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207: Five Times Faster

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About this episode

Welcome to another episode of Outrage + Optimism, where we examine issues at the forefront of the climate crisis, interview change-makers, and transform our anger into productive dialogue about building a sustainable future.

With the hosts back together, Christiana and Tom discuss their week at Plum Village with Paul, and Christiana mentions the privilege of meeting Emmanuel Faber, the Chair of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). They debrief on their fascinating conversation with him about the recently launched IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, ushering in a new era of sustainability-related disclosures in capital markets worldwide, something very close to Paul’s heart. 

Our interview this week is with Simon Sharpe, Director of Economics for the UNFCCC Climate Champions, Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute and author of Five Times Faster. In conversation with Christiana and Tom, Simon discusses how we can accelerate climate action, why we need to ​​decarbonise the global economy five times faster than we have managed so far, and why some of the real blocks to achieving this could be the very ideas and institutions that are supposed to be helping us. 

To close the episode, we have some exciting instrumental music from a listener of the podcast, Gilmore Trail.


Simon Sharpe
Director of Economics for the Climate Champions Team and Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute. Author of Five Times Faster
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Full Transcript

Tom: [00:00:12] Hello and welcome to Outrage + Optimism. I'm Tom Rivett-Carnac.

Christiana: [00:00:15] I'm Christiana Figueres.

Paul: [00:00:17] And I'm Paul Dickinson.

Tom: [00:00:18] This week we have a wrap up from our time at Plum Village. Plus we speak about the ISSB new reporting standards. We speak to Simon Sharpe and we have music from a listener to this podcast, Gilmore Trail. Thanks for being here. So nice to be back with you both. It was an interesting, different and really wonderful, I think for us episode last week. I hope you enjoyed it listeners. Before we kick off into news of the day, Paul, what did you think about the episode?

Christiana: [00:00:57] Two minutes long, two minutes long. Was that podcast episode.

Tom: [00:01:01] What listeners didn't hear is that Jo Confino was just about to launch into another great section of it when we ended at an hour and 45 minutes in, at which point, Christiana's, you know, no long podcast alert went off. But it was wonderful to be in Plum Village and, and there with our friends. I actually had an interesting cultural experience over the weekend after coming back from six days, meditating with our friends over there and then going to a K-Pop concert with my daughter in Hyde Park, which was quite a bit of whiplash in 48 hours from cellos on the balcony at Thich Nhat Hanh's Retreat all the way to that. So, Paul, I know you have to go, but we're delighted to have you now for a few minutes. We couldn't possibly have had two weeks of podcasts without you and your participation in this podcast has been remarkably consistent, so we'll let you off this week. However, we want to let you come in before you go. It's been an interesting couple of weeks. The big financing summit in Paris that ended with some fairly complex outcomes, some good, some bad. The UK climate policy leadership being questioned, extreme weather in the south west of the US. What's what's catching your attention and what do you want to come in with an opinion on while we have you for a few minutes?

Paul: [00:02:05] Well, look, thank you so much. And Tom and Christiana, what an absolutely extraordinarily beautiful podcast from Plum Village where I felt that everything we were doing just kind of extended and somehow also distilled in the most exquisite way. And although the podcast might have seemed longer than a normal episode, I learnt during the podcast and I put this in our WhatsApp chat group that the podcast was in fact a single moment long. And I realized during the podcast that I've spent my entire life living in that one moment. So thank you for reminding me to be present. And I'm sure many, many of our listeners benefited from that. And also, Christiana, your extraordinary distillation of the concept of time such that we may not be behind the curve in terms of dealing with emissions reductions because we can, to a certain extent in a single moment, have a change in our hearts and in our in our attitudes and our approaches and liberate ourselves from who knows what, as it were, instantaneously. So just I wanted to send a big heart out to you for these amazing that amazing episode from Plum Village, which was deeply touching.

Christiana: [00:03:17] Well, Paul, thank you very much. That's very, very generous and very loving of you. But, you know, Paul, while we were off on retreat in Plum Village, a lot happened in the outside world. And so I'm just wondering of everything that happened, what would you like to highlight? Load More
Paul: [00:03:37] Well, I think that it's it's not so bad that I miss the rest of this podcast, although I'm really gutted to to miss the interview because it's going to be such a fantastic insight into systems thinking. That, the international summit in Paris, I think that that you and Tom will know better than I what were the sort of key components of that. What I personally took from it that I think was absolutely critical was to hear this very clear statement by Kristalina Georgieva that the IMF, the International Monetary Fund, you know, a big tower block full of economists that is responsible for saving the world's economies, that she said very clearly that without a carbon price, there was no chance of meeting the goal of limiting global temperatures to one and a half degrees. And I love it when I hear, you know, international experts such as the the Secretary General of the WTO or the head of the IMF talking about the need for a carbon price. But, I mean, this contrasts also with some something that I picked up this week indicative and I'm sorry to to to kind of highlight a bit of corporate malfeasance once again, but I contrasted that wisdom with the shock of reading about the the chief executive of the world's largest kind of trading company, or one of them, Glencore, which is actually the world's most profitable coal miner.

Paul: [00:05:01] And he was commenting that he had a concern that ESG investors were putting financial returns second or third on the list. And he said that was a concern for us. So here you have the chief executive of a big public company, Glencore, saying that people considering the emissions from coal is not a valid or useful issue. They should be focusing purely on financial returns. And so I think that that's that's what I saw take from the week as a real contrast the international political community, international governance coming together to really embrace the concept of carbon taxes. And then the head of a huge coal company saying, well, people should be focusing more on profits. It sort of highlights how the world is separating between kind of rational behaviour and increasingly irrational behaviour by the private sector. And that's going to have to come to an end and there's going to be a shakeout. But but beyond that, I think it'll be fascinating to hear your insights on Paris and what you think has been happening in the last week. Of course, our hearts, as you so often say, are torn by the terrifying extreme weather, which continues to be the drumbeat behind everything we do.

Christiana: [00:06:13] Um, yeah. Thanks for reminding us of that drumbeat in the, not even in the background, but in the foreground that we need to continue to keep very much front and centre. And Paul, thank you for for bringing that topic up. Again, the ESG and what are companies going to be doing about about their other factors that need to play an important part when they make investments, et cetera. We've been discussing this topic quite a bit over the past two weeks on the podcast, and Tom and I were incredibly privileged to speak to Emmanuel Faber, who is the Chair of the International Sustainability Standard Board. He came to Plum Village to the retreat. And I must say, I was so impressed, but also surprised because I did not know all of the work that the ISSB, the International Sustainability Standards Board, has been doing sort of in in the background. And last week the ISSB launched the first global standards, which are actually going to be the guardrails for companies and investors to standardize on a single global baseline of sustainability disclosures, disclosures for the capital markets, precisely what we have been discussing for weeks. I was also blown away by the fact that he said that despite the fact that they have just launched last week, they have already received very strong support from investors, from companies, from policy makers, from market regulators all across the world.

Christiana: [00:08:11] And it is actually a system that is building on existing initiatives on TCFD. He did mention, by the way, Paul, that CDP has already committed to using these standards for your questions and your reports. So if CDP is supporting this, that is, I would say, a clear sign of this beginning to be to be mainstreamed. He explained to us how this is going to reduce the duplicative reporting and very importantly, connecting with financial statements. So very interesting report from Emmanuel that I think honestly cuts through this whole anti ESG, the anti trust business, all of that campaign that is so bogus, so invented and that we have been nervous about how much effect is it going to have. I think this is just going to cut first of all, put it all that whole thing back in its box and cut through the qualms, perhaps especially that financial institutions have been having about their sustainability reporting.

Tom: [00:09:35] Yeah, I completely agree Christiana. It's such an interesting moment. We had that analysis from Emmanuel. I know Paul has to drop in a minute. So Paul, do you want to come in with a response? Because obviously this is an area you've spent decades thinking about.

Paul: [00:09:47] Christiana it's fascinating what you say about Emmanuel Faber and the ISSB. I mean, that is an amazing organization and it's a great privilege, actually, for CDP to be able to promote their standards. The ISSB, for our listeners, is part of the International Financial Reporting System, the IFRS Foundation, and and they are actually all the world's main accountants working with supported by governments to come up with the accounting standards for the whole world. So although the NGO I work for CDP is very pleased and proud to to promote those standards and accelerate their adoption, they will the ISSB standards will be government mandated standards really quite soon. So that's incredibly exciting because it means the quality of the data is hugely increased. And so what what great news to know that the accounting profession is really coming on board.

Tom: [00:10:47] So I completely agree with you. And that discussion with Emmanuel Faber in Plum Village was fascinating in terms of the momentum that is now behind this reporting. And you can really see how, as you say, this can cut across the complexity that's been coming from all this ESG narrative. I think it should also be complimented, by the way, with real campaigns that demonstrate the upside of taking the kind of actions that are being recommended by Emmanuel's standards. And I also think that a really fascinating conversation on this would be between us, hopefully, but also Paul Dickinson and Emmanuel Faber, two people who have thought most deeply about this in the world probably, around how do you create a stable platform for consistent reporting that moves us forward? So we should get him on the podcast as soon as he's able to, given his restrictions of what he might be able to say to have this conversation with us.

Christiana: [00:11:36] Do we know how to reach Paul Dickinson if we want to have him on the podcast?

Tom: [00:11:40] Well, I mean, obviously we've been trying to get Paul on for ages, but he's just too big a fish really for us. Yeah, but we can do our best for Emmanuel Faber. Now we haven't talked about the Paris summit really in any great detail, but we do have our guest joining us now. So I wonder if we should pivot to that and have a conversation with Simon Sharpe about exponential change and how we can go five times faster. And then we will obviously make sure we cover the outcomes of the Paris summit. If we don't do it today, we'll do it next week. So today we're going to speak to Simon Sharpe. He is the Director of Economics at the UNFCCC Climate Champions team. And also a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute, and he's recently published a book called Five Times Faster. I've known Simon for a few years. He has been a deep collaborator in his roles in the UK government. He was central to the work around COP 26, which was hosted, of course, in Glasgow in his role as Deputy Director of policy campaigns in the COP unit. He is a deep thinker on so many things, and I think it's going to be a fascinating conversation about his new book. So let's bring in Simon.

Christiana: [00:12:47] Simon, thank you so much for joining us here on Outrage + Optimism to discuss your book Five Times Faster, which as listeners will hopefully already suspect the title is because we need to decarbonise the emissions intensity of our global economy five times faster than we have up until now and do that this decade. So. So a very a very clear title. And you divide the book quite helpfully into three sections saying we need to rethink science, economics and diplomacy. It will not surprise you that I would invite you to go into diplomacy first because Simon, you propose that that the COPs are not doing what they ought to be doing, and you propose maybe it's time to rethink that and to go to smaller coalitions of the willing of which quite a few have already formed. So would love to know from where we are on coalition Simon, where do you see that going forward, and what would you like to see on the part of both governments and private sector?

Simon: [00:13:55] Yeah, sure. And maybe I suppose just to preface that, something about the context, which is the diplomacy we've had, what it's clearly done is generated a huge amount of consensus that we have to address climate change agreement on some important global goals and agreement on the sense that every country has to do its bit. What we haven't managed to do yet clearly is restructure the global economy at the pace we need. And the question is how can diplomacy help with that? And where I'm coming from is when you look at the history of diplomacy, when does it really manage to be useful? Well, it it struggles when the problem is defined too broadly. So in peace and security, for example, if we try and reach a global agreement on world peace, then we find we can actually make that agreement. We did it in 1928. It was called the Kellogg–Briand Pact, but of course it didn't work. We were biting off far more than we could chew. Whereas when you bring it down to a manageable size, it's just about possible. And for example, this year in the UK, we've celebrated 25 years of the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement and it's still just about working. And I argue with climate change. It's the same that the problem of global emissions is huge. It's far too big to get a real grip on.

Simon: [00:15:22] And so for deep agreements that really help us move faster, they also have to be narrower. And that means specific to each sector. And when you look at the sectors, of course, steel is completely different from shipping. Agriculture is completely different from aviation. In each of those, we need the right countries working together in the right way. Now, as as you've said, there are initiatives in different sectors and some of those are promising. The problem is, if you look at what would it take to be really successful, you find very few efforts have those characteristics yet. So you need the right focus clearly on a sector and on the activities that will bring about rapid structural global change in that sector. You need countries that cover a critical mass of the global market in that sector. You probably want them represented at ministerial level and you want their discussions to be informed by really high quality information and you want them to be meeting regularly, persistently over the course of time, because successful diplomacy is never fast. And when you look at the whole landscape of initiatives, it's extremely difficult to find any that have all of those characteristics. In fact, it's more the opposite. You find some really important areas where things, serious diplomacy has barely begun.

Tom: [00:16:55] And Simon, do you think that's the reason that we still have a real implementation gap? Because there are quite a few commitments, but we're seeing quite a pattern now where countries are making big commitments and they're just not really delivering them.

Simon: [00:17:06] Yes. Although, of course, that also has to do with domestic policy. And it's very easy to make a commitment. It's much harder to follow through. Yesterday I heard a, sorry last week an NGO figure in the UK was saying the UK should consider ourselves a champion at target setting. Do it better than anyone in the world. But our policies are terrible and we're off track for all of our targets. So I think that's part of it. But in the diplomacy, I think a problem is we've obsessed about targets and we haven't focused the diplomacy on action. And action is so powerful because we know what we can do now, whereas we don't know what we can do in the future. Give one example of that. Back in 2007, China set itself a target for solar deployment by 2020 of 1.8GW. When we got to 2020, China had deployed 253GW of solar power 140 times as much. And so the target was helpful, but it wasn't really the target that mattered. It was the actions that mattered, which enabled faster and faster progress over time. They also enabled greater political will over time, which came along with the process. So diplomacy needs to do the same thing. It needs to be focused less on targets and more on the actions.

Tom: [00:18:28] And what so, so, so that's very interesting. And maybe you could just go into economics and just to explain, because people may not be aware, listeners, that the way we structure our economics is kind of creating all kinds of challenges for us at the moment. But you cover this in some detail in the book, and I have to say for some years now I've sort of thought one of our real challenges is the advice that Treasury ministers is getting are getting from their senior officials. And few people know better than you why that's a real a real barrier. Maybe you could set out really just very briefly what the issue is and how a rethink of economics would help us address it.

Simon: [00:19:01] Yeah. So I think this is probably the single most powerful and under-recognized point of leverage to accelerate global emissions reduction. Virtually every policy decision that is relevant to emissions that a government makes, the things the government really cares about are costs and jobs. And so, in other words, economics. What does it believe is going to be successful in terms of costs and jobs when it does different policies? Does it think the transition itself will be a positive or a negative? And which policies does it think will work? All of that comes down to economics. And there's a deeply strange thing about the way economics is done. The dominant economics that informs government policy is based on an assumption of equilibrium. We think of the economy as as a system that's stable, that doesn't change. Equilibrium means a situation in which nobody has any reason to change their actions so that the status quo can continue. And you just think about that for a minute. When have you ever seen that? Imagine sport. Imagine a football game. Imagine you're a business, an entrepreneur. When do you ever come across a situation where you never have any reason to change your actions? It never happens. The only reason we assume that in economics was it was mathematically convenient back in the 1870s. Nobody really thinks that's happening, but it's driving all our decisions and our economic advice. So, it's because of that logic that we've been advised that the most efficient way to decarbonise is putting a price on carbon.

Simon: [00:20:39] But all of the progress we've seen has actually come from investment in the new solutions. Investment in new technologies. Investment in new systems. When you ditch the equilibrium logic and you think in terms of dynamics, in terms of feedbacks, it makes sense. When you invest in the new technologies you get learning by doing, you get economies of scale, you get other technologies that emerge and make them more useful. All of these things give you increasing returns on your investment. They make every bit of effort go even further. And when you look back at the technology transitions of the past, that's how they happened. We made the transition from horses to cars because we invested in motors. Factories built the highways, wrote the highway codes, not because we put a tax on horses. And it's the same, you know, think about how the Internet was created. It didn't come about because we put some kind of tax on writing letters or using the telephone so that shift is incredibly important. And as soon as you start thinking in dynamics, you become much more aware of how policy can accelerate change. And I know one of your previous episodes you talked about positive tipping points in the economy. That's something else you can look for as soon as you understand the dynamics of the economy and its potential to change quickly.

Christiana: [00:22:02] And Simon, the third piece that you highlight in the book is science. And we know that this is actually very frustrating for scientists because we have never seen climate change effects before. They cannot say honestly, they can't say with 100% certainty that X, Y, Z will happen or is happening because of climate change. And so because there is inbuilt uncertainty, although there is much more certainty now than there was just a few years ago, but still it is very difficult for scientists and they do not feel that they would live up to their professional integrity if they put out statements that are more alarmist than bound to what they are 100% sure about. That actually means that they cut themselves short from putting out what the worst case scenario is, because that worst case scenario is uncertain. So it is a very frustrating, very frustrating situation for scientists. They're screaming from the rooftops, have been doing so for years, but they're screaming without giving us the worst case. What is the impact of that?

Simon: [00:23:27] Yeah, I think there's a huge impact. And again, this is an under-recognized problem because people tend to assume that we all know as much as we need to know about the science. I don't think that's true. Having worked in government for a long time and spoken to people who work for other governments, actually I think people at the top really don't have as much knowledge as they should have about how bad climate change is. Now, before I got into working on climate change, I worked for the UK Foreign Office and we worked on things like counter-terrorism and nuclear proliferation and in those fields. Nobody expected certainty. And it wasn't about making predictions. It was about having a risk assessment and within the proper government institutional processes for risk assessment. Nobody ever accused anybody else of alarmism or doom mongering or any kind of words like that. You need to know what's the worst that can happen.

Christiana: [00:24:28] So why is that different? Why is that different for climate?

Simon: [00:24:31] Well, it shouldn't be. I think the reason it is, is that there is a culture within science of making prediction and some climate, climate scientists themselves have suggested that this not only comes from science in general, but particularly in terms of climate science. Much of it started off in weather forecasting. And so there is a great tradition of prediction. The difference is prediction. You say first what's most likely to happen and then does it affect stuff we care about? Risk assessment. You say first, what's the worst that could happen for things that we care about? And second, how likely is that? And so if I give a couple of examples, one is sea level rise. The predicted sea level rise, something like half a meter to one meter by the end of this century. It's quite hard to explain to a government minister why they should really care about that. Whereas if you're sitting in the government in London and you say, what's the worst that could happen? The answer is, well, sea level rise could cross a level that London can no longer protect itself against. And there's been one study making an estimate of that suggested that limit may be around five meters, which is quite large.

Simon: [00:25:46] But then you look at a plausible worst case for global sea level rise and you find that threshold could be crossed by 2150, which is not really that far away. When you think of London's 2000 year history and its future may be less than 200 years. Another example is heat stress, where you get lots and lots of examples of estimates of reduced labor productivity due to heat stress. But if you say, what's the worst that could happen? Well, one answer to that is you could cross the threshold of survivability where heat and humidity is more than the human body's limit of tolerance. So even if you're lying down in the shade, having a rest, tipping water over yourself to keep cool, you still die of heat stress. Now, at the moment, that never happens in the current climate anywhere on earth. But it could be affecting millions of people in the 2030's and you better hope those people have extremely reliable 24 hour air conditioning and power supply. Um, and these these things are really not well known. Far less well known than they should be. The heat stress example I gave back in the IPCC's fifth assessment report nearly ten years ago now.

Simon: [00:27:00] There was one paper that talked about that and it was hidden deep, deep down in chapter 12, somewhere where most government people never look. And the scientists, when I asked them, could it be in the summary for policymakers, they thought about it and they said, no it can't, because we have a rule that says you've got to have two research papers that came to the same conclusion for something to be in the summary. And only one paper had asked the question, if the world gets too hot, will it get too hot for people? And that, compared to a later found nine papers that looked at the impact of climate change on skiing and 13 that looked at the impact on grape growing in Europe. So I sympathize with the frustration of scientists. Of course I do. Everything we know is thanks to the scientists and their right to be angry that we're not acting on it more strongly. But I also think the science community collectively could do a much better job of funding research that is, for the purpose of risk assessment. And then also, of course, communicating that in a way that's appropriate for risk assessment, especially to heads of government.

Tom: [00:28:08] Simon unfortunately, we don't we don't have long. I want to ask you our closing question in just a minute, but just before I do, your book's called Five Times Faster as a reference to now what we need to do and and we talk a lot on this podcast about the need for tipping points, positive change in society, exponential change. Having written the book and looked into this and spent so long in government, do you feel like the pieces are coming together for the kind of shift that could precipitate that kind of acceleration of action? Or, are, so are there signs of hope in there that you see or or are you really concerned about the headwinds or is it both?

Simon: [00:28:43] Well, the signs of hope do for me come from things like positive tipping points where the UK activated one in the power sector to the best of my ability to find out we did it by accident, but we ended up having decarbonisation of the power sector eight times faster than the global average over the period of a decade. Norway activated a tipping point in road transport and a few years ago when I wrote the paper on this, their electric vehicles share of car sales was 20 times higher than the global average. So that sort of thing gives me hope. I worry that we're still making slower progress than we could do because we've got the wrong ideas in economics. We're not doing proper risk assessment and we're badly organised in diplomacy. But each of those failings is itself a cause for hope because it means we get the right ideas and we organise ourselves better, we can actually make much faster progress with the same level of political will and the same level of societal support and the same level of financial capital. It's a question of focusing all that positive energy in a way that is really effective to bring about system change and not wasting it, not dissipating it in ways that are ineffective.

Tom: [00:29:59] 100%. Fantastic. So, Simon, it's been so great to have you on here. I've just got to ask you, what makes you outraged and what makes you feel optimistic?

Simon: [00:30:10] I didn't know you were going to ask me that.

Christiana: [00:30:12] You knew, you knew that was coming.

Simon: [00:30:16] Well, I suppose I feel outraged that we still take the idea of equilibrium in the economy seriously, especially when we're talking about system transitions, which are surely as far from equilibrium as you could possibly get. What makes me feel optimistic? I think I'll stick with my answer just now. It is when we see positive tipping points taking place in the economy and we know that there are more of those to be had.

Tom: [00:30:41] Amazing. Simon Sharpe, thank you for all the collaboration and partnership over the years and congratulations on the brilliant book. Everybody should buy it, Five Times Faster. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Simon: [00:30:51] Thank you.

Christiana: [00:30:52] Wait, Tom, does that mean that they should buy it five times faster or that they should.

Tom: [00:30:56] They should buy they should buy the book and they should buy it five times faster, but from wherever they want to buy it. Yeah, yeah.

Christiana: [00:31:04] Simon, thank you so much.

Tom: [00:31:13] So great to have Simon on the podcast. He's been a deep thinker at the heart of government on all these issues for such a long time. And I thought particular his analysis about the way in which we still think about economics is creating this real slowdown in the type of advice that's given to decision makers. As a result, despite all our efforts, we're just not making the progress we should make. I thought that was a point very well made amongst others, but where did you come out on that Christiana?

Christiana: [00:31:40] Yeah, I was particularly taken to to that point that he made so eloquently, which actually puts the science of economics even one slot lower in my estimation, than it already was, because one of my pet peeves is that they haven't internalized externalities and that if they would actually recognize the value of things that already have a value but that they just don't recognize, we would be in a different boat. So we if you take that, plus the obsessing about equilibrium and all the logic that flows from that, I don't know how many economists do you know, Tom, that we should be ringing at 2:00 in the morning and saying, dudes it's time to wake up?

Tom: [00:32:24] Yeah. I mean, and actually, there have been a couple of attempts to rethink this, but I actually think it's been quite difficult to get it funded because it feels sort of abstract in a way. People are like, really, we're going to focus on this, but actually it's fundamental. So I don't know how many philanthropists listen to this podcast, but it's a missing piece that we are we need to support really deep re-analysis of economics so that that can then flow into the advice that goes from officials to minister of finance, heads of state, because without that, all of that flow of advice is just going to take us in a different direction.

Christiana: [00:32:56] Yeah, I sort of have the feeling without that the transition is handcuffed.

Tom: [00:33:01] Yeah, no and fantastic, I think also. What did you think of his analysis of diplomacy?

Christiana: [00:33:05] Yes. Well. I agree with him, but I also didn't exactly get and I'm sorry that it had to be short because I wanted to ask him to go deeper into what is his sense of the coalitions that do exist now? Where would he like to see them go further? And he did say, yes, they all they obviously all need government and private sector participation. True. But several of them do. So I just I would love to have known from him where does he see them falling short, the ones that do exist. And then, of course, I agree with him that that those coalitions need to exist in many other sectors.

Tom: [00:33:44] Well, you and I are going to see him next week because we will be on the road again and we will be at TED Countdown in Detroit, which is very exciting. Clay's hometown, the location where we first met Clay all those years ago. Clay.

Clay: [00:33:59] Oh, yeah, baby.

Tom: [00:34:00] We're coming to see you.

Christiana: [00:34:01] Oh, boy. Clay, Clay. You know, we should just for old times sake, we should actually record in the little room where we met you.

Clay: [00:34:11] Yeah, that sounds great. It would be amazing to go back there. We'll have to go back there.

Christiana: [00:34:14] A little happy moment there. Because, because you were a total unknown to us. We were a total unknown to you. I remember the moment I walked in, I saw you and I went like, okay, this person knows anything about podcasting, really?

Tom: [00:34:26] I was I had completely the opposite reaction because listeners may not know this is so early in the podcast that I was still doing the recording and the editing myself, which was a disaster. And we stayed in a hotel in Detroit that had somebody who did that, a podcast studio in the hotel, and that was really what made Outrage + Optimism take off because Clay then, we've been with you ever since.

Christiana: [00:34:46] Yep.

Clay: [00:34:47] Yeah. And long time listeners will also know because we told the story one time that Christiana, when you first walked in, you walked into the recording studio, you came straight up to me, you handed me your phone and you said, hello, I have been to Antarctica and I've recorded some sounds and I need to get them off of my phone. Do you know how to do this? And I was like, you went where? Sorry. Who are you? I was like, I can't believe this person knows anything about podcasting.

Tom: [00:35:15] This was this was with David Miliband, wasn't it, as well. I remember we were interviewing him in there. That was, wow.

Clay: [00:35:20] David Miliband, yeah.

Tom: [00:35:22] Well, the return to Detroit is next week. I'm particularly excited because I'm a long time aficionado of Detroit techno, so I'm hoping you're going to take me to the Underground Resistance Museum. And there's also an amazing TED conference going on despite all our other plans. And as ever, we're going to leave you with a piece of music. Now, this week we had a fantastic message from a listener who suggested that we could potentially play their music on the podcast. We listened to it. It was brilliant, so we're thrilled to do it. So please welcome Gilmore Trail to the podcast and we will see you next week from Detroit.

Christiana: [00:35:53] Bye.

Gilmore Trail: [00:35:55] Hi Outrage + Optimism. This is Dave from the band Gilmore Trail. We're an instrumental rock band from Sheffield in the UK. We released our third album last year, which is titled Impermanence. The idea behind it was to be a reflection on the transience of life and the world around us, our place within nature and our often complicated relationship to it, and how we lose sight of the fact that we are very much a part of it. The track you'll hear is called Echoes of Solitude, which is based on the story of the Lonely Whale, whose calls resonate at 52Hz, a different frequency to the rest of its species. This track aims to channel the immense beauty and the crushing seclusion of the ocean. It's so easy and understandable to be outraged by many people's seeming disregard for the life of the planet and all of its inhabitants. Yet there is so much beauty and vitality to be found in the smallest pockets of life, up to the majesty of creatures such as whales and within human beings also. With the potential we have to be caretakers of a beautiful world for all of the life it holds. We hope you enjoy our music.

Clay: [00:42:46] So there you go. Another episode of Outrage + Optimism. This is Clay here in the studio in Detroit. Wow, Gilmore Trail Echoes of Solitude an abridged version made special for the podcast. Thank you so much to Dave for writing in, sharing this track with all of our listeners. You can go listen to more of Gilmore Trail online at GilmoreTrail.bandcamp.com. Yeah, you can Spotify, you know, Stream, YouTube, etcetera. But one of the best ways to support artists is to buy the music, buy it. Go buy it. It's how we support artists. Their latest album, Impermanence, has an absolutely massive amount of positive reviews. I went through and read a few of the reviews and there's these great suggestions like, you should listen to this like I do, where you're driving through any scenic part of where you live or on a trip and yeah, look out the window and play this on your speaker system or in your headphones. Such a good recommendation. So that's my next thing I'm going to do this summer. So again, so many positive reviews on the record I've been through and listened to it. It's fantastic. Please go check it out. Link in the show notes. Thank you, Dave and Dave, thanks for being a listener too. Other musician listeners of this podcast, be like Dave, write in, you know, send your music to us for us to listen to. We have some episodes later in the year that we need music for and it would be amazing to hear from you. Connect with you, Yeah, send in your music. I love new music. Okay. Gilmore Trail named after a trail in Alaska where you can see the Northern Lights.

Clay: [00:44:34] This is actually our first instrumental rock band to have on the show, and we should have more. In the meantime, I think I'm going to I have no plans to go to Alaska right now, but I think I'm going to watch some Aurora Borealis videos on YouTube on silent and put Impermanence on. And now you know what I do when I'm not making this podcast. Thank you to our guest, Simon Sharpe, for coming on the show this week. Support authors, Five Times Faster is available for purchase in our show notes right next to Gilmore Trail. You know, you can just just spitballing here. You can read the book while you listen to Gilmore Trail. I'm literally planning your weekend right now and call your mom, too. She would appreciate that. And oh, speaking of moms, TED, Countdown is right here in Detroit next. I'm going somewhere with this. TED Countdown is right here in Detroit next week. And my mom will be there. She and my dad live here in the city, both regular listeners to the podcast. Hi, Mom and Dad. And so listeners, if you listen to the podcast, if you're here in Detroit next week for the conference and you see me, please stop me. Say hello. I'd love to meet you. I am absolutely thrilled that Detroit is the host city this year for TED Countdown. I'm telling you, this place is amazing. Hopefully, I will see you here. Okay. That is all for now. Thank you for listening. We will see you next week. Bye


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