Episode #30: What's the Business Incentive for Going Green? (transcript)
Quinn: Welcome to Important, Not Important, my name is Quinn Emmett
Brian: And my name is Brian Colbert Kennedy.
Quinn: And this is episode 30. Brian question for today, what's the business incentive for climate action, why is everybody but Trump going green, and then telling everybody about it? And how can I as a private citizen not Batman, help that along?
Brian: Those are some very good questions and that is, I wish that you were Batman I'm sorry that you're not.
Quinn: No too tired, way too tired.
Brian: And just to be clear I would not fucking be your Robin okay?
Quinn: So it's awkward because I didn't ask you to be Robin.
Brian: I know that you were about to, so I nipped it in the bud.
Quinn: Did I? Are your workouts going that well that you feel like you could be Robin?
Brian: My workouts are going great.
Quinn: Oh okay. Our guest-
Brian: And who is going to help us talk about that?
Quinn: About Batman and Robin? Fucking nobody. No our guest today is will Hackman. Will has been a campaign manager for the House and the Senate, he's worked as a Marine Fisheries conservation advocate, he represented Georgetown University at the UN Climate Change Conference the past couple of years, and he's also an author on various energy and environmental and climate change topics.
Brian: And he's from the Midwest.
Quinn: He's from the Midwest which sure I guess, sure Brian makes him better than everybody whatever you need.
Brian: It doesn't make them better than everybody but it's a good quality to have, to be from the ... Not that it's a quality but ... You think somebody is going to argue with me? He's from the Midwest that's a ... everybody would go, "Oh yeah, that's good."
Quinn: Would they? Everybody?
Brian: Yes, everybody.
Quinn: I don't know.
Brian: Nobody looks down on people from the Midwest.
Quinn: I don't know. I mean I'm not saying anybody looks down, but I'm just saying I'm sure you know, let's not make stereotypes Brian. I'm sure someone somewhere has had a bad experience with someone from the Midwest before.
Brian: All right, I'm just saying I like him.
Quinn: Sure, glad we got him by the way because he is ... My man is going dark like today for a while.
Brian: [crosstalk 00:02:11] pretty exciting stuff.
Quinn: We;'re like, "Hey, Will some of this stuff can be kind of hard, what do you do?" And he's like, "I fucking disappear. I'm doing it right now." Which is interesting.
Brian: Yeah we got him at a really good time.
Quinn: Yeah. Hey Brian, can I ask you a question?
Quinn: Are you a shit giver?
Brian: Oh boy am I. I give a shit.
Quinn: Do you shit ... we often ... we call our ... formally our little business is called the conversations most vital to our survival as a species, or as some folks have said it's the newsletter and the podcast for people who give a shit about the future. I like that.
Brian: I love it.
Quinn: If you do feel like you're shit giver you can become an official one by sharing our newsletter with literally everyone you know.
Brian: All the people.
Quinn: Or you know the email addresses of, or that is on the Internet. And you can get credit for it. Where can they go Brian to do that?
Brian: Well they should probably just head on over to shitgiver.com. You can also go to shit givers.importantnotimportant.com but shitgiver.com is so easy and quick.
Quinn: Yeah my OCD doesn't love the one is Shit Giver and the other Shit Givers but hey, that's part of the frustrations of the Internet.
Brian: Just the way it is.
Quinn: What do they do ... Just the way it is.
Brian: You just go there to one of those aforementioned websites, you share the newsletter it's super easy, or just sign up [crosstalk 00:03:26].
Quinn: Well first you put in your email.
Brian: Put in your email address.
Quinn: Right, and if you're already signed up the newsletter it's going to take you to your cool little sharing, your profile page.
Brian: Yeah, like your own profile page.
Quinn: If you haven't signed up yet, it signs you up and then you go to your profile page, and then what do you do when you're there?
Brian: Well then you just use the tools to share it. You could share it with some email addresses, you could share it over Twitter or Facebook or whatever the fuck. Quinn what happens if you do that?
Quinn: If you share it?
Brian: If you share it.
Quinn: Well hopefully people fucking click on it. You don't get credit for just sharing, you've got to do a good job of it and have some friends. Which not judging, but if you successfully share it with certain numbers of actual human beings not robots, you get some free stuff man.
Brian: Some cool free stuff.
Quinn: Yeah we got a mug that will be-
Brian: That I'm drinking out of one right now.
Quinn: ... relatively inappropriate for your workplace if you're like an elementary school teacher, but hey you can't start them early enough. T-shirts, we got to go bag with our fucking patch on it, it's pretty dope. Some stickers, and if this year with 200 ... I mean there ... I don't know this many people but somebody does.
Brian: A lot of people.
Quinn: And somebody respectable who's not an introvert like me. 250 real humans Brian, what do they get?
Brian: Oh I don't know, maybe a trip to Los Angeles to sit in and be included on, and take part in an episode of the podcast.
Quinn: That's right, you get Brian's job.
Brian: Yeah I'm gonna take that day off and you're going to take my place.
Quinn: You know I'll be fucking packing boxes in the background. No, you get to come do this thing with us man. We'll get ice cream, we'll get coffee, it'll be super fun. We have a lot of fun with this, and 250 will go a hell of a long way, we appreciate it. By the time this comes out, I will be back in Los Angeles for my summer-
Brian: Yeah you will, finally.
Quinn: ... summer exit, and what am I coming back to Brian, how are things going there?
Brian: You are coming back to actual fires burning hundreds of acres of land .
Quinn: Perfect, where exactly?
Brian: That's going on in northern California right now.
Quinn: Okay, but I'm assuming it's making its way south.
Brian: Oh the hot winds are blowing unfortunately.
Quinn: Great, cool. Super excited [crosstalk 00:05:41] about that, awesome. Are the hot winds a blowing. Hey you know what I saw, speaking of ...
Brian: Hot winds are blowing or something else?
Brian: It doesn't matter.
Quinn: Harley Davidson, what's your brand of super motorcycle?
Brian: My brand of what?
Quinn: What brand is your fucking motorcycle? Your death machine.
Brian: Is brand the right word? I ride a Yamaha baby.
Quinn: Okay, you're sold out, make America great again Brian.
Brian: I'm sold out?
Quinn: So anyways Harley, Harley's suck. Well guess what? They're coming out with an electric Harley.
Brian: Are they really?
Brian: I love Harley's.
Quinn: So you could save the environment before it kills you. To be clear an electric motorcycle is still going to get you killed in Los Angeles.
Quinn: 100% but at least you'll be pumping out ... I guess not pumping out anything.
Brian: Yeah the whole point is that there's nothing pumping out. That's really cool, I'm gonna look that up. That is actually very cool to hear. I would guess that zero of the people who like ride and live the Harley life would buy that personally.
Quinn: Right, because don't they really want the big noise to tell everybody that they're coming?
Brian: Oh it's all about what fucking noise and the cool ... But what would be great is if we could turn that around a little bit.
Quinn: [inaudible 00:06:59] put a little, like a little Bluetooth speaker on there.
Brian: Yeah, sure why not?
Quinn: That makes the noise. Can I ask you a question?
Quinn: Logistical question.
Brian: Oh logistical, okay.
Quinn: You've got this fucking cat now right?
Brian: I do she's sitting on my lap, she's adorable.
Quinn: When you gotta take her ... it's her, it's a she?
Brian: It's a she.
Quinn: When you got to take her to the vet, do you take her on the motorcycle?
Brian: No of course not you silly goose.
Quinn: What do you do?
Brian: Well its 2018 and I live in a large city, the options are plentiful.
Quinn: Got it, so you've never taken your cat on the motorcycle?
Brian: No I don't think she would like that.
Quinn: Let's imagine it's an emergency, either she is in an emergency or it's like San Andreas. How do you strap your cat to your motorcycle? Is there like a cupboard she can be put into, or you just wrap her up, you strap her to the tire, like how does it work?
Brian: If that was an emergency and I'm just coming up to this now because I haven't thought about it yet, but often time [crosstalk 00:08:05]
Quinn: Go, go right now. You're running out the door, go.
Brian: Okay, I grab her little cat carrier, I put her in it.
Quinn: You think you got time to grab that, where is it?
Brian: I know ... it's in the closet at the top shelf that I can reach without using a step stool because I'm very tall and it's [crosstalk 00:08:21].
Quinn: Everything is coming down around you, everything is coming down around you, you got to go, how are you moving?
Brian: Well I need something to put her in, I'm not, I just can't hold her in my arm, she'll get out.
Quinn: Let's say you get outside and you can't go back inside, now what do you do?
Brian: Why have I left without it?
Quinn: Because you, it's a fucking nightmare out there and you can't-
Brian: Put her under my shirt then, I put her under my shirt and I stick her head out the top by my neck the short hole so she can breathe, and we fucking ride to the vet.
Quinn: I don't think we're going to the vet in this scenario, but ...
Brian: Oh just to get, it was [crosstalk 00:08:44] just to get out and save my self.
Quinn: Yeah it's just a straight up get out. Okay, interesting.
Brian: I think there's options.
Quinn: How does your lady feel about this other feline in your life?
Brian: She loves her.
Quinn: Who loves who? They're both she's.
Brian: It's a mutual. Well you asked me how my lady feels so I was saying-
Quinn: Cat's don't love anybody but your girlfriend loves your cat?
Brian: My cat loves, my cat loves my girlfriend. Yeah really, they get along great.
Quinn: You know what your cat's doing? And it's not actually loving you, it's just, it's plotting, it's some form of long con.
Brian: Do you know that my good friend, fellow cat owner has read information that-
Quinn: It's a good story, you got a real leg to stand on.
Brian: That seems to suggest that cats dream often and mostly what they dream about is their owners.
Quinn: Murdering their owners.
Brian: No, loving their owners.
Quinn: Throwing them over the side of a private vessel.
Brian: She's our mascot number two, you've got to show some love.
Brian: Unofficial is correct.
Quinn: So I was telling you this story offline, I just thought you'd appreciate. This is connected to nothing except what we're saying.
Brian: Oh perfect segue, didn't you give me shit about segueing during this podcast episode?
Quinn: Yeah but it was because you were doing a decent job of it.
Brian: Oh I thought you were insulting, because that's what you usually do.
Quinn: Standard. I had this buddy and his ... This story doesn't matter. You always say, "Hey, man how are you doing?" He goes, "Great." And you're always taken aback because fucking nobody's doing great. He's not, he just likes to do it because it's hilarious every time. He does it to me and I know it's coming, and I tell the story and every time I'm just like, "Really?" Because nobody's doing great.
Brian: Is it always followed up by what's actually going on and it's something bad?
Quinn: Yeah and I'm like, "Really?" And he goes, "Fuck no, definitely not." Anyways listen, let's get through this thing, this is long enough, let's go talk to Will.
Brian: Let's talk to Will.
Quinn: Our guest is Will Hackman. Together we're going to ask 2018, what is the business incentive for climate action? Big businesses, small businesses. There's movement which is amazing but what does it all mean.
Quinn: Will Hackman, welcome.
Will Hackman: Thank you, thank you for having me.
Brian: Thanks so much for being on the show. Will tell us quickly who you are and what you do?
Will Hackman: Sure, so I live in Washington DC, I'm from the Midwest originally.
Will Hackman: In Illinois, I grew up in northern Indiana right outside Chicago.
Brian: Where abouts?
Will Hackman: Crown Point, Indiana.
Brian: Oh okay. I'm from-
Quinn: Brian tell him where you're from.
Brian: ... I'm from Chicago.
Will Hackman: Oh nice. Chicago is my hometown, big city. And I lived in Peoria, Illinois for 10 years as well.
Brian: Oh nice, I used to spend a lot of time there actually.
Will Hackman: Yeah I went to Bradley University.
Brian: Oh yes, so did my best friend in the whole world.
Will Hackman: It is small world.
Brian: Pretty wild.
Quinn: To be clear that's not me.
Brian: You're tier one though.
Brian: Sorry, go ahead Will.
Will Hackman: No it was great rowing up in the Midwest and ... So then I started traveling to Alaska. In college I was a commercial salmon fisherman in the summer times in Homer Alaska, and then I was a commercial Bering Sea crab fisherman bear, Bairdi, Tanner crab and Opilio Snow crab in Dutch Harbor right after I graduated in the winter time. So then I came to DC and started working in politics. Got in the door at the base level as a political fundraiser, worked for an Illinois congresswoman at first, moved all over the country working on various races in Wisconsin, Ohio, Massachusetts. And then I moved from electoral politics to issue advocacy about five years ago, and now I work in the nonprofit conservation community.
Will Hackman: I've done ocean conservation both at the domestic and international level. I've done clean energy, and now I do public lands conservation. So I'm still very much balancing the world of electoral politics, and issue advocacy, and conservation. And now Climate Change for the last three years I've been getting my degree part time at Georgetown a Master in Public Policy, and I just graduated this May with a degree specializing in energy environmental and climate change policy.
Will Hackman: Thank you.
Quinn: Yeah, congrats. It's very exciting, wow.
Brian: It sounds like you're really slacking over there.
Quinn: Yeah so here's a question-
Will Hackman: I like to keep busy.
Quinn: ... what makes a man or a woman, or really any human say, "I would love to be a fisherman in the winter in Alaska?"
Brian: Is this like some Deadliest Catch stuff we're talking about here?
Will Hackman: It is, yeah.
Brian: Very good, very good.
Will Hackman: Yeah that's a good question. So I was a salmon fisherman, I'd always wanted to go to Alaska, I'd read books about Alaska growing up in the Midwest. Then I had a friend of the family that I knew up there, so I reached out to him and he actually connected me with a friend of his who is a boat captain. So I got my first boat when I was 18 between high school and college, and it just changed my life. I'm actually going back to Alaska tomorrow for two and a half weeks for the first time in 10 years, and my life is very different now than the first time that I went up there, but it was such an eye opening experience, it's so beautiful up there.
Will Hackman: And so I had these experiences as a salmon fisherman, and I, when I graduated college, I graduated in December I wanted one more kind of adventure. I also wanted to try to pay off some student loans, and I figured I'd always heard about crab and thought why not. So I bought a one way ticket in the middle of the winter time in January from Chicago to Anchorage, and then Anchorage to Dutch Harbor, and didn't have enough money to get home so I had to make it work.
Quinn: That's awesome.
Brian: That's insane.
Quinn: Brian you've got to get off your ass and do something man.
Brian: I bought a one way ticket to Mexico once, but it was just to chill on the beach and [inaudible 00:14:50] sorry.
Will Hackman: That sounds pretty nice too.
Quinn: Oh god, Jesus.
Brian: Awesome, very cool and just I'm impressed.
Will Hackman: Thank you.
Brian: All right so let's set up our conversation for today. We on this podcast operate on results oriented questions. Why, what if, how questions can shine a light on where we need to go, and that is what we want to do here. So if that sounds okay ...
Quinn: We can proceed.
Will Hackman: Yes absolutely.
Quinn: [crosstalk 00:15:23] awesome. So Will one question before we get started. To get to the heart of why you're here with us today? Our listeners know it, but instead of saying tell us your life story, we'd like to ask Will, why are you vital to the survival of the species?
Will Hackman: Why am I personally vital?
Quinn: Yep, time to toot your own horn.
Will Hackman: Well-
Quinn: Be bold.
Will Hackman: ... that's interesting. Yeah I mean, I think a lot of people don't understand if we want to focus on climate change as the man focus of that answer. I think it's hard for a lot of people to figure out what's going on, and I've spent a a lot time. You know I'm personally very passionate about climate change, environmental policy, public policy in general that moves us the right direction as a country across a lot of different issues. And I think addressing climate change is a very important role for public policy. So I've spent the last 10 years of my professional career, as well as personal passion, and my academic experience now at Georgetown learning a lot, and talking to a lot of people at high levels of government, and private sector, and academia who are doing this and who have a lot more expertise than I do. But I've been able to get a good cross-section of information from a lot of different people in different sectors about what we need to do.
Will Hackman: So I think I have a unique at least education that I can hope to share with people. And given my political and advocacy background I think I can hopefully provide some ideas for what we can do.
Quinn: I like it.
Brian: That's amazing.
Quinn: That works for me. Awesome, all right. Well listen we're going to move into today's stuff. We're gonna establish some context for what we're talking about. And I'm excited about this one because I think as we were saying offline, it's one of those ones that people have heard little tidbits about, alarm bells in one direction or another and that's about it. And so I want to get into the nitty gritty of it. Before that we're going to do something we call Context 101 with Professor Brian, who is not an economist, or a corporate titan, or even a clean energy expert, but that's the point, because most of our listeners aren't any of those things.
Quinn: He's a relatively, relatively being the key word, normal dude like the rest of us, who just so happens to have to basically write a new book report every week, despite being a 30 something year old man, so it's all right. So Brian, let's hear it man.
Brian: No problem.
Quinn: Hit me, give me your business speak.
Brian: All right, I know a lot of businessy words, here they come. Investors all over the world from corporate boards to the smallest shareholders are pushing companies towards action.
Quinn: Exciting do you wear a suit and tie [inaudible 00:18:20]/
Brian: That's hilarious.
Brian: I do have pants on. Anyway they're doing it not just because it's the right thing to do, or because we're all connected on social media, or because we're all fucking [inaudible 00:18:35] out here basically, but also because it makes, it finally makes business sense. I'm not going to lie to you, I am who I am and I am not 100% sure why or even what a corporate board does, but I'm into it.
Quinn: The [inaudible 00:18:54] They're the ones, they're the schmucks who took away Wayne Enterprises from Batman in Batman Begins, do you remember the part, that little white guy?
Brian: Okay, yeah [crosstalk 00:19:04] I can relate.
Quinn: Didn't you get the memo?
Brian: God that sucked, but then uber Batman got the last laugh didn't he?
Quinn: Yeah I mean he always does right? He's fucking Batman.
Brian: That's so sick.
Quinn: He's like a super damaged billionaire vigilante psychopath in bat ears. And he's mostly on the good guys but anyway ... You know what, let's get back to business and climate change.
Brian: All right, but Batman is great. Okay, so Apple, Google, it's 2018 and these guys are powered by like all clean energy now, it's insane. I mean it seems insane, should it be insane anymore?
Brian: I don't know. So why, is it because some of these businesses interests are directly threatened? Sure. Maybe they're maybe they're located on the coast which not great, since it'll be underwater.
Quinn: Sure but the biggest companies are everywhere now right, with logistics and data centers and tax evasion.
Brian: Yeah but not just those guys, and I mean just like [inaudible 00:20:04] companies. I mean like Wall Street, like actual Wall Street, the Street it's going to be underwater and soon. And yeah international businesses can relocate but only for a while, and there's people who can't relocate their businesses, like businesses that are like specifically geographically oriented. Where are they going to go?
Quinn: Right like who?
Brian: Like wineries. Napa is actually on fire, on real fire.
Quinn: It's crazy they said like Napa is not going to be able to make the same wine in 25 years.
Brian: That's insane. Business like that are built on their location, not literally but that's their business plan, like Atlantic City, Disney World, anywhere on Miami Beach. Big businesses, they're the ones we hear about but little business too. So anyway, I don't know it seems like everyone's on board, everyone except the US/Russia but hey, that's a story for a different day that I don't want to get into it because I don't want to die and it's gaining momentum for butt load of reasons. I have a ton of reasons right here in my reports. I have all a bunch of papers right here with staff and stuff but we shouldn't ... I don't want to get into at all.
Quinn: Okay, all right that's super helpful. I think the thing will probably not to or at least get more context from Will, because he seems to be the most well read human on the planet about this is the Paris Agreement and what that has done [inaudible 00:21:33] to drive this if at all. I don't know, I don't fucking know, let's find out. So the question today is what business incentives for clean energy and climate action now exist, existed before and might exist in the future besides us not all being reduced to a small group of genetically limited humans living in a cave somewhere, besides that incentive.
Brian: It's a pretty good incentive.
Quinn: Theoretically, yeah. So Will why for the past couple of years has the business community started leading the way on climate action?
Will Hackman: Yeah so I thought that was a really good set up, and
Quinn: Don't encourage him.
Will Hackman: I would-
Will Hackman: I would take issue with the United States not being committed, and we can get back to that because-
Brian: [crosstalk 00:22:21] oh nice.
Will Hackman: ... I like to try to correct the record on a couple things, one being the US is still in the Paris Agreement.
Will Hackman: A lot of the reporting on this really drives me crazy.
Quinn: Until 2020 right?
Will Hackman: Yeah well it remains to be seen if President Trump gets elected to a second term, will he actually pull out of the Paris agreement. Will he try to negotiate different terms and there's-
Quinn: Who knows? Nobody knows.
Will Hackman: Yeah a lot is up in the air, a lot can happen in the next two years. So but the US actually has done so much to combat climate change. We've reduced our CO2 our carbon dioxide emissions by more than any other country in the world as a total amount of CO2. We've reduced faster than any other country in the world. We were leading the negotiations going into the Paris Agreement. I mean arguably we couldn't have gotten the Paris Agreement without the leadership from people in the United States like President Obama and Secretary Kerry and Jonathan Pershing and others who did such a great job behind the scenes getting that ready.
Will Hackman: So the US has done a lot, and what the Paris agreement is, it's a international agreement that allows for certain countries to backslide at different times. It's an incredibly intuitive international agreement that I think-
Quinn: Backslide in what direction, what do you mean by that?
Will Hackman: Well if over the next 30 or 40 years as we're working towards a goal of Paris Agreement, if there is a country that pulls out temporarily or doesn't meet its individual goals, the Paris agreement is the structure that helps move the whole international community together collectively towards our climate goals. And so it doesn't really focus on one individual country or penalize one individual country, it's this huge framework that pulls people together and through diplomacy, and through these international conferences and other side conferences that are happening every year as well. Hopefully we can move the direction we need to move and it's this big experiment the world that's never tried this level of international cooperation before.
Will Hackman: But it's an amazing intuitive document and I do think that the market signal the Paris agreement sent back in 2015, indicated that this is the direction that governments are going around the world. That we're finally getting serious on climate change. We've been meeting for 21 years and now we have this Paris Agreement. And we'd had the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as the framework for these meetings for a long time, but now we have agreement they commits all countries in the world to limiting global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the year 2100. So that's the goal of the Paris Agreement.
Will Hackman: No more than two Celsius by 2100, and how we get there is up to individual countries, and the plans they choose to submit. Every country is approaching it a different way, so there is a lot of flexibility in how we get there, and then there'll be these big reports and these big periods of analysis that the UN will do to figure out where we are collectively. So that's the framework of the Paris Agreement, I'm happy to talk more about that. But what that did is send the signal to the business sector. And in response clean energy finances started to flow in record numbers over the last couple years. Bank of America as $125 billion fund to fund clean energy and sustainability financing by 2025, to help the United States meet its initial goal under the Paris Agreement.
Will Hackman: Wells Fargo has committed $200 billion through 2030. Large companies are taking action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Quinn: What are those huge funds going towards exactly?
Will Hackman: So they're helping to fund other clean energy projects, and other startups, and smaller companies. Bank of America, Wells Fargo they're banks, so people come to them and they'd submit ideas. And they say, "We want to build these solar panels somewhere, and so these funds are for that reason, for a whole list of different qualifying programs that that fund is committed to. And so that's the type of finance flows that we need to get this started, and there's tons of other examples. You mentioned large companies like Google committing to be 100% renewable. McDonald's has pledged to reduce their CO2 emissions by 2030, that would be an equivalent to taking 32 million passenger cars off the road for an entire year.
Quinn: Does that include ... I'm curious, I wonder does that include the emissions produced by the meat that they use?
Brian: Yeah, that's interesting.
Quinn: Or is that just real estate I wonder?
Will Hackman: That's a good question. I think that is just from their supply chain, from trucks, shipping, from their real estate operations. I'm not sure if they're getting it-
Quinn: Because boy I would love to see ... Again it would be an estimate of course because they're never going to release it. But an estimate on the ... How many burgers they're serving every day, what the emissions are from the meat that's just going to their burger.
Brian: I can only imagine.
Will Hackman: Well and that's actually a really good question, because that's ... it gets into how you do corporate greenhouse gas accounting, and there are different ways to do that. And companies can decide how they are accounting for their greenhouse gas emissions, and are they only accounting for their own direct operations or are they also accounting from all their suppliers. And in a case like McDonald's they should account for all their suppliers and their greenhouse gas accounting. But-
Quinn: Right theoretically because there's no supply without their suppliers.
Will Hackman: Yeah but the good news is more than 90% of global 500 companies now are using some sort of corporate standard to try to address their ... So as shareholders push companies to become more sustainable and to commit more to the future, and as millennials take higher levels of leadership opportunities in these companies, you're really seeing the private sector move in the right direction. And so I mean my angle on this is more policy focused, but I was at the last three UN climate conferences, and I was in Morocco in 2016. And I saw then Secretary of State John Kerry give an impassioned speech about continuing to commit the goal, to the goals of the Paris Agreement past just that previous year. And he said something that really stuck with me.
Will Hackman: He said it's not going to be governments alone or even principally that solve the climate challenge, the private sector is the most important player. So since then I've really been thinking about that as my role in public policy, in politics, in the conservation community, what is the role of the private sector and how can government help incentivize the private sector because that's really where the money's going to come from.
Brian: Will how does the Paris Agreement specifically and like we said just again to clarify we are still part of the Paris Agreement until 2020. How does it speak specifically to corporate interests and action, not government standards or incentives but ... if it even does?
Quinn: I mean because it seems to me like your in capsulation so far as there's been business action now in the past two to six years because one, for the first time there's an actual relatively dependable signal on this is just the way things are going economy-wise and business-wise for the first time. Where the question was before Paris was like are they going to get this non-binding agreement done like Kyoto which was complicated obviously. But number two is that it's becoming more affordable if not in many cases, and with some of these new energy deals becoming the most affordable way to pay for the energy your business requires. And three I mean it seems like it's probably the right thing to do for your stock price without becoming like a full on B Company. Four is we're going to die, I'm kidding. But, so without those things are there specifics in the Paris Agreements the speak to a corporate interest of any level, incentives carrots or sticks?
Will Hackman: Yeah, so I think there's a couple ways to answer that question. So the entire framework these international negotiations that happen each year in different countries around the world and they've been happening now for I think around the 24th year of the official ... They're called the Conference of Parties. This year it will be COP 24 in Poland. And so there are these huge frameworks, there are these huge conferences where everybody comes together. Where you have governments and academia and nonprofits, and the business community. And there is a huge representation from the business community, from energy companies, traditional energy and clean energy. All the stakeholders are coming to these conferences now.
Will Hackman: And I think there's been less engagement in the past, but definitely since the Paris Agreement over the last few years as we take more and more steps towards the clean energy revolution of the world economy, which really is happening. I mean that is business are investing more and more in clean energy each year at an exponential rate. So these are great opportunities to network and to meet with delegates from different countries that you're working, if you're a large corporation then you can attend official briefings and press conferences. And you can get your name out there, and you ... So it's that part of diplomacy of these UN conferences I think is so important because it brings everybody together and it gets them talking, and it ... There's all sorts of side conversations happening at the same time.
Will Hackman: There's agreements being made and alliances being formed.
Quinn: What are some of the most surprising sort of agreements and alliances you've seen come forth since Paris itself?
Will Hackman: This last year ... well the last conference that I attended in Morocco ... Or no sorry actually that was two years ago. The last conference was in Bonn, Germany last year, and I was at that one as well. So that one actually I think was the most important conference for subnational actors in the 25 year history of these negotiations.
Quinn: Why is that?
Will Hackman: So especially given the United States' indication that we may not stay in the Paris Agreement, you've had this huge surge of subnational actors. So cities, states, corporations, religious institutions, tribal entities come together and say we are still in, and there is this great right coalition in the United States now called We Are Still In Coalition. What we are seeing now is kind of this open rebellion when it comes to climate change, to make sure that we're still moving in the right direction regardless of what the federal government does. And now you have so many people involved in this coalition that I think it represents something like a third of the entire GDP of the United States and almost 100 million people at this point.
Will Hackman: So there really is this incredible amount of progress, and to a certain extent the federal government has done part of its job in getting the United States involved in the Paris Agreement, and passing things like the Clean Air Act which is the best piece of environmental legislation that the world has ever seen. And it continues, the Clean Air Act continues to be an incredibly important piece of legislation. That's what the clean power plan was created under, even though it didn't go into effect in the end. But at this point it really is up to the subnational actors, the cities, the states, the companies to figure out how we're actually going to implement the Paris Agreement, that's where they come in.
Will Hackman: And so those are the alliances that are being made at this point is, okay we've signed this agreement now what? Now how do we make Miami resilient to rising seas? How do we make California resilient to drought and wildfires? Those are going to require state and local policies, and technological innovation, and private sector funding. And that's how we're going to implement the Paris Agreement. I thought of one other thing.
Quinn: Yeah, please.
Will Hackman: Just thinking thank more at the macro level that if I can throw that in there before we move away from the large corporations [crosstalk 00:35:38]. So I read recently that the Bank of America market analysts estimated that clean energy will grow by $13 trillion by 2030 around the world. Clean energy is already one of the fastest growing industries in the world. In order to implement the goals of the Paris Agreement keeping things under two degrees Celsius, we need $75 trillion in global clean energy investments by 2040, that's according to the International Energy Agency. So this is the scale of funding that we talk about when we talk about unlocking the power of the private sector and what I think Secretary Kerry was talking about as the role of the private sector and finance flows, and the role of government to help create the foundation and the framework for those finance flows to happen.
Will Hackman: I mean there is an incredible amounts of money for the private sector to make in meeting this challenge. And the cost of wind solar and other renewable energies have fallen dramatically in recent years. So in some parts of the world it's actually cheaper to ... if you've got a billion dollars that you want to invest in clean energy, in some places it is now cheaper to invest that in wind and solar than it is in coal.
Quinn: That's ... yeah it's fascinating it is. We just had a conversation with a young woman who's just so awesome, calls herself "The Space Gal" Emily Calandrelli, who's an online educator, inspiration motivator, also a genius engineer from MIT. And our question to her was and we try to be comprehensive and play devil's advocate in places, was why the hell should we be focusing on space exploration when the planet is on fire? And her answer was great. And the first one was is like, all of these businesses are making a lot of money in space and that will in this potentially enormous industry were supported by government funding, and wouldn't exist if we weren't putting those resources into them. And it feels that way with clean energy too, which is whether you're someone who's working a business or an individual working in the sector, or you're a business or individual that is, you can either save money on your electric cost or you could be someone, a business that exists on a present technology, or you're maybe one of these companies that's trying to work on new solid state batteries for storage, whatever.
Quinn: There could just be a frankly incredible amount of money made. I mean you think about the efforts that once these things really get cranking and it doesn't even feel like there are yet, but the incentives are solidifying on there, especially if and when a carbon tax does go in effect and in if it's big enough and it rises along with costs and things like that and becomes a real penalty. The incentives are there to just be World War Two level economic effect, a paradigm shift of money.
Will Hackman: Absolutely, and it's exciting for people to who are in business school right now. Young people graduating from business school are going in to impact investing. They're going into social entrepreneurship, they're trying to make a difference when it comes to the large challenges of our time whether they're social or environmental challenges. And so Impact Investing is gained all this momentum in recent years, and big funds are now dressing that, and creating innovative new blended finance mechanisms to help stimulate impact investing as well. So I think it's a generational shift on one end, but people are really excited about it at all levels. And so that shift is helping to drive certain things. But I mean getting back to what you said about how the government itself stimulate a lot of these things and space exploration. RPE with the Department of Energy, it's the Advanced Research Projects Agency, they have had an incredibly ...
Will Hackman: It's basically an incubator that helps to take amazing creative ideas, and research them, and bring them to an ability for the private sector to take over and then take it into the private sector, and make money off of it. And it's had an incredibly ... RPE, Department of Energy they've worked very closely with business and with clean energy companies to bring so many of these ideas to market, and they've had incredibly successful track record. And that's just one example of many ways that the government works with the private sector to help them. So I think ... There seems to be this divide in modern day US society between governments and business. And I think a lot of business people think the government is stifling growth, and they have to do something different.
Will Hackman: And I think the government workers don't understand the private sector as much as they should. And I think it would really help both sides to come together a lot more, and that's the only way that we're going to be able to address climate change or any large issue, is to bring the public sector and the private sector together.
Will Hackman: I am very optimistic about the future, and I think-
Brian: Thank you, love it.
Will Hackman: ... it's very important. Yeah-
Brian: We need it.
Will Hackman: I think it's really important that we talk about these things in an optimistic way, and we think about the future that we can build if we fully commit to clean energy, and if we are building these amazing skyscrapers, and cities that have trees and cascading gardens and roof top gardens that are providing the vegetables for all the city dwellers to eat, and we've got electric cars, and the air quality is so much better. I mean imagine what the world would look like if we were living sustainably within the world, and right now we are not, the world is in decline. So that is the version of the future that I think is amazing, and I really do think we can get there.
Will Hackman: But it takes such large institutional changes and the scale is so large at this point, we have to remake all of our energy structure. We have to remake our entire transportation system. We have to make cars, planes, trains, ships all electric, and they have all be powered from renewable energy, and this needs to happen in the next 30 years.
Quinn: [inaudible 00:42:21].
Will Hackman: Yeah we have to de-carbonize. In order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, we have to de-carbonize the entire world by 80 to 100% by 2050, so that's 30 years from now.
Quinn: No big. No biggie, no issue.
Will Hackman: No big deal.
Quinn: And you know that's the thing is, it is ... We find it important to both give that to the people straight so they can understand the depth and the breadth of what we're dealing with, and that we're very far behind the eight ball. And then give them a second to take a deep fucking sigh and maybe have a drink. But then after and what I want to serve moving towards here is, all right if that's the thing how do we break these things up into action items? How do we compartmentalize? How do we start to address this thing? Because there's no just one big thing. As much as I think people feel a lot of the time that, right if it's these big businesses how the fuck do I affect that besides like not buying my underwear from target anymore. Not saying Target's a bad person. But you know what I mean it's like, we always tell people what we try to do is focus in on steps they can take with their voice, their vote and their dollar.
Quinn: So that's kind of what I angle toward.
Will Hackman: Absolutely and it's ... that's the conversation that's happening around the world right now. And so it's really interesting we're all in this conversation's together where we've passed these huge macro things like the Paris Agreement. And now we're all collectively drilling down in countries all over the world. What does this mean so my state, to my city, to my individual way. And that is ... Nobody has all the answers. I mean obviously recycle, do what you can to reduce your carbon emissions, your carbon footprint. Living in cities ... the world is becoming more urban. Cities produce a lot of energy demand, and the more we do [inaudible 00:44:20] green cities, and to go with public transportation and electric forms of transportation the better.
Quinn: Yeah and I got a lot of ... I have some thoughts and questions on that just in general. Thinking recently I was in Boston and New York and obviously I live most of time in Los Angeles, and they talk about 40 million more Americans are going to live in cities over the next 20 years. And I just look at the way these cities are so far have been completely incapable of handling the current population rush both energy wise, and housing wise, and affordability wise. And I just don't really see where the math adds up on that, and I wonder if there's going to be some severe backlash there. But I do want to go back real quick before we actually start to dive into those action steps just a little bit.
Quinn: We talked about there being an incredible amount to be made in clean energy if you are someone who's participating in that very beginner and soon to be flourishing market. So imagine you're a some 21 year old hotshot, either business person let's say the Steve Jobs, or you're the engineer or scientist Steve Wozniak. What's the first place you think to participate in this market would be the low hanging fruit for these rising entrepreneurs?
Will Hackman: I think that more and more people are getting interested in impact investing. An entrepreneur wants to create his or her own. And they build out their business plan, and they figure out what they want to do and what they want to address. And more and more people in business school are taking a look at challenges in society and they're saying I want to build a business, but I want it to address cleaning up the oceans. I'm a business person, I want to partner with somebody who's got technical expertise in ocean conservation or somebody who knows how to build something that's going to go out there and physically clean up plastics from the ocean. And so more and more and more of these incubators are spouting up that are helping people figure out how they want to direct their talent.
Will Hackman: But there's no one answer to where people can start, but I think-
Quinn: Which is great. Yeah I was just curious if there's something where you're like, "Boy if I could figure this out." I mean the battery thing is fascinating. Apparently serial inventor, investor clean energy guy Bill Joy has invested in this battery company I think out of MIT, I think definitely out of Boston, that claims to have doubled the storage and I believe retention rate of solid state batteries somehow, which would be literally a complete game changer. Who else solves that [crosstalk 00:46:53].
Will Hackman: Yeah from the technology-
Quinn: Whoever solves that is gonna be a trillionaire, it's going to be insane. But there's got to be a lot of places that a lot of ... There's probably a lot of potential home runs that might require billions of dollars of R&D, but I would imagine there's a bunch of low hanging fruit out there too. You just see some of these smart home companies are coming up making up just the light bulb. Talk to me one more, just one last thing before we get into the steps here, because it seems like one of the most confusing factors for a resident or maybe even an entrepreneur, talk about navigating the Wild West is the utilities. So there are currently literally city by city, and sometimes state by state or by the region, there are a lot of obstacles to a totally clean grid right? There's technology we haven't figured out like how to make this energy flexible, how to best store it.
Quinn: I mean California now wants to turn their Hoover Dam into a huge battery. But starting with the players that are participating in the grid themselves, from flexibility to pricing to back ups and of course their own financial incentives, how are post Paris utilities and again I know it's a very wide answer, helping or not helping the situation? Is there a model that's working and fruitful in the US?
Will Hackman: That's a great question and that might be a little bit outside of my expertise really drilling into the nitty gritty of [crosstalk 00:48:21]-
Quinn: Don't worry everything is out of our expertise, so whatever you'll say we'll just go with it.
Will Hackman: I am not an expert on the public utility commissions in different states, I know there are different zones, and different parts of the country that work a lot differently, and there's buyers and sellers. And I think from an investment standpoint, we've seen a huge amount of investment going into industrial, commercial, and residential utility scale clean energy. One policy lever that's been used for that very effectively, this is what I wrote my master's thesis on was the business investment tax credit, the ITC which righted a 30% tax credit to solar installations for all those sectors. For commercial, industrial, residential level solar operation.
Quinn: Right so you know something about it. You're shirking-
Will Hackman: A little bit.
Quinn: ... a little bit easy so does that tax credit-
Brian: Master thesis sure sure.
Quinn: Yeah okay, my Masters' thesis. Does that tax credit still exist, does anything still exist?
Will Hackman: It does and it's been ... Arguably I've heard people make the argument that that tax credit alone has been more effective then than the carbon tax would have been that was proposed back in 2010, or that the clean power ... If we just continued this 30% tax credit for solar installations we would have a larger impact on incentivizing clean energy at least and over the next five years than the clean power plant would have had. So there are certain things like that that are already happening, that are already implemented. The ITC, the tax credit I'm talking about, It's currently scheduled to phase down. So over the next few years it will be reduced from 30% down, and that may ... So right now that's [crosstalk 00:50:18].
Quinn: Is that under the assumption that, "Hey, everything is working, you don't need this incentive anymore." Or is that just the [inaudible 00:50:25]?
Will Hackman: That was the negotiation between the political parties when this was passed as part of the ... there's the omnibus spending bill a couple years ago, and then there is the tax extenders piece. So that was the negotiation that people agreed to. And I hope the ITC has had a very tumultuous history, it's been ... Its expired and then it's been retroactively applied a year later when it's been reintroduced, and then they said, "Okay, it was expired for this year but we're going to give you the tax credit anyway to these companies that made the right decision." So there's still plenty of things that can happen, but things like that reduced the barriers to entry for ... I mean what we, what I think everybody knows in the United States is that electricity is, it's hard to break into that market.
Will Hackman: You can't just create a electric company and go out there and start selling large amounts of electricity to people. So the barriers of entry in the electric power sector are very high. There is these institutional players that have been at it for a very long time. And some of the institutional players are starting to invest in clean energy as well and they're now-
Quinn: And by the way I don't understand why some of them are ... It might seem like they're acting out of ... They're being malicious or evil, but I understand why some are honestly acting out of fear over the strength the reliability of the grid, when they say to people. "Hey listen man, sure solar and wind are cool, but sometimes the wind stops blowing and the sun stop shining because we have things called winter, and we don't have any place to reliably store that stuff," is fair. I mean I think it's getting better, but at the same time again it is the way things are going, and it's really frustrating when you see ... I mean I think there's ... I haven't checked up on it recently but there's a couple states that make it very difficult for you to put solar on your home, and will almost outright penalize you, or worse.
Quinn: Which has been the problem is it bounces back and forth, and so nobody can commit to something and saying, "Sure, this solar installation has a 30 year warranty on it, but will I get money from the grid now if I go net zero in two years, when Jackass McJackass takes office, that might reverse, and I might be like, 'Why did I spend all this money?" Because I think we've realized that a lot of folks aren't going to do anything just because it's the right thing to do, whether it's on a personal level or a business level.
Will Hackman: Absolutely and that's where-
Quinn: And it seems like utilities are in a similar boat. It's always hard for an institution to pivot, but it's time to pivot man.
Will Hackman: I mean that's where public policy has the role to provide market certainty. And when you pass the five year extension of a tax credit that reduces barriers to entry for clean energy companies to help compete against traditional fossil companies like the ITC has done, that provides that market certainty to those companies, at least for that next five to 10 year period. But when it expires every year, when it's a political fight every year then these companies are very hesitant. And that trickles down to the consumer. But I hear this a lot, that wind and solar when the sun's not shining or the wind's not stop blowing are we're going to have rolling blackouts. There's been a lot of research that shows that renewable energy actually addresses intermittent power issues very well.
Will Hackman: And we can ... So there's this really interesting thing with concentrated solar power CSP that big-
Quinn: Wait quick note, Brian do you remember five minutes ago when Will said he didn't know anything about this?
Brian: Yeah, what was the quote? Well I can't speak to-
Quinn: Right 10 minutes later he's pushing his glasses up his nose and going, "Well actually-"
Brian: Will you're so modest.
Quinn: Yeah keep going please.
Will Hackman: Well thank you, I know a little bit about this I guess, but there's so much to dig into. But what I do know about some of the new technologies that are coming out there, so CSP the solar towers out in the desert, where these big mirrors that are reflected back up to this towers and it's super heating water to generate steam to generate power, obviously that needs to happen during the day. But what they've started doing at these big ... and that is utility level solar generating a lot of power. What they've started doing, and I don't know what the exact word is for it, but there's these tanks filled with molten salt. And so they'll heat up during the day, it will generate the power from the solar towers, then the towers will heat up these tanks of molten salt to very high temperatures, and then all night long they will continue to run steam generator.
Will Hackman: There will be enough power from those molten salt tanks to keep the energy flowing all night.
Quinn: 100% sounds like a James Bond villain. You're just sitting here explaining exactly what your plan is, and how you're going to melt everybody.
Will Hackman: Yeah it's really fascinating but that is basically a battery. They've basically created these big ... And there's other examples of really genius ways that people are trying to solve these issues, what happens when the sun goes down? And they've done it. To a certain extent they've solved the issue.
Brian: Wowza. All right so I am a business owner which is a stretch I realize. You don't need a laugh, you don't need to laugh like that, maybe I own a bar-cade that'd be fun.
Quinn: Just keep, let's go.
Brian: What's my first step to both sign on to these pledges, and then also to start to make changes for my business itself?
Quinn: For your bar-cade?
Brian: For my bar-cade or my salon, I don't know.
Quinn: Which by the way I will take it back. I love a bar-cade, but two, I bet they use a fair amount of energy, those old machines not exactly green.
Brian: Yeah see that was a good example of a small business.
Quinn: Fine, go ahead [crosstalk 00:56:34].
Brian: Sorry about that. Let's get specific.
Will Hackman: Yeah and that gets back to the residential level and the small business level, and I've been dancing around this a little bit try to figure out how to address it, because to a certain extent does it matter if you change the light bulbs in your house if we are not transitioning our entire transportation network? And does it matter if this small business in the small town in Virginia is completely renewable or is recycling, or using biodegradable straws, which everybody should use by the way. We should no longer use plastic straws. It's very easy to use biodegradable ... That's a whole nother issue but you're not a plastic [crosstalk 00:57:20].
Brian: There's so many issues we can talk about.
Quinn: [crosstalk 00:57:21] well and this is ... We talked about this recently on here, and we talk about it in our newsletter a bunch. Which is somebody put out a ... We did one podcast with a gentleman who's another genius actual rocket engineer out Pasadena at JPL, and he wrote a book effectively talking about what are the most important things you can do as a single human.
Brian: Oh yeah.
Quinn: To have an effect, to make you feel like you're having an effect knowing that if we're not transitioning the entire energy system then we're fucked up the river anyways. And then there was another report recently, two weeks ago something like that, that graphic Brian which you can put on the show notes .
Brian: Of course.
Quinn: Showing them the most effective things you can do as a single human. Because I do think it's ... Again we come back to your voice, your vote and your dollar. And your dollar can be as simple as switch to an electric car, but it can also be ... When you ask yourself how the fuck does Brian affect the world energy system transitioning to-
Brian: Just wait till I own my bar-cade.
Quinn: ... electric. Yeah well that will be part of it as you're draining the power out of the city. It's also withholding your dollar from that institution or supporting an imagination that does use it because they might be someone like Apple or Google with, I don't think people realize when they're like, "Oh cool the Apple stores are on clean energy, fuck those. It's these data centers that consume just incredible amounts of energy, and if those are renewable then those are actually affecting, in total are affecting the energy grid and you can either support those businesses who are not on that level. But I am curious, again if you are a business owner of some sort, sort of what's the first step to sign on to these type of pledges or to support Paris?
Quinn: Can you go to those meetings and find out in general? Maybe you want to start a regional business, small business support group that says we're still in, and find out exactly what those people can do. So I'm curious if you know of any specific things that they can do to start to make efforts there? Again we really try to get into specific [inaudible 00:59:31] and we've talked a lot about what a normal citizen can do.
Will Hackman: Yeah absolutely and I 100% agree with everything that you just said, and there are so many things that you can do, and I kind of differentiate the while umbrella of sustainability and the personal choices and business decisions that people can do to make sure that they're being more sustainable, and that their carbon footprint and their waste products and everything is much lower. There's a whole host of things that you can do. Again using biodegradable straws if you're a restaurant or something like that. That's sustainability and then climate change policy to me is more about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and businesses can put solar panels on their roof, or they can make sure that they're signing up from their utility to incentivize the utility to take their power from renewable energy facilities outside of the city, or you know a lot of ...
Will Hackman: DC does that, where you have a choice where you can say, I want my power to come from renewable energy. So if you go to ... Yeah so if you go to wearestillin.com as a business, you can click on take action, you can click on get started, and you can submit your name of your business, your organization and you can take the pledge.
Quinn: Brian guess what just went on to your to-do-list?
Brian: Oh are you kidding, I already wrote it down.
Quinn: Look at you.
Will Hackman: So that's a ... it's a great coalition building, a lot of different members involved that we've already talked about. But you can pledge your business to be still into helping the United States meet the goals of Paris Agreement. I think that's the best coalition that you can join right now. There are other state and local chapters, lots of other organizations that you can join if you want to do more in the conservation community. Sierra Club or World Wildlife Fund or others to get more involved at that local level. And that might be how you can go to one of the United Nations conferences if you want. There are plenty of people who come from the civic community, civil society. I was looking for the word for that, but there are tens of thousands of people from civil society who show up at these conferences, and some have to stay in certain areas if they can't get full credentials.
Will Hackman: But if you want to buy a plane ticket and over to Poland go to this year's United Nations Conference you can. And you might not be able to go to all of the meetings, but I had a great ... So I had credentials because I was [crosstalk 01:02:08].
Quinn: What if we say we know Will Hackman?
Brian: Where will that get us?
Will Hackman: You can try that. So I was representing-
Brian: [crosstalk 01:02:17] we're on the list?
Will Hackman: Yeah I mean you can credentials a number of different ways, and there are some organizations that you can join where you can help out with that. Or if you're part of a school most academic or a lot of academic institutions have credentials to attend these types of conferences, that now I went. I went representing Georgetown. But you can still just go as a participant, and you can stream the meetings as well online. So if you go ... if you Google the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or the UN climate meetings, or any number of different ways to try to find information on these meetings that happen each year. They have media links where you can watch the negotiations every day.
Quinn: Fascinating, yeah because I'm sure we'll have some listeners that want to not only take these measures as a human with and for their family, or for their small business, but would also think like, "Fuck, I want to get everybody in town on board in this, and help educate them and drag them into the future. But also maybe my state or my region." Because again like you said it's a bunch of subnational actors and that's what's really going to help them move the needle in the time being until we can kick this piece of shit out of office. So all right-
Brian: Let's wrap it up here. First of all Wi;l thank you very much for being on the podcast today and chatting with us.
Quinn: Thank you, thank you.
Will Hackman: You're welcome yeah.
Brian: Much appreciated.
Will Hackman: Thank you again, I can talk about this for hours.
Brian: Hell yeah.
Quinn: I get, and obviously even though you "don't know" anything about [inaudible 01:03:59] it's all relative here Will.
Brian: Let's hit it with the lightning round, first question not a lightning round question are you ready?
Will Hackman: Sure.
Quinn: It's going well over here. Hey Will, when was the first time in your life when you realized you had the power of change or the power to do something meaningful?
Will Hackman: I would have to say when I was a fish- Surprisingly when I was a fisherman in Alaska, I really got a conservation bug for the first time, and really understood the power of nature and protecting these amazing places like the North Pacific Ocean and these fisheries that I was working. And understood our interaction between industrial society and commercial fishing operations, and how that interacts with the ocean. So I think that really ... That drove me to come to DC in a lot of ways. And even though I went into politics at first, I then came back to political issue advocacy, working on ocean issues. And that still ... That was my introduction to climate change, was ocean conservation. And I still am very passionate about the health of our oceans, that's where 50% of all the oxygen that we breathe comes from.
Will Hackman: Every other breath that we take comes from the oceans, so that was kind of my gateway drug to climate change. So yeah I think that that's [inaudible 01:05:27].
Quinn: That's awesome. Will who is someone in your life that has positively impacted your work in the past six months and you can't say Brian?
Brian: As much as you might want to Will, you can't say me.
Will Hackman: Somebody that has positively impacted my work in the past six months. My thesis advisor. I would have ... I spent so much time with my thesis advisor graduating my Georgetown McCourt's school program.
Quinn: And who is this human?
Will Hackman: Dr. Andreas Kern.
Will Hackman: He was very patient with me as I was working full time, and blew through almost all of my deadlines, but managed to pull it together at the end of the day, and got it over the finish line, so I'm incredibly grateful to him.
Quinn: Awesome. What do you do when you feel overwhelmed by all this shit, specifically what is Will Hackman's self care?
Will Hackman: I go outside. Tomorrow-
Will Hackman: [crosstalk 01:06:25] Tomorrow I'm getting on a plane and going to Alaska for two weeks. And I do a lot of backpacking around DC. I get out into West Virginia, and Virginia, Maryland. I go kayaking, and stand up paddleboarding, and biking, and Rock Creek Park isn't far away from where I live. And just getting outside no matter if it's a small park or in the middle of wilderness, it always resets me.
Brian: I was wondering if you had seen the video where the guys stand up paddleboarding and all the dolphins are coming at him, and then one just jumps out of the water and knocks him the fuck [inaudible 01:06:56].
Quinn: It can't be real right? It can't be real.
Will Hackman: I haven't seen that one.
Brian: You've got to Google it Will.
Will Hackman: Okay.
Quinn: Dolphins are awesome but [crosstalk 01:07:06] god that can't be real.
Brian: Maybe it's fake.
Will Hackman: I don't know yeah, I'll have to check that out yeah.
Brian: Such a good answer in general by the way, I think the last person we had a conversation with said that same thing. Like just get outside where you belong and reset.
Will Hackman: Yeah breath in some fresh air.
Brian: Yeah that's wonderful. Hey Will-
Brian: ... how do you go ... What?
Quinn: When you're in the darkness ...
Brian: When you're in the darkness ... no. How do you consume the news?
Will Hackman: Through every form of communication that I can. So I listen to the Meet The Press podcast every week. I really enjoy I Meet The Press, think it's a great show and it tends to set the news agenda for that week. I read The Washington Post, The New York Times. I read ENE News which is, it covers a lot of different energy and climate change related things. It's a subscription based but it's more ... it's kind of like a trade journal for energy and environment related policy news. I feel like I spend most of my day reading different things. Local outlets across the country, national outlets. I'll read conservative outlets as well to see-
Brian: Very important.
Will Hackman: ... what their perspective is. I think it is really important to understand the perspective from both sides, and to figure out how certain policies are being digested in the public. And obviously Facebook, Twitter. I follow some reporters on Twitter, so I'm consuming news constantly. And it's great, I think it feels good to stay informed, and it doesn't really stress me out. I feel like it ... I need ... I'm one of those people that needs a lot of information.
Quinn: That's fair, as long as you're finding time to walk away, and it sounds like you're completely going dark and signing off the grid for two and half weeks, we'll try to keep the lights on while you're gone.
Brian: That's so awesome.
Quinn: Last one Brian.
Will Hackman: And I really enjoy podcasts too, so your guys' podcast and the New York Times daily and NPR podcast, PBS. Actually I will give a plug to PBS, because nobody does investigatory journalism better than PBS Frontline. And there have been incredible frontline reports on the EPA, on the election, on Russia. Frontline is great.
Quinn: For sure.
Brian: Good to know. All right, Will if you could Amazon Prime one book to Donald Trump, what would it be?
Will Hackman: That is a great question, and assuming that he would read it.
Brian: Assuming that he would read it [crosstalk 01:09:50] or that somebody will read it to him.
Quinn: Or show him the pictures, whatever it is.
Will Hackman: So again my entrance into climate change was related to the ocean, and I actually have a ... I have a tattoo on my left wrist of the Chinese symbol for the ocean that I got after the first year that I was fishing in Alaska so-
Brian: [inaudible 01:10:14] is great.
Will Hackman: Yeah they are. So Dr. Sylvia Earle who I've met, she's a National Geographic explorer and resident, she was the first female chief scientist of NOAA. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She is just this incredible force when it comes to the oceans, and travels all over the world trying to educate people on what's happening to the oceans, and she wrote this great book called The World is Blue; How Our Fate and the Ocean's Are One. And it talks about climate change and ocean acidification and what's happening to coral reefs around the world. So it gets into really what I think are some of the most important real world impacts of climate change, but it tells it through the lens of the ocean. And I think that connects with a lot of people if you think about it that way, and she connects it to us.
Will Hackman: She talks about how if we destroy the ocean we destroy ourselves. There is no way that human civilization can survive without the ocean. Again it provides oxygen, it provides food.
Quinn: Super basic shit, yeah.
Will Hackman: Yeah it regulates our climate. It keeps our climate cool in some areas and warmer in other areas. And she's really sounding the alarm in this book, so it's so important on so many levels. And I've met Dr. Earle and she's an credibly smart person, and it's just a fantastic book.
Quinn: Awesome Rock and Roll man. Will where can our listeners follow you online? I mean not for the next two weeks but after that when you come-
Brian: After that yes.
Quinn: .. when and if you come back?
Brian: After the blackout.
Will Hackman: I'm on Facebook, I'm on Instagram, Will Hackman. I've written a bunch of articles for various journals, and so if you Google Will Hackman climate change Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, there's a few things that will come up and you can see my take on various things. But also shoot me a LinkedIn request. I always love ... I'm an open LinkedIn networker and I always love connecting with people.
Quinn: [crosstalk 01:12:34] so am I.
Will Hackman: Anybody who wants to connect on LinkedIn, I'm happy to.
Quinn: Awesome, Rock and Roll. Well dude this has been so helpful, I've been waiting to dig into Paris, and we might even have to do another one of these because we'd like to attack things on several fronts. We've done some motion conversations that are more wonky, and some more policy based so people really get the full picture and I think this is a great perspective on it, which is why are businesses going green big and small? What else can they do, and what can we do to support them? What are the factors behind it now and in the future? We appreciate having someone of your expertise give it to us.
Quinn: So thank you-
Will Hackman: Yeah thank you guys so much really, really appreciate the opportunity, it's been a fun time.
Quinn: For sure.
Brian: Yes it has.
Quinn: Well thanks for all that you do, and for all your time today and yeah keep kicking ass [crosstalk 01:13:24] out there but enjoy your vacation. [inaudible 01:13:28] that's incredible.
Will Hackman: Thank you, thank you I will.
Quinn: Awesome, all right man, we will talk to you soon.
Will Hackman: Thanks a lot, bye.
Quinn: All right thanks Will.
Brian: Thank you brother, adios.
Quinn: Be good. Thanks to our incredible guest today and thanks to all of you for tuning in. We hope this episode has made your commute, or awesome workout, or dish washing, or fucking dog walking late at night that much more pleasant. As a reminder please subscribe to our free email newsletter at importantnotimportnat.com. It is all the news most vital to our survival as a species.
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Brian: And you can find the show notes from today right in your little podcast player and at our website importantnotimportant.com.
Quinn: Thanks to the very awesome Tim Blane for our jamming music, to all of you for listening, and finally most importantly to our moms for making us. Have a great day.
Brian: Thanks guys.