The Net Zero Life
#25 Why Net Zero Starts with the Grid with Rob Gramlich, Founder and President of Grid Strategies LLC

#25 Why Net Zero Starts with the Grid with Rob Gramlich, Founder and President of Grid Strategies LLC

May 24, 2022

A net zero future starts with zero-carbon electricity and then electrifying everything, so why are developers with fully funded solar and wind energy generation projects waiting to build them? What's the biggest constraint to increasing zero carbon energy in North America? How do you handle the 'wind doesn't blow and sun doesn't shine problem?'

The grid, the grid, and the grid. In the third episode of season three, Nathan interviews Rob Gramlich, a "grid geek" who has spent his entire career working to make the world more sustainable by effecting change at the highest levels of government and industry.  His latest effort is utilizing his 20+ years of directing or advising energy industry and policy leaders to ensure the grid is ready to support the clean energy transition. During the episode Nathan dives into Rob's climate journey, how the grid works, and why getting the grid right is so critical to achieving net zero. 

Rob Gramlich is President of Grid Strategies LLC, a consultancy focused on transmission and power market reforms for a low carbon grid.  He is also Executive Director of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid and of Working for Advanced Transmission Technologies (WATT Coalition).   

Rob oversaw transmission and power market policy for the American Wind Energy Association from 2005 through 2016 as Senior Vice President for Government and Public Affairs, Interim CEO, and Policy Director. He was Economic Advisor to FERC Chairman Pat Wood III from 2001 to 2005, Senior Economist at PJM Interconnection in 1999 and 2000. He has testified before the US Congress at the invitation of both parties, as well as the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and state regulatory commissions. 

Rob has a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree from UC Berkeley and a BA with Honors in Economics from Colby College.

You can learn more about Grid Strategies LLC on their website,  https://gridstrategiesllc.com/, and if you’d like to get in touch with Rob, you can follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software engineer looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

#24 Sustainable Corporate Governance with Diana Birkett Rakow, SVP Alaska Airlines

#24 Sustainable Corporate Governance with Diana Birkett Rakow, SVP Alaska Airlines

May 17, 2022

How do you move the needle in a hard-to-abate sector? What does good sustainable corporate governance look like in a Fortune 1000 company? In the second episode of season three, TNZL explores the corporate side of collective action with Diana Birkett Rakow, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Sustainability at Alaska Airlines.

During the episode Nathan and Diana discuss how she connects to climate through art and painting, and her new(ish) role at Alaska Airlines. Diana is a sustainability leader who thinks about maximizing her impact while taking into account climate equity and justice. Known throughout the aviation industry for their sustainability efforts, Alaska Airlines has been working to manage their carbon emissions and reporting their carbon footprint since 2009 -- long before that was the popular thing to do.

Diana leads Alaska's government affairs, ESG and sustainability, communications and community engagement with teams in Seattle, San Francisco, Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington D.C. Together, they are responsible for advancing Alaska’s business, supporting the company’s employees and local communities, and managing its environmental and social impact consistent. Diana led development of the company’s 2025 ESG goals and five-part path to reach net zero by 2040, and is responsible for Alaska’s venture arm – Alaska Star Ventures – which is focused on identifying and enabling technologies to accelerate that path. She also chairs the Board for the Alaska Airlines Foundation.

Diana joined Alaska Airlines after two decades in health care, public health, and government service. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and master’s degrees in public administration and public health from the University of Washington. She also serves on the Boards of Philanthropy Northwest, Pacific Science Center, Bay Area Council, and Seattle Metro Chamber.

You can keep up with Alaska Airlines on their blog, https://news.alaskaair.com/, and if you’d like to get in touch with Diana, you can follow her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software developer or recruiter looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

#23 Hacking our way out of the climate crisis with Gavin McCormick, Executive Director of WattTime

#23 Hacking our way out of the climate crisis with Gavin McCormick, Executive Director of WattTime

May 10, 2022

How does one go from teaching in Namibia to founding one of the most audacious climate change programs in the world? Well, in Gavin McCormick's case he was convinced to attend a hackathon which led him to discover automated emissions reductions (AER) and in relatively short order to work with Al Gore to measure all of the world's emissions in real time through Climate TRACE.

In the first episode of season three, Gavin shares his story of how he become the co-founder and Executive Director of WattTime and the lessons he learned along the way.

Gavin McCormick is cofounder and Executive Director of WattTime, the not-for-profit tech startup that invented Automated Emissions Reduction (AER) technology. AER is software that causes IoT devices  He is also cofounder and Electricity Co-Lead of Climate TRACE, an open collaboration between over 50 collaborating nonprofits, tech companies, and universities. 

Climate TRACE teams are applying computer vision and machine learning to satellite imagery and big data to monitor all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.  Gavin dropped out of a PhD program in environmental economics at UC Berkeley to found WattTime. In 2021, Climate TRACE was named a TIME Magazine invention of the year.

You can learn more about WattTime on their website, https://www.watttime.org/. If you’d like to get in touch with Gavin you can follow him on LinkedIn. His TED talk on "Tracking the whole world's carbon emissions — with satellites and AI" from the TED Countdown conference in November 2021.

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software developer or recruiter looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

Introducing: The Net Zero Life Season 3

Introducing: The Net Zero Life Season 3

May 3, 2022

Welcome to season three of The Net Zero Life.

In season one, we spoke to innovators working to bring the world closer to net-zero emissions. Season two continued that journey but looked beyond lifestyle changes that reduce one's carbon footprint, towards the values that are the building blocks for a fulfilling, sustainable life. Season three of The Net Zero life tells the stories of individuals who are changing economic systems by applying their efforts across systems, not individuals. Each episode dives into the journey of a leader working in climate and how they found their path.  

 

Season three is powered by Climate People. Learn more about Climate People by following their Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife), at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

You can subscribe to The Net Zero Life on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, or wherever else you get your podcasts.

 

#22 Building a Net Zero Future Through Information with Nat Bullard, Chief Content Officer of BloombergNEF

#22 Building a Net Zero Future Through Information with Nat Bullard, Chief Content Officer of BloombergNEF

November 16, 2021

What does it take to get to net-zero and will we accomplish it fast enough? In the last episode of season two, Nathan speaks with Nat Bullard, Chief Content Officer at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) on how he and the rest of the BNEF team are bringing the world closer to net-zero emissions by sharing information and insights. 

BloombergNEF is a research group within Bloomberg LP. Their analytical services assess the tools, business models, and pathways for achieving a deep decarbonization of the global economy by mid-century. The group covers power, transportation, food and agriculture, the built environment, and the enabling technologies linking them together. C-suite executives, board members, and consultants are a small sample of the rapidly growing community of people who benefit from BloombergNEFs insights.

Nat is a leading thinker in the global transition to a net-zero society. I use his work to help research this show. He is also one of the top thinkers around net zero topics like the  energy transition, electrification of transport, climate technology, and climate finance. 

During the interview, Nat and I discuss art as a lens to understand climate and innovation, his journey into the world of climate, what he reads to inform his opinions and his process for turning ideas into insights. We discuss the importance of accuracy in Bloomberg’s predictions and if the world decarbonizing fast enough to reach net-zero emissions in time to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

You can learn more about BloombergNEF on their website, hhttps://about.bnef.com/

You can follow Nat on Twitter @NatBullard and/or subscribe to his weekly column in Bloomberg Green, Sparklines.

Season two is powered by Climate People. If you are a software developer or recruiter looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). 

You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

#21 Global Citizenship with Andrea Johnson, Executive Director of Green Empowerment

#21 Global Citizenship with Andrea Johnson, Executive Director of Green Empowerment

November 9, 2021

There are many reasons we as humans should work to achieve net-zero emissions. One of those reasons is to improve the lives of individuals who occupy planet earth. Today on the show we learn from an expert who has a different way to move the world closer to net-zero, one that focuses on environmental justice and the role of being a global citizen.

Is it fair that less developed countries who have emitted negligible emissions should be the most impacted by climate change including rising sea levels, more frequent and forceful tropical storms, and then not be given funding to adopt to the new climate they have to face? 

To answer these question and more I’m speaking with Andrea Johnson, Executive Director of Green Empowerment, Green Empowerment’s  mission is to bring renewable energy and clean water to rural communities globally. The heart of Green Empowerment’s model is authentic partnership. They collaborate with in-country organizations that know the local language and culture and have a long-term commitment to the region. Following their partners lead, they design systems that are built and maintained by the communities themselves and they focus heavily on training, providing technical expertise to community members and partner staff to build lasting capacity.

We discuss Andrea's journey from NASA to The Peace Corps to Green Empowerment, how she worked to launch the first payment for ecosystems services – paying landowners to protect their forests – and how Green Empowerment is bringing the world closer to net-zero emissions by identifying indigenous leaders and methodologies that enable access to zero-carbon energy and clean water. 

You can learn more about Green Empowerment on their website, https://greenempowerment.org/.

Season two is powered by Climate People. If you are a software developer or recruiter looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). 

You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

#20 Making Informed Consumers Purchases with Lizzie Horvitz, Founder and CEO of Finch

#20 Making Informed Consumers Purchases with Lizzie Horvitz, Founder and CEO of Finch

November 2, 2021

What if we had a bank of consumer good sustainability ratings so that we could compare products environmental impacts without having to rely on shady marketing or generic symbols? And what if that bank of ratings was crowd-sourced in the same manner that individual people built Wikipedia, Reddit, and Waze and then combine those efforts with machine learning, artificial intelligence, and good old fashion expertise. Well, what you would get is Finch.

On the show today is Lizze Horvitz, CEO and Founder of Finch. Finch aims to decode sustainability and empower consumers to make better purchasing decisions. Lizzie started Finch in March of 2020 to educate people on the ins and outs of sustainability by turning complex scientific facts into simple, actionable insights. Launching as a browser extension, Finch fuses expert scores on products' environmental and social impacts with functional reviews from real people.

During the interview we discuss Lizzie's lifelong commitment to sustainability, how that helped her as a founder, the myth that purchasing sustainably means spending more money, and bar shampoo. (Yes, you read that right, bar shampoo.)

You can connect with Lizzie via email at hey@choosefinch.com or follow her on LinkedIn.

Season two is powered by Climate People. If you are a software developer or recruiter looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). 

You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

#19 Eliminating Single-Use Plastics in Foodservice with Linda Pouliot, Co-founder and CEO of Dishcraft Robotics

#19 Eliminating Single-Use Plastics in Foodservice with Linda Pouliot, Co-founder and CEO of Dishcraft Robotics

October 26, 2021

One TRILLION single-use plastics and five GALLONS of water per dish. That is the current environmental footprint Linda Pouliot is trying to erase as she moves the world closer to net-zero emissions with her company Dishcraft Robotics.

Today's guest is Linda Pouliot, Co-Founder and CEO of Dishcraft Robotics. Dishcraft takes care of the dishes so kitchens can take care of people. Dishcraft is the only reusable foodware delivery solution that combines robotic automation, process innovation, and service to solve the environmental and labor challenges facing the foodservice industry today. 

Similar to a linen service, Dishcraft delivers and picks up a full range of reusable foodware items and washes them using advanced, patented technology that scrubs and inspects dishes multiple times, using cold, recirculated water. The result is a highly efficient, scalable system that conserves resources and delivers a consistent, unparalleled level of clean.  

​​Linda a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, artist and foodie who is passionate about robotics and hardware. Colleagues describe her as "the glue that sticks everything together"​ inside a company.

During the interview, Linda and I discuss her entrepreneurial journey, how she integrates her passion and background for art in her role as CEO,  and how Dishcraft is moving the world closer to net-zero emissions while reducing the amount of single-use plastics and wasted water currently plaguing the food industry.

You can connect with Linda via email info@dishcraft.com or follow her on LinkedIn. You can also read more about Linda at robolinda.com.

Season two is powered by Climate People. If you are a software developer or recruiter looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). 

You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

#18 Healthy and Energy Efficient Buildings with James Dean, Founder and CEO of Oxygen8

#18 Healthy and Energy Efficient Buildings with James Dean, Founder and CEO of Oxygen8

October 19, 2021

Per the IEA, energy efficiency and electrification are the two main drivers of achieving net-zero emissions in the building sector. If you think about it, buildings going up today will likely be standing in 2050. Meanwhile more and more people will need heating and cooling in their home as the climate changes. In order reach net-zero by 2050 total CO2 emissions from the buildings sector need to decline by more than 95% from almost 3 Gt in 2020 to around 120 Mt in 2050 in the NZE. And at the same time, buildings need to be healthy to ensure we can live in a warmer climate, one that is more friendly to viruses like COVID-19.   

Today on the show is James Dean, Founder and CEO of Oxygen8. Oxygen8 is a clean energy technology company developing products that improve the health, comfort, and energy efficiency of buildings.

James is a clean-tech entrepreneur with a passion for innovation, product development, healthy buildings, and sustainability. He has a BaSc in Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario. Equally committed to the environment in his personal life, James recently built West Vancouver’s first net-zero energy Passive House, which was named North America’s Most Innovative Home in 2020.

During the interview, James and I discuss his net zero energy passive house, his lessons from from 20 years of starting and selling companies, how individuals can affect building codes in their cities and counties, and of course how Oxygen8 is moving the world closer to net-zero emissions while also making buildings more healthy by electrifying building ventilation.

James' reading suggestions and other additional readings:

You can get in touch with James on LinkedIn or via email at james@oxygen8.ca, and with Oxygen8 at https://oxygen8.ca/.

Season two is powered by Climate People. If you are a software developer or recruiter looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). 

You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

#17 Why We Need Carbon Removal (and How We Can Get There) with Nan Ransohoff, Head of Climate at Stripe

#17 Why We Need Carbon Removal (and How We Can Get There) with Nan Ransohoff, Head of Climate at Stripe

October 12, 2021

In order to be net-zero you first need to reduce your emissions as much as possible and then you can neutralize the remaining with carbon offsets. Except many experts in the the climate space will say that is incorrect, and will not help us prevent the worst impacts of climate change. What you actually need to do is neutralize them with carbon removal.

On the show today is Nan Ransohoff, Head of Climate at Stripe, to teach us the difference between carbon removal and carbon offsets, and share details about how she and her team are working to ensure carbon removal companies are growing at the pace we need them to in order to reach net-zero by 2050.

Stripe is a billion dollar “start-up” that when not simplifying payments and increasing the GDP of the internet, is working to ensure carbon removal technology develops at the pace needed to prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change. 

Nan and her team are working to build a large-scale, voluntary market for carbon removal by pooling demand from Stripe’s 1M+ users, and then using those funds to help promising new carbon removal technologies accelerate down the cost curve.

Nan and I discuss her journey into the world of climate, her mental model for climate action, and the role of carbon removal in achieving net-zero emissions. We also dive into why Stripe Climate is putting in the legwork so humanity has the menu of options it needs by 2050 to reach net-zero emissions. 

Additional resources mentioned in the episode:

You can get in touch with Nan on Twitter @nanransohoff, and via email at nransohoff@stripe.com.

Season two is powered by Climate People. If you are a software developer or recruiter looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). 

You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

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