Episode 9: The Scientists

In the podcast’s fourth panel discussion show, Gridlocked writer and producer Nick O’Hara is joined by:

  • Kerry Emanuel: Professor emeritus of meteorology and co-founder of the MIT Lorenz Center; and
  • Jacopo Buongiorno: MIT professor of nuclear science and engineering and director of the Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems.

The panel builds on many of the issues raised in the previous Inflection Point episode of Gridlocked, addressing key considerations of how to decarbonize societies and combat climate change.

In the show, Kerry and Jacopo cover different approaches to tackling climate change from a scientific perspective. They discuss the importance of cleaning up energy production and why popular approaches favored by some environmentalists – such as energy ‘demand reduction’ – do not work. They also discuss the importance of empirical evidence in environmental academic research.

Our panelists discuss the costs and economic opportunities presented in efforts to clean up energy generation, together with examples of countries successfully reducing harmful emissions and the best energy mixes for achieving this.

Jacopo and Kerry talk about the considerations at play in communicating science to the wider public and what types of messaging resonates (or not) with audiences, noting the current challenges in public discourse with many folks being mistrustful of ‘experts’.

The show ends with our guests talking about their levels of optimism for the future, and how hopeful they are that humanity will rise to the challenges presented by a changing climate.

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