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Behind the scenes on the politics, investments and actions meeting the climate crisis head on

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137: We're Back! Welcome to Season 5

Welcome to Season 5!

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About this episode

How do we know what we’re doing is really helping?

What should we do now that the world is changing?

A slow, intentional beginning to a new year after a racing finish to the last one raises some big questions for all of us in the climate space. This week, Christiana, Tom, and Paul set out the big topics for the year leading up to COP27. Yes, another one.

Shifting long-term pledges to short-term deliverables. Moving financial institutions from high carbon assets to low carbon assets. Getting the data points that move the needle on reducing emissions on the desks of central governments- Solid, concrete, ambitious NDCs driven by the innovation and flexibility of the private sector is how we will prove ourselves to a Net Zero future.

Listen in to hear how Christiana lays out how our Self-interest, with a capital “S”, is the key to unlocking our true collective potential.

Welcome to Season 5!

Stick around for an intimate and cosy musical performance from Lilo!

Mentioned links from the episode:


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] Welcome to season five. This week we take a look at the coming year and what it will take to make it a transformative year for climate action. Plus, we have music from Lilo. Thanks for being here. Ok, both of you, we are back on the podcast. We, of course, did a preview of this year, just a couple of days ago with Stephan Harding, but today we're going to talk about the year and what's involved. It is great to see you both, Paul I have seen hardly anything of you over the last few weeks. It's been the least. I've seen you for at least two and a half, three years. I've seen more of Christiana. But why don't you kick off and tell us how you're doing?

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Paul: [00:00:57] Me personally, yes, I am doing or Christiana how she is doing?

Christiana: [00:01:04] I think it's to you, Paul. We've both missed you. 

Paul: [00:01:06] I'm doing fine. I'm, you know, I kind of like the space between December and kind of the end of January there's and can be extended, you know, the new the new year. I like that break because email traffic starts to decrease towards the end of December. I have to say that in the organization I work in, primarily CDP, we switch off email completely between the last working day of December and the first working day of January. And I've got to tell you, it's a wonderful even though we're a global organization, everyone kind of adheres to this. 

Christiana: [00:01:38] Wait, wait, Wait, Paul, what you don't know is that you shared that information with me, and I very quickly passed it along to Global Optimism. And we do the same inspired by your very good habit. And we did it too. And everyone was very appreciative.

Clay: [00:01:54] Yes, we were. Yes, we were. 

Paul: [00:01:57] It's like it's one of these kind of ideas that somebody

Christiana: [00:01:58] We should all thank Paul for that. Thank you, Paul.

Tom: [00:02:01] We would recommend anyone listening to this.

Paul: [00:02:03] You've got to think it was my colleague anyway. Doesn't matter who it was. I think it might have been in France. But the point of the story is that it starts off as like an idea and it becomes like something that everyone holds so closely. Like, You're never taking that off me. And it's a kind of lesson about how we're in and probably maybe a little bit unhealthy relationship with email to some extent and giving ourselves time and space to sort of, you know, with love and care, leave each other alone a little bit is just probably is a little bit of a learning. So I enjoyed that and I and I read, you know, all sorts of interesting things, watched kind of crazy bits of YouTube, which seems to understand in my subconscious mind that I want to watch people being interviewed from the 1950s, which apparently I do. Fascinating. 

Tom: [00:02:52] This is how you've been spending the time since you've been seeing us and YouTube and watching videos from the 1960s.

Paul: [00:02:54] Aldous Huxley saying that we must be very worried about, in 1958 about being persuaded below the levels of choice and reason, which I think is. And here's here's how I'm going to leave you with one factoid and then I'd love to hear how you two are doing. But I read the craziest thing I think I've ever heard. There's one line of computer code, I guess, somewhere at Apple that causes that when you type in that little box at the top. You know, if you type in something in the box, at the top of your iPhone or in a in an Apple browser, it goes to a Google search. So that's one little line of computer code. Did you know that, Forbes recently reported that Google are paying Apple $15 billion a year for that one line of computer code. So I just wanted to share with you some of these sort of amazing strangeness of our repertoire.

Tom: [00:03:47] Well, that's a sort of a tour through Paul Dickinson's mind throughout the course of January. You'll enjoy that.

Paul: [00:03:50] And my great conclusion. I wrote it down quite late last night and it's fallen behind the radiator, so I have to get a coat hanger. I'll see if I can get it out by the end of the show and tell you what my conclusion is. How are you doing Tom and Christiana?

Tom: [00:04:05] I have an image of scissors, which makes me think he may be cutting some of those things you said Paul. We're all in Clay's hands. I'm doing great, actually. I just got home every year. Listeners may know I go to Costa Rica for a few weeks to see Christiana, and it's an enormous privilege to do that. Listening to this podcast may know Costa Rica is kind of a nice place, and

Christiana: [00:04:25] Oh boy.

Paul: [00:04:26] Kind of a nice place. I've got to translate for Christiana, whose English is perfect, but she's not actually English born and bred. Quite a nice place is English for nirvana heaven, the Mountain on the hill. 

Christiana: [00:04:40] Thanks for the translation, carry on.

Tom: [00:04:40] There's no way to get higher than that. Really quite a nice place, and I had a really quite a lovely time. No, it was wonderful. So we spent time staying with Christiana and seeing the beautiful surroundings of your incredible home Christiana, on the beach, walking on the beach. We had colleagues down there from Leaders Quest and TED talking about the year ahead and what we're going to do and the issues that are facing the world. And then we actually went down to the far south. The Osa peninsula, which is the kind of very wild part of Costa Rica. And there we were with people like Tom Crowther and our colleague Marina, looking at how some of the gaps in knowledge in old growth, tropical dynamics, how old growth tropical forests were truly old forests, how we still need to research how some of those dynamics work from a scientific perspective so that we can actually restore other ecosystems to their climatic state around the world. So we went and visited incredible old growth forests

Paul: [00:05:38] Restore them to the what state?

Tom: [00:05:41] To that climax date so that we can restore degraded land

Paul: [00:05:45] Like a peak or optimal?

Tom: [00:05:47] Ecosystems have this conversation of like they get to this peak state, and they're highly diverse. And we did all this on horseback. So this is just a small insight into the last experience of my time in Costa Rica.

Paul: [00:06:00] Like James Bond.

Tom: [00:06:02] Hours and hours going deep into the rainforest on horseback with my two kids, Zoe and Arthur, eight and ten years old. And I swear a peak life experience was coming back from one of these things at night, going along the beach in starlight, And my daughter Zoe, who has done very little writing, came past me at a full gallop, screaming her head off, having a brilliant time on a horse where the saddle was sort of barely tied on and a rain without a bit in the horse's mouth. It was amazing. We had an amazing time.

Paul: [00:06:32] I mean, just a little public health announcement here. Don't try that at home, but it sounds super cool. So super cool.

Tom: [00:06:39] And very nice to be back. Christiana, how are you?

Christiana: [00:06:42] Tom, I thought you were going to talk about the bioluminescence.

Tom: [00:06:45] Yes, that's true. That was also absolutely wonderful. This was near where Christiana lives, and every now and then the tide comes in and this bioluminescence comes in, and I believe it was actually on your beach before we were there. So you saw it in the breaking waves. But we went out on a boat in the middle of the night again and all jumped in the water under the starlight. And when you touch the water, it activates, is it an algae, Christiana?

Christiana: [00:07:12] It's yeah a blooming algae

Tom: [00:07:13] A blooming algae. And so and then it activates it and it sparks. So as you swim through the water, you just create this trail of light. It's just unbelievable.

Paul: [00:07:24] It's making me think that Costa Rica is like the film Tron, which I think I saw in the 80s or the 90s. It's a sort of science fiction reality, sort of beyond Disney, Nature unifies to create impossibly perfect moments. Is that correct?

Christiana: [00:07:37] Well, there you go.

Tom: [00:07:38] Arguably even more so than North London, I would say.

Paul: [00:07:41] Paul? Yeah, sorry. There you go, Christiana I mean, classic English understatement. Thank you.

Christiana: [00:07:47] Yeah. So on my side, yes, I was delighted to have Tom and his tribe and Leaders Quest and many other friends and family who visited. But speaking of trails of light, I was also quite impacted in just two days ago, I spoke about Thich Nhat Hanh’s passing. But in December and January, we had four losses for those of us who work on environment and have any kind of spiritual practice. We lost Dr. Tom Lovejoy,

Tom: [00:08:28] Yeah, former guest on this podcast.

Christiana: [00:08:31] Who is credited with having coined the word biodiversity. We lost E.O. Wilson, most famously known for his work into the life of ants, but also the two of them, arguably two of the most distinguished and most leading botanists and and biologists of the world. So a huge loss there. And then we lost to spiritual leaders. We, in addition to Thich Nhat Hanh, we lost Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Such a leader, such a leader for the whole continent of Africa. Such a leader for the world, such a force of nature, such as spirit, our friend, Doug Abrams, was down there to interview hours and hours and hours of conversation between Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama and caught it in a book called Joy and in a movie called Joy, which is highly recommended. For me, it was again such a coming together of these four trails of light who each of them contributing to the world from their own perspective, but not letting themselves be trodden down by fear, by despondency, by despair, by anger, but really rising above and always following the star that they have chosen for themselves and inspiring all of us to do the same to rise above whatever is facing us and devote ourselves to improving the quality of human life and the quality of planetary life. So quite a loss for all of us. And, it's not a but, and a call to continue their work. A call to really step up. That's what's been going through my head for the past week is, this is the moment to step up because we have lost these elders, all four of them elders of human society. We have lost those elders. And when we lose our elders, then it's time for the not so elders to step up. And so if we haven't stepped up, this is the moment to do so and to continue their work and their example.

Tom: [00:11:13] Those moral giants, that sort of moral response, they play such an important part of our lives, right, to kind of demonstrate responsibility and where we should go. We feel a bit thin at the moment, in terms of if you think a few years ago of the kinds of people that we had and it feels a bit thin on the ground. So we need more of them. So that's an invitation.

Christiana: [00:11:34] Absolutely.

Tom: [00:11:35] Well, let's let's start there, because I think that's a great place to begin and to start thinking about this year that we're in, of course, 2022, the second year of this most decisive decade in history, where we need to at least halve emissions from 2020 to 2030. We're now two years in. Emissions dipped as a result of COVID, but now it looks like they're continuing to rise. We're in a situation where we're kind of starting the year late, but if you cast your mind back to early January, we've already seen hellish temperatures across the Australian continent, in Latin America and elsewhere. We've seen a global risks report that came out from the World Economic Forum that highlighted biodiversity loss and climate change as the biggest systemic risk that are now being faced by humanity. And we're now looking at a year where, 

Christiana: [00:12:25] Tom, sorry to interrupt you, but how many times has that actually happened at the WEF in a row?

Tom: [00:12:31] Yeah, that's true.

Christiana: [00:12:32] It's not the first time. Yeah, yeah. I'm trying to remember back, right? And you have so much of a better memory than I bet. I think this is the third, if not the fourth year in a row that the WEF’s global risk assessment puts, you know, not any other calamity on the top of their top 10 risks, but climate, biodiversity, extreme weather. Is this not at least the third time in a row?

Tom: [00:13:02] I think my memory is that there was a few years where this was always top, and so I think the last couple of years, the pandemic has crept up. There is like, you know, global spread of pandemics as a major risk. But now we're back to back to back to the underlying issues of climate and biodiversity.

Paul: [00:13:17] I mean, I mean, well done World Economic Forum, because I mean, you know, I think we probably on this show. We know that climate change has the most enormous risk to the Earth. And and it's good that the Davos crew pick it up.

Christiana: [00:13:29] But hold on, Paul. It's not the Davos crew, right? They send this out to CEOs of the companies. That's the interesting thing. It's the CEOs of companies responding to actually responding to this survey and saying, you know, it is not any financially or even politically related risk. It is the environmental risks that they see as the top 10 financial risks to the business continuation of their companies. That's the amazing thing.

Paul: [00:14:03] Well, I know why that is because they've got these unbelievably good information systems globally and all their screens are flashing red like, big environmental problem, food security, you know, weather damage, you know, geopolitical risk. You know, they understand risk. That's kind of their job. 

Tom: [00:14:24] Well, let's just I mean let's just get into that right? Because I think the red lights are clearly flashing. And you know, we're seeing weather events, IPCC reports, coming out, risk reports, saying all this stuff. But we're two years into this decisive decade and the emissions are still going up. And yes, COP26 had some great elements to it. And Alok Sharma gave a speech the other day where he sort of talked about the successes. But he also pointed out the fact that countries weren't able to come back with national commitments to get them in line with one point five last time. So you whack in the text the idea, Well, we couldn't do it this time. Come back next year. Now I don't want to downplay that. That's a big success. But we're coming into a year now without the momentum of a G7 country, putting all of its effort into trying to make the COP a success. We have the Egyptians playing the role of trying to pull the world together, I'm sure they'll do a great job, and again, we can talk about that, but their priority, understandably given who they are, is going to be more on finance and adaptation and land restoration. We know that already. The U.S. is trying to pass legislation to actually get on track with its 2030 targets, but that's looking pretty rocky, and their relationship with China is kind of preventing international momentum. It's looking a bit of a mess for 2022 too, isn't it? I mean, this is the year when it's all supposed to come together. It looks like it's falling apart.

Paul: [00:15:36] I can definitely respond to that, but I'm afraid.

Christiana: [00:15:38] Can I? Can I add to the falling apart piece before we go to coming together?

Tom: [00:15:43] I thought you were going to tell us why it was all right. 

Paul: 00:15:45] I'm going to. They're going to take you down, listeners, and then I'm going to bring you back up again. But Christiana go for it.

Christiana: [00:15:51] We have in addition to what Tom has listed, we have the second and third chapter of the IPCC report coming out, none of which is going to be good news. We have continued huge geopolitical strain between U.S. and China, and we know that on climate without them, little can be done. So we have a clear lack of at least obvious political leadership there. But and a very clear but and not an and, on the other side of the ledger, and here is my conundrum, is how how do we view all of these realities at the same time, because we do see such transformational technological shifts, financial shifts, everything that was announced at COP26 already underway, and we see these shifts underway not yet mainstreamed, right? How do we get to the end of this year? Because that's the deadline that we have set for ourselves, COP27 and be able to wrap our arms around this huge space that we have. Firstly, new indices, which is new commitments that need to be put forward by on the part of governments, which if they just look at the same information that they're looking at now, which is what they did for end of last year, they will come up with exactly the same answer, which is whatever NDC they submitted for last year. So if they're going to come in with a more ambitious NDC, they have to collect better information, different information to let them come to a different conclusion. How is that going to happen? That's the writing question for me. How do you filter what is happening and what we call the real world? The financial world, the corporate world, the technological world, the legal world, actually with the increase in litigation. How do you channel all of that onto the desk of the data points that central governments look at in order to allow them to come to different conclusions? Meaning in order to allow them to increase their ambition on NDCs, which, as Tom pointed out, in this case, because it's a G77 country leading, will also be expected to increase their adaptation measures, their land restoration measures, and that we will definitely have a focus on finance because that was the Achilles heel at COP26. In fact, that's the Achilles heel at every COP. And so how do we put all of this together? That's the riding question. All of it needs to be put into that whole package, needs to be put into new NDCs.

Paul: [00:19:06] Ok, so this this, you know, our backs are against the wall. All right. It's tough. The good news is I got a coat hanger out the cupboard. I like empty, straightened it out. I reached down and I managed to pull up the note that explains how we do it. So, here goes. Look, Tom, when you say we've got to reduce at seven percent a year and I say things are going better than, you know, the things are going well. Clearly, I look ridiculous and you look like you're completely right. But

Tom: [00:19:39] I'm glad we've got that established. 

Paul: [00:19:39] It's the normal situation, but I'm, you know, with me in the corner, there's still some, there's still some fighting in me here. Here it goes. The 23rd of December, the Financial Times asked What would meaningful corporate political responsibility look like? And people often talk about, for example, BlackRock, the big asset manager. I don't know if it's like the Death Star and Star Wars, or if it's like the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek, but it certainly seems to be at the center of a great deal of debate. And I want to mention a particular aspect of BlackRock, which is a big story for those of us who are in sustainable finance, and it relates to a so to say, ESG whistleblower, someone called Tariq Fancy, who's the former Chief Investment Officer for sustainable investing at BlackRock. And this is what Tariq Fancy said. He said, in essence Wall Street is greenwashing the economic system and in the process, creating deadly distractions. And he said, I should know I was at the heart of it, but I want you to pay attention here. He said We're running out of time and we need to accept the truth to fix our system and curb a growing disaster, we need government to fix the rules. Well, I agree with that and I agree with you, Christiana, and we've got to have these stronger NDCs. But despite that assessment being correct, there's a fantastically naive part of that evaluation. And what Tariq Fancy doesn't realize and what I think we realize and many people are increasingly realizing, is the power of business to inform and indeed drive government policy. Now I read listener reviews to Outrage + Optimism. A lot of people are horrified when I say, Oh, you know, corporations are able to push governments or, you know, corporations can stop governments or they can push them forward. But those are the facts that the economic and social and cultural and political power resides. And I think the reason why I'm a little bit more optimistic is you're starting to see such growth in industries, in renewable energy and electric vehicles, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, that those companies can begin to start making their business plans into the government's business plan and change those NDCs, bring their technologies and their manufacturing, their distribution plans into NDCs. That doesn't mean more and more stuff. For those who think that I'm an advocate of, or any of us are advocates for selling more and more stuff. There is such a thing as dematerialize economic growth where the economy can grow whilst reducing carbon emissions, whilst reducing stuff being dug out of the ground. But I think there's a consensus in society now that means that industry can drive government policy that will allow us to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Tom: [00:22:26] I have a question for you both. We know now, and if you think about the last year, one thing that's happened is the level of certainty around the science, the level of impact we've been witnessing has just reached a point where there's this sense of rising quiet desperation amongst everybody. We're leaving it too late. We're not doing enough. We're not going far enough. And the theory of change that Paul just put out, which is eloquently expressed. But honestly, Paul, I've heard you make that theory of change for many years. What would we do differently, and let's challenge ourselves to say, because I think we're getting to this point now where it's so late and that theory of change is not manifested, honestly, business is moving in a positive direction. But the big leap has yet to be made. It's still at best schizophrenic that it's making progress and other parts of businesses are slowing progress down. And we know that that's the case now that we've reached this kind of flashing red light of emergency were into 2022, it's not enough to continue to say we'll make a bit of progress, this is it we have to do it. What do we think needs to be done differently now as a result of the fact that this has gone on so long, because we're seeing changes in the world, right, the climate movement itself is shifting, it's becoming much less tolerant. It's saying it's either good enough or you're part of the problem. Trying is not good enough anymore. You have to be good enough to actually solve the issue or you can be called out as part of the problem, and we can explain some of that to listeners later. But I just like to ask both of you, how do we know that what we're doing here is really helping? And what should we do differently now that the world is changing?

Paul: [00:24:11] I'm sure Christina will give a very good answer, but I just want to come in quickly and say, yes, Tom, it's true that I've been making this case for a long time, but that my exact point is it's not binary one zero like nothing's happening or it's all fixed. That's a really journalistic way of looking at it. But the truth is we have incremental change constantly. You yourself, just a moment ago spoke about how the atmosphere in society was changing. In aggregate, this concept of a tipping point, I believe, is being reached. But we do have to be far more realistic and aggressive that the responsibilities lie with us to get those NDCs, those nationally determined contributions changed. We cannot rely on some faceless bureaucracy to make it happen. We've got to make it happen.

Christiana: [00:24:55] We as who, Paul?

Paul: [00:24:56] We is, I'm think I'm primarily referring to, you know, what I would call the sort of 80 percent of the global economy that is not the government, the so to say, basically the private sector, that it has a responsibility now and the world is watching to use its self-interest to manifestly require that governments tax and regulate greenhouse gas. Give you an example. There's been a lot of talk about divestment from fossil fuels, which has been a useful debate. It was very much similar to the debate about whether, mentioning Desmond Tutu, whether there should be divestment from companies in South Africa, which was a debate that raged in the 1970s and 80s. The key point is that actually, if you're taxing and regulating greenhouse gas emissions, everyone is going to divest from fossil fuels, whether they are worried about climate change or not worried about climate change. We're now at the point where the governing instrument is universally recognized as called forth, and there's no other part of the debate.

Christiana: [00:26:05] I would like to pick up on your mention of self-interest, Paul, because I'm going to go out on a limb and answer Tom's question with that term, with self-interest. And I go out on a limb because I'm sure, you know, in the comments, I'll get lots of rotten tomatoes about, how can I possibly argue that self-interest is going to move us forward? But I would like to define self-interest with a capital S. It seems to me that up until this point, governments, certainly corporations and other actors have been defining and acting. According to a definition of self-interest that writes, S with a small S, meaning they have only been looking at very narrowly at themselves in the term from a corporate perspective. Looking at my bottom line, my profit from a government perspective, looking at the next political cycle on, on and on. From an NGO perspective, my funders, what am I going to do? You know my funders. And we can go on and on and on. And it seems to me that we have reached the limit of what can be done from that perspective. And the next step to answer Tom's question, is to actually capitalize self. Because I don't think that we will move far enough and quick enough. Out of altruism, I wish we were that way wired, but I just don't think that we are yet. Hopefully, you know, in a further evolution of humankind, that's where we're going to get to. But I do think that on the path toward that, we are on the verge of understanding that self-interest written with a capital self includes me but doesn't exclude others. It includes others. It is a very inclusive definition of self to understand that there is a very happy overlap here between the interests of corporations that are responsibly addressing social and environmental interests. There is a happy overlap between governments that are actually doing the proper job that they should. There is a happy coincidence with NGOs with other civil society groups. There is a happy coincidence when we understand that self does not mean only me. Self means who I am and what is my relationship with all other actors. And if you want, you know, with all other life for which we are responsible on this planet, if we do not understand that there is a coincidence of interest in a planet that is a thriving planet upon which humans and everything else can actually thrive together. If we do not understand that we depend on the health of our environment in order for us to be healthy, we depend on ecosystems, to be thriving in order for us to thrive. You know, even if we move toward that, let's say more enlightened space. We're still interested animals and we still ask the question, What do I get out of it? A better life for everyone. That's the point. It's for everyone and for every living thing. That's my definition of self-interest with a capital S.

Paul: [00:30:07] From your lips to God's ears.

Tom: [00:30:12] I think that's a really beautiful explanation, Christiana. And the other thing that makes me think of is, that that's the place where we all meet, right? That that's the place that we can agree on. When some of these things manifest in the world, we end up arguing a lot about the form. And is it my idea? Is it my way? Is it your idea? Is it your way? Those things can often feel like they're in competition with each other. I mean, I think to go back to this year, I think one of the things that's going to play out this year, is this whole concept of net zero that has so much momentum behind it now, right? But it's now being challenged of, what does the net mean and should that be allowed and under what terms and at what point? And you can understand why that's really important that we get that right, right? It is absolutely the case that we need to be able to trust that those commitments are credible and they're demonstrating real action. But we also need to be able to build momentum and help everyone feel like they're part of a big tent. And what I hope, based on what you just said, is that we can find a way to have a strategy where we keep getting bigger and keep incorporating more ways of trying to deliver change. And what I fear is that we're at a point where we tend to divide ourselves and get smaller and say, Well, I'm a person who believes in this theory of change, and I'm a person who believes in this theory of change. And people can define themselves in opposition to others who are also trying to change the world, which is kind of insane, right? But so we need to keep lifting up to that higher level.

Paul: [00:31:38] Yeah. But if I can borrow a quotation and modify it slightly, if you think we are all going to come together into a sense of unified understanding or if you think we're going to fragment into separate islands fighting each other, you're probably right.

Tom: [00:31:55] Yeah. Now this has become, I think it's very interesting conversation, become quite an esoteric conversation about the philosophy of change, which hopefully is useful to listeners as well. But I'd love to just ask, what are the big things that we're expecting to be the issues of the year? I mean, we've got COP27, that's going to be a big moment, hopefully with national commitment step ups, but also major progress on finance and on land restoration. There's going to be the CBD COP in Kunming in the middle of the year, where hopefully some of the concepts that we've talked about this year, such as 30 by 30, we had previous podcasts on that issue, preserving 30 percent of land and sea by 2030 will really get elevated and accelerated. What are some of the other big things that you're tracking this year that you think will be the defining issues that will shape the year that we're going to live through and that we have to be successful throughout?

Christiana: [00:32:43] You know what comes up for me first, Tom. Is the shift in finance. We had such an amazing turnout at COP26 from financial institutions making these pledges. I think unfortunately, most of them are long term pledges. And for me, a lot of this is going to depend how quickly we turn the curve here is going to depend on financial decisions. What is getting invested in and what is not getting invested in, and what is the ratio between finance that goes to high carbon assets and finance that goes to low carbon assets? That, for me, is going to be one of the huge detonating levers of how quickly we can change this year.

Paul: [00:33:41] I'll echo that. I mean, a couple of specific details once again, back to the ever quotable BlackRock. It was Larry Fink, the chief executive of BlackRock, who said the next 1000 unicorns, which is jargon for start up companies that are worth a billion dollars or more. The next 1000 unicorns will be sustainable companies that make energy affordable, not more search engines or social media titans. And you know, we're seeing some very interesting things in the corporate world. Exxon, a very sort of company with a terrible history with regard to climate change, no doubt as a result of the wonderful engine No. 1, a new directors on the board has been saying that in their new strategy, they're going to be able to toggle between investments in fossil fuels or investments in in renewable or zero-carbon energy, and that toggling is going to be based on how far society is moving. Laurence Tubiana, who's been on the show before she said Europe must get serious about renovating homes to ease the energy crisis, and as somebody who has an interest in insulating homes I must say that I believe fundamentally that these kind of basic bits of good housekeeping are coming to a fore. Whilst we have an energy crisis and even a political crisis that, in Europe at least, gas is seen as quite an important part of comprehending that crisis and interpreting it. And then finally, I would just say, you know, we've seen Beyond Meat, a company where we've had the chief executive on before being shorted by hedge funds who are saying that, you know, they think it's overvalued, but actually also they're making deals with McDonald's and loads of other huge companies. It's a time of extraordinary sort of transition there, butterflies in the stomach of the global economy. But I think just to agree with your finance point, this is where it's going to be settled.

Tom: [00:35:40] Cool. So this is it, we're back. This is season five. We're back for an episode and this is really the beginning of the conversation that we hope to have with you through 2022. It is going to be a really fascinating year and very much taken by both of your suggestions that we are kind of on the cusp of potentially a broader assessment of our moment where you can come together. But honestly, I think this is going to be a make or break and critical year. And I see evidence that the climate movement that we have been part of for so long is actually splintering rather than pulling together and is turning into being an entity that is less effective as a result of competing conversations where people spend more and more time arguing with each other about how to create the change in the world that we should see, rather than working on the change itself now. I don't think we should change the podcast to apathy and pessimism. I'm sure there's going to be good stuff that we should focus on this year, but it's going to be a critical year and it's going to require all of us to be our biggest selves that we can be in order to meet that. Anything that either of you would like to say before we wrap up for this week?

Christiana: [00:36:42] Tom, I would like to underline that about five times. I really, what I'm most concerned about as we move into this year is what we're calling the circular firing squad among ourselves, which is frankly taking us nowhere and only debilitating our mission, but also confusing, horribly confusing those who we seek to influence. And so, you know, this is not the moment to get into that, but I think I think we have to pay attention to that as we move into this year. And we tiptoed into a little bit with Jennifer Morgan, who was so brilliant on our podcast. But I think we have to get much more into it this year and see if we can help to bring together opinions and positions that seem to be mutually exclusive, but ultimately are not. I think it would be a very important role for us to play, to try to to bring together seemingly divergent forces.

Paul: [00:37:58] Great. And if I might just offer a positive thought on that, I believe those people in the secret circular firing squad at serious risk of shooting each other by accident have good hearts. And with those good hearts and dialogue, we can solve this and we can fix this and there will be a way. Tom, trust that.

Tom: [00:38:19] Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, I agree. And I mean, the intentionality is not in question, but it's but. But that's what makes it more complex is despite good intentions, we're still in danger of actually not making the progress we could make because of not being able to be additive to each other's work. Now we're going to delve into that and we're really going to talk about this year. That's a hard conversation that we feel one of our roles is to bring that conversation. We're also going to talk about many of the other key themes of the year round adaptation around land restoration around the future of food. We have a great miniseries for you that we're going to bring you on the future of food. We're going to talk to communicators, we're going to talk to luminaries in the climate world. We're going to discuss with the Egyptians and others who are responsible now for holding the political flame and pulling the world towards COP at the end of this year. This is going to be as ever, a critical year. We're starting kind of late having had a rest. We're coming back with renewed energy and determination and commitment. We're excited to be doing it with you and we look forward to continuing the discussion throughout this year and we will be back next week. Thanks for joining us. Okay, so that's it for this week. And as ever, we are going to wrap up as we've been doing for the last couple of seasons with some music. We have an amazing track for you this week from Lilo. It's called Apart and I will leave you with them to introduce it. Thanks for being back with us. We'll see you next week.

Christiana: [00:39:32] Thanks. Bye. 

Paul: [00:39:33] Bye.

Lilo: [00:39:36] Hi we’re Lilo, we're a band from London made up of Helen Dixon, and me, Christie Gardner. We were really excited when we were asked to perform a song for Outrage + Optimism because we've both been thinking about ways our own lives, creativity and mental health are shaped in the face of the climate crisis. This song is called Apart, and it touches on feelings of not being sure about your place in the world feeling disconnected, and it explores the guilt that can surround the concept of individual responsibility within something so much bigger than ourselves. We hope this song reminds you to go easy on yourself, even when it feels pointless. Thank you so much for having us.

Apart by Lilo plays [Song plays]

Clay: [00:44:15] So there you go. Another episode of Outrage + Optimism. That song was awesome. Lilo, everybody with their song Apart. Lilo has more music you can listen to right now, and I've got the links in the show notes. You can check in your podcast app that will take you to the music player of your choice to go listen to more. And they have a 12 inch vinyl for sale on Bandcamp, so one of the best ways we can support independent artists is to go buy their music, so go buy it. So I was thinking about how to describe Lilo's music, and there's a snowstorm happening right now here in Detroit. We're supposed to get like a foot of snow or so, maybe 30 to 40 centimeters. Lilo is the perfect, you know, warm tea, soup by the fire music. So I will be spinning them this whole weekend after shoveling my way out of my house, Lilo. Ok. Welcome to season five. Ok, that was too much energy. Try it again. Take two. Hey, welcome to season five. If you're a long time listener. Welcome back. We missed you. And if this is your very first episode with us, hello, you're here right on time for some amazing things to come. Just two days ago, we released an episode, the first one of the season, called The Deep Time Walk, and it's a meditation on the life of Gaia by Dr. Stephan Harding. I had the privilege of sound designing the episode. It's a narration with a bunch of sound effects, music, a soundtrack. It was so fun to design and make it an immersive audio experience. And, you know, I recorded hand saws to make the sounds of jellyfish. I twisted some lettuce to make the sounds of trees growing, and I even used this recording I took a few years ago of my son's heartbeat in the utero, like the ultrasound, you know. So if you go back and listen, see if you can find where that one is. I don't mean to turn this Deep Time Walk into a scavenger hunt, but all this to say Stephan is just excellent and so engaging in his way of storytelling to show us where we are in the story of everything and how it can inform how this new perspective can inform our decision making going forward. He's brilliant, so I think most of our listeners are familiar with James Lovelock and Gaia theory. But hey, if you aren't, whoa, incredible things in store for you just around the corner. So, link to check out that episode in the show notes it's just one episode back. So Episode 136 or season five episode one. Episode one has this like gravitas to it. 

Clay: [00:47:15] If you like this podcast and you want to support us, you can leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. You know, we read every single review. We, you know, write them down on bits of paper, stuff them in a jar and on a sad day, we slowly pull them out, recite them in the mirror to ourselves. No, we don't actually do that, but we do read every single one. So thank you so much for doing that, and you can find us @GlobalOptimism on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We recently asked our listeners, What do you want to hear in season five and what do you want to hear more of in season five? So if you have some thoughts, opinions on that, now is the time to go tell us what you want to hear. Oh, whoops. Oh, it's from Paul. Please put this. Oh, he wants me to play it. Ok, here we go and play it. 

Paul: [00:47:58] I think I found something that some of our listeners might like. It's like if you want to kind of pick me up to link your inner and outer state in a beautiful way. It's a song called Willow. No, it's not. It's a song called Overthinking It by Willow. It's beautiful. If I just put a link in the show notes, some people might want to hear it. 

Clay: [00:48:15] Ok, I'm going to do that and go listen to it myself. What was it, overthinking? Overthinking it by Willow. Ok, go listen to that. Yeah. So let us know what you want to hear more in season five on social media, and thanks for listening. That's it. We'll see you next week.


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