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This year is shaping up to either match or surpass 2023 as the hottest year on record.

Global temperatures have been exceptionally high over the past three months – at around 1.6C above pre-industrial levels – following the peak of current El Niño event at the start of 2024.

The past 10 months have all set new all-time monthly temperature records, though the margin by which new records have been set has fallen from around 0.3C last year to 0.1C over the first three months of 2024.

April 2024 is on track to extend this streak to 11 record months in a row.

The first quarter of this year has seen record-high global temperatures across vast swathes of the planet, including in the tropical Atlantic and western Pacific oceans, much of South America, Central Africa, the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.

Based on the year so far and the current El Niño forecast, Carbon Brief estimates that global temperatures in 2024 are likely to average out at around 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Although precise predictions are difficult so early in the year, Carbon Brief’s projection suggests that 2024 is virtually certain to be either the warmest or second-warmest year on record.

Global temperatures continue setting records

The first three months of 2024 have each set a new record, buoyed by the peak of El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific.

This short-term natural variability builds on top of the roughly 1.3C warming that has occurred since the mid-1800s due to human emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

The figure below shows how global temperature so far in 2024 (purple line) compares to each month in different years since 1940 (with lines coloured by the decade in which they occurred) in the Copernicus/ECMWF ERA5 surface temperature dataset.

Temperatures for each month from 1940 to 2024 from Copernicus/ECMWF ERA5. Anomalies plotted with respect to a 1850-1900 baseline. Chart by Carbon Brief.

Temperatures for each month from 1940 to 2024 from Copernicus/ECMWF ERA5. Anomalies plotted with respect to a 1850-1900 baseline. Chart by Carbon Brief.

Every month from June 2023 onward – 10 months in a row – have set a clear record. The past three months have each been around 0.1C warmer than the prior record set during the 2016 super El Niño event.

In this latest quarterly state of the climate assessment, Carbon Brief analyses records from five different research groups that report global surface temperature records: NASA, NOAA, Met Office Hadley Centre/UEA, Berkeley Earth and Copernicus/ECMWF.

The figure below shows the annual temperatures from each of these groups since 1970, along with the average over the first three months of 2024. (Note: at the time of writing, March data was not yet available for the Hadley/UEA record.)

Annual global mean surface temperatures from NASA GISTEMP, NOAA GlobalTemp, Hadley/UEA HadCRUT5, Berkeley Earth and Copernicus/ECMWF (lines), along with 2024 temperatures so far (January-March, coloured dots). Anomalies plotted with respect to the 1981-2010 period, and shown relative to pre-industrial based on the average pre-industrial temperatures in the Hadley/UEA, NOAA and Berkeley datasets that extend back to 1850. Chart by Carbon Brief.

Annual global mean surface temperatures from NASA GISTEMP, NOAA GlobalTemp, Hadley/UEA HadCRUT5, Berkeley Earth and Copernicus/ECMWF (lines), along with 2024 temperatures so far (January-March, coloured dots). Anomalies plotted with respect to the 1981-2010 period, and shown relative to pre-industrial based on the average pre-industrial temperatures in the Hadley/UEA, NOAA and Berkeley datasets that extend back to 1850. Chart by Carbon Brief.

The globe, as a whole, has warmed around 1C since 1970, with strong agreement between different global temperature records. However, there are larger differences between temperature records further back in time (particularly pre-1900) due to sparser observations and a resulting greater sensitivity to how gaps between measurements are filled in.

All show that the average global temperature for 2024 so far is higher than any prior annual record. However, the first quarter of 2024 is unlikely to end up being representative of the year as a whole due to the fading of El Niño conditions and the expectation of a developing La Niña event later in the year.

Record global daily temperatures

The figure below shows daily temperature data from the Copernicus/ECMWF ERA5 record for 2024 (purple line), 2023 (red line) and 1940-2022 (grey lines).

It highlights that April 2024 is on track to continue the streak of record warm months, with most of the individual days of the month so far setting a new daily record for the time of year.

Temperatures for each month from 1940 to 2024 from Copernicus/ECMWF ERA5. Anomalies plotted with respect to a 1850-1900 baseline. Chart by Carbon Brief.

Daily global temperatures from 1940 to present (20 April 2024) from Copernicus/ECMWF ERA5, with daily values for each year plotted as a separate line. The colours indicate 2024 (purple), 2023 (red) and all other years (grey). Anomalies plotted with respect to a 1850-1900 baseline. Chart by Carbon Brief.

The chart below shows an alternative visualisation, with daily temperatures shown by colours ranging from blue (-2C) to red (+2C), with the pre-industrial average (1850-1900) set to 0C. The figure below shows each day since 1940 in the Copernicus/ECMWF ERA5 dataset.

How daily global temperatures have warmed since 1940
Heat map of daily temperatures for each day from 1940 to present (April 20th, 2024) from Copernicus/ECMWF ERA5. Anomalies plotted with respect to a 1850-1900 baseline. Chart by Carbon Brief.

It is notable that almost every day over the past 50 years has seen temperatures higher than pre-industrial levels, with both 2023 and 2024 so far showing up as particularly warm compared to any prior years in the record.

El Niño boosting human-caused warming

Global temperatures have been buoyed in recent months by a strong El Niño event. However, this event has peaked and is expected to transition into La Niña conditions in the latter part of the year.

The figure below shows a range of different forecast models for the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) for the rest of this year, produced by different scientific groups. The values shown are sea surface temperature variations in the tropical Pacific – the El Niño 3.4 region – for overlapping three-month periods.

Model predictions of ENSO from April 2024
El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) forecast models for overlapping three-month periods in the Niño3.4 region (December, January, February – DJF – and so on) for the remainder of 2024. Credit: Images provided by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University Climate School

Virtually all models expect El Niño conditions to fade rapidly and be replaced by La Niña conditions by late summer. Most models project a moderate La Niña (<-0.5C Niño 3.4 sea surface temperature – SST – anomaly) to develop by the end of the year.

Early predictions for a warm 2024

Historically, the highest global surface temperatures have occurred after an El Niño has peaked at the start of the year.

This happened in both of the last two major El Niño events, in 1998 and 2016, which were notably warmer than the prior years (1997 and 2015) during which their respective El Niño events developed.

However, 2023 was highly unusual. It showed global temperatures more akin to what we would expect after El Niño peaks, rather than while it is still developing.

Annual temperatures ended up well outside of the range that all of the different scientific groups projected at the start of the year. There is still no agreed explanation for the extreme warmth, particularly in the latter half of the year.

The figure below shows the record margin (red bars) – the amount that global average temperatures surpassed the prior monthly temperature record – in each month of over the past year.

Summer and autumn 2023 saw records being set by large margins: 0.5C in September, 0.4C in October and 0.3C in July, August, November and December.

Margin by which new monthly temperature records have been set over the past 12 months. Using data from Copernicus/ECMWF ERA5. Chart by Carbon Brief.

Margin by which new monthly temperature records have been set over the past 12 months. Using data from Copernicus/ECMWF ERA5. Chart by Carbon Brief.

The past three months have seen new records set by only around 0.1C. The prior records for January, February, and March were set in 2016, and given the rate of warming since then we would expect new records to be set by about 0.1C in the year after El Niño peaks. If this year follows the trajectory of 2016, we would expect global temperatures to start falling over the coming months.

However, the fact that the exceptional warmth of 2023 remains largely unexplained raises questions about whether the past will be a good guide for what 2024 has in store. If the latter half of 2024 ends up similar to 2023, there is a worry that we might be entering what has been described as “uncharted territory” for the climate.

As NASA’s Dr Gavin Schmidt noted in a recent Nature commentary:

“If the anomaly does not stabilise by August – a reasonable expectation based on previous El Niño events – then the world will be in uncharted territory. It could imply that a warming planet is already fundamentally altering how the climate system operates, much sooner than scientists had anticipated. It could also mean that statistical inferences based on past events are less reliable than we thought, adding more uncertainty to seasonal predictions of droughts and rainfall patterns.”

By looking at the relationship between the first three months and the annual temperatures for every year since 1970 – as well as ENSO conditions for the first three months of the year and the projected development of El Niño conditions for the remaining nine months – Carbon Brief has created a projection of what the final global average temperature for 2024 will likely turn out to be.

The analysis includes the estimated uncertainty in 2024 outcomes, given that temperatures from only the first quarter of the year are available so far. The chart below shows the expected range of 2024 temperatures using the Copernicus/ECMWF global atmospheric reanalysis product (ERA5) – including a best-estimate (red) and year-to-date value (yellow). Temperatures are shown with respect to the pre-industrial baseline period (1850-1900).

Annual global average surface temperature anomalies from the Copernicus/ECMWF global atmospheric reanalysis product (ERA5) plotted with respect to a 1850-1900 baseline. To-date 2024 values include January-March. The estimated 2024 annual value is based on the relationship between the January-March temperatures and annual temperatures between 1970 and 2023. Chart by Carbon Brief.

Annual global average surface temperature anomalies from the Copernicus/ECMWF global atmospheric reanalysis product (ERA5) plotted with respect to a 1850-1900 baseline. To-date 2024 values include January-March. The estimated 2024 annual value is based on the relationship between the January-March temperatures and annual temperatures between 1970 and 2023. Chart by Carbon Brief.

Carbon Brief’s projection suggests that 2024 is virtually certain to be either the warmest or second- warmest year on record, with a central estimate just above 1.5C, slightly higher than 2023. However, this model assumes that 2024 follows the type of climate patterns we have seen in the past – patterns that were notably broken in 2023.

It is worth repeating that an individual year hitting 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is not equivalent to the 1.5C limit within the Paris Agreement. This limit refers to long-term warming, rather than an individual year that includes the short-term influence of natural fluctuations in the climate, such as El Niño.

The figure below shows Carbon Brief’s estimate of 2024 temperatures using ERA5, both at the beginning of the year and once each month’s data has come in. While the central estimates have remained relatively unchanged, the uncertainty has diminished with each additional month of data.

Carbon Brief’s projection of global temperatures at the start of the year, and after January, February, and March ERA5 data became available.

Carbon Brief’s projection of global temperatures at the start of the year, and after January, February, and March ERA5 data became available.

Record warmth over large parts of the globe

While global average surface temperature changes are an important indicator of long-term climate change, any month or year will have important regional warm or cool patterns in different parts of the world.

The first three months of 2024 saw particularly warm temperatures over the tropical Atlantic and western Pacific oceans, much of South America, Central Africa, the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.
The figure below shows the difference between temperatures in the first three months of 2024 and the baseline period of 1951-80, taken from Berkeley Earth (using their high-resolution temperature dataset). Red, orange and yellow shading indicate areas that have been warmer than average, while blue shows areas that have been cooler.

Seasonal anomaly map, relative to 1951-1980 average
Global surface temperature anomalies for the first three months of 2024 compared to a 1951-80 baseline period. Figure from Berkeley Earth.

The figure below shows which portions of the Earth’s surface experienced record high temperatures (deep red shading) for the first three months of 2024. It is noteworthy that no location on the planet experienced record cold temperatures over the first quarter of the year.

Seasonal rank map, compared to available similar periods since 1850
Locations setting record warm temperatures in the first three months of 2023 based on data back to 1850. Figure from Berkeley Earth.

Sea ice at the low end of the historical range

Arctic sea ice extent spent much of early 2024 at the low end of the historical 1979-2010 range, and set a few new record-low values for individual days in February and March.

Since northern hemisphere winter conditions remain cold enough to refreeze sea ice, there tends to be less variability in extent year-to-year in the winter than in the summer.

Following an all-time low maximum in September 2023, Antarctic sea ice has been tracking at near-record-low extent for the past six months. In late February, it hit its minimum extent for the year, tying with 2022 for the second-lowest Antarctic minimum in the satellite record.

The figure below shows both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent in 2024 (solid red and blue lines), the historical range in the record between 1979 and 2010 (shaded areas) and the record lows (dotted black line). Unlike global temperature records (which only report monthly averages), sea ice data is collected and updated on a daily basis, allowing sea ice extent to be viewed up to the present.

Arctic and Antarctic daily sea ice extent from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center. The bold lines show daily 2024 values, the shaded area indicates the two standard deviation range in historical values between 1979 and 2010. The dotted black lines show the record lows for each pole. Chart by Carbon Brief.

Arctic and Antarctic daily sea ice extent from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center. The bold lines show daily 2024 values, the shaded area indicates the two standard deviation range in historical values between 1979 and 2010. The dotted black lines show the record lows for each pole. Chart by Carbon Brief.

However, sea ice extent only tells part of the story. In addition to declining ice extent, the sea ice that remains tends to be younger and thinner than ice that used to cover the region.

The figure below, using data from the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modelling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS), shows the Arctic sea ice thickness for every year between 1979 and 2024.

Arctic sea ice volume anomaly and trend from PIOMAS
Arctic sea-ice volume anomalies from 1979 through March 2024 from PIOMAS.

While sea ice volume has been flat or slightly increasing over the past five years, there has been a clear downward trend in sea ice volume since the start of the satellite record in the late 1970s.

The post State of the climate: 2024 off to a record-warm start appeared first on Carbon Brief.

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DeBriefed 24 May 2024: ‘Surprise’ UK election; Oceans court ruling; China and Russia’s fossil-fuel pact



Welcome to Carbon Brief’s DeBriefed. 
An essential guide to the week’s key developments relating to climate change.

This week

UK election

SURPRISE: UK prime minister Rishi Sunak announced in a “surprise move” that a general election will be held on 4 July, Business Green reported. It quoted him saying that “this election will take place at a time when the world is more dangerous than it has been since the end of the Cold War”, highlighting “national and energy security” as key issues. 

HEAVY DOWNPOUR: On the same day that Sunak made the announcement amid a downpour outside Number 10, a World Weather Attribution study covered by the Press Association found rainfall during storms across the UK and Ireland between October 2023 and March 2024 was made 20% more intense by global warming. The UK’s winters will continue to get wetter in future, according to the study, until the “world reduces emissions to net-zero”.

Oceans court ruling

MARINE PROTECTION: The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the world’s highest court dealing with the oceans, issued a “groundbreaking opinion” on Tuesday ruling that greenhouse gases are a pollutant that could cause “irreversible harm to the marine environment”, the New York Times said. It added that, while “not binding”, the opinion stated that, legally, nations must “take all necessary measures” to cut back emissions to prevent marine pollution.

‘HISTORIC’ VICTORY: Climate Change News reported that the coalition of small island nations responsible for the case called the ruling a “historic” victory. It quoted Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, saying the decision “will inform our future legal and diplomatic work in putting an end to the inaction that has brought us to the brink of an irreversible disaster”.

CLIMATE ‘VICTIMS’: Elsewhere, the Financial Times reported that a first-of-its-kind criminal case has been filed against the fossil-fuel company TotalEnergies and its shareholders by people who have lost family members or suffered harm in weather events made more extreme by climate change. The victims, along with non-profit groups, are accusing the company of criminal wrongdoing, including involuntary manslaughter, the FT said, adding that the company had not responded to its request for comment. 

Around the world

  • ANTARCTIC RECORD: The Press Association covered a study by the British Antarctic Survey finding record low sea ice levels around Antarctica last year “may have been influenced by climate change”.
  • INDIA HEATWAVE: The Indian capital New Delhi felt like a “furnace” and recorded temperatures “soaring” above 46C on Monday, with high temperatures continuing throughout a crucial week in the country’s elections, the Hindustan Times reported.
  • AUSTRALIAN COAL DEPENDENCE: Utility company Origin Energy will “delay the closure of Australia’s largest coal-fired power station”, Bloomberg reported, due to government concerns that there is not enough renewable energy to replace it.
  • GERMAN BACKSLIDING: Germany approved a “controversial” reform of its climate protection law, eliminating sectoral targets and reducing pressure on sectors such as transportation and buildings to meet them, according to Die Zeit.
  • EASTER ISLAND HERITAGE: The Guardian reported that the faces of Easter Island moai statues are being eroded due to “torrential rain”, quoting one conservator saying “we have much more extreme weather than before”.
  • US OVERCAPACITY CALLS: US treasury secretary Janet Yellen urged the EU and G7 countries to “communicate to China as a group” regarding concerns about clean-energy industry overcapacity, Reuters said.


The percentage of children in Pakistan who will not be in school next week, as heatwaves force closures in the country’s most populous province, according to the Associated Press.

Latest climate research

  • A new study in Nature Communications underscored the importance of considering reliability and carbon pricing for the potential role of off-grid solar power in achieving universal household electricity access in Africa.
  • Video gamers are “a worthwhile potential audience” for climate communications, according to a new Climatic Change study, in contrast to “the stereotype of video gamers as disengaged or antisocial” on the topic.
  • New research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that while “most of the Amazon does not show critical slowing down” of recovery from small disturbances, a “predicted increase in droughts could disrupt this balance”.

(For more, see Carbon Brief’s in-depth daily summaries of the top climate news stories on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.)


More than 90% of the land growing in genetically modified crops is in the US, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and India

A new Carbon Brief Q&A explored the continuing debate around the role of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in a world dealing with climate change. Some argue that new gene-editing technologies could help crops deal with extreme weather and boost nutrition, while others cite concerns around production, regulation and patenting of gene-edited crops. Much of current GMO production is concentrated in a small number of countries. The figure above shows that 91% of the land growing genetically modified crops is in the US, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and India. By contrast, genetically modified crops are not currently widely grown in the EU.


The future of China and Russia’s energy cooperation

This week, Carbon Brief examines energy’s role in Sino-Russian relations and how this could change as China moves towards its goal of carbon neutrality by 2060.

Vladimir Putin chose to visit China on 16-17 May, shortly after beginning another term as Russian president. 

Previously “sizeable” Sino-Russian energy cooperation has only grown since Russia’s war with Ukraine.

Russia leapfrogged Saudi Arabia in 2023 to become China’s largest supplier of oil. China is now Russia’s top purchaser of coal and crude oil, as well as a top three purchaser of oil products, liquefied “natural” gas (LNG) and pipeline gas.

‘Concrete plans to enhance cooperation’

The two sides published a joint statement during Putin’s visit, pledging to “consolidate Sino-Russian strategic energy cooperation…to safeguard [our] economic and energy security”.

It named oil, gas, LNG, coal and electricity as primary areas for cooperation, with renewables, hydrogen and the carbon market as “prospective” areas.

Progress on the Power to Siberia 2 gas pipeline negotiations, which could supply China with 50bn cubic metres of gas, was not mentioned.

Economic and geopolitical drivers

“Economic complementarities” have led to “robust” Russian imports of oil and gas to China.

Chinese reliance on substantial oil imports will likely “persist”, although future gas import requirements are more uncertain.

Dr Erica Downs, senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, told Carbon Brief she does not think it has been “definitively decided in China” what role gas will play in its energy transition, but that this role may be smaller than previously assumed.

She added that Russian oil is attractive to Chinese policymakers, as overland oil pipelines reduce China’s reliance on “vulnerable” sealane routes and Russia’s war with Ukraine allows Chinese buyers to get discounted rates on Russian barrels.

China’s increased oil and gas imports, following western sanctions on Russian oil, provided an “economic lifeline” to Russia in exchange for “securing cheap supplies”, according to the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI).  

Imports from a politically aligned partner are “vital” for China’s energy – and, therefore, economic – security, according to Chatham House

Not changing with the times

However, this partnership could wane. The UI study argued that China could adopt a “more cautious approach”, depending on geopolitical and economic developments.

Downs told Carbon Brief that, in the near-term, China will remain reliant on oil and gas imports, but that China “has to decide how much…they want to be dependent” on Russia.

If Chinese demand for fossil fuels falls, she said, “Russia becomes a lot less important to China as an economic partner”, although the political partnership remains useful to both.

Despite “buried” statements on clean energy in Sino-Russian agreements, Downs noted, the two countries are not increasing tangible cooperation on non-fossil fuel energy – in stark contrast to increasing Chinese clean energy cooperation with Saudi Arabia, for example.  She added:

“[Sino-Russian energy cooperation] is really a hydrocarbon story…I’m not really seeing the level of activity that I’m seeing [from] Chinese companies in other parts of the world in the renewable space.”

Watch, read, listen

‘BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY’: A Reuters investigation found that Japan, France, Germany, the US and other wealthy nations have reaped “billions of dollars” from a programme designed to help developing countries reduce emissions and adapt to extreme weather.

CLIMATE FUNDING: Climate Change News reported that “unsafe housing for cyclone survivors in Malawi, funded by a suspected fraudster”, adds weight to the need to operationalise the UN loss and damage fund. 

HUMAN FOLLY: HARDTalk interviewed UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chair Prof Jim Skea on whether the world has missed its chance to limit warming to 1.5C. 

Coming up

Pick of the jobs

DeBriefed is edited by Daisy Dunne. Please send any tips or feedback to
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The post DeBriefed 24 May 2024: ‘Surprise’ UK election; Oceans court ruling; China and Russia’s fossil-fuel pact appeared first on Carbon Brief.

DeBriefed 24 May 2024: ‘Surprise’ UK election; Oceans court ruling; China and Russia’s fossil-fuel pact

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EU election 2024: What the manifestos say on energy and climate change



Elections for the European Parliament are taking place between 6-9 June, kicking off a process that will establish a new EU leadership.

Around 360 million EU citizens are eligible to vote. They will choose between representatives of national parties, each of which is affiliated with a broader political grouping at EU level, ranging from communists to the far-right.

The grouping or coalition with the most parliamentary seats will shape the leadership of the next European Commission – the EU’s executive branch – and help to determine the bloc’s overall direction of travel for the 2024-2029 term.

The balance of power in parliament, which is one of the EU’s legislative bodies, will also play a key role in determining whether or not ambitious new climate policies are voted through.

The elections come at a critical time for climate and energy policy across Europe. Amid geopolitical turmoil, EU member states face mounting pressure to provide secure energy supplies and compete with other major powers such as China and the US. 

Meanwhile, there has been widespread reporting of a “green backlash” in many EU countries, exemplified by farmers protesting against perceived injustices that include environmental policies. (Based on recent EU-wide polling, the so-called backlash has been dismissed as “largely overblown”.)

The new European Parliament, the new Commission and member states must also agree in the coming months on an emissions target for 2040, a stepping stone on the bloc’s wider path to “climate neutrality” by 2050.

These decisions will be influenced by which parties triumph in the parliamentary elections.

In the interactive grid below, Carbon Brief tracks the commitments made by each of the main European Parliament groupings in their election manifestos, across a range of issues related to climate and energy. The parties covered are:

Each entry in the grid represents a direct quote from a manifesto document.

Climate targets

When the last European Parliament elections were held in 2019, a “green wave” saw climate-focused politicians winning seats across the continent. This was interpreted as a clear mandate to set ambitious, EU-wide climate targets and policies.

In the years that followed, the EU approved a European Green Deal, with goals to cut emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030, and reach net-zero by 2050. It also passed a package of policies to help member states achieve these goals.

These measures have “significantly improved” the EU’s performance on tackling climate change, according to independent analysis by Climate Action Tracker. However, the group says that the bloc would need to implement further policies to align itself with the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

With the 2024 election looming, forecasters predict a swing to the right in EU politics. A surge in far-right MEPs could result in a right-wing majority coalition within parliament.

This, in turn, could jeopardise the next phase of the EU’s climate ambitions, including negotiations over a European Commission proposal to reduce emissions by 90% by 2040. 

For example, the right-wing ECR’s manifesto says that it will “prioritise the implementation of existing legislative requirements…before considering any new regulations”.

It also refers to “review[ing] the more problematic objectives” and “negative impacts” of “green” policies, implying it might support weakening existing climate goals.

The centre-right EPP says it is “clearly committed” to existing targets – which include the 2030 and 2050 goals – but it does not mention the mooted 2040 ambition.

There have been reports of internal disputes within the EPP over the 2040 target and broader environmental policies. An earlier draft of its manifesto illustrated these disputes, with a commitment to “rejecting” bans on any technologies and “revising” the 2035 ban on petrol and diesel cars. This language is missing from the final manifesto.

In contrast, parties that are further to the left have backed more ambitious emissions targets, as shown in the chart below.

The relatively centrist S&D and Renew Europe Now groupings support the proposed 90% goal for 2040. (While S&D only mentions achieving “strong” 2040 goals in its manifesto, elsewhere the party has voiced support for the target.)

Meanwhile, other parties have gone even further. The European Green Party has proposed a “revised EU climate law” with a 2030 target that goes “beyond” the current 55% goal and achieves net-zero by 2040. The Left specifies a 65% reduction by 2030 and net-zero by 2035.

EU emissions, including historical emissions (1990-2022), and targets proposed by a selection of groups running in the European Parliament elections in their manifestos. EPP does not mention a 2040 target in its manifesto, so its goals are indicated with a dotted line. S&D does not mention a specific 2040 target in its manifesto but has expressed support for a 90% reduction, compared to 1990 levels. Greens have called for “beyond” a 55% cut by 2030 but not proposed a figure, so the 55% figure is shown here. Source: Eurostat, party/group manifestos, Carbon Brief analysis.
EU emissions, including historical emissions (1990-2022), and targets proposed by a selection of groups running in the European Parliament elections in their manifestos. EPP does not mention a 2040 target in its manifesto, so its goals are indicated with a dotted line. S&D does not mention a specific 2040 target in its manifesto but has expressed support for a 90% reduction, compared to 1990 levels. Greens have called for “beyond” a 55% cut by 2030 but not proposed a figure, so the 55% figure is shown here. Source: Eurostat, party/group manifestos, Carbon Brief analysis.

All the major parties with manifestos broadly support the European Green Deal, with the ECR stating it backs it “in principle” while noting its concerns about a “centralised top-down approach”. (Identity and Democracy, which has not released a manifesto, broadly opposes the green deal and includes many climate sceptics in its ranks.)

Some groups appear to go further. Both S&D and the Greens mention the creation of a new “Green and Social Deal”, with a greater emphasis on affordable energy, social protections and jobs in low-carbon sectors.

In a piece reflecting on the need for a left-wing vision to combat the growing “anti-green backlash”, Politico argued that, with virtually every party emphasising the need for a “just transition”, it was “not clear” what the S&D’s new deal was “supposed to be”.

Of the major parties, only the Green party includes a target for “phasing out” fossil fuels in its manifesto. (At COP28 last year, the EU and other parties to the Paris climate regime agreed to “transition away” from fossil fuels.) The Greens target a 2030 phaseout of coal, with all fossil fuels phases out by 2040.

Farmers’ demands

From France to Romania, EU farmers have been engaging in often dramatic protests in recent months. 

While their demands have been wide-ranging, many have focused on climate and environmental issues. This follows anger from farming communities about cuts to fuel subsidies and efforts to curb the use of fertilisers and pesticides.

All of the manifestos speak directly to these ongoing issues, with some calling for major reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) – the EU’s flagship farming policy. Others try to strike a balance between supporting farmers and maintaining strong climate ambitions. 

Agriculture is responsible for one-tenth of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. It is the only major sector that is expected to see almost no progress in emissions cuts in the coming decades.

The EPP says climate policies can be achieved “only with and not against farmers” and says more funding for agriculture will be vital to support their environmental efforts. Liberals in Renew Europe Now say they have proposals to “simplify farmer’s lives” because they “want to focus on farming, not filling out forms”.

The ECR, meanwhile, says it “reject[s] unfettered green ideology” in agriculture.

S&D says its members “fundamentally disagree with the conservatives’ approach that sustainability is the enemy of farmers”. Like the EPP, it emphasises the need for more financial support to help farmers transition to “environmentally friendly” practices.

Boosting clean energy industries

Many of the manifestos focus on promoting the EU’s economic success and competitiveness, particularly in relation to the US and China, as well as ensuring it is not reliant on other nations for resources.

This comes amid a period of instability, triggered partly by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which threatened the bloc’s energy security due to its reliance on Russian gas.

Often, parties explicitly make the link between these wider geopolitical struggles and the need to scale up low-carbon industries. This is exemplified by the EPP when it states:

“We are developing the home market for our clean-tech industries. We are decarbonising and revitalising our energy-intensive industries to sell clean products worldwide. Thus, we are increasing our energy independence and overall sovereignty and resilience.”

Both S&D and the Greens focus on the need for investment across industrial sectors, in order to maintain the EU’s competitive edge. ALDE, the main party in Renew Europe Now, emphasises “cross-border” public investment in order to “achieve the economies of scale that the single market offers”.

Right-wing and liberal parties stress the need for “technology neutrality” in their plans.

Greens and left-wing parties, on the other hand, either explicitly reject nuclear power or do not mention it. They also place more emphasis on developing public transport options, including improved rail networks, alongside investment in electric vehicle infrastructure.

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Episode 95: Rob Hopkins on the Role of Imagination in Climate Change Solutions



Rob Hopkins stands in a field wearing a futuristic suit with a bubble around his head, holding a sign that reads I've Been to the Future, We Won.

Rob Hopkins, a founder of the Transition Town Movement

Episode 95: Rob Hopkins on the Role of Imagination in Climate Change Solutions

In this month’s Citizens’ Climate Radio episode, Rob Hopkins, one of the founders of the Transition Town movement, shows us how playful imagination can lead to real-world solutions, and you will discover how a life-sized whale made of plastic bags brought a community together to pass groundbreaking legislation. Artist Carrie Ziegler shares her extraordinary project that mobilized hundreds of schoolchildren to make a powerful statement about plastic pollution. In the Nerd Corner, Dana Nuccitelli tackles the big question: is a carbon price still effective in a post-Inflation Reduction Act world? 

Rob Hopkins, Time Traveler and Creative Climate Change Campaigner

Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition Network and Transition Town Totnes, and author of several influential books, including “The Transition Handbook” and “From What Is to What If: Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want,” believes that playful imagination is crucial for tackling climate change. An Ashoka Fellow with a PhD from the University of Plymouth and two honorary doctorates, Rob encourages communities to adopt sustainable practices that promote self-sufficiency and environmental stewardship. “My work is about finding positive solutions to climate change,” says Rob, who also engages in printmaking in his spare time. His approach to climate activism is deeply rooted in the power of imagination, urging people to envision a future where collective action has transformed our world for the better.

A white man with short brown hair, glasses, and a v-neck sweater over a collared shirt, smiles in front of a background of tan vegetation.One of Rob’s most innovative techniques involves time travel exercises, where he guides participants to imagine themselves in the year 2030 or beyond, a time shaped by years of dedicated environmental efforts. “I always remind people, ten years is actually a long, long time in terms of things that can happen,” he explains. Participants universally envision a cleaner, more content, and more connected world through these exercises. Rob’s ability to inspire others by helping them create a “new north star” in their lives, where a low-carbon future feels “delicious and irresistible,” makes his perspective both inventive and motivating. As he puts it, “We need to cultivate and nurture in people the most profound longing for a low-carbon future.”

Rob Hopkins hosts the podcast From What If to What Next, which explores imaginative solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. You can learn more about Rob, his books, and the Transition Town movement by visiting his website. You can watch the film, Transition 2.0 for free on YouTube. It is “an inspirational immersion in the Transition movement, gathering stories from around the world of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” Additionally, check out his latest projects, the Ministry of Imagination Manifesto and Field Recordings from the Future. Rob’s forthcoming book, “How to Fall in Love with the Future,” is set to be released next year. In November 2022, Rob was honored as an Honorary Citizen of Liège in Belgium. Connect with Rob and explore his innovative approaches to climate activism at

A close image of the face of a whale sculpture, made from twisted and braided plastic bagsCollaborative Art Meets Activism: Carrie Ziegler’s Whale Project Sparks Change

Carrie Ziegler is a collaborative artist based in Olympia, Washington, whose passion lies in creating large-scale art projects that inspire positive change. By working with schools, nonprofits, and local governments, Carrie brings together hundreds, sometimes thousands, of individuals to address environmental and social justice issues through art. 

Image shows the full whale sculpture, with several people pushing it into place for displayOne of her most impactful projects involved creating a life-sized gray whale made entirely of plastic bags and trash, engaging over 900 children and adults. “I decided to do a project around that,” she explains, reflecting on her mission to end the use of single-use plastic bags. “We created this whale, this life-sized gray whale out of plastic bags and other trash.” This incredible undertaking educated participants about marine biology and plastic pollution and became a powerful symbol in the community, helping to shift public opinion and inspire legislative change.

A close-up image shows a child's hands braiding plastic bagsCarrie’s work is a testament to the power of art in activism. The whale, modeled after a real whale found with plastic in its stomach, was publicly unveiled at the annual Procession of the Species celebration, where thousands witnessed its impact. “There were actually council members who invited me to bring the whale to their city council meetings,” Carrie recounts, highlighting the project’s role in successfully implementing plastic bag bans across local jurisdictions. However, her work’s true success lies in the personal empowerment it fosters. “There were kids, particularly middle school kids, who talked about how they felt personally responsible for that ban on plastic bags,” she shares. Carrie’s projects provide participants with a sense of ownership and accomplishment, proving that collaborative art can indeed change the world.

Visit Carrie Ziegler’s website to learn more about her inspiring projects, read her journal, and watch videos. For images of the whale project and additional information, check out the show notes at 

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The Nerd Corner: Carbon Fee & Dividend in a Post-IRA World

Dana NuccitelliDana Nuccitelli, CCL Research Coordinator, explores whether a carbon price remains the best climate policy in a post-Inflation Reduction Act world. “Putting a price on carbon pollution would impact almost every sector of the economy,” Dana explains, emphasizing its cost-effective impact on emissions. Visit the Nerd Corner to join the conversation. You can also read some of Dana’s articles in The Guardian. 

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Read the Transcript
Rob Hopkins on the Role of Imagination in Climate Change Solutions


Carrie Ziegler, Dana Nuccitelli, Horace Mo, Erica Valdez, Peterson Toscano, Rob Hopkins

Peterson Toscano  00:00

Welcome to Citizens Climate Radio, your climate change podcast.

Peterson Toscano  00:04

In this show, we highlight people’s stories, we celebrate your successes, and together we share strategies for talking about climate change. I’m your host, Peterson Toscano. Welcome to Episode 95 of Citizens Climate Radio, a project of Citizens Climate Education. This episode is airing on Friday, May 24 2024. Erica Valdez and Horace Mo are very busy working on next month’s episode. I hope to check in with them before the show ends though. In the Nerd Corner, Dana Nuccitelli answers a very important question. Is a carbon price still the most effective policy in a post-Inflation Reduction Act world? Carrie Ziggler joins us to share an extraordinary community art project that resulted in the passage of meaningful legislation. She engaged hundreds of schoolchildren to use plastic bags to send a big message to lawmakers. Carrie demonstrates how art and artists can help us convince the public and policymakers to make the right choices. 

Peterson Toscano  01:20

But first, I want to immerse us in a world of imagination. Some may think that playful imagination is a helpful escape from real world problems, my guest begs to differ, he sees our imaginations as the essential tool for addressing these problems. My first guest is a time traveling do gooder in England. Now, it’s not Doctor Who.

Rob Hopkins  01:50

So I’m Rob Hopkins, I am the founder of the Transition Movement. My work is about finding positive solutions to climate change. And in my spare time I do printmaking. So it’s normally easy just to say I’m an I’m an author and an activist really saves a bit of time.

Peterson Toscano  02:09

The Transition Town Movement is a community-led initiative that aims to promote self-sufficiency and reduce the impact of peak oil, climate change, and economic instability. It encourages communities to take control of their own future by adopting sustainable practices that are kinder to the environment. Rob and his colleagues have successfully implemented innovative approaches to change the way certain towns operate. I recommend you watch the documentary Transition 2.0, you’ll learn about inspiring stories of communities working together for self-sufficiency, and sustainability. It features innovative ideas like printing local money, growing food locally, and setting up community power stations. But I didn’t invite Rob Hopkins to our show to discuss the transition movement. Instead, I requested him to share the tools, techniques and strategies he uses to think outside the box. And this includes time travel.


And so when the time machine, I would say to people to close their eyes and imagine that we’re going to travel to 2030. And I have different techniques that I use to do it and make it quite theatrical, you know. And then I say, with the 2030 we’re traveling to isn’t a utopia. It’s not a dystopia, either. But it’s the result of us having spent those years between now and then doing everything we could possibly have done. And I always remind people that 9/10 years is actually a long, long time in terms of things that can happen. It took 10 years for Rosa Parks to refuse to give up her seat on the bus for the Civil Rights Act to be passed in America. 10 years from the first international sanctions on South Africa, to the new constitution being created in South Africa. 10 years after the first iPhone, half the people in the world have a smartphone, and maybe that’s not such a good one. But you know, things change really, really fast. So I asked people to close their eyes and to imagine that they’re moving through time, and then they’re being dropped into that 2030, And then just to take a walk around, using all their senses, what does that world smell like feel like tastes like. 

Rob Hopkins  04:17

I’ve done that exercise now with 1000s of people. And I’ve done it with 10 people in a workshop. I’ve done it with one and a half 1000 people in a hall in Belgium. And what’s so fascinating to me about that activity is that no one ever says we’ve got a new IKEA, which is four times bigger than the one we had in 2022. No one ever says, Oh, my iPhone 28 can give me real tattoos or something. You know, it’s like, actually, everybody says, the air smells cleaner. The birdsong is louder. There are less cars, people seem more content, and they spend more time with their families. They don’t work so much. Their work is more meaningful, and so on and so on. You know, It’s universal. So then I always think, Well, why do we not start there and work backward? We start with how we are going to achieve that. What would that look like? And that’s why, in the podcast that I do, every episode starts with us doing some time travel. So if we’re talking about universal basic income, we don’t debate whether it’s a good idea or not, we say we’ve had a universal basic income now for eight years. How does the world taste differently? How does it sound differently? For me, there’s something about helping people to create a new North Star in their life. Like, I want that.

Peterson Toscano  05:40

Rob Hopkins’s podcast is called From What is to What If, and it’s named after his 2020 book about unleashing the power of imagination to create the future we want.

Rob Hopkins  05:52

I feel like there are some people like me who can read terrifying, depressing climate papers and somehow translate that transmute that into doing something for a lot of people. They just get really stuck and really paralyzed. And I think if all of our narrative is just about extinction and collapse, we don’t offer anything. You know, the poet Rilke said something like, “The future must enter into a long time before it happens.” So beautiful, you know, and if we don’t allow the future to enter into people, if we don’t cultivate and nurture in people, the most profound longing for a low carbon future, if the way we talk about a low carbon future doesn’t make it sound, delicious, and irresistible, and abundant and gorgeous, then why is anyone going to want to do that? We’re only going to go there if it feels like we’re moving towards something irresistible rather than being dragged away from something irreplaceable. So how do we do that? So for me, I use that idea of time travel in lots of different ways.

Peterson Toscano  07:06

Rob has often said, climate change is the greatest failure of the imagination in the history of humanity.


The big challenge that we have is that there are so many people in positions of power who should be reimagining everything. I mean, you know, just to put it in context, you know, the United Nations said staying below 1.5 degrees was beyond us unless we were to see the rapid transformation of societies, is what they called it. So, loads of people, all the headlines are saying, well, 1.5 degrees beyond us now; maybe that’s the wrong way of looking at it. Maybe the question is, how do we create a rapid transformation of societies if that’s our only option? Like death, or rapid transformation of societies? I think we should put a bit more effort into that rapid transformation in societies but myself, you know, thinking outside the box here, Mariame Kaba, who’s a great hero of mine, amazing prison abolition activist in the US, she said, we live in a system that has been locked into a false sense of inevitability. I love it. So many diff, and so many of the people who are holding on to those positions just can’t imagine anything else. The people in the Department of Transport, can’t imagine a future without cars, and the people in the Department of Energy can’t imagine a future without fossil fuels.

Peterson Toscano  08:22

I am not at all surprised that important business and government leaders have not reached the point where they can imagine big systemic changes. They take themselves very seriously. And so much creativity and fresh ideas come through cultivating a playful attitude.


When I do workshops and trainings with people, a lot of it is about play, and just getting people to play again. And so whenever I do workshops, even with the most serious, uptight people who often come with lots of baggage around being right, and not wanting to make a fool of themselves and not wanting to take any risks and having to get everything right, is I put them into groups of five or six people. I give them a potato each, and I give them a bunch of cocktail sticks. And I say you can go outside you can add anything to this that you want. But I want you back here in 25 minutes with a creature, and I want to know its name. I want to know its mating call. And I want to know what his diet is. And they just go off, and you watch them go, and they just giggle for about 25 You just hear them go rugger. Oh, and the beautiful thing about it is you can’t make anything out of potatoes. That isn’t ridiculous. Even even if you’re the most perfectionist engineer, you can’t make something out of potatoes. That doesn’t look really stupid. And it’s a really nice way of just getting people freed up a bit. 

Rob Hopkins  09:48

When I do public talks as well. They become more and more like workshops and we do an exercise called yes and and yes, but which is what you learn in improv. You know the difference between Yes, But Yes And. which is really important because all of us, as activists, have experienced everything we encounter being yes. But yes, but all yes, but there’s, there’s no money for that. There’s no whatever, there’s no time we tried that before, it didn’t work, all that kind of stuff. When I design a two-day workshop, I’m going to be running in Belgium in a couple of weeks. And we spent half of the first day in the forest, using a set of exercises, which allowed adults to see the world to see the forest like they saw it when they were a child. That kind of shift in our thinking is really, really powerful, too. So in terms of an exercise, there’s something that was developed by Transition Network working with encounters to an amazing community arts organization, and it’s called Transition Town Anywhere. So the idea is you get about between two and 400 people, you need a big space, you start with doing some time traveling, and stepping into the future that we could still create. And then you think, Well, what am I doing in that future? What’s my role? What’s my job, what’s my work, then you meet other people who were thinking along the same lines, you design a project together, something you’re doing, maybe you’re running the bank, maybe you’re running the energy company, maybe or whatever. But then you literally build it with cardboard boxes, bamboo sticky tape string and pens; you create this three-dimensional version of that future that you then live in and inhabit and play in. And it’s one of the most magical, magical things I’ve ever been part of. I think we need to find a lot more things like that, and our activism needs to feel a lot more like play.

Peterson Toscano  11:40

Rob reminds us that speaking about climate change is significant climate work. How we speak about it, though, can make all the difference.


It’s really important that we have conversations with everybody we know about climate change and the situation that we’re in. You know, when people say, Well, why do you do this? It’s like, it’s one thing to say because I’m terrified about the future and climate change. Then maybe we could flip that and say it’s because I am so longing for a world where the birdsong is louder than the traffic. I’m so longing for a world where the rivers and our cities are so clean that people can swim to work. As the world grew warmer, we realized that the tarmac was killing people. Concrete was killing people. And so we took up 80% of it. And now our cities are full of wildflowers and plants, and I so long for a world where when you go to visit the theater, they’ve covered the outside of that building, with bird boxes and insect hotels. So when you approach the theater, it’s more alive with wildlife than visiting a jungle or something. Give people that longing. Cultivating longing is the most important thing, and I think that we can be doing it as activists. And we can’t do that. Without artists, storytellers. musicians, poets, film writers, novelists. We need everybody because we have to bring this alive. There’s a beautiful quote by Arundhati Roy. She says, what lies ahead, reimagining the world. Only that.

Peterson Toscano  13:30

That was Rob Hopkins, host of the podcast from what is to what if? Learn more about him his book and the Transition Town movement at his website, Rob And while you’re there, definitely check out his newest projects. The Ministry of imagination manifesto and field recordings from the future.

Peterson Toscano  14:02

Coming up, Dana Nuccitelli will answer the question is a carbon price still the most effective policy in a post inflation Reduction Act world? Carrie Ziegler, an artist on the West Coast of the USA tells us about a community art project that changed a law and I have a good news story about a successful campaign that got a lot of people talking about climate change, stay tuned.

Peterson Toscano  14:53

When we want elected officials to change policy, we have many ways to reach them and build political will We write letters to the editor and op ed pieces, we start petitions, we sent messages to our lawmakers and even show up at their offices to compel them to vote for an environmental and climate friendly policy. We need to be heard above all the other voices. Without a big public relations budget. What can we do? That’s when we can turn to our friendly neighborhood artists.

Carrie Ziegler  15:34

My name is Carrie Ziegler. I am a collaborative artist living here in Olympia, Washington. And what I love to do more than just about anything else is to work with hundreds, sometimes 1000s of individuals with schools, nonprofits, and local government to create these multifaceted, large-scale collaborative art and action projects around different environmental and social justice issues. With the goal of inspiring positive change in our world. I went on a journey, you know, through a life journey for many years trying to figure out how to bring art and science together. I did that in so many different ways. I worked as a naturalist and environmental educator for a long time. So, I’ve worked with people a lot, and I would often bring art into that work. It took a long time for me to figure out what collaborative art was; for me that really came together. 

Carrie Ziegler  16:32

About 10 years ago, when I was working for my county, Thurston County, as an environmental educator, I had the opportunity to create some programming for youth and my supervisor was very open-ended about it. During that time, we were going through a process in our county to decide whether or not the public was ready to want it to ban single use plastic bags. And since I was really passionate about that idea, I wanted to end the use of single-use plastic bags, so I decided to do a project around that. But as I started thinking about it, as often happens for me, my ideas they just kind of grow and get bigger. And so I thought, hey, why not create a life-sized plastic whale out of plastic bags and other trash? Amazingly, my supervisor said, Okay, go for it. You don’t get any money. We’re not giving you a budget for this. But you can go and do this wild idea. 

Carrie Ziegler  17:31

I ended up working with over 900 Kids and adults in classrooms and community spaces, teaching them about marine biology, the impacts that plastic bags have on our environments, and talking about solutions to that. And then, together with all these different people, we created this whale, this life-sized gray whale, out of plastic bags and other and other trash. And so each individual who was part of that project, got to do a piece of this work. Younger kids, elementary school-aged kids, they would bring their plastic bags in from home. We all used to have this giant bag full of plastic bags just stuffed under our counter, in the closet, or somewhere. And so they would bring in these bags full of bags, and we would pull them out and create this mountain of plastic trash in the middle of their classroom or the school gymnasium. And we use that to help us understand how many plastic bags are used daily. In our school in the city. You know, throughout the world. It was really, really powerful. 

Carrie Ziegler  18:39

They cut and braided plastic bags, but they loved it. I must have taught 500 kids how to braid that winter. Some of them got so into it, they would just they wouldn’t stop they would have these long braids spread all the way across gymnasium floors. It was really incredible. So the whale was modeled after an actual whale that had washed up on shore in Seattle the previous year and that whale, and when the scientists did the necropsy, they found, amongst other things, they found a bunch of plastic bags in its stomach. That’s why we chose the gray whale. The whale was 32 feet long, about the size of a juvenile gray whale. This project was so impactful, because the students and the people who worked on it, only got to see the beginning of it. 

Carrie Ziegler  19:31

But then I ensured that the whale was in a very public place when it was all completed. We unveiled the whale, if you will, at our annual Procession of the Species celebration. It was in this parade where 1000s upon 1000s of people got to see it and then it was on display in the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, and everyone was invited to come and see it. People got to see the impact of it. But the thing that’s really important about this project is that whales help shift public opinion in my county. There were actually council members who invited me to bring the the whale to their city council meetings to talk to their constituents about the importance of reducing the use of plastic bags. In part because of that project, all four of our local jurisdictions implemented a ban on plastic bags. That was incredibly powerful. 

Carrie Ziegler  20:27

But you know what, it was more powerful than that. Some kids, particularly middle school kids, talked about how they felt personally responsible for that ban on plastic bags. That’s one of the things that collaborative art is so important for; it’s so powerful because it allows people to create something way larger than they ever could have on their own. And to be a part of something so much bigger and take ownership of it like those kids felt like they changed our government and did. When I think about collaborative art, they think about how it opens heart, how it breaks down barriers, and how it creates an opportunity for the people involved to have a story to tell about something that they are passionate about that can help them to connect with others and create change.

Peterson Toscano  21:26

That was Carrie Ziegler, an artist-activist, and so much more. Learn about her other projects, read her journal, and see videos on her website. That website is Ziegler spelt Z I E G L E R. See our show notes for images of the well project. Visit CCL 

Peterson Toscano  21:54

Now it’s time for the nerd corner hosted by Dana Nuccitelli citizen climates or research coordinator.

Dana Nuccitelli  22:02

Hi, I’m Dana Nuccitelli, CCL research coordinator, and this is the Nerd Corner.

Dana Nuccitelli  22:16

I’m here to highlight some interesting new climate research for the nerds out there and make it understandable for the nerd curious. In this episode, we consider the question: Is a carbon price still the best climate policy in a post-Inflation Reduction Act world?

Dana Nuccitelli  22:45

Research has long shown that putting a price on carbon pollution in combination with some other complimentary climate policies, cut emissions enough to meet America’s Paris commitments. That’s what studies were finding 10 years ago and five years ago, but what about today, Time keeps marching relentlessly forward, and in 2022, America passed its largest-ever climate bill in the Inflation Reduction Act or IRA. Since then, we nerds have been waiting for some researchers to evaluate how effective carbon price and other climate policies would be in today’s post-IRA 2024 world, and we finally got our wish. 

Dana Nuccitelli  23:28

The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution brought together some top-notch economists to examine seven scenarios. Those scenarios centered mainly around four big climate policies. First, they looked at repealing or keeping the EPA’s various climate regulations. Second, they considered expanding or keeping or repealing the IRA. Third, they simulated implementing a clean electricity standard, requiring electrical utilities to get a certain percentage of their electricity from clean sources by a certain date. And fourth, they looked at what would happen if we put a modest price on carbon pollution. Expanding the IRA didn’t have much of an effect on climate pollution. Because the existing laws aren’t investing a lot of money in clean technologies. The clean electricity standard didn’t fare much better because it would only affect the power sector. But the clean energy tax credits in the IRA are already working to quickly decarbonize our electricity. But putting a price on carbon pollution would impact almost every sector of the economy. So, it had the biggest and most cost-effective impact on emissions. It turns out that a carbon price is still the single best climate policy. 

Dana Nuccitelli  24:45

Overall, the study found that adding a modest carbon price on top of the IRA and EPA regulations would nearly meet America’s Paris commitments. It’s fair to say that adding clean energy permitting reform to maximize the eye Ra’s potential and implementing a more ambitious carbon price like that in CCL Staver bill, the Energy Innovation Act, would meet our goal of cutting America’s climate pollution in half by 2030. We know what to do now, so we just have to go out and make it happen. 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 CCL research team, check out the nerd corner at CCL That CCL I hope to see you there.

Peterson Toscano  25:52

Thank you so much for that, Dana. If you have a question for Dana, email us radio at citizens We will make sure he gets your message. 

Peterson Toscano  26:03

Our good news story today is about many people talking about climate change. Climate communication expert Dr. Katharine Hayhoe has said no one does anything unless it feels important. And if no one talks about it, how important can it be? And quote, okay, challenge accepted. Last month, Citizens Climate Lobby asked volunteers nationwide to have open and honest conversations about climate change. Talk with friends, family and communities. Here is the good news. We achieved our goal of 25,000 climate conversations, we broke the silence about climate change, got practice talking about it and paved the way for action. When we talk about climate change with our friends and family, it becomes more real and relevant. And that makes it more likely that we can move from just talking to acting. That is one of many monthly actions that we do if you want to find out about these monthly actions visit CCL And if you have good news you want to share in our program, email, radio at citizens That’s radio at citizens 

Peterson Toscano  27:24

Hello, Horrace? Erica.? 

Peterson Toscano  27:26

Hey, Peterson. 

Peterson Toscano  27:28

Hey, I hope I didn’t interrupt you recording

Erica Valdez  27:30

No, we are all good. Okay, good.

Peterson Toscano  27:32

Well, I’m just finishing up the episode and wondering what’s happening next month, you and Horace are doing the entire episode from start to finish? What should we expect for episode 96.

Horace Mo  27:45

So I did an interview with Ann E Burg, and really entertaining and fully engaged interview about a newly published book, force of nature. And that book actually talks about Rachel Carson’s life, but it’s quite different from other books you would read about Rachel Carson, like the biography ones. I’m so excited to have in our upcoming episode 96. Excellent.

Peterson Toscano  28:11

And what about you, Erica? What do you bring to the episode?

Erica Valdez  28:15

I cover a story about fossil fuel divestment, and how students are organizing and empowering themselves, to get their institutions to divest from fossil fuels. I happen to be a part of my group at my university. So I bring some of their voices into the story as well.

Peterson Toscano  28:30

Wow, that’s great. You’re totally immersed in the story, like an embedded journalist.

Erica Valdez  28:35

Yeah. Very exciting. 

Peterson Toscano  28:39

I know that you, too, are working on personal stories that have nothing to do with climate change.

Horace Mo  28:45

Yeah. Thanks to you. Peterson, actually. it’s also my first time writing a personal story in a very creative way. I wrote something about my high school experience, which greatly impacted me even now. And I think it will actually impact me for the rest of my lifetime. It’s a story, you know, simply about friendship and assimilating into a new community, which I was not familiar with at first. And then I kind of went through a personal growth period, and then got too used to it. I mean, I was grateful that I can kind of relate that personal story to climate change. But I will tell you how I did that. Unless you listen to our upcoming episodes. So you should sign up for that. And stay alert.

Peterson Toscano  29:32

Nice teaser. And Erica, your personal story is also about friendship and high school.

Erica Valdez  29:38

Yeah, my stories actually have a lot of common themes. In my story, I talk about how I tried to support my friend through a very difficult time in her life. I won’t tell you what it’s about, but it is about being in a new place and supporting those around you while they’re going through that, and how that connects to climate change as well in ways that I couldn’t even see before.

Peterson Toscano  30:00

I’m excited about this, because here at Citizens Climate Radio, we’ve been talking about telling new types of climate stories that are really out of the box. Totally different ways of doing this. And this is the time, so I’m so glad you’re gonna model this for folks with a story that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with climate change. And then you will apply the magical climate hibbott, which I’m super excited about. So that’ll happen in an upcoming episode. But next month for episode 96. We’re going to hear about Rachel Carson, we’re going to hear about divestment and you’re going to run the whole show. I’m so excited about it. Thanks so much for doing that.

Erica Valdez  30:39

Yeah, we’re excited too.

Horace Mo  30:40

Yeah, we’re ready to get started. 

Peterson Toscano  30:43

I will let you get back to work.

Horace Mo  30:44

Thanks for showing up.

Peterson Toscano  30:52

We would love to hear from you about your experiences, telling climate stories, and how you have used imagination to communicate climate change. Or maybe you just want to say hi; podcasting can be lonely, so it’s nice. Getting a high every now and then. We want to hear from you. Feel free to send us an email radio at And you can also text or leave a voicemail at the following number: 619-512-9646. Listen in next month and you might just hear your message, send a text or leave a voicemail at 619-512-9646. 

Peterson Toscano  31:40

Before we close the show I want to give some shoutouts to people and groups who have shown us a lot of love on social media. Many thanks to Rev. Dr. Jane Ellingwood, James Bradford III, Michael Cooper, Bill Nash, Wharton Sinkler, Sari Fordham, Karina Ramirez, 1.5, and CCL chapters in Arkansas, Boulder Colorado, San Diego, Alameda, and Silicon Valley North in California. Thank you. 

Peterson Toscano  32:13

Thank you for joining me on episode 95 of Citizens Climate Radio. If you like what you hear and you want to support the work we do, visit Citizens Climate You will learn how you can make a tax-deductible contribution. Here’s Citizens Climate Education, we want you to be effective in your climate work. So we provide training, local meetings, and many resources that are all designed to help you build the confidence and skills to pursue climate solutions. Find out how you can learn to grow and connect with others engaged in this meaningful work. Visit CCL 

Peterson Toscano  32:56

Citizens Climate Radio is written and produced by Peterson Toscano and the CCR team, Horace Mo and Erica Valdez, Ricky Bradley, and Brett Cease provide other technical support. Flannery Winchester provides social media assistance, and Madeline Para provides moral support. 

Peterson Toscano  33:15

The music on today’s show comes from epidemic Please share Citizens Climate Radio with your friends and colleagues. You can find our show wherever you listen to podcasts. If you listen on Apple podcast, please rate and review us which will make us stand out among the many climate change podcasts. You can now follow us on a variety of social media outlets Twitter or X, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and TikTok. You could always call or text our listener number 619-512-9646, plus one if you’re calling from outside the USA. That number again is 619-512-9646. Visit CCL There you will see our show notes the transcripts, and find links to our guests. Citizens Climate Radio is a project of Citizens Climate Education

The post Episode 95: Rob Hopkins on the Role of Imagination in Climate Change Solutions appeared first on Citizens' Climate Lobby.

Episode 95: Rob Hopkins on the Role of Imagination in Climate Change Solutions

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