By The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment
Fahrenheit 140Oct 25, 2022
Individual Action Can Make A BIG Difference In Tackling Climate Change
Climate change is one of the greatest environmental challenges the world has ever faced. What can you do? A whole lot, as it turns out. Hosts Robert Mace and Carrie Thompson speak with Dr. Thomas Ptak, an Assistant Geography Professor at Texas State University, about the daily choices the average person can take to make a big difference in fighting climate change. In this episode, our hosts cover several topics:Armadillos are invading Illinois to take advantage of the wetter climate (3:29) Texas is in an energy revolution and we are adapting in cost-effective ways, there are days when wind power accounts for 50% of the state’s energy source (7:02) New Zealand is looking to tax cow and sheep burps – nearly half of the country’s emissions are methane from agriculture (and cow and sheep burps) (10:28) A study that tracked 7 million sleep records found that where the temperatures are higher, people are losing hours of sleep (13:04) There's been a fivefold increase in burned acres from 2 million in 1985 to 10 million in 2020 (14:46) Texas ranked as the most natural disaster-prone state in the country, with 368 disasters since 1953 (20:01)
An interview with Dr. Thomas Ptak:Get involved in local issues – most cities have a climate initiative (26:23) Food has an impact on carbon emissions – we can make choices based on the carbon intensity of various foods (27:02) Be conscious about energy practices like passive heating or cooling, closing your blinds, and turning up the thermostat can have a major impact on the energy grid (27:31) We can all ride a bike, walk, and not use single-use plastics – collectively they have a huge impact, but we have to feel empowered about our contributions (28:54) Disinformation plays a huge role in people feeling that they're not really connected to the problem of climate change (30:11) Climate change is complex and the reporting about skepticism is very sophisticated, so people not working in this space can have a hard time making the distinction between human-induced climate change and what is naturally occurring (31:13) If you want to feel empowered about climate change, look at cities across the U.S. who have made pledges to go 100% carbon neutral as a result of bringing concerns to their local representatives (39:48) Fighting climate change will take everyone's skills, whatever they are, to develop holistic solutions (43:41)
Along with some feel-good stories to leave you inspired, like:Austin Water unveiled OSCAR and CLARA, which is expected to reduce the building's potable water use by up to 75% UK started piloting a 32-hour work week, which is estimated to cut emissions by 20%
Articles Mentioned in this Episode:Armadillos have arrived in downstate Illinois and are heading north Chicago Tribune The Temp Is the Least Surprising Part of the Texas Heat Wave Bloomberg New Zealand proposes to tax farmers for livestock burps Down To Earth The average person’s daily choices can still make a big difference in fighting climate change – and getting governments and utilities to tackle it, too The Conversation
The Urban & Rural Land Climate Connection
Farmers, ranchers, and landowners increasingly experience the impacts of climate change as severe storms, floods, drought, and wildfire damage their operations and impact their livelihoods. Hosts Robert Mace and Carrie Thompson speak with Kristy Oates, State Conservationist for the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), about working with private landowners to develop conservation (and climate) solutions that support rural Texans.
In this episode, our hosts cover several topics:Drought is causing low flows & high bacteria levels in many spring-fed systems across Texas (1:13) Texas could face its 3rd year of La Niña weather conditions (03:45) Meadows Center’s new research project will help prepare Texas for climate change (5:47) Global warming is causing fewer tropical cyclones (11:49) Texas co. teams up with a Harvard scientist to combat climate change by reviving the woolly mammoth (16:21) Nestlé cut greenhouse gases by 4 million tons since 2018 (19:39)
An interview with Kristy Oates:Leads conservation services operations within Texas for NRCS (23:59) NRCS works in every county across Texas to provide private landowners with services to get conservation on the ground (26:15) Offers science-based solutions & targeted conservation practices to help landowners mitigate climate change (28:14) Many conservation practices offered by NRCS play an integral role in carbon storage & climate mitigation (30:27) Dust Bowl was the catalyst for the creation of NRCS (31:07) Helps landowners build conservation & drought management plans & also offers financial assistance (34:19) Rural & urban lands are interconnected; urban areas rely on rural areas to meet their demands for food, water, etc. (41:45) NRCS is voluntary, not regulatory – all management decisions are ultimately up to the landowner (44:34)/li> Advice for engaging landowners in the “conservation conversation” (48:00)
Along with some feel-good stories to leave you inspired, like:A rare coffee bean species, stenophylla, is resilient to a hot and dry climate (54:34) Scientists are experimenting with transplanting heat tolerant reef-making species into the Great Barrier Reef (57:26) Cities are enacting building performance standards to save energy, water, and money (01:00:41)
Articles Mentioned in this Episode:Federally funded study will examine how climate change is impacting Texas water (SA Report) Global Warming Causes Fewer Tropical Cyclones (Scientific American) Texas company, Harvard scientist hope to combat climate change by reviving the woolly mammoth (CBS) Nestlé Has Cut Greenhouse Gases by 4 Million Tons Since 2018. How? (Environmental Leader) To survive climate change, coffee must embrace new and resilient beans (Washington Post) Scientists Learning How To Help Coral Reefs (AAAS)
An Aspiring Climate Scientist
What does an older member of Generation Z think about climate change? How does improving climate literacy and finding a balance between scale and individual engagement help tackle these challenges? Hosts Robert Mace and Carrie Thompson speak with Nicolas Tarasewicz, who has been working at the Meadows Center as a Climate Change Program Associate, about his thoughts and perspective on the climate crisis as he prepares to embark on his Ph.D.
In this episode, our hosts cover several topics:Three things Robert learned about geothermal power production, Climeworks, and groundwater on a recent vacation to Iceland [4:28], Talking about the three latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the balance between policy and science [15:00], The threat of a mega-drought compared to extended drought in Texas and its consequences on water planning [27:35], Soaring records of methane emissions in 2021 [31:00],
An Interview with Nicolas Tarasewicz:Introduction and brief background [34:14], How growing up in a small mountain town sparked an interest in nature [36:50], Being introduced to the field of geography and studying in Sweden [41:43], Moving to Texas [46:00], Future PhD work and explaining climate refugia [48:17], A Gen Z perspective on climate [52:50], Climate literacy and action empowerment [1:04:21], Coming to the Meadow’s Center and lessons learned [1:06:50],
Along with some feel-good stories to leave you inspired, like:Texas’ progress and potential to achieve net-zero by 2050 [1:170:38], How changes made at home can help us meet climate goals [1:20:31],
Articles Mentioned in this Episode:Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis (IPCC Sixth Assessment Report I), Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability(IPCC Sixth Assessment Report II), Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change (IPCC Sixth Assessment Report III), Technology to reverse climate change(Climeworks), Texas Can Get to Net-Zero by 2050 and Simultaneously Bolster the Economy (UT Austin), Climate change: IPCC scientists say it's 'now or never' to limit warming(BBC News), Climatologist says future megadrought could harm Lake Travis area(Community Impact Newspaper), Methane emissions jumped by record amount in 2021, NOAA says(The Washington Post), How going electric lets homeowners help slow climate change (PBS)
Put it Back
What is carbon capture and sequestration? How can this process help reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel energy production? What does this process have in common with mayonnaise sandwiches and Rice Krispies? Hosts Robert Mace and Carrie Thompson speak with Senior Research Scientist Dr. Sue Hovorka from the University of Texas at Austin and learn about her work answering these questions and their application in Texas.
In this episode, our hosts cover several topics:Robert shares a new word he learned from a meme! [1:15] China's climate policies track record in meeting climate goals [2:39] Facing the reality of how most of the world's cumulative greenhouse gas emissions have occurred in just the last ten years [6:22] The positive effect teleworking and traveling less had on Europe's emissions in 2020 [7:45] How Texas cattle ranchers can improve carbon sequestration and water quality [11:46] Study shows climate change has made Texas allergies worse faster than anywhere else in U.S. [15:12] San Antonio's new pilot project to reduce the urban heat island effect [17:50] The potential of adding a new label on foods signifying items with lower carbon footprints and a climatarian diet [22:10]
An Interview with Dr. Sue Hovorka:Her transition into working on climate change mitigation [27:06] Defining carbon capture and storage and what CO2 sequestration is [30:06] The process of capturing “stack gas” to prevent it going into the atmosphere [31:12] More detail about the transportation and injection of carbon into sedimentary rock layers [35:53] How captured carbon will be stored for 1,000s of years to help the climate re-stabilize [39:52] Clearing up misconceptions about how carbon capture and sequestration is different from fracking [42:20] Texas is one of the world’s biggest fossil fuel producers but also has the perfect geology for carbon capture [48:24] How capillary forces trap carbon in microscopic pores within subsurface layers [57:05] Call your energy companies and ask them if they are decarbonizing [1:00:00]
Along with some feel-good stories to leave you inspired, like:While we will likely fail to meet the 1.5 °C target, we are currently on track to staying below 2.5 °C [1:03:18] Perfect gifts to give that also fight climate change this holiday season [1:08:33]
Articles Mentioned:China is doing more than you think for climate change – still not enough -The Conversation 15% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions occurred in the past decade -Washington Post UN generated 25% fewer greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 -UN News How cattle ranchers can combat climate change -Express News Climate change making Texas allergies worse -KXAN Cooler pavement coming to San Antonio streets -Fox 29 Holiday Gifts To Fight Climate Change -Time
Texas Climate Predictions and Potty Training Cows
What weather extremes can Texans expect to see into 2036? How can we prepare for the intensifying natural disasters that Texas is experiencing? Hosts Robert Mace and Carrie Thompson talk with Texas State Climatologist Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon to get the answers to these questions and discuss findings from his latest report on future climate trends in Texas.
In this episode, our hosts cover several topics:Acknowledging the role of methane emissions in climate change and how Texas contributes to them [3:50] How Iceland is leading the world in active carbon capture technology [8:06] Why climate change education needs to go beyond the science classroom [11:58] The importance of potty-training cows to greatly reduce nitrous oxide emissions [16:30]
An interview with Dr. Nielsen-Gammon:Overview of his latest report “Assessment of Historic and Future Trends of Extreme Weather in Texas” [25:12] Clarifying the attribution between cold snaps and climate change—warming means they can be more frequent but less cold over time [26:42] What the data says about Texas getting warmer, with the state already experiencing an increase in 100-degree days [29:02] An explanation behind the term “one-degree change” [31:17] As long-term precipitation changes, drought severity is predicted to increase in Texas [35:07] There will be more flooding in Texas [38:18] Austin is not prepared for future flood events - preparation is currently based on historical records, not future predictions [41:40] There will be fewer hurricanes in the future, but the ones we experience may be more severe [45:02] The compound effects of drought validate the trends shown by climate models, and that East Texas is at a greater risk of more wildfires [47:09] An explanation of everything involved in the role of State Climatologist [53:50]
Along with some feel-good stories to leave you inspired, like:Jane Fonda’s call to action in her latest book What Can I Do? with steps to take against climate change [57:35] China’s recent commitment to cease investing in new coal power projects overseas [1:02:36] And a poem by Typewriter Rodeo [1:06:03]
Articles MentionedClimate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis(IPCC) Carbon gets the headlines. But Texas' methane emissions are root cause.(Houston Chronicle) The world’s biggest carbon-sucking machine is switching on in Iceland (Quartz) Why it’s a mistake to teach climate change only in science class (Washington Post) Researchers Potty Trained Young Cows to Reduce Greenhouse Gases (Smithsonian) Jane Fonda. What can I do?: My Path from climate despair to action. (Random House Large Print) In climate pledge, Xi says China will not build new coal-fired (Reuters)
Setting the (Water) Table
Welcome to the first episode of Fahrenheit 140! On this debut show, hosts Robert Mace and Carrie Thompson share their background, the experiences that lead them to careers in water, and why they started the Fahrenheit 140 podcast.
In this episode, our hosts cover several topics including:How this podcast can help your understanding of climate change [10:10] The role that partisanship, and even certain types of weather, play in people’s beliefs about climate change [25:25] From coffee beans to retirement savings – a look at some unlikely economic and financial impacts brought on by climate change [33:02] Different perspectives on government investment in infrastructure and agricultural incentives [36:22] Megadrought plaguing the American Southwest is predicted to last several decades [38:30] Farmers are turning the tide to join the fight against climate change [40:57]
Along with some feel good stories to leave you inspired, like:Texas A&M University finding a probiotic soil technology that can reduce nitrous oxide emissions by as much as 77% in some crops [44:30] Individual actions that everyone can take to help fight climate change [48:45]
Articles Mentioned in this Episode:How will the West solve a water crisis if climate change continues to get worse? (ABC) Climate change: Science failed to predict flood and heat intensity (Yahoo!) Climate scientists shocked by scale of floods in Germany (The Guardian) The Dust Bowl Offers Key Climate Change Lessons for the U.S. (Teen Vogue) Animal Doctor: Climate change harming farm animals (Tulsa World) Extreme weather no guarantee of support for climate action (The Bulletin) The Dust Bowl Offers Key Climate Change Lessons for the U.S. (The Guardian) Why climate change threatens your retirement savings (CBS) Mismatch in supply and demand sends coffee prices higher (Marketplace) Farmers like me want to join fight against climate change. But we need help. (CNN) The device that reverses CO2 emissions (BBC) Leading Agricultural Research Universities Show Substantial Reductions in Nitrous Oxide Emissions with Rhizolizer® Duo Soil Probiotic Technology (PR.com) In Fighting Climate Change, What’s an Individual to Do? (New York Times)