167: We Like To Call It Piñata Syndrome
About this episode
Welcome back! We’re excited to bring you a new season of Outrage + Optimism!
As always, we examine issues at the forefront of the climate crisis, interview change-makers, and transform our anger into productive dialogue on building a sustainable future.
In this Season 6 premiere, co-hosts Christiana Figueres, Tom Rivett-Carnac, and Paul Dickinson reflect on the sad passing of Queen Elizabeth II, share insights from Christiana’s experience at Gastech Exhibition & Conference, the largest gathering of oil and gas executives in the world, and discuss an eventful summer that brought both hope and heartache on climate.
Yes, it’s a packed podcast episode. Here are a few other topics that were on the minds of our hosts in this Season 6 opener: The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act by the United States Congress, Australia’s key climate bill, new UN General Assembly NDCs from India, Australia, and Egypt, and the devastating impact of Pakistan’s recent flooding.
You’ll also hear Royal Photographer Henry Dallal share personal memories of Queen Elizabeth II and music from the British singer and songwriter Gabriela Eva.
Reflections From the Team on Queen Elizabeth II
First, the team discusses the remarkable 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away surrounded by her family at her beloved Scottish estate, Balmoral Castle, on Sept. 8, 2022. Tom reminds the team that when the Queen ascended the throne in 1952, her first prime minister was Winston Churchill. To put her reign in perspective, Churchill was born in 1874一a profoundly different era. Indeed, through her reign and how she conducted herself personally, the Queen was able to bridge this extraordinary period amid incredible transformation in international politics, human development, and the environment. She was the embodiment of history and legacy in a way that future monarchs will likely never be able to replicate.
Paul underscores the dignity and heft with which the Queen served. In the words of 19th-century businessman and essayist Walter Badgett, she epitomized the “dignified part of the Constitution” (as opposed to the efficient part). She represented, he goes on, “the best of us.”
“The word that comes up for me when I think of [the Queen] is first ‘equanimity,’” says Christiana. “She was really such an example for equanimity, not letting anything from the outside disturb her, her grace…her grandeur…her stability.” She didn’t react in the typical way and showed how to decrease re-activism and practice equanimity, regardless of the situation.
Our hosts also mention the Queen’s life of service, which stretched across 15 prime ministers who trusted and consulted with her regularly. Her collective wisdom and ability to stand above politics were truly remarkable.
Interview With Henry Dallal, Royal Photographer to Queen Elizabeth II
Providing personal anecdotes about Elizabeth’s extraordinary life is Henry Dallal, the Queen’s Royal Photographer.
In an interview for the podcast, Dallal says he spent more than 20 years photographing the Queen, with his first official portrait capturing her Golden Jubilee in 2002. At one point, he recalls being in a tiny coffee shop in Kashmir’s Ladakh mountains speaking with Buckingham Palace ahead of a scheduled photo shoot.
“Here I am,” he says, “leaning over the table, and the room is full of smoke with the little villages around in the middle of the Himalayas. And I've got a direct line with Buckingham Palace asking me what the Queen [sh]ould wear.”
“That was funny,” he chuckles. Tom and Christiana wholeheartedly agreed.
Dallal also shares anecdotes about the Queen’s marvelous, if not dry, sense of humor. And to his credit, Dallal captured much of the Queen’s essence through his incredible artistry, explains Tom. It’s no wonder she worked with him all these years.
The Team Discusses the Summer’s Climate Events
“So I think this was the year in which climate change really came home for Europeans,” says Tom, referring to the UK’s crippling 40°C heat in July and related extreme temperature spikes across many parts of Europe, including France and Spain.
For many, the summer will be remembered for the frequent shattering of temperature records throughout the world, especially in the U.S. and China. As Christiana notes, this was the first time in history that heat records were broken across three continents simultaneously.
Perhaps no single event underscored the threat posed by the climate emergency more than the unprecedented floods in Pakistan.
“Just imagine that, more than the size of the United Kingdom underwater,” says Paul. Estimates suggest nearly 33 million people have been affected by the floods, and with 90% of the crops of Sindh province damaged or destroyed, hunger and starvation are expected to follow.
The group also references the melting of the Greenland Ice sheet, the possible shutdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a hugely important ocean current, and the potential collapse of tropical carbon sinks in Southeast Asia and the Amazon. Within the region, only the Congo Basin is still functioning as a carbon sink, which naturally absorbs carbon dioxide. “Atmospheric concentrations are frightening scientists,” says Paul. “We’re really hitting [those tipping points].”
Gastech Exhibition & Conference 2022
Next up, Christiana shares highlights from Gastech Exhibition & Conference 2022, which she attended in Italy in September. The event, also known as “Gas Tech,” is the largest global oil and gas conference in the world, with more than 40,000 executives in attendance.
Despite the summer serving as an example of why we need to transition to clean energy economies, the conference seemed to center on exploiting current geo-political supply challenges and high energy prices, with a particular focus on expanding gas drilling. At the same time, executives were happy to pat themselves on the back for pursuing a lower-emitting fossil fuel, which is still harmful to the environment.
“Their tone was, not only are we making a huge amount of money, but we're doing so as we save the planet,” Christiana says, likening it to perforating a candy-filled piñyata and grabbing wildly at the spilling sweet treasures.
“All of these oil and gas companies want to hit the piñyata and get the candy out…because they know that this is the moment in which they can gather that candy,” Christiana adds. It seems everyone in attendance was in a frenzy over securing drilling permits. Of course, the demand for gas within the next 15 years一often the time needed to drill, explore, and produce gas一will essentially be gone, but no one seemed focused on that.
As you’ll hear, governments are also doubling down on traditional fossil fuels in the short term to reduce energy prices rather than moving to cheaper and cleaner renewable energy sources.
In a sign that things are moving in the opposite direction from a clean energy perspective, we need to look no further than the UK. Paul references Jacob Rees-Mogg, the newly installed UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, who has indicated he will lift the moratorium on fracking and drain the North Sea of oil.
Similar conversations are quietly happening among African Union ministers in the lead-up to COP27 in Egypt, the annual United Nations event on climate change, which takes place in November. Behind closed doors, Tom says, African Union ministers are saying they want to develop gas to better control their energy costs.
“How do we try and put our arms around this quite difficult issue at the moment?” he asks.
“Well, [it’s] because of the piñyata syndrome,” Christiana responds. “It’s not easy to stand up to developing countries and say, ‘No.’ The North developed with fossil fuels. But you’re coming quite a few decades later, and you're not allowed to develop with fossil fuels. You have to incur the risk and the cost of moving over to other fuels.”
It seems the world is acting like there will be growing demand for fossil fuels over the next several years when actually, the expectation is there won’t be. This is mainly due to two factors. First, according to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2021 Report oil demand will have to peak over the next few years if countries are to meet their climate pledges; and (2), clean energy alternatives are generally less costly than fossil fuels. To indebt yourself as a country by financing expensive fossil fuel infrastructure is the definition of “crazy,” says Christiana.
The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) & Other Good News
It's been an active summer regarding new climate policies and commitments from several countries. For example:
- The United States Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act with $369 billion一the most ever一earmarked for climate and alternative technologies development.
- Australia has set greenhouse gas reduction targets into law.
- India published a plan for the country's 2030 climate targets, cutting emissions intensity by 45% by 2030.
- Egypt published its plan ahead of hosting COP27 this November with new goals for electricity generation and oil and gas sectors.
- France became the first European country to ban fossil fuel advertising.
- The Dutch city of Haarlem has become the first city to ban meat advertising.
Finally, the team closes with a few thoughts on what’s ahead for those advocating for better climate policies. Paul suggests that the campaign will now have a strong chance at legislative achievements (e.g., policy, financial support, taxation of greenhouse gases, etc.) because of the unprecedented commitment from the business sectorーand because the business case against fossil fuels has never been stronger.
Three thousand of the world’s largest companies, led by former Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, have set science-based targets一essentially comparable to net zero by 2050. Thus, companies will now vote with their feet and support politicians and governments that facilitate their success. “The door is now open,” says Paul.
“Our job is to use those commitments to bring these parties together and to account,” he adds. “It’s our moment to be super-focused, confident, and ambitious in delivering the outcomes we all know we need.”
Christiana, Paul, and Tom will, of course, be here throughout the season with the help of special guests to share valuable insights and analysis to put the climate emergency into perspective.
Enjoy the outro music from Gabriela Eva! See you next time!
Notes and Resources
Thank you to our phone guest this week, Henry Dallal! Be sure to check out his new book, Addressing Climate Change.
Henry Dallal | Photographer
There’s a solar-powered boombox in a park in Queens, NYC that plays LL Cool J’s music from noon to 5pm every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and yes it’s 100% real.
Listen to Tom’s appearance on our sister podcast, The Way Out Is In!
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 six. This is our first episode. We're back after the summer away and we'll be catching up today on what's been going on over the last couple of months. Christiana and I dial up an old friend, one of the Queens photographers, Henry Dellal, and we have music from [00:00:33] Gabriela. Eva, [00:00:34] thanks for being here. So friends, welcome back to the podcast. We've been out for a few weeks over summer, as we always are, and we're now back with a new season, season six, and we're excited to get into what's been happening over the last few months and also what's ahead before the end of the year. But we have to start by saying that today is Friday, the 9th of September. We're recording this episode. We're all in the UK and it is 24 hours since the news broke that Her Majesty the Queen has passed away. This is the end of an era. She's been on the throne for 70 years. One of the pieces of information that really struck me when this news was breaking is that her first prime minister, when she came to the throne, Winston Churchill, was born in the mid 1870s. She was a living link deep into history in a timescale we don't usually think about and was a connection for all that's happened in those intervening years in international politics, in human development, and of course, in the environment. So many changes as we as a world have tried to get on top of these transformations. And she'd been able to see deep into that past and bring that wisdom to the world we're now trying to create. We're going to miss her enormously. Of course, all of us are. She's fundamentally changed the UK and to a degree the world. So let's just start there with reflections from either of you and then we'll hear a few additional reflections from her official photographer and our friend Henry Dellal. And you won't want to miss that. Later, we'll share about the summer and what's to come over the next few months.
Christiana: [00:02:19] I bow to the Brit, sitting next to me in his studio.
Paul: [00:02:24] Thank you, Christiana. Look, it's a very strange experience when you've spent your life with a queen and then she's gone. We were talking about this extraordinary experience. Christiana and I and I showed Christiana the the recording the queen made to speak to the nation about the COVID pandemic. And I can't really think of another occasion where the queen has spoken to the people directly on a on a crisis issue. And Christiana pointed out that I had tears welling up in my eyes. We will meet again. And I'm very sorry to say that we will not meet Queen Elizabeth The Second again. But whatever your views might be of democracy and monarchy and the idea of of of a monarchs having a role in a constitution, in a state, whatever your views might be, I think there seems to be appreciation of that particular individual in that office for a long time and adding enormous dignity and weight to some version of what the constitutionalist, Walter Badgett, quite brilliantly called the dignified part of the Constitution as different to the efficient part. She represented a notion of statehood, which I think is probably linked to a notion of citizenship, which is, in many regards, representing the best of us.
Christiana: [00:03:49] Well, I'm very glad that you've come around to those sentiments, Mr. Paul Dickinson, because those were not the sentiments that you were expressing scarce 24 hours ago where I was the one who was all sentimental about this amazing woman. And much has been written, obviously, in the past few hours about her. The the words that come up for me when I think of her is first equanimity. What equanimity she showed during no matter what the situation was, she was really such an example for equanimity, to not letting anything from the outside disturb her, her grace, her, her, her grandeur, her, her stability. It was really so beautiful to watch that on so many different occasions because most of us do get all mixed up in whatever is happening outside, right? Whatever input we receive from the outside, we react, then we react. And, you know, she did not react. She really showed how we can decrease our re-activism and and practice equanimity, grace, dignity throughout no matter what the situation is. So I'm actually I am going to miss her. I'm not a Brit. I lived many years here now recently, but also way, way, way back as a student. But even if I hadn't, I think I would still be in deep admiration of a woman who put her whole life into the role that she inherited without asking for it.
Christiana: [00:05:43] At an age that was way too young, much younger than she ever thought, and the promise that she made in that famous speech right when she was 26 years old, and she said, I will serve my country and my people. And she did. She lived a life of service. She was such a bastion for trust and confidence when that is so, so scarce right now. Trust is just such a scarce commodity. And she was such a bastion for for trust. And as you have pointed out, Tom, over so many years, collective wisdom that she then shared. Paul and I were talking yesterday in the train. She had 15 ministers, prime ministers, 15 prime ministers, and she met weekly with each one of them. And, you know, they all came to report and to consult and to ask for her advice. So you can imagine over those many years the collective wisdom and collective experience that that she had in her treasure trove and how beautifully and carefully she was about about anything, never stepping into politics, but always being there as a bastion of of trust, confidence and equanimity. I mean, absolutely a remarkable, remarkable life.
Tom: [00:07:06] Yeah. And I think it's so healthy for us to think about time in a different way, isn't it? We're so used to like, you know, today's world, the immediacy of the next tweet or the next quarter or the next election cycle. That's about as far as it goes in our sort of like immediate gratification world. And somebody whose time on this planet and his time in the public eye spanned such a large, you know, decades and decades. It actually reminded me I've been doing some reading over the summer of this issue of long termism. I don't know if you've come across this. There's a brilliant book by William MacAskill called What We Owe the Future. And this is a slight aside, but it made me think of this. What he points out is that if humanity survives for as long just as the average mammal. Right, no more, no less, then we'll be around for about a million years. And we've only been here for about 50,000 years now. That's a question as to whether we'll survive even as long as the average one, which means that there will be 10,000 times more people in the future than there's been in the past. And we are so close to the beginning of that story, it's kind of hard for us to contemplate. It stretches way off into the future, to the point where we're the ancient ones in that story and most of the story unfolds after us. Now, that sort of sounds like an aside, but it sort of blows my mind, that sense of time, of it reaching away in front of us and how that makes decisions. And there's some element of that in what Queen Elizabeth brought to public life, to the people who spoke to her, because she brought in this deeper sense of time over decades, I think is something that we'll miss.
Christiana: [00:08:35] It's so interesting because as Paul and I were on this remarkable train ride where we didn't really know whether we were going up to Glasgow to meet who yesterday was, Prince Charles. Today is King Charles the Third. And then we had to turn around and come back. So quite, quite, quite the train ride. But we were talking about this different sense of time and especially because I had been contacted by Costa Rican Press to write something about the queen. And it struck me, as you've just said, Tom, that in democracies such as the UK and Costa Rica, we have such a fast cycle because we think of the electoral cycle as being the beginning and the end of things, of policies, of actions, of decisions. And and so we are so short term thinkers in, in these democracies, whereas the monarchy in this country, in Costa Rica obviously doesn't have one, but it just stretches over a much, much longer piece of time. It stretches back and it stretches forward. And she was very aware of the legacy that she had inherited, not just from her father, but generations back. And she was very aware of the legacy that she needed to leave forward many generations forward. So a very different, beautiful sense of of time being stretched in both directions back and forward.
Tom: [00:10:13] Cool. All right. Well, I think that was appropriate that we start there because, of course, so much actually of what we talk about with this podcast is around time, right? It's about how are we going to sustain the future of humanity and create a world that we want. So let's move on to a relevant conversation that we had today. Christiana and I called up Henry Dellal, Queen Elizabeth the Second's official photographer, to ask if he would share some reflections on his interactions with the Queen over the two decades he'd been photographing her. Now photographers have a unique job. They get to spend close time with their subjects, getting a very true to their nature experience with the person that they're photographing. And in Henry's career, one of his most loyal subjects has been the queen. Now, Henry is a friend of ours. We've known him for many years. He actually is also super into climate change. And for many cops, the climate negotiations when Christiana was executive secretary, he came along and played a role photographing what was happening behind closed doors in Paris and at many other times. So we know him pretty well. And of course, on this podcast we normally call people right on the podcast and do it live. But due to the nature of these circumstances, we had to arrange to call them a different time. There's great stories from him, especially if you like horses and if you're one of you his work. While you listen, you can check the show notes where Clay's put a link to his website. So here's Christiana and I on the phone with Henry Delall.
Christiana: [00:11:55] Henry. Hi. Hi. Henry, is that you?
Henry: [00:11:58] Yes. Hi. How are you?
Henry: [00:12:01] Lovely to meet you.
Christiana: [00:12:02] So lovely to hear you. Thank you for. For taking our call.
Henry: [00:12:06] You're very welcome. Very honored.
Christiana: [00:12:09] So, Henry, thank you so much for dropping in here to our podcast. You being a photographer of of Her Majesty, the Queen for so many decades and sharing her love of horses. We just wanted to. To drop in with you and have you share with us your, some of your memories, your feelings, your your celebratory memories of having been with her in so many intimate moments. Taking photographs of her.
Henry: [00:12:51] Yeah. Thank you. It was a huge, huge privilege and a huge honour for me, but obviously my first official portrait was for her golden jubilee. That's literally 20 years. Hmm. And, you know, just there were, like, literally photograph her one day, two days, next day, four days. And then I did about six, seven sessions in April 2002. And then from there, it kind of just grew. Every year I would get a call, a text or something. Come and take a picture. Take a picture there. Come and do this. It was really great. So obviously after a while, there's there's a comfort level. I mean, it was very comfortable from the very, very beginning because the portraits mostly involve horses. And then after that 1 to 1 pictures, every picture I took has a wonderful, funny story behind it.
Christiana: [00:14:00] Like what? Tell us one. One story.
Henry: [00:14:03] Well, one, one story. Great. A great one was an official portrait they asked me to take. This took place inside Buckingham Palace. And it involved no horses. It was it was an official portrait. It's on my website. And I had gone to do the recce of the room to do it. And we had we had there were a series of pictures that I had to take Princess Royal, the Queen, and a few other generals. All of them had to have a particular painting in the background. And for the Queen, it was George the third. The question was positioning for me as a photographer, positioning the queen with the portrait. So I had I created it so that the eyes of George the third were looking straight at the queen, and then the Queen is looking at the subject at the lens. Same thing with Princess Anne. So it was really interesting. But before we took that, I'd done the recce. When was it? In July? August. Because Buckingham Palace was open to the public. The Queen had gone to Balmoral. So it was a thrill to go through each room and decide which was the best room. And then and then I take off September, October, it was the sitting was set for November. In October I was in Ladakh in the mountains in Kashmir, high mountains away from from any communication.
Henry: [00:15:42] For about two weeks I arrived in this tiny little shop, coffee shop that was just had one coffee shop with smoke coming out of it, surrounded by the mountains. And I went in there to to use the telephone. And in those days, mobile phones there weren't you couldn't phone. But using a direct telephone line was very, very easy and very, very effective. So I called retrieve my messages. And there was one message from somebody. It was Angela Kelley from Buckingham Palace. I didn't know who this person was. So I called. I said, look, I'm so sorry. I'm calling you so late. You know, I was thinking the cancelling, the sitting and I said, I'm sorry, I'm calling you so late. Oh, yes, yes, yes. Thank you so much for calling. We would like to know what you would like Her Majesty to wear. Now, here I am, leaning over the table and the room is full of smoke with the little villages around in the middle of the Himalayas. And I've got a direct line with Buckingham Palace asking me what the Queen would wear. So I thought, well, that's funny. So I know when I meet the queen, I'm going to tell her this story to break the ice.
Henry: [00:17:06] And in fact, I did tell her this story and she cracked up. And I took this great picture, which I call Laughing Queen. I will send it to you. And another really funny time was I think it was 2010, her last official visit to Canada on their National Day. Canada Day. They had me they I was doing photographing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and they thought I should be there the day the queen is there for a particular photo session. So they flew me all the way there. And in the morning the Queen made her big audience address at Parliament Square in perfect French, and then in the afternoon it was her private time for R&R. And that was where I was invited for to take a picture of the queen. The queen has this very special relationship with the Canadians where every year they trade. They give horses to each other where Prince Charles rides one of the horses or etc., etc.. It was the cavalry black. So the Queen had given a little foal to the Canadian Mounties called Golden Jubilee. During the Golden Jubilee year and the Canadians thought it was really it would be very nice for the Queen to see the same horse and the foal that the horse had given birth to.
Henry: [00:18:33] So I was there at in the afternoon, very casual governor's mansion, and just before I was there with the horses, trying to position it with the right composition. So when the queen comes, everything is ready. And it was just an informal moment to take pictures, nothing formal about it. When I was there, it was the private secretary comes up to me and says, Hello, Mr. Delall, hello, how nice to see you. You do realise that the Canadians have been asking permission to do this? Sitting now for about three months. It's been planned. I said, Wow, that's really great and you are the only photographer allowed. I said, Oh God, I'm really honored. So an hour later the queen comes and we take pictures and casual chit chat, the queen with the RCMP and the grooms and everybody. And after a while, I take my pictures and then the Queen steps back, opens her purse, and out she brings a little pocket Leica and starts taking pictures of the horse. And I said, But, Your Majesty, I was told by by your private secretary who is standing here that there's only one photographer allowed. So she looked at me and and then she turned back. She said, Then leave. So that was a good move.
Tom: [00:20:12] Wow. What an amazing journey to have photographed her over 70 years. I mean, so many of the most famous pictures that many of our listeners will be familiar with are yours. And thank you for all of those incredible years of your artistry and your work of bringing such a flavor of her into our lives. We'll put notes in the show notes Clay will put them in so listeners can find that, can find your website and can look at the pictures. But Henry, thank you so much for sharing a little bit of her life and your experience of her at this moment.
Henry: [00:20:41] You're very, very welcome.
Christiana: [00:20:43] Yes, thank you. Thank you. And and Henry, I think you will by now know the the phrase that describes her cantankerous but with a great sense of humor. I think you would probably say, yes, you experienced her like that as well.
Henry: [00:21:01] Well, absolutely. I mean, she just she she was I mean, after, you know, over the years, it just was it was really lovely being with her. Very comfortable every time to take a picture. And the last photograph, official portrait. Which was released for 96th birthday, which I'm sure you've seen after I'd taken the pictures, it was in with the with the lovely tree and blossom behind. As she was leaving, they called me, Henry, Her Majesty wants to have a word, so I went up. She was already in her car. And I said, Yes, Your Majesty, said, Henry, do you mind? You look at the pictures you've taken, make your short list and send them to me. I would like to choose the picture myself. So I sent about ten, 15 pictures to her. So the picture that you will see that that Buckingham Palace released for a birthday, it was her choice.
Christiana: [00:22:06] Lovely. Lovely. Henry, as Tom says, we will we will definitely put your website link to your website on our show notes so that our listeners can appreciate such a beautiful several decade adventure and accompaniment that you did of Her Majesty the Queen. Very few people have seen her through the eyes of a lens like you have. So how beautiful.
Henry: [00:22:34] Well, it's been a huge honour.
Christiana: [00:22:36] Indeed. Indeed. Henry, thank you so much. And again, our condolences, because I know that you are, as you said yourself, you are really gutted. And I think that speaks for so many of us who feel completely gutted about her departure.
Henry: [00:22:53] Yeah, it's really bad. But I think King Charles would do really well.
Christiana: [00:22:58] Indeed.
Tom: [00:22:59] Good. Okay. Thanks so much.
Henry: [00:23:00] Thank you. Thank you. Bye. Thank you. Bye. Bye. Bye.
Tom: [00:23:11] So how amazing to call our friend Henry and hear about his interactions with the Queen. Now, the queen's passing was certainly an event that is closing the chapter on the summer, but that isn't the only thing that's happened this summer. It's been quite the summer, and I think maybe we should start with the acceleration of impacts. And this is becoming something of a tradition on Outrage + Optimism we get to this time of year and we sort of look around and think, this was a bit of a weird summer and California's burning or Australia's burning or other things. This year.
Paul: [00:23:42] China is burning or is underwater. I mean, you know where to start. Where to start?
Tom: [00:23:47] Well, I think this year it started in Europe. Right. I think this has been an extremely alarming summer for Europeans. We saw record temperatures across the continent. We saw 40 degrees broken for the first time in the UK, which exercised absolutely people in the UK and in an into a sense of anxiety of what was happening. We had months and months of no rain. The country went brown. We saw fires across the UK and that's really nothing compared to what was going on in France, in Spain, in other places. So I think this was the year in which climate change really came home for Europeans. We've often seen this on the news happening in California or Australia, but this year it felt very close to home for people in northern Europe.
Christiana: [00:24:28] Well, Tom, and on the same week in which all of those records were being broken in Europe, the same week in July, all temperatures were broken in the United States in almost all of the 50 states. And temperatures across China were record breaking. So this was the first time in history that you had three separate continents, breaking record temperatures simultaneously at exactly the same time. Usually, you know, we have something happening in one continent and then another one and then another one. No, this was three separate continents, breaking record temperatures. And then that was, of course, before that we had a flood in Pakistan. And now we have an even worse flood in Pakistan affecting.
Paul: [00:25:20] Covering a third of the country.
Paul: [00:25:23] I mean, just imagine that. More than the size of the United Kingdom underwater.
Tom: [00:25:26] 33 million people affected.
Paul: [00:25:28] Just these numbers are terrifying and our heart goes out to this tragic situation.
Christiana: [00:25:34] What this is going to end up in, of course, is livelihoods have been washed away. So you have homes, farms, schools, hospital, everything washed away. And these people are going to be exposed to tremendous, tremendous hunger and starvation. And I'm afraid that we will see many more lives lost because of that, the lingering effects of the of the flood rather than the flood itself.
Tom: [00:26:03] Well, that's always the way it happens, right? I mean, there is, of course, an acute number, but thankfully, emergency services can sort of save lives when it really manifests. But there were some statistics I was looking at the other day saying 90% of the crops in the Sindh province have been damaged or destroyed. As a result of the fact that that region received 464% more rain than the 30 year average for the reason nearly 18,000 schools have been destroyed. I mean, it's just beyond beyond imagination.
Christiana: [00:26:32] Beyond imagination.
Tom: [00:26:35] But this is, of course, the most predicted disaster in history. We knew this was coming. We need to see, of course, a major international response. And honestly, it's been kind of quiet. The international response to Pakistan, which is outrageous when you consider early this year, quite rightly there was outraged when Russia invaded Ukraine and the hardship for those people, as it should have been. But we do see a selective reporting of some of these different things. And the crisis unfolding in Pakistan is not getting the attention it should it deserves. But of course, it continues to exacerbate the broader issues. I mean, we see food prices spiking this year. That's only going to get worse now as a result of what's happening in Pakistan.
Paul: [00:27:11] And that's just like whilst we're doing the negative things, which we have to do, let's add the IPCC's report on tipping points and talking about the Greenland ice sheet, talking about possible shutdown of the Atlantic Meridional overturning oscillation circulation, which which could kind of, you know, put unbelievable cold into Europe.
Tom: [00:27:33] Which I mean, that's a drop in ten degrees Celsius right over northern Europe.
Paul: [00:27:39] It doesn't doesn't bear thinking about it kind of delivers to the UK the power of 3 million atomic power stations is something you switch that off, we're going to notice it. And then and then the one that's actually completely blown my mind because of a great long read in the Financial Times, actually. But it was also very much in the IPCC was the methane. You know, we have methane really spiking. Now, if you look at the atmospheric concentrations and this is really frightening scientists, they can tell to some degree where it's coming from and a great body of it is natural. So it looks like the tipping points are really we're hitting them.
Tom: [00:28:12] Yeah. And that also goes for natural carbon sinks, right? I mean, earlier this year, this is a review of something we looked at earlier. But the three great carbon sinks in, the tropical carbon sinks in the world, the Congo Basin, South East Asia and the Amazon, the Congo Basin is the only one continuing to function as a sink. The other two are now sources. They're emitting more carbon than they're absorbing.
Christiana: [00:28:34] All the while. All the while we have oil and gas companies around the world. Yeah. Becoming I don't even know what the word is. Mega billionaires? I have no idea what the word is. But just the five European oil and gas companies have made a net profit of $60 billion over the past six months. And it is it is just astonishing. These these realities. You know, it's very difficult to bring these realities together. I just spent several days at the Gas Tech, which is the largest oil and gas conference this year in Milan. 40,000 executives from the oil and gas companies. Needless to say, most of them men.
Tom: [00:29:22] That must have been quite a trip, Christiana.
Christiana: [00:29:25] I love walking into the lion's den. It was so odd.
Tom: [00:29:32] I mean, there are many other climate related people there, which as you and all these guys just did you.
Christiana: [00:29:37] I think I was the only climate voice.
Tom: [00:29:39] Wow. Okay.
Christiana: [00:29:40] At least. At least during the 2.5 days that I was there.
Paul: [00:29:43] That industry is not going to last, if that's the way it's configured.
Tom: [00:29:45] How did it go? You were speaking, I'm sure.
Christiana: [00:29:48] Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I did an a keynote and then an interview with with John Defterios. And I mean, I didn't mince any words. I think I was very, very clear about what is going on and what their responsibility is. But what was so surprising to me is that the tone is not only are we making a huge amount of money, but we're doing so as we save the planet. That is what they're convinced, because they are convinced that gas, of course, is the lowest carbon fossil fuel. And so it's much better to use gas than it is to use coal or oil. And gas is the future. Some, I think, a little bit more aware of the fact that there is a non elastic future for for gas. But many just really, especially those that are not producing gas yet, just wanting to get into the party, I felt like I was at a pinata party, if you know what that is, where, you know, in Latin America you have this huge pinata and it's filled with candy and everybody hates it because they want to get the candy. Well, you have all of these oil and gas companies wanting to hit the pinata and get the candy out of the pinata because they know that this is the moment in which they can gather that candy. And so the frenzy there was a frenzy there to get permits to extract more and to get into the business, because, of course, everyone wants into the business because the prices are so incredible right now. Now, the fact that it takes five, ten or 15 years to go from drilling, exploring, exploiting out to producing gas is sort of an aftermath.
Tom: [00:31:36] That they've exited well before that that's yeah.
Christiana: [00:31:38] Well, the investors have exited but those that are actually doing the work right, walking themselves into a stranded asset situation because you can bet your bottom dollar that five, ten, 15 years from now, demand for gas is is going to have practically disappeared. But they are not seeing that right because the temptation to gather the candy from the pinata right now is just too big.
Paul: [00:32:04] And by the way, you know, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is our newly minted in the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said this week he's going to lift all moratorium on fracking and he's going to extract every drop of oil from the North Sea. Now, we do require politicians to set a tone and to use their platform and their voice to responsibly move our society forward. And I'm sorry to say that despite the difficulty with energy prices now that language is not helpful. And Jacob Rees-Mogg has voted consistently against climate change action in the House of Commons. And we have a disturbing problem there. I got to admit it.
Tom: [00:32:52] Disturbing problem is the understatement of the century. I mean, he's a sort of Harry Potter esque villain, isn't he? He's kind of going around and, you know, waking up all the death eaters and trying to destroy the forces of light. I mean, it's just a disaster.
Paul: [00:33:03] Yeah, but look out for these Harry Potter type, you know, Steve Bannon type unusual characters because, you know, either Steve Bannon with his kind of like semi military look or or Rees-Mogg with his big lapels and his his sort of affiliation with the previous centuries, they're creating populist profiles that quite quickly could turn incredibly nasty. By the way, I've just been told by Clay that Steve Bannon is in custody, so that's not the worst thing in the world.
Tom: [00:33:29] So let's just let's just stay here for a minute, because we've raised a few important issues here. And I'd love to just pose a question to you both, which is I spend a lot of time with various hats that I'm wearing at the moment, engaging with the Egyptian COP 27 presidency team, with the African Union ministers who are now trying to sort of work out how do they move forward and try to implement their climate commitments. And what I consistently hear from them behind closed doors is actually kind of disturbing because it's we want to now develop gas. We are in a situation where we need energy. Energy prices have spiked. We're either importing a certain amount of energy and we now want to be able to be given the freedom to be given financial resources to invest in developing gas so that we can drive down the cost of energy. How do we respond to that? Because I struggle with it, in all honesty, because in those situations, we're at a point where I don't feel like I have the moral authority to stand up to that and say no. At the same time, I'm aware that that's a trap that's being opened up, that's going to draw those countries in the medium term into deeper poverty, because the gas price will drop and they'll have invested and borrowed money to try to invest. So how do we try and put our arms around this quite difficult issue at the moment because that frenzy you just described it gas to Christiana of those developers and fossil fuel companies, they're all out trying to lobby these governments to develop their gas fields and to invest more in gas. But we in the climate movement who are trying to find a way through this are increasingly caught in the middle. So let's just try and put our arms around that moral conundrum around what we're supposed to do with all of this.
Christiana: [00:35:05] No, it's absolutely true. And there. Is a very scary panel on gas tech with ministers of energy of of African countries plus the minister of energy of India in which that was exactly the point. We want to develop more gas because. Well, because of the pinata syndrome. Right. And and this makes a lot of sense. So we've talked about this before on the on the podcast. It is not easy to stand up to developing countries and say, no, no, no. You know, the North developed with their fossil fuels. But now you coming quite a few decades later, you're not allowed to develop with with any fossil fuels. You have to incur the the risk and the cost of moving over to other other fuels. Very, very difficult situation where we might be able to find some perhaps some, some midway is to say, okay, the gas that is already there, this is the thing. Right? Many of them want more gas, more drilling, more exploitation. But from the IEA, we know that we have enough gas. So the gas that is already there, that has already been extracted, that is already out of the ground, that gas can very likely be used and very probably will be used on if we go to Africa now on the coastlines of Africa, in cities that have high concentrations of population and high industry, because that is what they need. And however, if you invest into more infrastructure, which is what they were talking about, they were actually even talking about a pipeline that crosses the entire continent. Yeah. Who's going to finance that? Yeah, who is going to finance that? So that, I think is the danger when it is promised to them that they will have or when they're lobbying the financial institutions to get credit to incur these incredible debts for absolutely crazy infrastructure projects that assume that there is a growing demand.
Christiana: [00:37:19] That is the piece that we have to really, really understand. There is no growing demand. This frenzy is there, because there is a need to diversify the supply of gas now that Europe is not buying from Europe, Russia and anyone else. So let's think about it. Right. The gas that Russia has been supplying, let's think about that as the envelope. And that envelope is now being filled by everyone who wants a part of that envelope. And that's the frenzy. But outside that envelope, there is no growth in demand. Yeah, that's the piece that we really have to understand. So this frenzy, it's not like all of a sudden there's more demand and we have to produce more. No, actually, demand for gas has already peaked. What they're filling in their frenzied pinata mode is the supply that Russia is not producing or producing, but not being able to sell. That's a different story. That's a very different story. But to go from there to assuming that there is growth in demand over the next five, ten or 15 years is absolutely crazy. And to indebt yourself as a country into very expensive infrastructure, assuming that there's a growth of demand and that you will be able to pay your debt is absolutely crazy.
Paul: [00:38:41] Yeah. And just like a word for people at home about large pinatas, because there was a big one at my work once. And if you use boiled sweets, you can actually nearly cause a serious injury, which I almost did to a colleague of mine. But look, I think on top of every word that Christiana says, which I agree with entirely, let's not forget the bombshell or since we last spoke, the Inflation Reduction Act, a 369 billion with a B, a £369 billion dollar.
Christiana: [00:39:08] Wait, that's a positive bombshell.
Paul: [00:39:09] That's a positive, positive.
Tom: [00:39:10] Bombshell.
Paul: [00:39:11] Commitment by the US Government through low taxes and.
Tom: [00:39:16] To be distributed by our friend John Podesta. He's been on this podcast.
Paul: [00:39:18] Exactly. He was on the podcast just the other week, you know, paving the way for low carbon technologies that actually in many ways paves the way for carbon tax. I think what the gas industry is not is failing to understand completely. And and of course, they won't because they're called the gas industry. It's like the cigarette industry will never fail to understand that cigarettes. You know, but my my point is that the investment in alternative technologies, renewable energy and all the rest of it is now at such a fever pitch and there is such certainty of increasing legislation against greenhouse gas emissions and will come onto that, that inevitably this pinata moment where these companies are drill, drill, drill, building pipeline after pipeline, it's insane because we know that the same business case that funds. It is confusing. And Jacob Rees-Mogg, for example, is the business case that makes renewables, which are extraordinarily cheap, ever more competitive, ever more interesting, and of course, quite beyond two possible negatives. Renewables are beyond political interference, as we're discovering, with a nightmare with the invasion of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin. And they are also beyond future taxation and regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. So there is no case for doing anything with gas unless you absolutely have to. By the way, we've got this kind of tough winter coming up in Europe. I think there should be rationing. I think people should be dressing up warm and and taping up their windows for a year or two. There is a war in Europe at the moment. Gas is being used as a weapon. We should not be afraid to respond to citizens and with our governments recognise that sometimes things are important. Yeah.
Tom: [00:41:00] Yeah. And the fact that we're not taking that route is kind of demoralising, right, to be honest with you, that the UK, the new UK, because the German government is doing this and sort of making signals, say we've got to manage demand, we're going have to think about how do we deal with the peaks in the UK. We're saying there's no problem, we'll just buy down the additional delta based on the fuel price rise. It's going to cost the public purse $120 Billion. That money will simply be transferred from taxpayers to fossil fuel companies to pay for this increasing price. I mean, it's ridiculous that that's happening. And certainly some kind of support, as you've indicated, should be provided. But this is not the way in which we're going to deal with that. And right now they're talking about, as you say, taking every drop from the North Sea while offshore wind is nine times cheaper than gas. It's completely through the looking glass.
Paul: [00:41:46] I would love to see something whereby people can actually get like paid for cutting their emissions enormously. You know, it's extraordinary what can be achieved with things like draught exclusion. You know, it may not be very, very nice to look at, but sellotape can do extraordinary things to cut your energy bill. But I digress slightly. So I've got other bits of great news. But go.
Tom: [00:42:03] Ahead. No, no, no, go for it.
Paul: [00:42:05] So things that I've just like I've spit left field here, but let's not forget. All right. Australia has set greenhouse gas reduction targets into law. Well done, Australian Parliament. Well done. RTL, Canada.
Tom: [00:42:16] That didn't look very likely just a year ago. Right. So that is to be hugely celebrated.
Paul: [00:42:20] Yeah, but how about this one? This is the one that.
Christiana: [00:42:23] Hold on, this is the moment to drop in that we are working on a very exciting episode.
Paul: [00:42:29] Exciting episode.
Christiana: [00:42:30] Yeah. The drill down into Australia with some of the teal.
Tom: [00:42:34] Not the happiest.
Paul: [00:42:35] Place to drill.
Tom: [00:42:36] Down. Don't say drill. Drill.
Christiana: [00:42:37] Yes, thank you. Thank you. I stand corrected.
Paul: [00:42:41] We're going to beam light into Australia.
Christiana: [00:42:43] There you go.
Paul: [00:42:43] There you go. But look, how about this? Advertising bans France on the 22nd of August became the first European country to ban advertisements for fossil fuels. Think about that for a minute. The Dutch city of Haarlem has become the first city to ban meat advertising. That's fantastic. Yeah, really? Both of these came out.
Christiana: [00:43:04] Can you say that again? To ban meat advertising.
Paul: [00:43:06] In public places?
Christiana: [00:43:07] That's just brilliant. Well.
Tom: [00:43:09] Because of the climate impact, right? That's what they said.
Paul: [00:43:11] Yeah, but they came out of citizen's assemblies. Do you know what? When you ask citizens, do you want propaganda paid to tell you to do the wrong thing? Citizens say, no, I'm not cool with that. So well done, France. Well done. The Dutch city of Haarlem.
Tom: [00:43:25] Do you got more on your good news barrel? Come on, let's hear it.
Paul: [00:43:28] Do you know I actually have. I think I got now. Actually, I've run out. Sorry.
Christiana: [00:43:34] No, we haven't got some.
Tom: [00:43:36] I got some.
Christiana: [00:43:36] India. We have India. We have Egypt. That's right.
Tom: [00:43:40] Tom. No, no. You said them, right? Exactly. India published a plan for the country's 2030 climate targets, cut emissions intensity by 45% by 2030. Egypt came out, published their plan ahead of hosting the COP this November with new goals for electricity generation and oil and gas sectors. It's actually been quite an interesting, active summer in terms of new policies and commitments from all types of different countries. Got a Brazilian election coming up that could be pretty exciting. Finally, get rid of Bolsonaro.
Paul: [00:44:08] That'd be good. That's a pretty crazy stuff out of Florida, by the way, ESG or environmental, social and governance, you know, looking thinking about the future when you invest has been kind of banned by Florida. The US presidential candidate, or he thinks he is Ron DeSantis. He said the ideological agenda of the ESG movement means that corporate power has increasingly been used to impose an ideological agenda. So I looked up in my dictionary what ideological means, and it means based on or relating to a set of ideas or beliefs. So Florida has made it law that you can't have ideas and you can't have beliefs. So good luck with that. And by the way, he's also a raging homophobe and he's passed this bill called Don't say Gay, whereby if teachers say that there are same sex couples, they can kind of go to prison, I think.
Tom: [00:45:02] Oh, my God.
Paul: [00:45:03] It's out of his mind. Florida is scary says Clay in the chat. Well, thank you Clay. True enough. So I got.
Christiana: [00:45:10] And it's going underwater.
Paul: [00:45:11] And it's going underwater. But I've still got one incredibly positive thing, which is the project. But first, Tom, you have something to say?
Tom: [00:45:17] No, no, no. Go for it.
Paul: [00:45:18] Okay, this is it. This is it. I think I'm running out.
Christiana: [00:45:20] Which is? What do you mean, the price? Is this the one that you were going to take up to the meeting that we did not go to?
Paul: [00:45:24] Yeah, that I've sent both you and Tom a detailed description of. And neither of you responded to me at all, which I think means.
Christiana: [00:45:31] That we have not understood.
Paul: [00:45:33] Okay, well, today is the day. Lucky you. Get comfortable.
Christiana: [00:45:37] We will see if we are. And here's the trick, Paul. In the studio, we have a live audience. So we're going to poll the live audience to see if they understand what you're just about to present. So good.
Tom: [00:45:50] Luck. Pay attention, live. Audience.
Paul: [00:45:52] Audience. Yeah, no, that's an interesting point. Okay, right. Fingers crossed. Here we go. We are. I am quite sure at a very special moment.
Christiana: [00:46:02] Where we are so far so good as a.
Paul: [00:46:04] Movement. Thank you.
Tom: [00:46:05] Excellent idea, Paul.
Paul: [00:46:07] I'm fully instructed interruptions are helping as well, because I think they're building something in me. I'm not sure what it is, but it's very good. We are at a moment where our movement can achieve unprecedented successes in the legislative realm. I'm talking here about policy. This could be financial support like the Inflation Reduction Act. It could be taxation of greenhouse gas emissions, a carbon price. It could be regulation phasing out internal combustion engines. Why am I so confident that we can now suddenly get the regulations that we never had before? Here's why. Studio Audience.
Christiana: [00:46:42] Drumroll the dune to.
Henry: [00:46:44] Dune.
Paul: [00:46:45] You may not be aware. I actually have. I can't look at you because I have to talk at the mic. But imagine I'm looking. Imagine I'm looking at you. You may not be aware that more than 3000 of the world's biggest companies have set what are called science based targets. And this means that they've committed to reducing in line with the science. And most of the world's investors, led ably by former governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, $130 trillion of investors have committed to net zero by 2050. Net zero by 2050 is about the same thing as science based targets. It's kind of the same thing.
Christiana: [00:47:21] But I don't hear a project here yet.
Paul: [00:47:24] But people are saying, people are saying, oh, they say this, but do they really mean it? Is it greenwash? Is it really going to happen? And the honest truth is it's going to happen or it's not going to happen depending on whether we have the policies to make it happen or not make it happen.
Christiana: [00:47:40] Okay.
Paul: [00:47:40] So the point being.
Christiana: [00:47:42] So far so good.
Paul: [00:47:43] The most powerful institutions in the world have put themselves forward and said, we're going to do this. And then these are the lions, the lion corporations and the tiger investors, and then the little mouse governments are now kind of like, Well, do you really mean it? And the truth is, it's up to the mouse governments now to pass those laws that we need to reduce emissions at 7% a year. Now, the other thing that's changed is and we've been discussing this, so let's just remind ourselves, energy prices have gone crazy because of the invasion of Ukraine. So the business case for decarbonisation is never been higher. And extreme weather, as we were just discussing, has frightened everyone in the whole world. So they're ready to vote and support politicians and governments who solve this problem.
Tom: [00:48:31] So I'm liking the sort of the hand gesture which sort of like.
Paul: [00:48:34] Everything is aligned now and we are going to get the taxation and regulation we need if we focus like we've never focused before, now's the time. And so I turn to the studio audience and ask you to speak loudly. Do you understand what I just said?
Christiana: [00:48:50] No, but wait a second. What's the project?
Paul: [00:48:53] The project is for us to recognise collectively the climate change movement, to be fully engaged. And there are very notable efforts being led by, for example, the Climate Champions Team and many NGOs who've been doing this for years, of course, but they're coming together a flotilla of ships, making a great armada with a single point, the the regulatory policy outcomes we require to reduce emission at 7% a year because the children are on strike and now we've got a chance to do something about it.
Christiana: [00:49:27] Okay, Paul, that's brilliant. But how is it different from the reality that we've had for the last six, seven, eight years?
Paul: [00:49:34] Honestly, we've never had all of business. Well, 90% of business and 90% of investors have staked their reputations on this outcome. But now they have, as they are called, to account in the public sphere. They are relied upon to deliver this legislative outcomes. Look, you know, I believe the citizens rule by the government, but the governments ruled by the corporations and the investors. But now we've got the corporations and the investments committing to something that only the government can achieve and therefore the door is now open.
Christiana: [00:50:05] Well, that may be one, if not the reason why there is now such a backlash on ESG and this whole woke capitalism conversation, because maybe there are other people that agree with you that we're in danger of succeeding and what they want is to stop progress.
Paul: [00:50:24] 100%.
Christiana: [00:50:25] Do you think?
Paul: [00:50:25] 100%
Christiana: [00:50:26] Maybe we have to look at this.
Tom: [00:50:27] Yeah, we do. That's a very good point. We should delve into where this pushback on ESG and work capitalism is coming from. But Paul, I completely agree with you. Right, that you have to get to a certain point. All of this is kind of the almost like the phoney war, right, where it's not the analysis it's gotten to this point. We haven't really gotten to the but the trouble is, how do you how do you gather that latent power and intentionality of the corporations and the investors and make it stick? I mean, just on this conversation, as far as I understand it, 80 to 90% of the FTSE 100 are covered by meaningful net zero targets. And yet Jacob Rees-Mogg, the business secretary, comes out and says, we're going to take every drop of oil from the North Sea and extract every bit of gas. I mean, it seems like the logical consistency between the two is not as tight as you've described or how do you make it tighter.
Paul: [00:51:16] That's our job. We have to make it tighter. We have to use those commitments. You know, and as you both know very well, I've spent 20 years of my life supporting corporations to think this through. Well, they've come to their conclusions now, and they're turning on the government and saying, well, it's up to you now. And the people are there. The people want this. And also the unbelievable fossil fuel prices mean that there's a perfect business case for it. It's it's us appreciating the authority is taken, not given. And this is our moment to take it and to be super confident, super ambitious, super focused in delivering the outcomes that we all know we need.
Tom: [00:51:55] Okay.
Paul: [00:51:55] Well, I'm going to turn over to the studio audience just to if you wanted to sort of shout at the top of your voices and say, Paul, yes, we understand. And you're right, perhaps.
Audience: [00:52:06] Yes, we understand. In your right. Yes, we understand.
Paul: [00:52:11] And you're right.
Christiana: [00:52:15] And you're right and Paul.
Paul: [00:52:16] Is right. So this is the studio audience.
Tom: [00:52:19] Just like Christina's niece and.
Christiana: [00:52:21] Friend.
Tom: [00:52:22] And Christina's friend is our studio audience in Paul's flat in north London. A unanimous approval for what Paul has managed.
Christiana: [00:52:29] Unanimous approval because if they don't approve, they don't get dinner.
Paul: [00:52:33] Pretty much it's just going to be expensive approval. But I think it's been very, very much worth. I appreciate you both. Thank you very much.
Tom: [00:52:38] I would encourage listeners to tweet with the hashtag, Where is Paul? And they can give us their answers.
Paul: [00:52:44] And maybe we'll.
Tom: [00:52:45] Get our third tweet out of you.
Paul: [00:52:47] The third tweet, I'm not racing towards that one. Twitter's a bit of a tough place at the moment. That's another whole story.
Tom: [00:52:53] So I know that we don't have forever, unfortunately, this podcast and maybe just what we should do now is for a few minutes just cast our minds to what's coming up. So we have obviously, as ever, a critical time of year with some very significant moments in it. It's now, as I said, the 9th of September. In just ten days, the world will be meeting at the UN General Assembly for what is known as UNGA, which is also called New York Climate Week.
Christiana: [00:53:17] Wait, Tom, can I just.
Tom: [00:53:19] Yeah.
Christiana: [00:53:20] Throw a little pebble into that?
Tom: [00:53:21] Sure.
Christiana: [00:53:22] That may be the same day that there is a very, very important funeral in London with a lot of pomp and circumstance where every head of state is going to want to be here and not in New York. What is New York going to do about that?
Tom: [00:53:39] So so in 11 days, the world will be meeting in New York in 11 days. I'm sure that's the case, Christiane, and I'm sure that UNGA, the UN General Assembly, will be pushed back, and I think it's going to be pretty big this year. I think that notwithstanding what you just said about the royal funeral, that will be happening on the 19th. I think the fact that the cop is in Egypt, that there will be a lower participation than can be the case when there are these cyclical, very big commitment. Cops means that people are more focused on UN General Assembly week. So that's going to be a big moment. We will all be there and we'll be bringing you podcast from that. Interestingly, I was speaking today to an investor, one of the largest investors in the world by assets under management, and they said that they view climate events as key priorities now for their C-suite because more CEOs go to that than go to any other type of conference. So if you want to see other CEOs, you go to a climate event, which I thought was an interesting indicator of where we've come to you based on where we've been a few years ago. Anything to say about UNGA and then we'll go on into COP?
Christiana: [00:54:38] No, it really is quite a crystal ball. A murky crystal, crystal ball whether I mean, UNGA obviously will we'll proceed with the usual participants, but whether anything that is actually usable in the sense that it might accelerate what needs to happen at the COP . Let's remember, we did not come with new national commitments last year and the governments gave themselves one more year. So this is it. And whether UNGA is going to help to bring that harvest of increased national commitments remains to be seen. And we know that Egypt is going to be placing a lot of a lot of importance on adaptation, on finance, probably, and on loss and damage, especially now Pakistan is chairing the G77 and after having one third of their territory underwater, they are, of course going to go for the loss and damage agenda. So mitigation probably not a very good not a very popular topic for the G77, for developing countries will be thrust onto the developed countries together, of course, with finance. So I'm I'm not sure that we're going to get the step up in efforts based on new national commitments that that we need. So still very concerning.
Paul: [00:56:18] And for those who missed the language, UNGA being the UN General Assembly, it was many years ago, I'm trying to think it was 13 years ago actually that the Climate Group noticed that the CDP launch events happened in the same week as the UN General Assembly for the previous years and therefore created Climate Week. And Climate Week, on the other hand, is where the non-state actors can get together alongside the national governments and say, Hey friends, this is a different world. We've all committed to do something about it. And quite possibly one part of the message, and I think it's an important part, is if you want to see private sector investment in your country, in your industry and your economies, then look towards the decarbonised future and not towards history. And actually those the bold are the commitments national governments make, the more likely they are to have. Strong and robust economies as the century progresses.
Tom: [00:57:13] And as a good point and also, Christiana, I would echo what you just said. Right. And as I say, I've been in a lot of these pre meetings for COP 27 and the tone in them and this is always the case and you can't blame people for this, but the tone in them is you develop countries have failed to deliver on 100 billion and how can you come here and lecture us now that we should be stepping up with more ambition? And you could understand why that's the case, but it it doesn't bode well for more mitigation at this point. And they're right, you know, they're absolutely right morally to stand in that position and say the finance has not been forthcoming and that's indefensible and it needs to be as part of the global deal and how we're going to advance. So. Simon Steil, the new UNFCCC executive secretary who just took office a few days ago. Patricia Espinosa Successor. Patricia Espinosa, of course, being Christiana's successor is a great leader and is a very impressive person that I think we would share this position. Christiana we have high hopes for in that role, but my God, he's got his work cut out.
Christiana: [00:58:18] Yeah, absolutely.
Paul: [00:58:19] And it may be that there's some genius to drafting your nationally determined contribution that helps solicit the investment whereby the private sector may meet the the shortcomings in the intergovernmental payment system. I'm not wishing to make light of that chronic failure by rich governments towards the developing economies. Tom But I'm just saying that this is a race to build the economy of the future. And actually governments have an extraordinary role in creating the conditions for that.
Tom: [00:58:49] They do, and I'm sorry I keep coming back to this, but in these meetings I keep going to the number that I've heard repeated most often. And I don't know who did this analysis is that only 6% of climate finance is grants and 60% is debt. Now, we can argue that actually that gets structured in such a way that that facilitates investment in infrastructure and that facilitates growth and that gets us in the right direction. But from a climate justice perspective, it looks like countries have created this problem and now they're not providing the finances to help others meet the challenge that they've created. You know, that's that's the moral hurdle that people are facing.
Paul: [00:59:24] That is. Well, if you want to talk about economic justice, Tom, there's actually a number of different areas we could cover, but I fear that we're coming to the end of our list. Right.
Tom: [00:59:33] Well, those who want to hear the bonus on economic justice, I mean, you're right, it's an interesting area. We should get into it, but not now. So anything else to drop in here before we go to our music?
Paul: [00:59:45] Just lovely to be with you again and great to be back. And hello to those listening. Great to be with you, too.
Tom: [00:59:51] Lovely to be back, as you say. So we have some great music this week. Just last thing from me is that I had the great privilege to go on The Way Out Is In, which is the podcast from Plum Village, hosted by Brother Phap Huu.
Paul: [01:00:03] Which is brilliant.
Tom: [01:00:04] Thank you very much. Well, the podcast is brilliant. I don't think you were talking about my episode.
Paul: [01:00:11] Have you heard my episode? I've heard your episode. I've heard Christiana's this episode. They are both some of the most moving and just wonderful bits of audio I've ever experienced. So unmissable.
Tom: [01:00:21] Well, always, always recommended. And we'll look forward to the Paul Dickinson interview that's out now. If you want to listen to that, you know where to get that from. And we will leave you with some music from Gabriela Eva. The song is called Pulling Faces in the Wind. Thank you for joining us. It's great to be back with you. We look forward to accompanying you over the next few months as we try to get on top of this critical issue at a critical time. We'll see you next week.
Christiana: [01:00:47] Bye.
Clay: [01:05:22] So there you go. We are back at it with another episode. Don't call it a comeback. Been here for years. Rack them up, Piers. Putting suckers in fear. Okay. Sorry. That's too much. But LL Cool J did get it right when he said, don't call it a comeback because, well, we were only gone for about six weeks. I'm Clay Carnell, producer of this podcast, Outrage + Optimism. Thank you so much for joining us and for joining me for the wrap up where I say a few words, introduce you to our show notes, well, thank yous and send you on your merry way. And of course, our first musical artist out the gate is Gabriela Eva, with her track Pulling Faces in the Wind. Gabriela's music needs to make your weekend playlist. I'm a big fan of those funky, low tone, heavy vibe guitars she has going on. And yeah, we can playlist put her music on Saturday Morning Coffee, maybe Saturday Evening Sunset. It's going to take you there. The other song I really liked, I wrote it down Feng Shui. Go spin that one. That's a great one. Gabriella's socials and more of her music are in the show notes. She does great music videos, so YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Apple Music, Spotify, it's all in the show. Notes of this episode. Go check them out. If you have been listening to our podcast for the last year, you're very aware that at the end of every episode, each week we feature a musical artist or on occasion an artist of another medium.
Clay: [01:06:56] And that's because we here at Outrage + Optimism believe that our ability to make and implement the solutions to the climate and every interrelated crisis that we're living through requires us to put everything on the table. And Christiana has shared this before. This is a quote from her that art, music and poetry are some of the most effective forms of protest. They change our minds, they move our hearts, and they spur us into action. And action now is all of our responsibility. So I just wanted to share with you this vision of the end of our podcast. You know, these ending moments of the show every week are an opportunity for us to change our minds, to let our hearts be moved, and there'll be an opportunity to spur us into action. We're going to listen to artists, what they have to say. We're going to listen to their music. And yeah, I just want to invite you to join us. Join me at the end. Every episode we're going to hear all different kinds of music from around the world. We're going to have all different kinds of artists who are having a human experience here and creating about it. And we get the privilege of bearing witness to what they've made and want to share with us. I will be selecting the artists that make the show each week. I couldn't be more excited to be partnering with these outstanding creators to bring you the noise.
Clay: [01:08:22] And I am just so psyched to share Gabriela Eva's music with you this weekend. I can't wait for you to hear every week's artists from here on out. So that's the pitch. Join us every week. We're going to play amazing music, listen to artists. We're going to change our minds. We're going to grow. We're going to take action. Okay, that was my TEDx talk. Thanks. Where are we? Actually, back to LL Cool J for a second. Did you know that there is a statue of him in Queens, New York, featuring a solar powered boombox that plays his music? It's a permanent fixture. And every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And this is true. It plays his music noon to 5 p.m.. There you go. The more you know, it's in Flushing Meadows, Corona Park in Queens. Shout out to Queens. And speaking of Queens, thank you to one of the late Queen Elizabeth, the second photographers, Henry Dellal, for taking our call today. Fantastic person. If you like horses, this man has some photographs that you should see. You can go to his website in the show notes. I would like to add that he has a fantastic photo book titled Addressing Climate Change. I figured maybe you guys would be interested in checking that out. Go pick it up. You can buy it. And what does it look like? You can't miss the cover because Christiana is on it. Oh, and give him a follow on Instagram.
Clay: [01:09:52] That's in the show notes, too. Okay. You can connect with us on social media and LinkedIn, which I'm sure is considered social media, but I haven't figured that out yet. At Outrage, Optimism, we post up throughout the week, we ask questions, start conversations, and we want to hear from you. So we're in your pocket. Check us out. And last but not least, one more thing for your listening pleasure. This. Weekend. Our sister podcast The Way Out Is In featured our very own Tom Rivett-Carnac. On the latest episode in their feed. Speaking on the benefit of a spiritual practice. Now it was mentioned earlier in the podcast, but I'm bringing it up again on the episode because I've known Tom for a few years now, spending quite a bit of time together and listening to this episode, I learned like eight new things about him. It's a fantastic listen. There's some great laughs on the episode, some deep insight. You know, they're kind of wrapped up together and I actually produce and edit that podcast as well. So play Gabriela Eva on Saturday night and then on Sunday morning. Go give this episode a spin and enjoy the conversation. Link in the show notes, of course. First episode Back in the Saddle. Thank you again for joining us, for listening, joining us for season six. It's great to be together again. And next week, another episode coming your way. Subscribe or follow on your podcast player and we'll see you then. Bye.