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Making climate movies + decarbonizing industry & buildings.
As long-time readers know, here at Volts headquarters we are constantly at work polishing up transcripts of my podcast interviews to make them as readable as possible. No mere machine transcript will do; these are artisanal, hand-crafted transcripts.
This week we have three more to serve up, piping hot and ready for your consumption. (They are also available in PDF form.) Here are links, along with a few juicy quotes.
Don't Look Up director Adam McKay on the challenges of making movies about climate change
I had another idea that was more like a Twilight Zone episode about submarines from different nations fighting over claiming new land underneath the Arctic Circle that they can drill for oil in. One of the subs gets sunk and then frozen in the deep bottom underneath the Arctic. We go to 200 years later, and it's rescued, and some of the people are able to be defrosted using advanced tech. It's about them living in the future utopia that has solved these problems, which I thought was kind of cool.
It's been really cool: at Netflix, they do crazy amounts of data — pretty sure they know, statistically, within 96 percent, how I'm going to die — and they said that they've never seen a comedy play across this many countries. I think the movie was number one in 87 countries and top 10 in 90. For people that care about the climate and care about the state of the world, I think that's a very hopeful thing, that this current moment in the world is that universal. I've never experienced that before.
I love the ending. We've been watching it, we've screened it for ourselves, I think it's beautiful. We screen it … and it's the audience's favorite part of the movie. Universally. Unequivocally.
Jason Bordoff & Meghan O’Sullivan on the geopolitics of clean energy
The geopolitics of energy since at least the Arab oil embargo in the early 1970s, probably much longer, has largely been about oil and gas, whether it's concerns about OPEC’s control over oil markets, or Russia's gas supply into Europe, or anything else. So it's a hopeful vision to say, when we decarbonize and move away from oil and gas, those geopolitical risks will become a thing of the past.
But that end state of beyond oil and gas is pretty far away. There's a multi-decade period when you have the new geopolitics of clean energy layered on top of the old geopolitics of oil and gas.
We were talking about some of the ways global energy-related trade shifts in the IEA net-zero scenario, away from oil and gas to critical minerals or hydrogen. But the other finding is that total energy-related trade in a net-zero world is only 38 percent, a little more than a third, of what it would be if the world were to stay at its current trajectory.
It's not surprising, but it is striking that you have much more localized energy. The geopolitics of energy will wane in the long term.
Panama Bartholomy on decarbonizing America's buildings
We're dealing with technologies that people have a lot of urgency around when they break. What we need to do in this space is figure out how to add just enough money and just enough access to financing to be able to shift that decision around to the technologies we want. We don't need to pay for the entire water heater; what we need to do is pay a few hundred to a thousand-and-a-half for that water heater in order to help consumers choose a heat-pump water heater rather than going back to another gas water heater. We need some incentives, particularly over the next decade, to be able to make it so that the electric choice is the cheaper choice.
There's this fallacy out there that we don't have enough trained workers. The reality is, we're not installing crazy alien technology here. A heat pump is an air conditioner that can run in reverse. A heat-pump water heater is a tank of water with a heat pump on top. This is not complicated stuff. Electricians know how to electrician; they know how to run wires.
It's not an issue of a lack of workforce, it's an issue of incentivizing the workforce in the right way.
Thank you, as always, for listening, reading, and subscribing.
(Thanks to Sarah Burkhalter for her help with these.)
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