Episode 91: Good News
In this episode we celebrate some of the good news the CCR team have found for you. Lily Russian, Karina Taylee, Horace Mo, and Peterson Toscano will each share with you good news stories about what is happening in the climate change sphere. You will also hear good news about what you can expect from our show in 2024. Did someone say True Crime Climate mini series??
Lily is a junior at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, studying Political Science and Environmental Science. Karina is from Miami, Florida, and started volunteering for CCL in 2021 before becoming an intern this fall. She has just finished her graduate studies. And Horace, a recent graduate from the University of Michigan, has returned to his home in Chongqing, China.
From Coal Power to Green Energy
Coal mines are bad for the environment. At least that is what we have always heard. Well, Lily tells us about a revolutionary project in Gateshead, England, which shows the remarkable potential of using abandoned mines to reduce carbon emissions. Lily says, “The ground-breaking project uses the warm water from the tunnels to heat hundreds of homes and businesses in the former coalfield community.”
In this episode, you will learn more about this first-of-its-kind initiative that demonstrates the potential of harnessing the Earth’s natural heat stored in flooded mines to create clean, renewable energy. If you want to dig deeper, check out this article.
High Seas High Hopes: Treaty Aims to Protect Two-Thirds of Our Unprotected Ocean
If you’re passionate about protecting our oceans, Karina has some good news for you! Deep beneath the waves, a silent struggle unfolds. The high seas, which cover two-thirds of the world’s oceans, remain unprotected, vulnerable to human activity.
A beacon of hope shines in the form of the High Seas Treaty, currently navigating its way through international ratification. This historic agreement aims to establish marine protected areas, safeguarding vast regions from damaging activities like oil drilling.
“These regions will be kind of like gigantic National Parks, but in the ocean.” – Karina Taylee
If you want to learn more about the High Seas Treaty, listen to the episode and read this article.
“Ocean Breakthroughs” Initiative: World Leaders Unite for the Oceans
Imagine 400 global leaders and changemakers – conservation experts, business representatives, local communities, and indigenous groups – uniting to address the critical issue of ocean health.
Horace tells us about The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Leaders Forum, a platform for innovative solutions and collaborative action. The IUCN facilitated the launch of “Ocean Breakthroughs,” a global initiative aiming to revitalize five key marine sectors: conservation, renewable energy, shipping, food production, and coastal tourism. This ambitious plan seeks to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by up to 35% by 2050, demonstrating a profound commitment to ocean sustainability and climate action.
If you have a Good News Story you want to share, email us: radio @ citizensclimatelobby.org
Take a meaningful next step
Each month we will suggest meaningful, achievable, and measurable next steps for you to consider. We recognize that action is an antidote to despair. If you are struggling with what you can do, consider one of the following next steps.
1. Podcast Engagement
- To celebrate 91 consecutive months of podcasting, share our show on your social media and with your friends. If you listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, we would LOVE a review.
2. Carbon Fee and Dividend Movement (For College Students)
- Explore the Carbon Fee and Dividend movement, which advocates for effective climate policies. They creatively engage college students, faculty, and staff in their campaigns. This movement also facilitates direct connections with lawmakers
- Utilize the hashtag #carbonfeeanddividend on social media.
- Learn more at CFDmovement.com and follow them on Instagram @carbonfeeanddividend.
3. Citizens’ Climate Lobby National Youth Action Team (For Middle and High School Students)
- Students can get involved with the CCL National Youth Action Team. Participate in initiatives such as the Great School Electrification Challenge.
- Visit Youth.CitizensClimatelobby.org to learn more and follow them on Instagram @CitizensClimateYouth.
4. Additional Climate Action Resource (For anyone at any time)
- For those seeking more ways to take action, explore the action page at CCLusa.org/action.
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Read the Transcript
Episode 91 Climate Change Good News
Peterson Toscano: Welcome to Citizens’ Climate Radio–Your Climate Change Podcast. (music) In this show we highlight people’s stories, we celebrate your successes, and together we share strategies for talking about climate change. I am your host, Peterson Toscano. Welcome to episode 91 of Citizens’ Climate Radio
A project of Citizens’ Climate Education.
This episode is airing on Friday December 22, 2023
Today’s show is filled with Good News. As a climate advocate, I need to hear good news stories. To find these stories, I have to look beyond traditional news sources. Yes, we must hear about the dangerous impacts of climate change. Journalists also need to bear witness to the failures of governments when they do act on climate change. And in the midst of all that, climate advocates like you and me also need to hear about successes and breakthroughs.
This episode we celebrate some of the good news that my team and I have found for. Lily Russian, Karina Taylee, Horace Mo, and I will each share with you good news stories about what is happening in the climate change sphere. I will also share with you some good news about what you can expect from our show in 2024. We have special projects coming your way.
We begin with a Good News story from Lily Russian. Lily served as a CCR Team Member intern this semester.
What can we do with the world’s abandoned coal mines? A town in the UK might just have the answer. In Gateshead England, an old coal mine has been providing green energy for the last six months. The ground-breaking project uses the warm water from the tunnels to heat hundreds of homes and businesses in the former coalfield community. The project is the UK’s first large-scale mine water heating network. It shows the potential of using abandoned mines to reduce carbon emissions.
After decades of neglect, Britain’s abandoned coal mines gradually flooded. Warmed by the earth, this water could become a key part of our renewable energy future. Geologists estimate that Britain’s mine shafts contain over 2 billion cubic meters of warm water. I mean that is a lot of water. This makes them one of the largest untapped sources of clean energy in the country.
In the United States alone, there are almost 50,000 abandoned coal mines. This innovative project in the UK demonstrates the remarkable potential our world has to transform these relics of the past into valuable assets for a green future.
But how does it work? Water in mines gets hotter the deeper it goes. At depths of 1 kilometer, water can reach up to 40 degrees celsius, that’s 104 degrees fahrenheit! The steaming hot water is harnessed through drilling boreholes, which are similar to wells, to bring it to the surface. The water is then pumped up from the mine and passed through heat pumps, which raise its temperature even higher. The hot water is then piped to buildings, where it is used to heat them. Once the water has cooled down, it is pumped back into the mine system to be heated up again.
I love what John McElroy has to say about this solution. He is a cabinet member for the environment and transport at Gateshead Council. He says: “What we have in Gateshead is a legacy from the days of the coal mines, which was dirty energy, “now we are leading the way in generating clean, green energy from those mines.”
To learn more about this project, visit gateshead dot gov dot uk. I put a link in the show notes for you over at cclusa.org/radio.
If you have a good news story you want to share, contact us. The email address is radio @ citizensclimatelobby.org
Peterson: Thank you Lily! Although Lily Russian’s internship is officially over, you will hear her voice a lot in 2024. Later in the show I will tell you about the special limited series Lily, Horace, and I have been creating for you.
Speaking of Horace, he has put together a good news story for you.
Horace: Hi there!, this is Horace, here with the Good News on climate change! Are you concerned about the impact of global warming on marine ecosystems? Do you worry about how ocean biomes are affected by climate change?” If you are, I am on the same side with you. But, folks, don’t panic yet! I have an uplifting message about protecting the world’s oceans for you today.
I want you to first imagine a gathering of 400 world leaders and changemakers. I mean wouldn’t be great if they came together to do something about the oceans. These leaders and changemakers include but are not limited to conservation experts, business representatives, local communities ,and indigenous people’s groups.
The good news is such a meeting just happened! On October 11, 2023, the IUCN Leaders Forum hosted a two-day conference for a diverse group of leaders and changemakers in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss the future of global oceans.
So, what is the IUCN Leaders Forum? Well, IUCN is short for The International Union for Conservation of Nature. The IUCN Leaders Forum thus brings global leaders together to discuss innovative solutions and catalyzes impactful action in nature conservation and sustainability.
At the end of this year’s forum, President Razan Al Mubarak proudly announced the launch of “Ocean Breakthroughs.” It is a global marine conservation and climate action initiative. The Ocean Breakthroughs aim to improve 5 key ocean sectors: marine conservation, ocean renewable energy, shipping, aquatic food, and coastal tourism. Sounds exciting, right? Moreover, successfully implementing Ocean Breakthroughs will help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by up to 35 % by 2050.
I believe all participants at the forum set a great example to mobilize global support in saving world oceans. The impact will further raise public attention for the major and annual international climate meeting, The United Nations Climate Change Conference. (Hopefully the conference can further scale up the effort of saving oceans. I am sure with our determination and an increasing sense of urgency to take climate action, more climate change good news will transpire in the future!
As I am wrapping up with our good news story today, If you want to learn more about this story, you can always visit iucnleadersforum.org. If you have a good news story to share with the public, please email us at .
Thank you Horace. I am pleased to announce that Horace will continue his internship with Citizens’ Climate Radio for another season. Horace is a recent graduate with B.A in Environmental Studies from the University of Michigan. He now lives in Chongqing, China and works for a hoisting machinery manufacturing company. In his spare time, Horace enjoys weightlifting, watching sports, nature sightseeing, and reading history
Our next Good News Story comes from COP28. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel cynical about these gatherings of nations, non-governmental organizations, and corporations. The process often feels convoluted and slow moving. Many young people express their extreme frustration and displeasure with the adults who are not doing enough to address the causes and impacts of climate change.
According to a Wall Street Journal article and many other news sources, this year’s COP has resulted in a historic step forward.
In an unprecedented move, nations have agreed for the first time to begin the transition away from fossil fuels. This historic decision marks a pivotal moment in our global climate narrative.
The United Arab Emirates, under the leadership of Sultan Al Jaber, has successfully brokered a compromise. This deal, born from all-night talks, is not just a statement but a robust action plan to hasten our journey towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
For the first time, a U.N. climate agreement explicitly calls for governments to cut back on all fossil fuels. This is a significant shift, especially considering the past resistance from major fossil fuel producers and rapidly developing nations.
In fact, this is the first time one of these agreements has actually included the words fossil fuels in them and I…
Tony: Coming through, coming through.
Peterson: Tony? Tony Buffusio
Tony: Yeah, this Tony Buffusio from the Bronx
Peterson: Um, great to see you, but I’m actually in the middle of telling a good news story.
Tony: HA! You call that good news?!?
Peterson: Well, Yeah, it is a step forward. It’s historic.
Tony: Oh yeah, I tried plain no-fat Greek yogurt for the first time this week, and it made me want to puke. A lot like this good news story of yours.
Peterson: You sound about as sour as that yogurt
Tony: Listen Peterson, this is a group that almost 30 years ago set themselves up with big plans to tackle greenhouse gas emissions leading to global warming. All this time and they finally said out loud what everyone already knew. Extracting and burning Fossil Fuels is the cause of climate change! I know slow and steady wins the race but this is like watching a snail moving through a pile of jello with two other snails on its back!
Peterson: I hear you. This decision hasn’t come without its critics. Some environmental groups worry about potential loopholes for the fossil fuel industry. But it’s important to acknowledge the strides taken, even as we recognize the journey ahead.
Tony: Sorry I’m not buying it
Peterson: Ok but what do you think we should do?
Tony: What do I think? I’ll tell you what I know. When people get off their butts and talk to their members of congress, it makes a difference. Not just one person. Not just a dozen, but thousands and thousands in every congressional district in the USA and beyond telling lawmakers we need smart solutions NOW.
Peterson: You mean like a CBAM?
Tony: Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. Exactly. You know when I first heard about CBAM I thought it had something to do with a holiday meal.
Peterson: What do you mean, like some imported food might now be available.
Tony: No, not that. It’s like when you sit down for a big Buffusio family meal. I eat so much, I can’t move. I get all gassy. I got to lossen my belt or put on sweatpants. It is my post-meal Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism.
But no, a CBAM is a fee placed on imports of goods that are carbon intensive. The EU is working on this right now. We need to get in that game.
Peterson: Yes, I hear you. There is a lot we can do without the UN or global agreements. The USA has vast power in the world.
Tony: That’s why we need to talk to the people who make the laws. They know it has to happen, and we have great solutions like CBAM, carbon fee & dividend, and permitting reform.
Peterson: And those ideas are really getting traction. More and more laws are being introduced by Republicans and Democrats.
Tony: So yeah, if you really want to become part of something historic, visit CCLUSA.org/action. Today you can do something significant, and you don’t even have to fly all the way across the world to do it!
Peterson: That website again is CCLUSA.org/action. Thank you, Tony for crashing my good news story.
Tony: Yeah well someone has to keep an eye on you.
Coming up: more good news PLUS I reveal big plans ahead for Citizens’ Climate Radio. Stay Tuned
Peterson: You already heard from Lily and Horace. Now we get Good News from Karina Taylee. But first congratulations are in order. Over the last year has been working on an accelerated Master’s degree in Global Strategic Communications with a certificate in Science Communications. This month she graduated and earned her degree!
Here is Karina with her good news story.
Karina: Hi everyone, I’m Karina with a good news story for you! I’m from Miami, FL and I grew up near the ocean. Protecting our seas is really important to me so I was really excited when I heard about the High Seas Treaty currently in the United Nations. The high seas are the parts of the ocean that are not controlled by any country. They cover two-thirds of the world’s oceans. How much of that do you think is protected? Surely two thirds of it, right? Maybe half? Actually, it’s only about 1% of that is currently protected.
Luckily, this treaty is trying to do something about that. If the treaty comes into effect, large parts of the ocean will gain protection from oil drilling and other damaging human activities. These regions will be kind of like gigantic National Parks, but in the ocean. The High Seas Treaty will also regulate how countries and companies take the ocean’s resources so they are used more equitably. Lastly, it will update how countries conduct environmental impact assessments.Essentially, there will be a new and improved way to record what’s happening in the high seas. The result? A big win for the ocean and its wildlife.
This treaty has been in the works for almost two decades! Last Spring, the UN finally decided on the terms of the agreement. It was then translated into the six official languages of the UN. Earlier this Fall, 76 countries and the European Union signed it! !That’s 103 countries and there’s still time for more countries to sign it!
Although these countries signed the High Seas Treaty, 60 nations still need to ratify it before comes into effect. Each country has a different ratification process, so it will take some time. Fortunately, the treaty performed way better than expected, and that makes me very optimistic.
This global commitment to protect the ocean shows that most of the world wants to see the high seas flourish. Personally, I’m excited that I get to keep enjoying the ocean here in Miami. I’m hopeful that future generations will have that same privilege.
Want to learn more about the latest status of The High Seas Treaty? Visit treaties.un.org I put this link in the show notes for you.
Peterson: Thank you, Karina. And before we end I have good news for you about Citizens’ Climate Radio. After 91 consecutive monthly episodes without missing a single month, we will take a very brief pause. In February we will start Season Two of Citizens’ Climate Radio. Yeah, I know 7 years is a very long season. In 2024 my team and I will also premiere two special limited series. Karina Taylee and I have been working on a Spanish language podcast called Voces del Cambio. In it we will highlight countries and regions in Latin America. We will explore a particular problem related to climate change and then share creative solutions that are proposed or enacted to address the problem. The show will be completely in Spanish. In each episode we will direct listeners to Climavivible.org. This is CCL’s Spanish language website. Voces del Cambio will air on a different podcast channel, and we will be sure to share those details when the show premieres.
The other limited series takes a wildly different approach to climate change. Team member Lily Russian inspired us to consider climate change as a crime and to explore it through the lens of a true crime podcast. I find the true crime genre so compelling. But climate change is huge! How on earth would we be able to investigate it as a crime? We decided to focus on a special and pivotal time in history from about 1997 to 2007. During this period there was a dramatic and dangerous shift in the US political landscape. There has been bipartisan agreement that global warming posed a genuine risk to humans and the planet. Many prominent figures on the right and the left took part in national campaigns to raise awareness. Then less than 10 years letter, everything changed. Suddenly half the lawmakers in the country refused to even acknowledge climate change was real. What happened? Who is responsible? Turns out the answers are not as straight-forward as you might imagine. Lily Russian, Horace Mo, and I have been investigating this story, and in 2024 we will release our limited True Crime Climate Change podcast! Plus we will continue to produce our monthly show with guests and topics that typically do not get covered by the media. We will continue to help you in your own climate work by giving you expert tips and insights to climate communication. We will highlight solutions, and most of all we will cheer you on as you do this vital work. Thank you for all you do.
AND If you have Good News to Share, we would love to hear about it. Please Email us . That is the correct email address. Radio at CitizensClimateLobby.org
Thank you for joining me for Episode 91 of Citizens’ Climate Radio
If you like what you hear, and you want to support the work we do, visit CitizensClimateEducation.org to learn how you make a tax deductible contribution.
Here at Citizens’ Climate Education, we want you to be effective in the climate work you do. So we provide training, local group meetings and many resources. They’re all designed to help you build the confidence and skills needed to pursue climate solutions. Find out how you can learn, grow, and connect with others who are engaged in meaningful work visit CCLusa.org, that’s CCLusa.org. We want to hear your feedback about this episode. After you listen, feel free to fill a short survey. You will find a link to the survey in our show notes, or just email me, radio @ citizensclimatelobby.org
Citizens’ Climate Radio is written and produced by me—Peterson Toscano along with the CCR Team: Karina Taylee, Lily Russian, and Horace Mo.. Other technical support come from Ricky Bradley and Brett Cease. Social media assistance from Flannery Winchester and Samantha Johnstone. Moral support from Madeline Para.
The music on today’s show comes from Epidemicsound.com.
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Citizens’ Climate Radio is a project of Citizens’ Climate Education.