Skip to content

Episode 93: What is Your Climate Change Role? 

Author, speaker, and activist Eileen Flanagan

Episode 93: What is Your Climate Change Role?

In this month’s episode of Citizens’ Climate Radio, Eileen Flanagan, a writer, social change teacher, Quaker, and activist, dives deep with host Peterson Toscano into four different roles people have traditionally taken in change movements. In addition, Erica Valdez and Horace Mo join Peterson for a vibrant discussion about their personal experiences in taking one of these roles. 

Finding Your Role 

In Eileen Flanagan’s words, the four recurring roles in change movements include rebels, advocates, organizers, and helpers. One of the best ways to understand these four roles is through their different orientations. Eileen says, “The helpers’ orientation is: what can I do to improve things without messing with the system?” She mentions climate change helpers who take the initiative to help insulate houses or help put solar panels on a neighbor’s roof. A helper also prepares food for events, provides rides for volunteer lobbyists, and donates money to a climate organization.  

Elieen further explains, “An advocate takes the role of trying to use the tools of the system to change things.” Advocates often capitalize on lobbying and lawsuits to convince elected officials and people in power to make decisions. 

In contrast, Eileen points out, 

Rebels use disruptive tactics. They don’t do letter writing; they don’t do lobbying. Instead, they protest of various kinds. In my tradition, we usually use nonviolent direct action, targeting a decision maker, maybe a corporation, and trying to get them to change a policy through consistent troublemaking. 

Lastly, she shares, “Organizers are the trickiest because they can use different tactics. But what makes someone an organizer is they are oriented toward their group, toward their community.” She says, “The focus of the organizer is what will our group do.” She then talks about the Montgomery Bus Boycott, when Rosa Parks not only played the rebel role but was also an organizer. 

Livehouse With Peterson, Horace, and Erica: 

If you are unsure which role best suits you, listen to the conversation between Peterson, Horace, and Erica. They reflect on their experiences playing change movement roles in their community. Erica shares her experience working as an organizer on and off campus at her university. Her role has helped her realize the significance of team effort and mutual trust. 

Horace speaks about volunteering to help a local, sustainable food organization hand out free vegan burgers to football attendants near a stadium. Being a helper opened him up to new ideas and further inspired him to continue such work.

Good News Story

Horace Mo in Chongqing shares a good news story about China’s new carbon trading regulations.

For China to regulate its National Emissions Trading System is a big step. Horace shares some of the details. The Chinese carbon trading regulation will go into effect starting May 1, 2024. Learn more about China’s ETS from the International Carbon Action Partnership

If you have a good news story to share, email radio @ or leave a message at our visiting voicemail line: (619) 512-9646‬

Nerd Corner

Citizens’ Climate’s Research Coordinator, Dana Nuccitelli, discusses the very geeky world of permitting reform. Dana highlights climate research (and makes it understandable) for fellow nerds and the nerd curious! Visit The Nerd Corner to see the Chart of the Week, regular posts, and an active forum to connect with other nerds. 

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 need help with what you can do, consider one of the following next steps.

Since the episode covered the topics of our role in the climate movement, you can take one of these online quizzes to learn more about yourself and your place in the world. 

1.  Podcast Engagement

  • We would love to hear your thoughts and personal experiences of taking one of the change movement roles! You are welcome to email us at radio @, or even join and chat with us on the show! You can also leave a voice mail (619) 512-9646‬.
  • Please 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. Read More About Eileen Flanagan

  • If you ever want to learn more about the four roles discussed by Eileen Flanagan, you can visit her website,, to learn about her published books, online lessons, and informative writings. 

3. 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 and follow them on Instagram @carbonfeeanddividend.

4. Citizens’ Climate Lobby National Youth Action Team (For Middle and High School Students)

5. Additional Climate Action Resource (For anyone at any time)

  • For those seeking more ways to take action and potentially find one of their change movement roles, you can explore the action page at

Listen Now!

Listener Survey:

We want to hear your feedback about this episode. After you listen, feel free to fill in this short survey. Your feedback will help us make new decisions about the content, guests, and style of the show. You can fill it out anonymously and answer whichever questions you like. You can also reach us by email:  

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on

Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or TikTok


Read the Transcript
Episode 93: What is Your Climate Change Role?


Peterson Toscano, Horace Mo, Eileen Flanagan, Erica Valdez, Dana Nuccitelli


Peterson Toscano  00:00

Hi there, and welcome to Citizens’ Climate Radio. This is your climate change podcast. In this show, we highlight people’s stories, we celebrate your successes, and together, we share strategies for discussing climate change. I’m your host, Peterson Toscano. Hey there. Welcome to Episode 93 of Citizens’ Climate Radio project of Citizens’ Climate Education. This episode is airing on Friday, March 22, 2024. 

Today, we’re going to consider the four roles changemakers traditionally take Are you an advocate, a helper, an organizer, or perhaps a rebel? Maybe you take on different roles in your work to address the causes and the impacts of climate change. Eileen Flanagan, a Quaker author, speaker and climate change, mover and shaker will explain the four rules for us. Then you’re going to hear a lively conversation I had with two of my team members. 

Peterson Toscano  01:00

Dana Nuccitelli gets super nerdy with us in the nerd corner. He’s geeking out over permitting reform. It’s also known as permitting modernization. Horace Mo joins us from Changqing, China, with good news about his country’s first carbon trading regulations. But first, I want to introduce you to our newest Citizens’ Climate Radio team member, Erica Valdez.

Erica Valdez  01:31

Have you ever heard of the Inland Empire? To other locals, this valley is a sweet spot of Southern California where you can spend time at the beach, the mountains, and the desert all in one day. To me the Inland Empire is the region I call home. Hi, everyone. My name is Eric about this. I’m a senior at Northern Arizona University majoring in environmental sustainability and minoring in Spanish and community engagement. Growing up in this beautiful part of California. I spent most of my childhood outdoors, whether at the beach, on camping trips, or on the streets in my neighborhood, staying connected to my surrounding environment became a habit. 

Erica Valdez  02:04

As I got older and some of my time outdoors was replaced by the news, I noticed everyone talking about climate change. Anchors use buzzwords like increasing temperatures and rising sea levels. They encouraged us to do our part by taking shorter showers and separating our recyclables. Looking back these concerns and recommendations were going in one ear and out the other not just for me, but for those around me. It wasn’t until I did some research and took a climate science class in high school that I realized how big of a problem this really was. My confusion quickly turned to curiosity and passion. 

Erica Valdez  02:38

Now, I study the environment in Flagstaff, Arizona, which is unlike the usual desert landscape that comes to mind. Instead, picture a small college town in the snowy mountains of Arizona. Here I’m grateful to have the Coconino National Forest in my backyard. While at school, I explore the surrounding land. I also enjoy relaxing in a hammock on campus. Oh, and I recently started bouldering, but I can’t say I’m the best at it. I also take advantage of living in the first Dark Sky City in the United States. Did you know that Flagstaff has very low light pollution? This means that the night sky is not polluted with any artificial light, and it makes for excellent stargazing. 

Erica Valdez  03:13

Here in northern Arizona, I’m able to recognize the importance of our environment just as I did as a kid in California, only things are a little different. Now, as I’ve watched shifts in our climate become more intense feelings of climate, Doom and anxiety have grown within me. I don’t know about you, but talking and even just thinking about climate change can exhaust me, but I refuse to let it overwhelm me. Because of these feelings. I just to learn how I can make an impact. I decided to pursue a degree in environmental sustainability. 

Erica Valdez  03:39

I’m committed to supporting others in this global conversation to communicate climate change in a way that encourages, not creates, fear or guilt. I want to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to connect with their environment as I did, and I’m very excited to do this through my work with Citizens’ Climate Radio.

Peterson Toscano  04:12

Thank you, Erica, and welcome aboard. In a moment, Erica Valdez will join Horace Mo and me for a spirited conversation about our roles in the climate movement. 

Peterson Toscano  04:25

None of us discovers our roles right away. And our roles do grow, change, and develop over time. So what about you? What’s your role on our rapidly changing planet? In 2017, we featured Eileen Flanagan it was for Episode Nine of this podcast. As the board chair of Earth Quaker Action Team or EQAT, Eileen led a successful effort to stop one of the largest banks in the United States from financing mountaintop removal coal mining leader. As the equate campaign director I, Eileen played a pivotal role in launching a global campaign against Vanguard. This is the largest investor in fossil fuels worldwide. Her dedication and leadership have made a significant impact on the fight against climate change. 

Peterson Toscano  05:14

So, I asked Eileen about the steps we can take to move the public and lawmakers to action. She answered, what do you know about the four roles most commonly taken on by changemakers? I was like that there are four of them. Lucky for you, Eileen will break them down for us. After I leave, one again explains the four roles. Erica Valdez, a college student studying change movements, will chat with me about the organizer role. This one is the hardest to explain. Erica goes into more detail for us and provides some very inspiring examples. Horace Mo will then jump into the conversation to tell us about the role that currently best suits him. Eileen told me about Bill Moyer. No, not the PBS personality. This Bill Moyer was an engineer who dove deep into social change movements. He then spent much of his life leading trainings around nonviolent direct action. He also identified and taught successful strategies for bringing about social change. Eileen shared with me some of Moyers’s teachings about the roles we might take when seeking to change the world around us. 

Eileen Flanagan  06:32

He found that four roles showed up over and over again. The names we’ve given them are helper, advocate, organizer, and rebel. They show up in all kinds of ways. And the way to think of it is really what is their orientation. 

Eileen Flanagan  06:49

So a helper’s orientation is, what can I do to make things better without messing with the system? So if you’re concerned about climate change, a helper might insulate their home, put solar panels on, maybe do that in their congregation, and try to live a low-carbon footprint life. That sort of thing would be attractive to someone who’s naturally a helper. 

Eileen Flanagan  07:12

An advocate takes the role of trying to use the tools of the system to change things. So lobbying, using lawsuits, trying to convince elected officials and people in power to make decisions, essentially using the tools of the system. 

Eileen Flanagan  07:30

In contrast, a rebel uses disruptive tactics, they don’t do letter writing, they don’t do lobbying. Instead, they do protests of various kinds. In my tradition, we usually use nonviolent direct action, targeting a decision maker, maybe a corporation, and trying to get them to change a policy through consistent troublemaking. The fourth role is called the organizer. 

Eileen Flanagan  07:54

And in some ways, the organizer is the trickiest because they can use different kinds of tactics. But the thing that makes someone an organizer is they are oriented toward their group toward their community. So, for example, someone who says, Let’s get our congregation together and see what we can do together about climate change. That’s a very organizer way of thinking about it. And the group might decide to insulate the church, or they might decide to go lobby together or they might take up a rebel tactic. The focus of the organizer is what will our group do? So this shows up again and again in different kinds of social change. 

Eileen Flanagan  08:36

If you think about the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rosa Parks was the rebel who got arrested for refusing to move on the bus. But there would have been a big thing if it hadn’t been for the woman who stayed up all night mimeograph thing, leaflets saying, let’s all both boycott the buses on Monday. She played the organizer role and got people out; the advocate role was played by the NAACP, which filed a lawsuit against the Montgomery bus system. And then helpers were the people who drove people; the ordinary citizens of Montgomery and the African American community walked to work for over a year in order to put pressure on the bus company; they wouldn’t have been able to do that without the helpers who came and gave people rides and things like that. 

Eileen Flanagan  09:21

One thing I found really helpful about the four roles is to realize that organizations play a niche, but then each organization needs, in some way, people who have these different strengths. So even though my group we have helpers, and they’re the people who bring cookies to the meeting, boy, are we glad that they’re part of us, right? If we do civil disobedience, we need people who are thinking about taking care of people and things like that. So there’s an individual level two, finding out what are your gifts and proclivities that you can bring to the movement. Organizations are most effective when they pick one. An organization that tries to play all four roles is likely less effective because they’re jumping around too much. 

Peterson Toscano  10:05

I love this conversation that Eileen Flanagan has started for us. And I think a lot about these roles. The rebel role is the one that some people think is the most obvious. I think it’s the hardest. There is one role, though, that I have a lot of questions about. And that’s the organizer’s role. I understand it, and I want to understand it better. So, to help me with that is our newest team member, Erica Valdez. Hey, Erica, how are you?

Erica Valdez  10:34

I’m good. Peterson,

Peterson Toscano  10:36

welcome to the show your very first time on Citizens’ Climate Radio.

Erica Valdez  10:40

Yes, I’m very excited to be here.

Peterson Toscano  10:41

So you’ve done some research for your studies. And you’ve looked at this organizer role, what can you share with me and with the listener to help us better understand this particular role?

Erica Valdez  10:54

Before I started my studies, I had no idea that the organizer role existed, and it was just very hard to digest. First, I want to point out that in the world of organizing, we constantly refer to this process called the cycle of organizing. To touch on some of the points that Eileen makes, we do look inward onto the group or into the group, we always start by connecting with the people. This could be those in the community, those in the group, or those just involved in our mission; we start by building relationships in order to identify the issues. And once we connect with these people involved, we can plan on how to support and sustain the group and build collective power. And then, organizers and their groups carry out the action; organizers use similar tactics to the other four roles that we talked about. But throughout this whole cycle, it’s very important to reflect and evaluate so we don’t lose sight of the group vision.

Peterson Toscano  11:46

The thing that I appreciate most about and understand the most about the organizer model is that the organizer is not a leader in a traditional hierarchical sense, but more like a facilitator. Am I getting that right?


Exactly. You’re right on point. Organizers use relational and collaborative spaces. They don’t just lead all alone; the extra tried to avoid one person leading and doing all the work because this could lead to potential burnout. I always ask people, have you ever had a group project and just taken the initiative to do all the work yourself? Yeah, it’s it’s very tiring. And I get over the work so fast. And this is what organizers try to avoid. Instead, they look for and identify the leaders. Yeah, they rarely lead the group alone.

Peterson Toscano  12:32

Can you give us any examples of like people in history that have done this kind of work?

Erica Valdez  12:39

There are so many examples throughout history that I could talk for days about, but one that stands out to me is Ella Baker. She’s a well known activist and grassroots organizer of the US United States Civil Rights Movement in the 50s and 60s. She advocated similarly to Luther King and Malcolm X, but she never prioritized being the face of the movement. Instead, she introduces this term called spadework, and in this context, refers to a spade as a gardening tool. It does a lot of the detail work to create these large, beautiful gardens, and she uses spadework to describe the behind-the-scenes, the nitty gritty work that keeps the momentum of the action, and often, this work is not seen or recognized. And through this, she prioritized building relationships and identifying the leaders in the movement so that it would outlast her. It was a really long-lasting movement. And she didn’t leave the group alone.

Peterson Toscano  13:36

It’s amazing. You mentioned Ella Baker because I just saw a movie, a biopic, that had her as one of the main characters. Really? Yeah, it’s this new movie on Netflix called Rustin, about Bayard Rustin, who was another organizer that many people never heard of because, like Ella Baker, he stayed behind the scenes. He also stayed behind the scenes, not just because he was an organizer, but because he was openly gay. At a time when that was really hard to be in it would have tanked the movement. So he stayed in the shadows in a way he organized the March on Washington, where Dr. King gave his famous speech, but he didn’t do it himself. He had a whole team of many young people that he helped to build that leadership to identify the leadership, just like you say. So, if anyone wants to see this in action, this movie Ruston is great because you see Ella Baker identifying Rustin as someone who needs to step up because he’s got great skills. And then you see him doing it, and it’s lovely to see it in action. And now that you explained all this, I’m like, oh, yeah, those organizers and organizer roles?

Yeah, those characteristics are the most admirable of the organizer role, and you can see it in so many people throughout history. 

Peterson Toscano  14:51

What about you in the work that you’ve done so far? What roles have you taken, and which ones fit you best?

Erica Valdez  15:00

Before studying community organizing, I, again had no idea that these roles existed and that like we could distinguish characteristics between them. After I started studying it, I realized that in my roles on campus and off campus, I realized I wasn’t putting these things into practice when leading these groups or just being involved in these groups, and those around me are often facing a lot of burnout, or initiatives stop moving forward, which is very, very common. If we’re not putting these things into practice, as an organizer now, and I consider myself a community organizer, I’ve learned the importance of building relationships and identifying leaders, evaluating the whole time. What am I doing wrong? What’s working? How can I support my group better? And this has made all the difference in the groups that I’m involved in.

Peterson Toscano  15:48

I want to bring another voice into this conversation from a completely other country and timezone. And for you listening. We’re recording this well in the United States early in the morning. What time is it by you there, Erica? Right now?

Erica Valdez  16:02

It’s aout 8am.


Peterson Toscano  16:04

It’s about 10 am here in Pennsylvania. Joining us from China, where it’s about midnight, I think, or later, is our very own Horace Mo. Hey, Horace. Hey, Peterson. Hey, I hear it’s an auspicious day over there.

Horace Mo  16:22

Yes, it is. Just for our listeners, you might hear firecrackers or fireworks going off right now. So my window actually, it’s the Chinese New Year, so I can really help with that everybody’s in a very joyful vibes. Yeah, let’s get to the topic. I really agree with what Eric has said about her experience as an organizer. And I think her sharings actually deepen my understanding of the work of being an organizer, even though I’ve never had that kind of experience before. It is really amazing work that organizers like you are doing for social good. I identify. myself as a helper, and for our audience to know the definition of her helper is given by Eileen is what I can do to make things better. This idea strikes me the most; it indicates doable action at an individual level. Whenever I can offer support, or whatever that is needed by other people, it almost always brings me a fulfilling feeling that I am valued, and it is touching to see people smiling back at me or when I offer whatever help that they actually are in need. And I enjoy this kind of interaction with people around me.

Peterson Toscano  17:40

I feel very much that I’m a helper to I definitely not an organizer for you, or is where have you been a helper? And how have you shown yourself to be a helper?

Horace Mo  17:53

When I was announced grad at the University of Michigan, I actually volunteered for a local sustainable food organization. One idea was simple. The organization needed people to help them hand out free vegan burgers, which were so delicious. By the way, I once had three burgers for the organization just for breakfast. They tried to give away free vegan burgers to promote their brand. But the most important thing is to get people interested in vegan burgers, which are great alternatives to meat-based burgers. For our listeners. Gosh, if you’re listening to this, and you have not tried a vegan-based burger before, I strongly suggest you try out a vegan burger, which tastes almost exactly the same as meat-based burgers; they set up a booth by the football stadium, one of those college football game days. And I just helped them hand out those free vegan burgers to the fans who are going to the tailgate parties. It’s a simple task, I am confident that most people are able to handle burgers.


It’s super difficult to remember how important these little tasks are. And they can just sometimes get muddled and forgotten in the big picture. Not everyone needs to be an Ella Baker in order to make a difference. It’s these little tasks that everyone is able to do that make a very big difference in whatever mission we’re trying to accomplish. 

Peterson Toscano  19:19

Yeah, and so often food is part of it, right preparing sandwiches or giving them out? The thing that I have found that I’m so pleased with is that I’m an introvert, so I’m super shy around people, which a lot of people don’t think about because, you know, I’m very engaged on the radio. I really struggle unless I have a role, and once I have a role, and it might be handing out vegan burgers or teaching or something, I feel much more confident and able to move within society because I’ve got a specific role to do. ,

Horace Mo  19:52

Yeah absolutely. I also consider myself an introvert I am now that type of person who can speak a lot or Just speak loudly in front of the public or in front of a lot of strangers. Handing out vegan based burgers is such a, just a cost surmise task for me to do, because they just feel relieved, but also value at the same time that I can contribute to a community work that I enjoy doing.

Peterson Toscano  20:19

I don’t know Erica, I’m starting to get a little suspicious that horse is working for “big vegan.”

Erica Valdez  20:26

It’s advocating for him.

Horace Mo  20:28

I mean, I’m not gonna lie, I just got to be frankie. That kind of opened the door for me. You know, when I was a helper for that organization, I also became a learner; I learned about the nutrients of those vegan-based burgers and what is the process of making those burgers. What are the gradients of those burgers? And what’s the difference between those vegan-based burgers, meat-based burgers, and especially the impact on our environment and the welfare of the animal so freakin based burgers, I guess, measured before? They’re so good. You have to try this. We haven’t? ,

Peterson Toscano  21:04

Yeah you keep pushing this? Yeah, I know. I don’t know, every time you get like a quarter every time you pay $1? Every time you see that, I wonder. But you know, as you’re saying this, like you went in to do this as a helper. And then you learn something. And I imagine you also got to know some people. And that’s the other thing that I think it’s important. When we’re looking to change the world, or change a law or change a system, we may not always be successful. In fact, often we’re not, we may have limited success at first, and it takes time. But other changes happen, changes with relationships, and people get to know each other, and you and your network, and you find out about other groups, and you learn other things. And that’s part of the change movement as well, not just the win, or the lose, but the building of the community.

Erica Valdez  21:51

Yeah, and that’s why I love the relational aspect of all of these roles. It creates a community that even if you try and fail, you’re trying and failing together, and it might spark a new initiative, it might, again, help us network in order to just get new ideas and bounce off of each other and create collaborative spaces. And that’s, that’s what I love about this work.

Peterson Toscano  22:12

Or is other than pushing vegan burgers, or is there anything else you want to add?

Horace Mo  22:16

I have to give a disclaimer: I did not get paid for selling or promoting vegan-based burgers. Yeah, I definitely echo what you said about being an organizer. People like you also need helpers like me, and we helpers also look up to you. We just might need that kind of person who can who can gather people together and come up with a blog to plan that we can work on something together. Each row that is played by either a helper or an organizer is equally important, together that will foster a very reciprocal relationship, which will definitely help people struggle for the same go, you know, proper and efficient way.

Peterson Toscano  22:59

So for you listening, what about you? Are you a helper, an advocate and organizer, or rebel? Are you part of an organization that may be an advocate organization, but within it, you’re not an advocate; you’re a helper or an organizer? We really would love to hear what you have to say. Feel free to send us an email radio at, and we’ll get back to you. if you want, you could actually be on the air to share some of your ideas. That email address again is radio at citizens. Erica aurus thank you so much for being on the show today and for helping so much with the production of Citizens’ Climate Radio. 

Horace Mo  23:43

Thank you, Peterson.

Erica Valdez  23:45

Yeah, thank you super happy to be here.

Peterson Toscano  23:48

This episode of Citizens’ Climate Radio has been brought to you by Horace’s Vegan Burgers.

Horace Mo  23:57

I appreciate it.

Peterson Toscano  24:00

That was Horace Mo and Erica Valdez, members of the Citizens’ Climate Radio team. You also heard Quaker, author, speaker, and climate activist Eileen Flanagan. To learn more about islands books and online workshops, visit Eileen In our show notes, I have links to other resources. I’ve even included online quizzes you can take to better understand yourself and the roles you play in society. Visit CCL That’s CCL Now it is time for the nerd corner.

Dana Nuccitelli  24:44

Hi, I’m Dana Nuccitelli. CCL research coordinator, and this is the nerd corner. I’m here to highlight some interesting new climate research for the nerds out there and to make it understandable for the nerd curious. In this episode, we consider the question What exactly is permitting reform? And why is it so important? 

Dana Nuccitelli  25:04

A permit is how a local state or federal government gives the go ahead to start a new construction project. During the permitting process, the government makes sure that the construction and operation of the project won’t unduly harm workers, the local community or the environment. That’s an important process. But permitting adds time and expense to projects of all kinds. So it’s important to strike the right balance. 

Dana Nuccitelli  25:27

We want the permitting process to be thorough but not take so long that it delays that critical clean energy transition. Right now, the permitting process is taking so long that if we don’t make it more efficient, we won’t be able to meet our national climate commitments. electrical transmission lines are particularly important because they’re needed to connect more cheap and clean solar and wind energy to the electrical grid. But new transmission lines currently take about a decade to permit and build, which is just too slow. 

Dana Nuccitelli  25:57

One helpful bill that CCL has advocated for is called the Big Wires Act; it would require each region of the country to build more transmission lines connecting to their neighboring regions. A new report from MIT found that big wires would bring a lot of benefits, it would reduce climate and air pollution by allowing more clean solar and wind energy to be built and connected to the grid. It would reduce costs by allowing regions to share that cheap, clean energy with their neighbors. And it would also reduce blackouts by allowing regions to import extra electricity from their neighbors when their own power plants go down. 

Dana Nuccitelli  26:32

For example, due to an extreme weather event, passing the Big Wires Act would be a great situation for the country. It’s also important that in the process of streamlining permitting, we don’t cut out the input of communities that will be directly affected by these infrastructure projects. But by taking steps to improve early community involvement, we can actually reduce overall project timelines by avoiding the need for time-consuming lawsuits. We just need to make sure that permanent reform is done right. And that’s what CCL is working on. I’m Dana Nuccitelli. With the nerd corner. Thank you for being curious and for your commitment to climate progress. To join the discussion about climate science, technology, Economics, and Policy with the CCL research team, check out the nerd corner at CCL That CCL I hope to see you there.

Peterson Toscano  27:30

Thanks so much, Dana. If you have a question for Dana, email us radio @ citizens We will make sure he gets it. Visit CCL to see the chart of the week, regular blog posts, and an active forum where you can connect with other nerds.

Peterson Toscano  27:57

Now it’s time for our good news story with Horace Mo.

Horace Mo  28:04

Hi, this is your one and only Chinese correspondent, Horace, speaking. Today’s good news comes from China. Yes, you heard it right. The largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world just released its first carbon trading regulations. It is a groundbreaking step for China to regulate its national emissions trading system aka the ETS. Now, a little historical background about the ETS for you, the ETS was officially launched back in 2021. To reduce emissions from the power sector. 

Horace Mo  28:42

The ETS emerged more than 15 years after the European Union launched the world’s first international carbon trading market. So late to the carbon trading party, the ETS will likely become the largest carbon trading market in the world. In my opinion, the newly released carbon trading regulation functions in two important ways. First, it designates the Ministry of Ecology and Environment to supervise ETS; the ministry will set a carbon emission threshold for electricity generation companies and create a plan to allocate emission allowances. Second and most importantly, the regulation will increase the violation penalties. 

Horace Mo  29:22

The minimum penalty will start at 500 South, and the Chinese yen will really isolated. I mean, the numbers sound a lot, right? Well, it actually cost 70,000 US dollars. For a big electricity generation company. This is not much but if the company got caught in violation, it must forfeit all illegal gains. The company will also be fined between five and 10 times those gains. Under this mechanism, the number will surely rise high. The Chinese carbon trading regulation will go into effect starting May 1, 2024. 

Horace Mo  29:59

While hearing so many promising aspects about the regulation like me, you might ponder the loopholes within the ETs that the regulation does not address. Currently, the ETS only covers electricity generation companies. Ultimately, though, the plan is to include companies from other heavily emitting sectors. In addition, there is still uncertainty about how China’s national emissions trading system could be fully implemented. If the program fails to deliver its promise, the consequences might curb China’s progress in slashing national carbon emissions. But, in general, this first carbon trading regulation sets a milestone for China’s effort in addressing climate change. The regulation manifests China’s determination to achieve its dual carbon goals, that is, to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Therefore, with more years to come, let us hope and believe that China will fulfill its grand carbon goals and help the world shift to a greener future.

Peterson Toscano  31:16

Thank you, Horace. If you want to share a good news story with us, please email radio at citizens That’s radio at citizens 

Peterson Toscano  31:28

We’ve been talking about roles, and what role you play I play in this climate work. And you may be thinking, you know what I need to deepen my climate work. If you’re looking for action steps visit our action page at CCL In our show notes, or is put together an excellent list of other action steps you might consider. We also have some personality quizzes, a full transcript of today’s show, and much more. Visit CCL, CCL 

Peterson Toscano  32:05

Next month, Elizabeth Rush, author of The Quickening Creation and Community at the Ends of the Earth, will tell us about her 52-day voyage in Antarctica. Brett Cease from CCL will chime in to tell us about the sights, sounds, and disgusting smells he experienced on his trip to Antarctica. Plus, you will hear the story of an artist who worked with hundreds of children to create a life-sized whale made out of plastic bags. They successfully connected that art project to propose a ban on plastic shopping bags. Stay tuned for next month’s episode. It’s episode 94. 

Peterson Toscano  32:46

Thank you so much for joining me, Erica, and Horace for this episode of Citizens’ Climate Radio. Many thanks to everyone who has been reposting what we share on social media. In fact, I will give a shout-out to some faithful followers. Many thanks to the following CCL chapters: Silicon Valley North San Diego, Boulder, Colorado, and CCL Arkansas. Thanks also to James Bradford, the third America’s future Michael Cooper, and the group known as 1.5. 

Peterson Toscano  33:17

You can follow us on Instagram, X, LinkedIn, Facebook, and TikTok, and feel free to repost anything you see. We’re very happy when that happens. Our listener voicemail line is 619-512-9846 plus one if you’re calling from outside the USA. That number again is 619-512-9646

Peterson Toscano  33:43

This episode of Citizens’ Climate Radio has been written and produced by me, Peterson Toscano, and the CCR team. Horace Mo, Erica Valdez and Dana Nuccitelli. Other technical support comes from Ricky Bradley and Brett Cease. Social Media assistance comes from Flannery Winchester. Moral support comes from Madeline Para, who just had a birthday. The music on today’s show comes from 

Peterson Toscano  34:11

Please share Citizens’ Climate Radio with your friends and your followers. Visit CCL To see our show notes and find links to our guests. Citizens’ Climate Radio is a project of Citizens’ Climate Education.