Roger Pielke Jr. is a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, who focuses on climate policy, sports governance, and the “messy and important place where science and politics collide.” In his fourth appearance on the podcast, (his last appearance was on February 18, 2022), Pielke talks about heat waves, the Iron Law of Climate, Europe’s energy mess, transgender athletes, why “we are treading water” on decarbonization, and why “climate policies have to appeal to everyone.” (Recorded July 25, 2022.)
Robert Bryce 0:04
Hi, everyone. Welcome to the power hungry Podcast. I’m Robert Bryce. On this podcast we talk about energy, power, innovation and politics. And I’m pleased to welcome back my friend for the fourth appearance, his fourth appearance on the record tying fourth appearance on the power hungry podcast, Roger Pilkey, Jr. Roger, welcome back.
Unknown Speaker 0:20
Well, four times. That’s, that’s great. To be here,
Robert Bryce 0:23
you and Meredith Angwin. You’re in good company, you and Meredith has both been on four times. So there is a lot to talk about. And we’ll get to those. But Roger, you know, guests introduce themselves. So if you don’t mind, that law still applies or that rule. I’ll call it a rule. It’s not the iron law. But let’s close to it. Introduce yourself, please.
Roger Pielke, Jr. 0:42
Rice’s law. All right. I’m Roger Pilkey, Jr. I’m a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. I study sticky, complicated issues where science and politics meet. And currently, I’m working on issues of energy policy, climate policy, and eligibility requirements for male and female classification in elite sport, all of which are pretty intense issues.
Robert Bryce 1:06
Messy, yes, messy, the definition of messy. So you got to remind myself that you got your PhD in political science. So you do work in this, these messy intersections. And I warned you before we started, I wanted to ask you about I mean, how you look around the world today, because I, you know, I’ve given a fair number of presentations, and I get there and often joke Well, geez, I don’t know I have an hour, I don’t know what we’re going to talk about, because there’s nothing happening in the world lately. But it is remarkable the disorder and the peril that is apparent, particularly for Europe, in terms of energy and energy policy, high energy prices, inflation. So I’ll ask the question, are we in a more perilous position is what I wrote down? Are we even more perilous position today than we were pre COVID? Because it sure seems more dangerous. What’s what’s your take?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 1:55
Yeah, you know, I think back to that, I mean, there’s a saying I won’t get it right. But you know, there’s sometimes decades go by and nothing happens. And sometimes, months go by and decades happen. I tend to agree that we’re in kind of a period of enormous uncertainty and churn and disruption, that probably not really, in my lifetime that we’ve seen since the end of the Cold War in the late 80s, early 90s.
Robert Bryce 2:24
Well, that’s interesting. Well, so what I mean, what do you make then of? I mean, I know you’re not, I don’t see you necessarily claiming to be an expert on international affairs, but handicap this for me. I mean, how do you see, because the last time you were on the show, was in February of this year before the Ukraine invasion? What do you make of that? What do you mean? What are your big takeaways? And kind of the international politics these days? It’s Russia winning, losing who’s coming out to Loser on this? Is it Europe? Who What do we how do you see it? Yeah, I
Roger Pielke, Jr. 2:50
mean, my view as the, you know, an observer who’s you know, I’m not an international relations specialist, but there’s enormous uncertainty about how this is going to develop. And you know, one thing I think we’ve learned, and in both of our areas of expertise, Energy policy, is that the world is it still as interconnected as it’s ever been, and there are going to be ripple effects everywhere. And that uncertainty and managing that uncertainty is going to require a degree of international coordination, probably like we haven’t seen in decades, and countries are going to have to think carefully about self interest and shared self interest in ways that, you know, maybe we didn’t have to so much in in recent decades.
Robert Bryce 3:33
Well, let me ask you about that. Because that’s been, I mean, this, we both talked about this. And you coined the iron law of climate which I’ve stolen completely and attribute as often as I can with my own iron laws on iron law of electricity, iron law of power. But the but that idea of cooperation, I mean, you you you’re looking at this booth and energy policy and on the Olympics, and on, you know, in drug testing and these other things. So let me ask that question. Are we seeing any more cooperation are the nations of the world any more inclined to cooperate now than they were in the past Ian Bremmer was on the podcast a while back? And he said, Well, look at how quickly Europe united. And you know, now Finland and Sweden are joining NATO, NATO, that there has been a market degree of international cooperation that maybe we didn’t have before. How do you see that?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 4:22
Yeah, I think that’s right. I think it makes sense. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, I think, easier, quote, unquote, easier to have a degree of cooperation in the aftermath of a shock, like, you know, which for many people, not everyone, but for many people, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine came as a shock. And it was one thing for Europe to come together in ways maybe that Putin didn’t anticipate. It’s quite another thing for that degree of agreement to persist over time and over maybe the years and longer that it’s going to take to deal with this issue. Just saw last week that countries in southern Europe were asked to to basically take a haircut on on energy in order to, you know, help support Germany through next winter. And the reply was, you know, politely, you know, no, thank you. Yeah. So So sustaining that sort of collaboration and cooperation over time, I think is going to be the real challenge, even though I agree with Bremmer, that there were some very positive indications in the immediate aftermath of the invasion.
Robert Bryce 5:24
Right? Well, is it that since you brought it up that that idea that was what Spain, France, Spain, Greece, when other they said, they were asked to cut their gas consumption by 15%? And they said, well, we’ll do with what we need to do. I mean, this is just another will explain the iron law of climate? And is that is that does that fit into that, that construct that in terms of the iron law that countries? Yeah, they need to do for themselves? Yeah,
Roger Pielke, Jr. 5:47
I mean, the iron law of climate was was was a concept I coined, excuse me, in, you know, more than a decade ago to explain to people that, that GDP making people personally less wealthy or limiting their ability to, to grow more wealthy, was not going to be a lever that we have to reduce emissions. And so if we create policies where economic growth comes into conflict with emissions reductions, economic growth is going to win every time. So you know, the lesson is don’t do that. Don’t don’t force that that trade off. But But what we’re seeing and you’ve written eloquently about this lately, is people need energy, they need electricity. And if if the costs of energy services associated with with that go up, the price of food goes up, price transportation goes up. And not everybody’s Elon Musk, it’s going to affect how they live. And if it affects how they live, they’re going to respond. And in some places, they respond by marching in the streets. Some places they respond violently. So I think we are seeing the consequences of, of, you know, it’s bigger than the iron law of climate change. This is, you know, what you say they’re involved with electricity. This is that people, people want energy, and they’re going to do what they had to do to get it at a rate that you can’t afford.
Robert Bryce 7:08
And you see that unrest. And I’m glad you brought that up. Because in Sri Lanka, in a total, I mean, total societal meltdown for Miss. I mean, caused by just frankly, just black bad policy and connected to ESG, which I want to talk about as well. Right. But she’s the yellow vest movement in France, you saw the Dutch farmers protesting. I mean, these are all seem to be very much interconnected in in this, the, I’m gonna say it this way. I don’t like to talk in these terms. But the elites, the political elites, the NGO elites saying you’re going to use less, and we’re going to decide and the working class and lower class saying, No, that’s not what we voted for. That’s not what we want. And so it seems like there’s a growing, it’s part of going back to my first question about the unsettledness of the world. That, to me, is a newer kind of development that we haven’t seen before, right, multiple public, I would call it a wide ranging public backlash in multiple different countries based around the same kind of policies rather than rejection of bad at fundamentally bad energy policy. You might Is that, am I miss reading that? No,
Roger Pielke, Jr. 8:13
I think I agree me, part of the issue was that many countries around the world have committed to a green transition. Alright, that’s great. You know, what does that mean? But if it comes at generally
Robert Bryce 8:25
Roger Pielke, Jr. 8:28
if it means if it means losing security of supply, or control over the economics of energy, you know, both of which I think Germany has experienced by not balancing out, you know, the supply and demand sides of the equation, then you’re going to have some political volatility that results. You know, there should be some pretty profound lessons taken. So far from the the energy supply crunch by reliance on Russian natural gas in particular, right. But that’s not the only place in the world where, you know, democracies, democracies rely on energy supplies from places that could become unstable. Now and so more security, I think, is one of the lessons that’s come out of this and how you balance security with you know, the the goals of a green transition. It’s something that we haven’t worked out yet.
Robert Bryce 9:21
Yeah, I agree with that. I think that that’s right. And I think that Germany is the and you you’re familiar with Germany, I know you had some experience there have been there. You lived there for a while No, I’m, I’m I’m
Unknown Speaker 9:32
taught there a few times, never, never fully made the move.
Robert Bryce 9:35
Right. But they’re not just Germany, but all of Europe is looking at a de industrialization and the knock on the potential knock on effects of that are just scary. I mean, I one of my last guests on the podcast was a John Constable who was his line that he said Europe risks becoming a theme park have its own cultural past. I mean, you know, because of this deindustrialization, which I thought an amazing way to do Describe it. But this Yeah, but that Europe as we have known it as a as a manufacturing hub, we’ve already really seen it in Britain. But there is the looming possibility that’s happening in Germany, Germany is well known.
Roger Pielke, Jr. 10:11
Yeah, you know, I tend to be a little bit more optimistic. You know, the saying that, you know, the best cure for high energy prices, or for high energy prices. You know, the best cure for Europe’s political troubles right now are Europe’s political troubles. I have a lot more faith in democratic systems, such as you know, across the European continent, that that governments will have to be responsive to their citizens, that may come with some disruption with some strife with some upheaval, which is never great. But in the end, people are demanding, more, more reliable, more accessible, lower price energy. And I think in democratic systems, they’re gonna get it. It may take a while to get there. But you know, the simple fact I mean, this is would have been unthinkable to most people last year at this time, that Germany is talking about keeping its nuclear power plants open, maybe restarting a couple is, is that is is not a result of technology, or economics. That’s a result of politics. That’s democratic politics right there. So if Germany can turn on a on a basic turn on a dime with nuclear energy, I’m pretty confident that you know, the European Conference continent is going to get through this. It’s going to be difficult, but I don’t think is gonna be a theme park quite yet.
Robert Bryce 11:33
Yeah. Well, fair enough. So we’ll then last thing on the on Europe since we’re, I mean, no, this is not you don’t claim to be the geopolitical strategist. But you’re observing, because the EU survived. I mean, Britain is already out. It was I mean, it’s because it now the Euros at parity with the dollar does the European Union as we’ve known it survived this, or is something else going to take its place?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 11:51
Yes. I mean, I’m going to have a front row seat, because next month, I’m moving to Oslo, for my sabbatical in Norway, which
Robert Bryce 11:57
is Wait, no, no, you didn’t I didn’t hear about this. Yeah. How long is that? How long is the sabbatical.
Roger Pielke, Jr. 12:02
So that’s where this fall will be at the University of Oslo, helping them implement a pandemic Research Center, Norway is part of the broader European community, it sits on the doorstep of the EU. It has its own, you don’t hear Norway, much in discussions of European energy policy, because Norway is one of the countries that has some of the most secure supply, thanks to hydro and domestic hydro and its own natural gas in the North Sea. And I expect to have a front row seat to see what’s going on. I’m quite optimistic actually, about the future of Europe. I mean, the the events of the last year may lead to EU expansion, that Europe operates on a consensus model. And because of there’s going to be widely differential impacts due to energy policy, because of different rates of reliance on Russian energy and different domestic energy supply, we’re going to see that push to the limit. And I do think that commitment, you know, my experiences in Europe are that the commitment, again, of the elites, to the European project is incredibly strong. And that’s kept in check by the will of the Democratic populace. So it’ll be a fascinating set of dynamics to observe.
Robert Bryce 13:17
Soon as in Britain become more in the US orbit, then I mean, Constable was even suggesting that Britain comes becomes part of NAFTA or that Britain moves more toward the US and away from Europe. Does that sound plausible to you?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 13:28
Yeah. I mean, British politics is is a mess. I don’t know how Yeah, it’s politely say it’s quite a quite a mess. No, I did a paper on the UK Climate Change Act in 2008. And I cited as one of the analyses that I’ve done, where I got things the most wrong. In that paper, I put forward a number of scenarios for emissions, growth, and then decarbonisation in the British economy. And the lowest rate of GDP growth that I used was 1.5% per year, per capita. And it turned out that since 2008, you know, after the global financial crisis, the British economy has just has just underperformed compared to historically, and that’s led to a deindustrialization. Arguably two thematic symbolic politics over substantive politics, and the sorts of things that we’ve seen, you know, with Boris Johnson, and getting pushed out, and now we’re talking about tax cuts for everybody. And it just seems a little disconnected from reality, which, you know, who knows where, internationally, they wind up but being opposed to Europe is just now baked into, you know, the Tory party in the UK,
Robert Bryce 14:41
right? Yeah. And their energy system is a mess. I mean, just a total mess. They don’t, they don’t have enough coal fired plants. They don’t they aren’t drilling, yet. They still haven’t repealed their fracking ban and they have enormous shale resources, but they’re going to have to start drilling. I just don’t think there’s any other option for them over the long term if they want to remain industry. of the industrial producer of consequence. Let’s talk about heat waves because I’m in, I’m in Austin, it’s been hotter than homemade sin here. I mean, just hot for a long time, and I’m used to it. I’ve been, you know, I grew up in Oklahoma, I’m used to long periods of hot weather. But are they more common is human activity to blame for this heatwave? I know you’ve written a lot about this. The Washington Post recently declared summers are hotter, longer and more dangerous than before. Is that true?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 15:27
Yeah, it is true. And it’s interesting. You know, I wrote a piece for for the New York Post, just this past week, they invited me to kind of explain the ethics and what does the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, say about heat waves for our audience? And you know, I had 700 words, I had to boil it down. But the take home messages are yes, heat waves globally have increased. One important side note there is that if you include the 1930s in the United States, they haven’t. They’ve increased since the 1960s, which was a low point of the last century.
Robert Bryce 16:00
So they’ve been pretty well, it all depends on where you start, or what you include in the in the in the in the system are the numbers that count and number that numbers that you’re counting, then is what I hear you saying?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 16:10
Yeah, I mean, I tell people, you know, kind of tongue in cheek. But if you want to be a cherry picker, and you want to show the US hasn’t had an increase overall, and heat waves start your data set in 1900. And if you want to show that there’s been a significant increase started in 1960, the expectation going forward is that the world will see more heat waves that’s that’s the heat waves are one phenomenon that the IPCC uses its strongest language on. And that language is that they are virtually certain. They don’t say that about too many things. But they are virtually certain that heat waves have increased globally, and they’re going to increase in the future.
Robert Bryce 16:45
Well, I just found your Well, this is what you said, what you just told us, is that what you said, what you wrote in the New York Post here was July 20. There is a strong climate change connection, but you said the connection is not as strong in the US. And that will then you say, here, you let’s expand on that. You said no one need die from extreme heat. But if that’s going to be the case, this is one of the things that seems super obvious now is that whatever scenario you have on climate change, whatever scenario you have on renewables, on growth of hydrocarbons, nuclear, we’re going to need a whole lot more energy and then produce a whole lot more electricity to keep people from dying from heatwave. So why why did you say no one needs to die from extreme heat?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 17:26
Yeah, well, there’s let me let me just two things. One is, let me follow up. So the one reason the US North America hasn’t shown the same increase in heat weight. IPCC says it may be due to land use change, particularly agriculture, widespread agriculture and irrigation in the Great Plains. So that lets me give a shout out to my dad whose research showed that 20 years ago, the mitigating effects of of land use change.
Robert Bryce 17:51
Sorry, sorry to interrupt so that, you know I’ve ever interviewed your dad now. No, it’s more than 10 years ago, I you know, I interviewed both of you, because I thought your work was so interesting, more than more than a decade ago. But explain what you you know, you said that very quickly. But I understand what you’re why you’re bringing up your father’s work and what he said.
Roger Pielke, Jr. 18:08
Yeah, so one of the reasons why the United States doesn’t show up as having an increase in heat waves, if you include the 1930s. And this is the IPCC that says this is land use change. So anyone who’s flown across the country, look at the airplane window, you can tell there’s humans down there, you can see the the checkerboards and you know, the the crops being grown and, and when when there’s widespread agriculture, it changes the reflectivity of the surface of the planet, you have leafs that give off that it has what’s called evapo transpiration. And then, you know, we take massive amounts of water, and we irrigate. And that also changes things like we’re storms form and so on. And so the IPCC says, Well, that might be one reason why the United States hasn’t seen this increase in heat waves that we observed elsewhere.
Robert Bryce 19:05
So those things act as cooling effects, then is that is that what you’re saying? Okay, that’s where
Roger Pielke, Jr. 19:09
and that’s, that’s tied into, you know, research my my father, did you know, 2025 years ago,
Robert Bryce 19:14
right. So Is your father still you Roger Pilkey seniors, he’s still publishing what brings me up to speed on him. What’s he doing? Yeah, he’s
Roger Pielke, Jr. 19:20
had a couple of papers this year. He’s still he’s retired, but he still works with students, and has connections that a couple of universities have, you know, with former students are now full professors. So he’s keeping keeping a toe in the water, so to speak.
Robert Bryce 19:33
Gotcha. Well, you also, will you point out on your substack, you wrote about this that heat waves of recent decades have not reached levels as seen in the 60s in the 30s. And then you talk about the this issue around, you can around the measurement, but you also talk about you wrote a recent piece. Well, no. Let me go to this one first. On your sub stack the piece that’s most popular, there is the unstoppable momentum of outdated Science, I just was looking at that this morning. And you’re talking, as we’ve discussed before about the continued use of RCP 8.5, which is the most extreme of these climate scenarios. So and we’ve talked about this before, are we still seeing this catastrophe bias baked into? I mean, we’re seeing we’re seeing a lot about heat waves. And you just talked about that. But are we? Are you saying or your your observation that we’re still seeing catastrophe bias when it comes to reporting on climate and climate issues generally?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 20:29
Yeah, I mean, it’s unfortunate that, you know, when one way that the climate community kind of projects, you know, what might happen in the future, so use different scenarios. And as we’ve talked about, and as I’ve talked about, in a lot of places, the most extreme scenario of their little scenario set at one point was was characterized as our as the reference scenario, or what’s also called business as usual, this is where we’re headed. Right? If we follow our current path,
Robert Bryce 20:56
massive, massive growth, massive growth of coal consumption, in particular is one of the main points that that that scenario includes, right.
Roger Pielke, Jr. 21:03
Yeah, that scenario for that scenario to occur requires the number of coal fired power plants worldwide to increase by a factor of five by 2100. So instead of six or 7000, worldwide, we’ll have 30 or 35,000. Wow. And that, that seems a stretch to say the least. So that’s out there. And so anytime, you know, we have a heatwave or a hurricane or a flood. You know, it’s natural. In today’s media environment, well, they’re going to connect that to climate change. But a lot of times, what reporters will do is they’ll go to the scientific literature, and they’ll say, Well, what does it say for 2100? And they pull off the shelf, these scenarios, these papers built on these very extreme scenarios. And they say, Well, what you just saw is going to increase by a factor of 2357, whatever it happens to be. And we have a view that is, you know, I think what you said it’s an accurate characterization and an apocalypse bias in in how we look at climate, heat waves, I think are really instructive. Because the World Health Organization says nobody needs to die in a heatwave. We know. I mean, that’s, that’s one of the the, the phenomena which we know how to deal with when it comes to human lives.
Robert Bryce 22:14
Right. Well, let’s talk about that. Because that’s the other part that I mean, I glanced matching, I mentioned it before, but just, it is so clear, and I you know, you and I geek out around the BP statistical review, right? Every year, you update your data, and I look at it from different you know, what’s the what are the rates of growth and different things. And you pointed out, it was in your piece on July 8, on your substack. And by the way, my guest is Roger Pilkey, JR. He’s on prolific author on substack. You can find him on substack at Roger Pilkey, Jr, Roger Pilkey jr.substack.com. He’s also on Twitter Roger Pilkey. At Roger filthy Jr. You wrote in this piece global July global decarbonisation, how are we doing? That to fully replace fossil fuels, we’re required deployment of about one nuclear power plant equivalent of carbon free energy every day, during coming decades. And then II, this is you’ve done this before, right? You’ve done these projections. But really, as you’ve done this over the years, if memory serves, you have a graph and you sure you reproduce it every year, I guess you just plug in the new data into your spreadsheet. And here you are, that these goals around decarbonisation Net Zero, nowhere close to being achieved. Is that a fair assessment fair as some ratio summation of what you’ve been writing on this on this topic?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 23:27
Yeah, and you know, credit where credit’s due the you know, the first calculation, I saw about how fast we would have to deploy carbon free energy came from physicist Marty Hoffer, and colleagues in 2000. So quite a while ago, I first updated that in 2010, for my book, The Climate fix, and have been doing it annually ever since. And I guess I mean, there’s some good news and bad news to take from that. One is that the rate of deployment hasn’t changed really since 2010. So in a sense, we’re treading water when it comes to retiring, let’s say fossil fuel infrastructure. And this is really talked about I mean, everyone likes to talk about the expansion, the deployment of wind and solar, maybe nuclear. And it’s important understand that the deployment of carbon free energy does not actually achieve decarbonisation. What achieves decarbonisation is when you retire, the natural gas or the coal fired power plant, or, you know, we we replace a gasoline powered automobile. So it’s that retirement side that’s rarely discussed. And virtually all of the additional carbon free energy that’s been deployed in the last 20 years has been on top of expanding fossil fuel infrastructure. Yeah, so it is. Talking about emissions tends to take our attention away from the fact that we really should be talking about fossil fuels if, if deep decarbonisation is indeed the goal that we want to achieve the century
Robert Bryce 24:59
All right, well, I’m just finishing a piece. I’ve been working on it for a while just getting my spreadsheets together, but just doing the analysis on the rate of growth in hydrocarbons versus the rate of growth in wind and solar, because generally when we’re talking about the carbon free, that is the really the only that’s clean energy. To me, it’s codeword for solar and wind, because we nuclear has been out of the picture here in the US for some time, unfortunately. But that the growth in hydrocarbons, both in the US and globally is just swamping any growth in renewables. I guess, restating what you just said. Right. And we’re not retiring hydrocarbons. In fact, we’re, we’re expanding the use of hydrocarbons. So I’ll give you the one quick number that comes to head to my mind. Last year in the US alone, oil consumption grew by 2.8x Jewels, it’s four times the growth in in solar and 4x. So you know, it’s not close, I mean, hydrocarbons years lapping renewables. And it’s not it’s not at the races has been one a long time ago. So then led them, let’s talk about ESG. And you were one of the first to post up a piece on Stuart Kirk, of HSBC. And I’ve followed the ESG discussions that kind of remove I haven’t really written about it. A little written a little bit about it. But talk about Stuart Kirk and what what you know about him now and why he was why you, you wrote a long piece about him and what he did back in, I guess it was in May. So who is Stuart Kirk? And why was why is it? Why was his? His position on ESG? So important?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 26:32
Yeah, so ESG refers to environmental, social, and governance. And these are areas in which the basic idea behind ESG is to use finance and business to achieve societal environmental governance goals. So includes everything from reducing carbon footprints to increasing the representation of women on boards, being more transparent in the governance of companies. So it mixes together a whole bunch of stuff. Stuart Kirk, formerly of HSBC, and I don’t know him personally, but he gave a he gave a talk at a Financial Times sponsored investor conference, which, you know, if anyone has seen these things that are usually, you know, people selling their products, and you know, everything’s great. Listen to this. It’s not the place of controversy or policy. Let us manage your money.
Robert Bryce 27:29
Yes, yeah. And he
Roger Pielke, Jr. 27:31
gave an incendiary talk, where he said, here’s why. Climate change is not a risk to business. And he said, you know, Amsterdam’s below sea level, a lovely place, who cares if Miami, you know, the sea levels rise six meters, or whatever he said. And it was a combination between what he said and how he said it that led to kind of a viral reaction. And, you know, I wrote about some of the things he said, are quite accurate. And some of the things probably were designed to inflame and distracted from his message he posted on LinkedIn last week or the week before, he’s no longer with HSBC, and starting his new venture, so good luck to him.
Robert Bryce 28:12
Right. But you said it was a he had a Jerry Maguire moment in the form of a short talk to him in a corporate conference on sustainable investing. But he essentially just went straight at the whole issue around ESG. And what that what that should mean for investors versus so we’ll let me ask them the question about where we are on ESG. In, in my view, the Ukraine war should be a real wake up call in terms of energy realism and energy humanism. I think that this is, it may be I think it should be seen as an inflection point, particularly when around issues of energy security. But is it an inflection point in terms of ESG? Because this is the danger of what happened to Europe could happen to you, if you if you do what Europe has done over invest in renewables under invest in hydrocarbons? How to short the short questions. So where is he? Where does ESG go from now? Some of the shine fallen away from it? What’s what’s the what’s your view?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 29:05
Yeah, it’s it’s funny. I mean, the cover of this week’s economist is ESG. And they have a, you know, a special report on ESG investing. And quite the opposite of the conclusion that you’re suggesting here. The Economist is saying, you know, what, the only thing that ESG should should focus on is carbon dioxide emissions.
Robert Bryce 29:25
That’s it. That’s where the Well, that’s what it’s been has it? I mean, in my view, that what is that line? What ESG it stands for the ES the E stands for emissions in the s&p are silent. There’s, there’s nothing else about it. Only about emissions.
Roger Pielke, Jr. 29:39
Yeah, I mean, one of the I mean, I’ve given a number of talks on this this summer. And one of the challenges is that what’s called portfolio decarbonisation. So if I take my investments, I have a fund and I take it out of Exxon and I put it into, you know, I don’t know, carbon dioxide removal. You know, the numbers was Yeah, yep. stripe or something like that, by my balance sheet for quote unquote carbon might show that I decarbonize my portfolio. But then you might say, well, What connection does that have to the real world, where you know, if you want to decarbonize, you want to decarbonize the real world? And the answer is probably nothing. And so there’s a lot of effort, a lot of consultancies out there. A lot of people studying carbon footprints. And, you know, a real fair question is, well, what difference does it make in the real world? And in a lot of cases, the answer is not much.
Robert Bryce 30:30
We’ll see what pops in my head, as you said that because you’ve written about this, as well as this whole divestment, right, that’s being live in particular, when name names I’ve invited him to be on the podcast three times hasn’t replied Bill McKibben, big proponent of divestment, right. Oh, we’re gonna quit this entity, the school this investment funds, is their investments in any hydrocarbon producer, and therefore that’s a win. And as I recall, you simply said, Well, yeah, but somebody else bought that stock, they don’t, you know, they may have sold it, it doesn’t mean the company goes out of business. It’s only their equities that are being traded around. So the end result is zero. Is that Is that fair,
Roger Pielke, Jr. 31:06
competitive to a first approximation, I think that’s, that’s a good estimate. I mean, they, when I entered my classes I do this with with students is that whenever we take an action, there, there is in our mind, some sense of a cause and effect chain that leads to the outcomes that you want. And so when people recommend a strategy, like divestment when my university has, you know, students and faculty who say, university should divest from fossil fuel companies, the response I have is right, walk me through that. Right, you had, how does that work? And how does that achieve decarbonisation? And it turns out, you know, and I’ve written about this for a long time, the more direct paths, right, we want technologies that can provide substantial amounts of energy supply at low cost. And if we want them to do that, without emitting carbon dioxide, then you know, we only have a few technologies out there of the scale that can do that. And maybe it’s nuclear, maybe it’s, you know, natural gas with some sort of carbon capture, you know, the ability of solar and wind to deploy to massive levels, you’ve written about this, I’ve written about this, it’s probably limited. So So rather than these indirect routes, where I’m trying to affect energy technologies by who my university invests in, let’s just go straight to the many action is, and that’s, you know, technology, innovation deployment. And that’s where the actual has to be. So I find that a lot of those debates over divestment, ESG, and so on are more, you know, they’re symbolic and symbols matter, but, but they’re pretty far from the causality chain that leads to real world outcomes.
Robert Bryce 32:45
You know, I have to echo and repeat what you just said, because I think it’s exactly right, that the we have all this discussion around it to me there’s the pathway is so clear, it’s if we’re serious about decarbonisation, we have to get serious about nuclear in terms of deployment at scale. But we’ve got to, we’ve got to cleanse this regulatory morass around nuclear, and we have to allow it to innovate. And we have to have an industrial base that’s going to allow that to happen. And really, so far, we don’t have anything I mean, it would just not making the kind of progress that’s needed. And I mean, maybe this summer does that as well, right? Because we haven’t had big blackouts yet. But it’s clear that our electric system is woefully under, undersized for the possible the demand that appears to be coming both for heating, cooling electrification more broadly, etc, that, and there’s simply no sensibility around that. But I’m, your I’m interviewing you here. I
Roger Pielke, Jr. 33:37
didn’t. You know, I don’t think that’s really it. But I think you don’t have to look very far to see that, you know, energy supply disruptions, whether it’s in California, or Texas, or just simply because of technological advance, you know, let’s say battery cars, truly explode and put enormous new demand or just
Robert Bryce 33:57
gorgeous catch on fire or just catch up. Sorry. You’re saying have have rapid growth, you said rapid growth? Yes.
Roger Pielke, Jr. 34:08
That itself could prompt a crisis of energy splack Gavin Newsom in California is is opening up the possibility very carefully and tentatively in a hedged way to keeping Diablo Canyon open,
Robert Bryce 34:25
which is truly which is truly remarkable. Now we’ll see whether they accomplish it because there is a lot of momentum on the closure as well. And we were just in California a few weeks ago, and but that’s very positive, similar to what you’d mentioned earlier about Germany that there, maybe maybe maybe there’s some rationality that will intervene here.
Roger Pielke, Jr. 34:44
You know, it’s, it’s, I mean, I forget what the number is. I think it’s like 8% of California’s electricity supply comes from Diablo Canyon. And it’s one thing for people to talk about emissions, which is abstract. You can’t see them. They’re out there and it feels good. But when you’re Your electricity goes out that that is a motivator, I think of political change, unlike really anything else. So. So if there are consequential impacts on either energy supply, or energy prices in such a way that it really affects people, you’re gonna see a pretty strong democratic response that even the most most vehemently opposed to nuclear power in a place like California won’t be able to sustain that. So if I’m a betting person, I think Diablo Canyon stays open, just because it’s, there’s not a lot of alternatives. And that’s, that’s a big chunk of electricity for California.
Robert Bryce 35:36
Well, I would tend to go I would I like what you’re saying, I hope you’re right. I might be a contrarian and say, let’s put some cash money on this. But but because I’ve seen what California has done so far, and incredibly bad energy policy, that’s regressive. And I’ve written extensively about that, but that’s a different story. So what do you think now about what’s going on in academia? I mean, you’ve been on the frontlines of these in terms of wouldn’t say, Daxing or Timpson, ship or so on. Has that moment passed? Or is that just are we still seeing this? Efforts to cancel voices that aren’t aren’t toeing the line, we talked about Stuart Kirk, but that’s a little bit different. He’s in the investment banking business, not in academia. But as you know, when it comes to academic analyses around deployment of renewables, decarbonisation, I trip over how many reports how many studies are put out that Oh, renewables are the way the you know, this is and there’s and, and, and with catastrophic, catastrophic outlooks as well, that say, Oh, we just need to do all this, right. And studies from Princeton, Stanford, Cal Berkeley, you know, all the ones. Yep. As the answer the question, is this, has the, the dialogue, debate, policy discussion in academia on these issues improved? Or has it continued to kind of just degrade?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 37:00
Yeah, it’s an interesting question. I mean, we could we could talk for a long time about academia. So my whole literally my whole life in academia, my dad was a professor, I grew up on the campus of University of Virginia, as a kid, been at Colorado now for more than 20 years. You know, I have strongly opposing feelings about academia. So on the one hand, I’m a full professor, I’m enormous ly privileged, I can write about whatever I want to on any day of the week, I got students who are super smart that I love working with. So in that sense, you know, it’s kind of like, you have
Robert Bryce 37:31
job security, and I have job security, and I use it. But I have job security, and I use it. So you have tenure,
Roger Pielke, Jr. 37:41
tenure in the US on that. Yeah. And, and I learned this, I mean, I was, you know, it’s a long story, but I was investigated by the US Congress and attacked me out of the White House, in 2015. And, you know, at the time, I thought, oh, my gosh, is the end of the world. But, you know, what I realized at the time is even, you know, a powerful members of Congress, or even the, you know, the scientific adviser to President Obama. You know, they can make me uncomfortable, but, you know, my, my, I’m still gonna pay my mortgage, at the end of the month. And if I can take the heat, then I’m still in the game. So So for me, it was a realization that actually, tenure protections of us academia, are not to be taken lightly. And we shouldn’t be afraid to say what we think. And when I say I use it, I mean, I, you know, one thing that, that people should know about the stuff I do, I mean, I call it like, I see it, I might be wrong, and they might disagree. But you know, I have I’m not saying what I say because I want to curry favor with this academic group or, you know, with my promotion committee, whatever. In there, you can’t do that. Anyway, as Stuart Kurt showed, there’s not a lot of places where you can be employed. And you can actually do that, right. That said, academia, and academics do tend to spin off into eddies and whirlpools of irrelevancy. I much prefer engaging with policymakers, journalists, members of the public, you know, through social media and stuff, my substack that I do go into academic conferences, and, you know, talking with other academics about issues that aren’t so connected to the real world, I have a lot of great colleagues, I’m happy to say all around the world, who share a similar view. But I think it is easier to as an academically and early career academic to get into academia and be trapped in the trappings of academia, and forget about the students in the real world and everything else out there that matters.
Robert Bryce 39:35
Well, but I think where I was going, or as you say, that trapped in the orthodoxy around Catus, catastrophism. And climate and and also the, the, I mean, I’ve seen very little work coming out of academic and I mean by, you know, they’re in the NGO world, yes. But in the academic world supporting strong rollouts of nuclear energy, for instance, I mean, I don’t I don’t get to my you know, I can, I can cite 10 or 15 There are 20 papers that I say, Oh, here’s the case for renewables and robust renewables if only XYZ and we build two or three or four times more high voltage transmission, and you know, because there’s all that vacant, you know, it’s but glossing over what, to me are issues of first principles, you know, but I don’t see much heterodoxy in academia, when it comes to the positions you’ve you. It’s a fairly, fairly fairly small club, I’m just calling it like I see it. Yep. In terms of you saying, Well, no, these scenarios are generally are wrong. And I don’t see much in terms of the big academic institutions with high profile people like yourself that have tenure, whatever even coming close to repeating what you’re doing. Is that Is that a fair assessment? Yeah. And
Roger Pielke, Jr. 40:41
I think I mean, so what you’re putting your finger here on, and I think it’s very common across fields, disciplines, areas of study, or the small p politics of academia. And, you know, I think Henry Kissinger said that, you know, people fight so hard about academic politics, because the stakes are so low, right? There is there’s a lot of group think there’s a lot of incentives to publish in this paper, not that paper, is not rocket, how
Robert Bryce 41:07
much of it is just that the herd mentality or group think that this? This is the cool club minutes in the bigger club, and then I can get more funding or whatever than if I’m in that club.
Roger Pielke, Jr. 41:17
Is that? Yeah, and I think I mean, there’s a Venn diagram. So like, you know, let’s take nuclear energy, there’s no surprise that, that nuclear energy has historically been opposed by by individuals who are mostly on the left side of the political spectrum, right. And it also happens to be that most faculty member at particularly US universities, but also in Europe, are also on the left side of the political spectrum. So you take those two things, and you put them over. And then of course, it’s not surprising that academics tend to focus on topics for which academics have political interest in. And but you’ll find that in health, you’ll find that in studies of the military, you’ll find that in economics, so I don’t see climate as particularly unique. But the challenge I see it as and I’ve talked about this a lot, climate policy to succeed needs to appeal to everybody, not just all around the world. So the left the right. And so policies have to be robust to the political spectrum. And so if if we in academia don’t have the capacity to to engage heterodox ideas, then we’re going to find a lot of the ideas we put out there for policy uptake, get rejected. And that’s just that’s just a natural consequence of, you know, not recognizing our own lack of diversity in the academy.
Robert Bryce 42:36
I like what you said there about the those policies have to be have to have appeal to everyone because I just wrote a piece it was in Forbes published it yesterday, Sunday, but about the rejection effect Mid American withdrew a wind project in in, in Madison County, Iowa. Well, that has not gotten any press. I mean, you know, that will even the the light of what’s happened in Madison County, no print no coverage by Maine, big media outlets. But it also I see it as well through the lens of the academic world in that, well, none of the academics live out, you know, that are involved in this or living in rural America so that to them, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even it doesn’t even isn’t even on their radar. Well, of course, they weren’t wind turbines in high voltage out there, you know, but, but I like that idea about it has to appeal to everyone. But it has to be both on footprint, it has to be on cost it has to be on the other kind of social, social licence issues around right, that policy should look like. And that’s where you’re saying that the failure is that there’s a failure to match the idea around climate and climate change and why you should care with what the cure is, right? Is that as MIT? Yeah, one of my
Roger Pielke, Jr. 43:43
colleagues, good friend, Matt Burgess, a young professor in my department has done a lot of work on political polarization and climate. Yeah. And, you know, what he’s found in his research, is there’s an enormous range of what we would call climate policies, both mitigation adaptation, that are pretty appealing across the political spectrum. It just so happens that in the US context that the party elites in the Democratic and the Republican Party, and I think they share this this point of agreement, finding common ground with your enemy. No, no, no, that’s not, that’s not a good place to go. So there is a tendency to emphasize policies and proposals that divide people. So you know, I wrote about this just this morning, you know, the latest is the climate emergency that maybe President Biden will, will declare, if you take a look at it, and you look at the history of emergency declarations. You look at Donald Trump’s emergency declaration on the border wall. It’s mostly just red meat for partisan, it’s symbolic. And so people will argue about a climate emergency very passionately. But again, that causal chain from alright, you take this action, what happens in the real world, it’s whatever it’s declared or not declared, it’s not going to move the dial on decarbonisation in the United States, whereas there’s a whole bunch of policies out there They’re boring, probably not particularly political, and they’re gonna be hard
Robert Bryce 45:03
work that are Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Well, it’s interesting. I just saw your post. Your headline is a national climate emergency is the latest distraction from achieving effective climate policy. But it was interesting. I hadn’t seen these numbers. I think it was in a piece by David Foster Wallace, David David Wallace wells, and I get those guys confused. That pointed out that actually, in terms of polling data, only 1% of the electorate of the voters of people that were polled anyway, said climate was their most important issue. And yet, for the Biden administration, it seems like they keep pushing this one thing, right, instead of looking at the more, I don’t hear them talking about nuclear energy at all, but that that’s an aside. Well, let’s talk about substack for a minute, because this is one of the things I know we chatted a little while ago on the phone about this, but but you’re not writing you said, I saw you your piece of the New York Post, but you’re not writing for other outlets, you really focused on substack. And as a journalist, somebody’s I started in newspapers, I, you know, my whole career, you know, I wrote for the toolset, I’ve written for a lot of failed publications that printed on paper, you know, that’s a tribute to a magazine. I mean, I could give you a long list. Has journalism fundamentally changed with substack? How do you view substack? In the political kind of the media? Universe? And then tell tell me about why you’re, you know why you’re putting so much effort there? Because you’re, you’re writing a ton, and maybe more than you ever have it? I don’t know if that’s the case, but it sure is a lot. Yeah. So it’s interesting. substack is a phenomenon in media first, tell me tell me how you see that?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 46:31
Yeah. So substack is, it’s a platform that makes it incredibly easy for people to produce their own high quality, good looking content, and create an effective if the equivalent of a mailing list, people would get your, your, they sign up and they get your, your writings, you know, in their inbox, but it also allows writers the opportunity to be paid for it. And I think one of the things that that I don’t think I appreciated, but which I do more so now is that media is not gone and reporting is not gone, people are still willing to pay for good content. And it doesn’t, you know, there’s not an advertisement on my site at all. And so, you know, to say that I work for, you know, hundreds or 1000s of people out there it’s, you know, that’s kind of a privilege and it shows that people care, the big sub stacks the the Matthew Yglesias, or Barry Weiss read or even Michael Shellenberger, you know, they have 10s of 1000s hundreds of 1000s of readers, they’re like their own their own media corporations that yeah, you know, their kitchen. So I think it is an interesting phenomenon, instinct development
Robert Bryce 47:42
that allows and is it due to Why do you think that’s happened? I mean, is it because of the legacy media just lost favor, that they lost credibility? Why why is substituted the the Daxing, or the, you know, the censorship of writers? Why is substack succeeded. So what I see is relatively short amount of time. And I say that as the guy who’s, you know, I used to load print newspapers and deliver them around town, which seems almost quaint these days.
Roger Pielke, Jr. 48:11
I had a paper out on my bike. You know, so for me, I mean, I can only speak to my own personal experiences, but, but the overhead in time, energy effort spent trying to place a piece with the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Financial Times, was considerable. And, you know, I know, you know, if he has a circulation of 2 million people, you’re reaching an enormous amount of people if you can write up the privilege of being there. But for me, the negotiations with editors, the you know, you can’t say that because it’s too controversial, you know, something like heat waves. So now, like, you know, the New York Post came to me and said, you know, we’d like what you’ve written, can you write something for us? You know, simplify it, make it shorter, is what they said, happy to do that, but that was because of my substack. Not some other effort. So,
Robert Bryce 49:01
yeah, so So for legacy, legacy media coming to New Media,
Roger Pielke, Jr. 49:05
right. And so for me, I have what I would call it an incredibly high quality, a set of subscribers, and I’m kind of a niche guy, you know, talking about science and politics and climate emergencies and transgender athletes. It’s not for everybody, but I have the ability to reach pretty influential people and policy positions around the world. And as a policy professor, if I had to design an instrument for impact, it would be a lot like sub sec. So you know, I have a lot to say, which is fine. I’ve been doing this for a long time. So you know, there’s no shortage of content and I enjoy it, which also makes a difference. It’s not for everybody, but I have been incredibly motivated and energized by you know, the my inbox every morning when I wake up and see the comments I get from people from around the world. It’s just incredible, and I’ve never seen anything like it my career.
Robert Bryce 50:00
And yeah, I’ve debated the substack move. Well, we’ve talked about it, but it’s what I do like and what you’re here saying is just reduces friction and getting the public. And that’s to me really important, because I’ve seen, you know, for a long time, the same kind of friction trying to fit through a funnel, right, but get to an audience of the existing media. And it can be laborious. Yeah, no doubt about about no doubt about it. Well, just a few more questions. Roger, we’ve been talking for almost an hour now. And again, my guess is Roger Pilkey, Jr. on his fourth, fourth appearance on the power hungry podcast, tied for the lead with Meredith Angwin. He’s on substack Roger Pilkey, Jr, Roger Pielke jr.substack.com. And he’s on Twitter at Roger Pilkey Jr. So who’s working here you had following these days? We I was asking about what you’re reading? What? What books are you reading on? What do you have on your bookshelf or on your desk right now?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 50:51
Yeah, so I am, you know, I teach an energy policy class. And then this past spring. Obviously, with Russia and Ukraine, I focus a lot of attention on European energy. So I’m doing a lot of new Twitter followers, you know, people with expertise, politically industry, and the people that serve industry on European energy issues. And that, you know, the depths and complexities of Europe and its energy is something that’s been, it’s paying an awful lot of time with. This summer, I’ve been quite active, working with sports organizations on developing policies related to transgender athletes. And so there’s a fascinating history there. And there’s also a really interesting science, physiology biology to get into, and then this fall, I’m going to be kind of returning to the pandemic issues and the science policy issues associated with the pandemic. And, you know, I will certainly be learning a lot about Norwegian science policy. I did a workshop in Norway about a decade ago on a science and policy between the US and Norway, but I haven’t really been up to date on that. So that’ll be a next thing for the next five months.
Robert Bryce 52:05
Well, So full disclosure, I finally got COVID Did you get have you had COVID?
Unknown Speaker 52:10
I COVID in November 2020. Uh huh.
Robert Bryce 52:13
So you gotta got it out of the way. I gotta,
Roger Pielke, Jr. 52:15
I had a high school student who caught it at a Halloween party and came home.
Robert Bryce 52:21
Nice. Thank you. We weren’t we weren’t sealed off from Nixon. Yeah. But you may get it again. Right. I mean, that’s the other looming possibility here. But wasn’t Norway held up early on as one of the models to follow in terms of policy did that? How did that work out? I know that I saw that early on. But did that? Did their their approach was better than what we saw in the US? How was it different?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 52:44
Was it was it better than the US? Yes, the US had, I mean, the US response for a number of reasons was was highly problematic under the Trump administration, not just because of the Trump administration, but because of really years of lack of preparation for a pandemic like this to occur. So there’s a long story we can go into and you know, the Biden administration hasn’t, in fact, corrected some of the shortfalls of the Trump administration one an obvious one, the Trump administration had no high level science, scientific advisory body on COVID had its Coronavirus Task Force, but that’s a bunch of political appointees, right, who are telling Donald Trump what he wanted to hear, I thought when the Biden administration came in, and they would immediately put in place a high level Advisory Committee on the painting, not to tell them what to do, but to tell them what they could do, right? And, you know, to to help get the data shipshape and so on. The US hasn’t done that. And so many countries, you know, Canada, Norway, Japan, New Zealand, had really good science advisory mechanisms. But, you know, as we’ve discussed before, having good science and good advice doesn’t necessarily translate into good policy. Right. So there’s a, you know, a really intense debate in Scandinavia going on, about, you know, who actually did better. Norway, Sweden, which kind of hadn’t let it rip approach? Finland, Denmark, and so I don’t I think it’s too early to tell, actually, you know, who had the best response is that
Robert Bryce 54:10
because the pandemic isn’t over yet? I mean, it seems like it just keeps lingering, which, I mean, I don’t know if you’ve been in the airports lately, but they are packed. I mean, people are out and they are spending money. And yeah, which is gratifying in one sense. And then Ben It’s also like, well, what recession I don’t see any but let’s talk about the your work in sports, too, because I’m a big sports fan. Although we took the TV out of the house and um, you know, it’s summertime and I don’t really care about baseball, maybe basketball starts up again, I’ll get television again. But right, tell me what the Kaptai rule is because you put you wrote about this as well and your work on transgender athletes and Caster Semenya, am I getting that right? I mean, it’s really been intriguing how you’re looking again at this issue, this, this overflow or over the the bow Under is between politics and and science. Tell me what the Kaptai rule is because I thought it was an interesting way to think about transgenderism, particularly with regard to this swimmer at University of Pennsylvania. Lea Thomas. Is that right? Yeah,
Roger Pielke, Jr. 55:16
yeah. Yes. So there’s a lot of complexities on this issue. But the first one, so caster, Semenya and South African middle distance runner who was effectively banned by her international federation. She’s actually born a woman raised woman has always been a woman never changed categories. And so there’s a separate debate about what do we do with certain women who have high testosterone and maybe too good. So put that aside. The transgender, elite athlete debate is about individuals who who legally transition from one gender to the other men to women, women to men. And so one of the most important proposal that I think could be implemented, and it’s one I, you know, everybody yells at me about is what I call a cap tie rule. So an international soccer, international football, if you play for one country, you are tied to that country. So a cap basically means it goes back to UK, he learned to a cap when you participate in international competition. So if you are the cap for a country, you can’t then go play for another country.
Robert Bryce 56:22
So if the US Men’s National Team invites me to play soccer, and I’m expecting their invitation any day now, if I play for them, even in one game, I can’t then go play for Trinidad or exactly, you know, exactly Britain or France or somewhere. That’s, that’s the essence of their they would I’m sure they want me to but I’m gonna say no, because I’ve already played for the Americans. So that’s the Kaptai rule.
Roger Pielke, Jr. 56:44
Yeah. And the reason that was there was so that, you know, countries like for example, Qatar and Bahrain, couldn’t go to Brazil and say, Oh, we’re gonna give you a passport and $20 million to come play for our team. And just
Robert Bryce 56:57
for this world cup thing, or the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, or whoever else has money, it could go in and buy the best players. But the Kaptai rule says, No, you can’t do that. And what you’re talking about with? So how would that apply to gender? In the context? Would it apply to Lea Thomas?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 57:14
Yeah, so in the context of gender eligibility for men’s and women’s women’s competition, the basic idea is that if you have competed already, at an elite level, and we could argue about, you know, where do you draw the line at an elite level, but NCAA or international Olympic level competition, if you compete in the men’s competition, you’re tied, you can change your gender, you can change your passport, your driver’s like that’s, you know, that’s all great legally, but you cannot then compete in the women’s category. And vice versa, you’re tied to that original classification that you competed in. What people don’t generally understand is that it’s not just our biology that makes us exceptional athletes. Sure, in general, men are better athletes than women. But another big factor is years of training, specialized expertise in perfecting your craft. So if you had a Kaptai rule, I think most of this issue goes away. Because you’re not just going to get you or me who say, Oh, all of a sudden, I’m going to transition to a woman and dominate the Olympics, right? Elite, elite women athletes are phenomenal. So if you’re not already an elite, or close to elite level, male athlete, you know, good luck. And so if you think about the the cases that that come to the public’s eye in the most recent Olympics, or in the NCAA, these are all athletes who transitioned after already being an elite athlete, right. So if you implement a cap tie roll, I think that reduces the scope of the issue. It’s a fair policy, we have precedent for it. But you know, it’s like anything else in our society today, people don’t want to take the heat out of issues. They like they like the the
Robert Bryce 58:53
emotions that it serves up. So you haven’t had much support for this, then is that what you’re saying? Yeah, there’s
Roger Pielke, Jr. 58:58
a lot of discussion about it. Behind the scenes I, I would say we haven’t yet seen it implemented or proposed at the international level. We’ll see if it ever does. World athletics, which does track and field has kind of a reverse cap type role. They say if you transition from women demand men to women, you can’t go back for four years. Right? You’re stuck in that category. So they already have the the essence
Robert Bryce 59:24
of that would be a pretty, pretty small, pretty small group of people that would go transition once and then transition again. I mean, this whole
Roger Pielke, Jr. 59:33
universe, everything about this issue involves very small numbers of people. That’s one thing.
Robert Bryce 59:38
That’s that’s a fair number, but a fair point. But I guess what the one case that you’re talking about, who was at the man who became a woman and then later played at Wimbledon, and now this is
Unknown Speaker 59:49
Rene, Richie. Richard,
Robert Bryce 59:50
Renee Richards, thank you. But that was so Renee Richards would not have been able to then compete, because Renee Richards had already committed or already competed. As a male and couldn’t then just say, Well, I’m back, and there wouldn’t have been that controversy. Got it. Okay. So I asked you about what you’re reading and you didn’t you differed on the on the books. But we’re coming to now more than an hour or so. We talked, we started talking about the perils that are in the world today, and what are all the things that are worrisome? What gives you hope? What do I mean, we’ve, I always ask my guests this because I want to always end on a hopeful note, and I’m optimistic are you are you remain optimistic? And if so why?
Roger Pielke, Jr. 1:00:30
Yeah, I think I’ve mentioned this to you before, I think in order to participate as a policy scholar, opponent Policy Analyst over years and decades, you kind of have to have a built in optimism. Because the issues we deal with the challenges we deal with, they are hard. And it can seem for a very, I mean, I tell my students, this who don’t have, you know, a long perspective, that that the the moment may be really frustrating, and you can feel frustrated, but start taking a look at the longer arc of history. And you know, the things I raise or, you know, the expansion of human life, life spans, doubling in the last century, that the ability to grow more food and feed more people using less land. Agriculture is just amazing. The economic growth and the reduction of poverty worldwide, which is one of the most phenomenal features I’ve taken to telling people about the 99.9% Decrease in natural disaster deaths over the last century. It is phenomenal. It’s amazing. So if we apply that perspective on our challenges, like securing energy supplier, decarbonizing the economy, yeah, they’re really hard. But over decades, I’m pretty optimistic that if we decide we want to do that, like we have on lifespans in agriculture, there’s no reason why humans can’t achieve those outcomes. So the political slog is tough in the moment, but you know, people like me who have the privilege to offer expertise and combinated. Terry, our job is to give people some viable options, not to solve these problems. But to get to the next stage. You know, we want next year at this time, we want to be better off than we are right now. And so, you know, that sounds sort of incremental steps, you add them up over 10 2050 100 years, and all of a sudden, you’ve gotten someplace. So that’s what makes me optimistic.
Robert Bryce 1:02:22
Well, that’s a good place to stop them. Roger, thanks for being back on the podcast. So it’s great fun, Robert, always fun. I appreciate it. Yeah. And thanks for all you in podcast land. By the way, you can find Roger he’s on on he’s a You can’t escape him as he’s on all media platforms. Roger Pilkey juniors.substack.com or on Twitter Roger Pilkey Jr. Roger. Thanks again. And thanks to all of you in podcast land, give me 510 2050 stars on your rating and tune in for the next episode of this podcast. Until then, see you