Summary: A biweekly and bipartisan podcast on energy and environmental politics in America. Political Climate goes beyond the echo chambers and brings you civil conversations, fierce debates and insider perspectives, with hosts and guests from across the political spectrum. Join Democrat and Republican energy experts Brandon Hurlbut and Shane Skelton, along with Greentech Media Senior Editor Julia Pyper, as we explore how energy and environment policies get made.
Republicans are often viewed as enemies of the clean energy transition. Some people believe the GOP will never embrace climate action. So is voting them out the only way to save the planet? If you ask environmental policy pioneer Terry Tamminen, the solution isn’t that simple. As Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pick to lead the California EPA, Tamminen found ways to craft ambitious clean energy policies and programs with buy-in from both Democrats and Republicans. In his current role as CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Tamminen is working to advance sustainability solutions across the country and around the world. In this episode of Political Climate, recorded live at GTM’s Solar Summit, we talk to Tamminen about why it’s important to get Republicans on board with the climate change agenda. Even if it means avoiding the words "climate change" altogether. We also discuss why Democrats are rallying around a 100 percent renewable energy target, when it has yet to be proven technically feasible. Plus, we talk about California's clash with Washington D.C. over fuel economy standards and whether philanthropy is proving we don't need to spend taxpayer dollars on fighting climate change. Recommended reading:Terry Tamminen: Leonardo DiCaprio FoundationLDF: Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation awards $20 million in environmental grantsGTM: Solar and Wind Companies Spend More on Republican Candidates Than DemocratsGTM: Mark Jacobson Drops Lawsuit Against Critics of His 100% Renewables PlanNYT: California Sues Trump Administration Over Car Emissions RulesBBC: Michael Bloomberg pledges $4.5m for Paris dealOr you can find it on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play or TuneIn. Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.
President Trump is considering the use of a Cold War-era defense act to shore up struggling coal and nuclear power plants, something the administration argues is essential to U.S. national security. But critics say this is the government picking winners and losers for political purposes. Republicans repeatedly slammed President Obama for investing taxpayer dollars in clean energy technologies during his tenure. Obama even invoked the Defense Production Act, the same law Trump is looking to use, to justify testing biofuels in the Navy. Was he picking winners and losers too? Or was he investing in the next generation of American competitiveness? In this episode of Political Climate we debate who is picking favorites in the energy space, and how solar was a loser in the roll out of Trump’s protectionist trade agenda. We also touch on the unusually tight Arizona special election, where Democrat Hiral Tipirneni came within a few points of upsetting Republican Debbie Lesko in a deep red district. Did the candidates’ views on climate change play a role in the outcome? Next, we discuss the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which recently added two new members. Does the group represent an honest effort to combat climate change? Or is it political greenwashing? In our final section, “If you can’t say something nice,” our Republican and Democrat co-hosts share something they recently found redeeming about the opposing party. Recommended reading:AZ Central: Here's where West Valley congressional candidates stand on climate changeCitizens’ Climate Lobby: What is the Climate Solutions Caucus?Bloomberg: Trump's Latest Plan for Saving Coal Comes From the Cold WarGTM: The Trumpian Politics Behind SunPower’s Planned Purchase of SolarWorld USAGTM: New Bipartisan Legislation Would Repeal Trump’s Solar TariffsTime 100: Scott PruittOr you can find it on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play or TuneIn. Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.
House Speaker Paul Ryan announced last week that he won't seek reelection in 2018. His decision will have major consequences for the Republican Party — and potentially for climate and energy policy. In the second episode of GTM’s new podcast Political Climate, co-host Shane Skelton, former energy adviser to Paul Ryan, explains why losing the Wisconsin lawmaker's leadership in Congress will be bad for advancing environmental legislation. Next, we tackle the controversy surrounding EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. We’ve seen the reports of his $25,000 phone booth (later revealed to be more like $43,000), first-class plane tickets, and a $50-per-night apartment linked to energy lobbyists. Equally troubling, employees were reportedly sidelined for questioning Pruitt. Kevin Chmielewski, a Trump supporter who served as deputy chief of staff for operations at EPA, felt compelled to notify Congressional staff of Pruitt's spending habits. Where there other ethical missteps? Podcast co-host Brandon Hurlbut, a former White House staffer to President Obama, thinks a whistleblower situation means there's more to come. If Pruitt is ultimately removed, his new second in command, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, could take the helm of the EPA. If he does, what will that mean for the environment agency? Finally, we discuss the nomination of Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s new pick to lead the State Department, and what his leadership could mean for U.S. climate action. Recommended reading:ABC: House Speaker Paul Ryan says he will leave Congress in January: 'I have given this job everything I have'NYT: E.P.A. Officials Sidelined After Questioning Scott PruittCNN: Former Inhofe aide Wheeler confirmed as EPA's No. 2Quartz: Mike Pompeo is warming up to manmade climate changeGTM: How Will Climate and Energy Play Into the 2018 Election?Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple Podcasts. Look out for us soon on all other platforms!
The November midterm election is coming up fast. It could trigger a major power shift with both the House and Senate up for grabs. Will energy and climate be voting issues in 2018? Recent Gallup polling shows the partisan divide is widening over human-caused climate change. At the same time, a majority of Americans say they prioritize environmental protection over energy production, and favor clean energy resources over fossil fuels. How candidates respond to these trends could influence whether Democrats take control of Congress or if Republicans hold on to the legislative branch. In the inaugural episode of Political Climate we discuss how energy and environment issues fit into the broader political landscape, at a time of intense political division and high stakes for the nation. Co-hosts Brandon Hurlbut, former chief-of-staff to DOE Secretary Steven Chu, and Shane Skelton, former energy adviser to Representative Paul Ryan, offer insider perspectives on how policy decisions get made -- and the political interests driving them. We cover past clashes over the Keystone XL pipeline and Solyndra, new controversies over EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Russia’s influence in energy. We discuss midterm races to watch and debate the potential influence of younger voters. We also address the recent Gallup polls and get a straight answer on why it’s so hard for Republicans to embrace a climate agenda. And we pose the question: Does it matter what someone believes if they’re willing to promote good policy? Recommended reading:Gallup: Global Warming Concern Steady Despite Some Partisan ShiftsGallup: U.S. Energy Concerns Low; Increasing Supply Not a PriorityCNN: EPA Chief Scott Pruitt’s long list of controversiesShane Skelton biography Brandon Hurlbut biography Julia Pyper biography