More new transcripts!
The clean energy boom, solar advocacy campaigns, and designing better environmental rules.
As y’all know, I have been laboriously working my way through podcast transcripts, polishing them up to the point that they satisfy my compulsive nature. (I am not good at satisficing.) I’ve got three more ready for you. Here are links, along with a few juicy quotes.
What's been notable throughout this debate, for the last 20 years, is that the ceiling of the possible is constantly rising.
If you go back to how the debate was being held about 20 years ago, you'll see these very fancy letters from the Irish and German grid operators saying that variable renewables could never be more than 2 percent of the system, for a whole series of technical reasons which are beyond me. But what's happened continuously is that people have come up with new solutions, be they demand-side management, supply-side management, bigger grids, batteries, interconnectors, better software, digitalization, smart meters, so on and so forth. There have been a whole series of different solutions. The point we really want to make is that that ceiling is a rising ceiling.
I always smile when people talk to me about limits to growth, because renewable energies are essentially, by definition, limitless, absolutely enormous. The real limits to growth are to the fossil fuel system, which is constrained in terms of the amount that we have, and incredibly constrained in terms of our capacity to burn it.
So it's worth standing back for a moment and recognizing that the real limits to growth are with the current system, not with the new system.
Or if you’re not up for the full 9,500-word transcript, check out a short highlights version of the Kingsmill Bond conversation at Canary Media.
In places with different political outlooks, different hues, the words that we used were different. Some places, this is about freedom; some places, it's about jobs; other places, it's about climate. You need to be very thoughtful as to how you talk about the rationale behind it, but we generally tried to leave a space where people could bring their own rationale. They like solar, we're not going to tell them why they like solar. Let them bring that to the campaign itself.
I think a good campaign engages people. Positive messaging, giving people that positive alternative, what we want to do, a bright outlook — people want to be a part of something larger than themselves. I think that is a core insight into the human psyche.
Across the board, beginning with developing partnerships with the communities that we wish to serve, co-creating the policies to make sure that they include benefits for everybody that everybody can participate in, just builds these much stronger, much more powerful coalitions that can get big things done.
I have spent most of my professional career in environmental and compliance-related work. During that time, including during the Obama administration, I've asked a lot of people what they think the rate of non-compliance with environmental law is. The most common answer I get, including from people who have also spent their entire professional careers working in this area, is 5 to 10 percent. That's what people think.
It's nowhere near that. Not close. The rate of serious violations, the ones we care about the most, is 25 percent in most programs.
What I discovered in researching the book is that there’s actually very little data and evidence that supports the idea that markets are more effective than command-and-control in achieving environmental results. The record is just stunningly thin, and it's more an ideology that drives it.
I would say the most important and essential thing for a market to work is a good measurement strategy. If you cannot measure reliably and have a lot of confidence in the thing being traded being worth what it claims to be worth, then your market program will not work. There's going to be a lot of mess and confusion, and you will have zero idea whether you're actually getting there.
More transcripts to come!
(Thanks to Sarah Burkhalter for her help with these.)