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This edition: Climate activism

Episode Details

Original tape date: June 30, 2014.

First aired: July 2, 2014.

First, environmentalist Bill McKibben, co-founder of and author of “Oil and Honey,” joins Brian in the studio to give us the big picture on global climate policies and an upcoming U.N. climate summit coming here to New York in September.

Then, universities, cities, religious institutions and foundations have been divesting from fossil fuel companies, not unlike the movement to divest from South Africa during Apartheid in the 1980s. Two members of this fossil fuel divest movement join us. Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York explains why her school is divesting from carbon. And though Kate Aronoff of Swarthmore Mountain Justice would like her school, Swarthmore College to divest, she’ll talk about why it hasn’t.

Then, a new report forecasting the 100 year economic impact of climate change has both liberal and conservative names behind it. To discuss, Kate Gordon, Vice President and Director of the Energy & Climate Program of Next Generation and Vice President for Energy and Environment at the Center for American Progress . She is executive director of the "Risky Business" project.

Next, New York State is taking an unusual step in green energy in aiming to decentralize the power grid in favor of distributed small scale energy such as solar and wind power. To discuss, chair of energy and finance - or “energy czar” - of New York State, including the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency, NYSERDA.

Finally, China. It’s the largest emitter of green house gases and accounts for half the world's coal consumption. For Chinese society this means immediate health issues, prompting the country to issue new amendments its environmental protection law. To discuss, Alex Wang, Professor of Law at University of California, Los Angeles. He was the founding director of the China Environmental Law Project of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Note: The following correction has been sent to us from the team of Richard Kauffman. On the show, Mr. Kauffman says that over the last ten years, $10 billion was invested in New York State’s electricity infrastructure and that it will require over the next ten years, an additional $17 billion in capital investments to maintain our infrastructure. The correct figures are $17 billion and $30 billion respectively. In addition, we limited Mr. Kauffman's title to chair of energy and finance of NYSERDA. He is chairman of energy and finance for the state, running policy for all reporting agencies, including NYSERDA.

Guest List

Kate Aronoff Alumnus/Activist, Swarthmore College/Swarthmore Mountain Justice

Kate Gordon VP/Director, Energy & Climate Program, Next Generation

Serene Jones President, Union Theological Seminary

Richard Kauffman Chair of Energy and Finance, New York State

Bill McKibben Founder, Author, Environmental Activist,

Alex Wang Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles

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