has worked for years at the intersection of energy and economic development, with a focus on developing economies in Africa and elsewhere. They cover two major topics: avoiding the so-called "oil curse" in the nation of Guyana, and supporting economic growth in the developing world by improving energy access for businesses and industries. References and recommendations: "Amity and Prosperity" by Eliza Griswold; "Rising" by Elizabeth Rush; IEA Report on Air Conditioners;
Apr 21, 2019
Can We Price Carbon?, with Barry Rabe of the University Of Michigan
Host Daniel Raimi talks with Professor Barry Rabe of the University of Michigan about his new book, "Can We Price Carbon?" Barry shares his insights on some of the real-world challenges for implementing policies that price carbon, and describes some of the key features that might help make them stick. They talk about how experience from previous efforts to price carbon can inform discussions on the Green New Deal, and much more. References and recommendations: "Can We Price Carbon?" by Barry G. Rabe; Senate Bill 181: Protect Public Welfare Oil And Gas Operations; Elections in Canada; "Blood Oil" by Leif Wenar;
Apr 15, 2019
Exploring the Farm Bill, with RFF's Ann M. Bartuska
Host Daniel Raimi talks with RFF Vice President for Land, Water, and Nature Ann M. Bartuska about the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is a massive piece of legislation, so Daniel and Ann discuss some key topics related to land conservation and agricultural research. Ann shares her expertise on those topics, along with the connection between the Farm Bill and forest management, climate change, meatless hamburgers, and more. References and recommendations: Burger King Impossible Burger: USGS Water Data:
Apr 08, 2019
Carbon Dioxide Removal, with Greg Nemet of the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Host Kristin Hayes talks with Greg Nemet, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the La Follette School of Public Affairs and the Nelson Institute's Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment. They discuss the future of carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere, with a particular focus on negative emissions technologies. References and recommendations: "How Solar Energy Became Cheap: A Model for Low-Carbon Innovation" by Greg Nemet;
Apr 01, 2019
Measuring Methane, with Arvind Ravikumar of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
Host Daniel Raimi talks with Arvind Ravikumar, assistant professor of Energy Engineering at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania. They discuss methane emissions from oil and natural gas systems, their effect on climate change, new technologies, which can detect and reduce those emissions, and what governments are doing to encourage the deployment of those new technologies. Plus, Arvind will give an update on how climate change is affecting the annual Iditarod race in Alaska. References and recommendations: Cows actually burp methane; Melting snow and the Iditarod; "Three Considerations for Modeling Natural Gas System Methane Emissions in Life Cycle Assessment" by Emily A. Grubert and Adam R. Brandt;
Mar 25, 2019
Carbon Pricing in Germany, with Christian Flachsland of the Mercator Research Institute
Host Kristin Hayes talks with Dr. Christian Flachsland, head of the Governance Working Group at Germany's Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, and an assistant professor for Climate and Energy Governance at the Hertie School of Governance. They discuss the ongoing carbon pricing debate in Germany, the EU Emissions Trading System (EUETS), and ways to make these policies more efficient while still achieving climate goals. References and recommendations made by Christian: "Carbon Budget 2018" by Global Carbon Project;
Mar 18, 2019
Coffee in a Changing Climate, with Kim Elena Ionescu of the Specialty Coffee Association
Host Daniel Raimi talks with Kim Elena Ionescu, Chief Sustainability Officer at the Specialty Coffee Association. They discuss how coffee producers are likely to be affected by climate change, how they might adapt, and what resources are available to help them make decisions. They also talk about the role that consumers play in this discussion. References and recommendations made by Kim Elena Ionescu: "Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things" by William McDonough and Michael Braungart;
Mar 12, 2019
Community Perceptions of Wind Energy, with Sarah Mills of the University of Michigan
Host Daniel Raimi talks with Dr. Sarah Mills, senior project manager at the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy. Sarah and colleagues recently published a study looking at how people perceive the positive and negative impacts of wind energy development. We'll talk about what the study found, what the implications are for state and local planning, and what this might mean for the fast-growing industry of wind energy in the United States. References and recommendations made by Sarah Mills: "Exploring Landowners’ Post-Construction Changes in Perceptions of Wind Energy in Michigan" by Sarah Banas Mills, Douglas Bessette, and Hannah Smith; "The Politics of Resentment" by Katherine J. Cramer;
Mar 04, 2019
A Lawmaker's Take on the Green New Deal, with Former Congressman Phil Sharp
Hosts Kristin Hayes and Daniel Raimi team up to interview Phil Sharp, former Indiana congressman, former president of RFF, and current non-resident fellow at the Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy. They ask Phil to share his thoughts on the Green New Deal—the ambitious set of proposals aimed at tackling climate change, inequality, and more. Phil gives his take on the pros and cons of the approach from a political perspective, as well as shares his broader thoughts about the ability of our political system to deal with big, complex challenges like climate change. References and recommendations made by Phil Sharp: "Designing Climate Solutions" by Hal Harvey, Robbie Orvis, and Jeffrey Rissman;
Feb 23, 2019
Does the Shale Boom Equal Climate Doom?, with RFF's Daniel Raimi
Host Kristin Hayes talks with Daniel Raimi, host of Resources Radio and a senior research associate at RFF. They discuss Daniel's latest research on the oil and gas industry and his new paper, "The Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Increased US Oil and Gas Production." References and recommendations made by Daniel Raimi: "The Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Increased US Oil and Gas Production" by Daniel Raimi; "The Golden Age of Industrial Musicals;"
Feb 18, 2019
Understanding Climate Models, with Massimo Tavoni of EIEE
Host Kristin Hayes talks with Massimo Tavoni, the director of the RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment and an associate professor at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy. They discuss integrated assessment models, what they are, how they're used in studying climate change, and why they matter for decisionmaking. References and recommendations made by Max Tavoni: Carbon Brief; "Mountain";
Feb 10, 2019
Fracking in Colorado, with Matt Lepore of Adamantine Energy
Host Daniel Raimi talks with Matt Lepore of Adamantine Energy about oil and gas development in Colorado. They'll discuss the controversies surrounding development, how the state has responded, and whether it's done a good enough job. They'll also talk about the results of the statewide election, in which Colorado voters rejected a proposal that would have dramatically restricted new oil and gas development. References and recommendations made by Matt Lepore: "Sapiens" by Yuval Noah Harari; "Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy;
Feb 03, 2019
Demystifying Sea Level Rise, with Robert Kopp of Rutgers University
Host Daniel Raimi talks with Dr. Robert Kopp—Director of the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, a professor at Rutgers University, and co-director at the Climate Impact Lab—about sea level rise. They discuss the latest update on how a changing climate will affect sea levels, and where the major uncertainties lie. Daniel will also ask Robert how he responds when people ask a common question posed of climate scientists: “are we doomed?” References and recommendations made by Robert Kopp: "We Need Courage, Not Hope, To Face Climate Change" by Kate Marvel; "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History" by Elizabeth Kolbert; "New York 2140" by Kim Stanley Robinson;
Jan 24, 2019
Paying For Pollution, with Gilbert Metcalf of Tufts University
Host Daniel Raimi talks with Gilbert Metcalf, the John DiBiaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service, a Professor of Economics, and Graduate Program Director at Tufts University's Department of Economics. They discuss his new book, "Paying for Pollution: Why a Carbon Tax is Good for America," why he thinks that a carbon tax is the smartest way to deal with the problem of climate change, and his views on why it's preferable to other policy approaches. References and recommendations made by Gilbert Metcalf: "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History" by Elizabeth Kolbert; "Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America" by Eliza Griswold; "Confronting the Climate Challenge: US Policy Options" by Lawrence Goulder and Marc Hafstead; "Paying for Pollution: Why a Carbon Tax is Good for America" by Gilbert Metcalf;
Jan 19, 2019
People, Parks, and Policy, with RFF's Margaret Walls
Host Kristin Hayes talks with Margaret Walls, a senior fellow at Resources for the Future about her work on the economics of national parks and other public lands, including ways to address ongoing funding needs and overcrowding. They also discuss some of the recent concerns related to national parks and the government shutdown. References and recommendations made by Margaret Walls: "The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks" by Terry Tempest Williams; "All The Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West" by David Gessner;
Jan 13, 2019
The New Energy Geopolitics, with Meghan O'Sullivan of Harvard University
Host Daniel Raimi talks with Meghan O’Sullivan, the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, about her recent book "Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America's Power." They discuss energy independence, the US-China relationship, energy ties between Europe and Russia, and much more. References and recommendations made by Meghan O'Sullivan: "Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America's Power" by Meghan O'Sullivan; "Rethinking Saudi Arabia" by Karen Elliott House;
Jan 06, 2019
Energy Inefficiency, with RFF's Joshua Blonz
Host Daniel Raimi and Joshua Blonz, a postdoctoral fellow at RFF, talk about his recent research on an energy efficiency program in California, the “principal-agent problem,” and what that means for policymaking on energy efficiency and much more. References and recommendations made by Joshua Blonz: "The Welfare Costs of Misaligned Incentives: Energy Inefficiency and the Principal-Agent Problem" by Joshua Blonz; "Lyft Doesn’t Cause Congestion, All Vehicles Do" by Severin Borenstein;
Dec 30, 2018
Sensing Pollution with Satellites, with RFF's Alan Krupnick and Daniel Sullivan
Host Daniel Raimi and RFF's Alan Krupnick and Daniel Sullivan discuss their recent study using satellite data to better measure air pollution in the United States, what the implications are for public health, and how policymakers might respond. References and recommendations made by Alan and Daniel: "Using Satellite Data to Fill the Gaps in the US Air Pollution Monitoring Network" by Daniel Sullivan and Alan Krupnick;
Dec 23, 2018
Communicating Complex Social Problems, with Matthew Nisbet of Northeastern University
Host Kristin Hayes and Matthew Nisbet, a professor of communication, public policy, and urban affairs at Northeastern University, discuss effective communications related to complex social problems such as climate change and political polarization. References and recommendations made by Matthew Nisbet: Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy by Siva Vaidhyanathan;
Dec 16, 2018
Agriculture and Climate Change, with Fran Moore of UC Davis
Host Daniel Raimi and Dr. Fran Moore of UC Davis talk about the economic impacts of climate change on agriculture, what a recent study authored by Moore and colleagues found, and what these findings mean for estimating the social cost of carbon. References and recommendations made by Fran Moore: "New Science of Climate Change Impacts on Agriculture Implies Higher Social Cost of Carbon" by Frances C. Moore, Uris Baldos, Thomas Hertel, and Delavane Diaz; American War: A Novel by Omar El Akkad; The End We Start From by Megan Hunter; Odds Against Tomorrow: A Novel by Nathaniel Rich;
Dec 07, 2018
Wildfires, with RFF's Matthew Wibbenmeyer
Host Daniel Raimi and RFF Fellow Matthew Wibbenmeyer discuss the recent fires in California, looking not only their causes but also how to mitigate their risk. References and recommendations made by Matthew Wibbenmeyer: The Relationship between Trees and Human Health: Evidence from the Spread of the Emerald Ash Borer, a US Forest Service Study by Geoffrey Donovan et al.
Dec 01, 2018