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Climate One at The Commonwealth Club offers a forum for candid discussion among climate scientists, policymakers, activists and concerned citizens.

Climate One at The Commonwealth Club offers a forum for candid discussion among climate scientists, policymakers, activists and concerned citizens.
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Hoopa, CA


Climate One at The Commonwealth Club offers a forum for candid discussion among climate scientists, policymakers, activists and concerned citizens.






The Commonwealth Club 555 Post Street San Francisco, CA 94102 4155976728


My Climate Story: Ben Santer

In 1995, Ben Santer authored one of the most important sentences in the history of climate science: “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” While one of the first statements to identify humans’ role in driving climate change, the vitriol that followed was personal and malicious, impacting both Santer’s career and family. “If you spend your entire career trying to advance understanding, you can't walk away from that understanding when someone...


From Wheels to Wings: Our Flying Car Future

Can we beat the traffic by taking to the skies? For more than a century, the automobile has ruled our city streets, chaining us to grid-shaped streets choked with lines of traffic. And for many of us, seemingly endless hours of daily commuting. “But what if we can remove those chains?” asks JoeBen Bevirt of Joby Aviation. “What do our lives, what do our cities, how does the world look 20 years from now or 50 years from now? That's what gets me up everyday. So my mission is to save a...


How Pro Sports Can Be a Player in Climate

From stadiums packed with fans, to food, beer, and waste – pro sports can have a big carbon footprint. But could the core values of athletics — integrity, teamwork, and commitment — be the same values we need to tackle the climate challenge? ”Doing sports the right way is more important now than ever,” says Jim Thompson, Founder of the Positive Coaching Alliance. “We spent a lot of time as adults trying to get kids to do certain things. What if we spend our time trying to encourage them to...


Carbon Offsets: Privileged Pollution?

A carbon offset is a credit – a way to offset a unit of pollution created in one place by, say, planting a tree, or otherwise sequestering carbon, somewhere else. But in the race to bring carbon emissions to zero, are offsets a legitimate tool, or a delusion that allows heavy emitters a way out of taking real action? “I just need to recruit everybody to make sure the forests remain forests and the farmlands have as many trees as possible,” says Pauline Kalunda, Executive Director of...


Tom Steyer: Power Disruptor?

Would you vote for the candidate who says he’ll declare climate change a national emergency on Day One of his presidency? Businessman and activist Tom Steyer says his willingness to use emergency powers to deal with the climate crisis sets him apart from the crowded field of Democratic candidates. “You have to start on day one, urgently – it's an emergency, treat it like an emergency,” Steyer urges. “I would give the Congress a 100 days … to pass something like the Green New Deal, but...


Superpower: How Renewables are Transforming America’s Energy Future

What’s new in renewable energy? In April, 23 percent of America’s electricity came from renewables, surpassing coal for the first time. Ten states, and Puerto Rico and Washington DC, have policies in place to run on 100 percent clean power in coming decades. Achieving that presents a host of challenges, from updating an aging electricity grid to financing energy innovation to figuring out how to transport and store the renewable power. Fortunately, says author Russell Gold, we have the...


The Land of Dreams and Drought

The California dream, with its promise of never-ending sunshine, fertile soil and rivers running with gold, has been beckoning people west for over two hundred years. But making that dream come true for an ever-increasing population has taken its toll on the landscape. Is the California dream coming to an end? When its current water system was built in the 1960s and ‘70s, California’s population was about half of the forty million who live there today. And every one of its citizens needs...


Drawdown: Do We Have What It Takes to Solve Climate Change?

When it comes to solving climate change, where do we start? The organization Project Drawdown has published a list of top solutions for climate change – impactful actions already in existence that not only reduce carbon emissions, but also improve lives, create jobs and generate community resilience. “If you’re thinking about how to solve climate change here's where you start,” says Jonathan Foley, Project Drawdown’s executive director. “Electricity is about a quarter of the problem....


The Art of the Green Deal

The climate conversation in Washington has changed enough that Democrats and Republicans are talking climate deals. A lot of that change can be attributed to the Green New Deal, a Democratic resolution introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey. “What we're doing with the Green New Deal is we’re putting together an army that won't just be a resolution, it's a revolution,” boasts Markey, who has served over 40 years in Congress and co-authored the last big legislative...


The Fate of Food

How will we feed a planet that’s hotter, drier, and more crowded than ever? Much of it starts with innovators who are trying to re-invent the global food system to be more productive and nutritious. Vanderbilt University Journalism professor Amanda Little chronicles some of these efforts in her new book, The Fate of Food: What We'll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World. “We see disruption in the auto industry, we see disruption in tobacco – disruption is coming in the meat industry,” says...


Cities for the Future

When Ridley Scott envisioned the dystopian Los Angeles of 2019 in “Blade Runner,” he probably didn’t think about how much energy would be needed to run those flying cars and sky-high animated billboards. Or what all those carbon emissions would be doing to the climate. We’re now living in the world of 2019. Flying cars are still in the future. But with over half of the global population living in urban centers, and another 2.5 billion expected to join them by 2050, maybe it’s time to take a...


Climate Winners and Losers

Do you live somewhere that might actually benefit from climate change? Rising temperatures and seas will produce losers and winners. Some parts of the world will see more moderate weather and economic gains, while others are already seeing sagging property prices and economic losses. “Many people think oh it’s just the temperature, but actually temperature affects everything,” says Solomon Hsiang of UC Berkeley. Hsiang co-authored a 2017 paper in the journal Science that outlines the...


David Wallace-Wells: The Uninhabitable Earth

At what point does Planet Earth become inhospitable to life – let alone a flourishing human civilization? In his new book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, David Wallace-Wells explores how climate change will impact not just the planet, but human lives – including how a five degree increase in temperatures would make parts of the planet unsurvivable. “The more I learned about the science the deeper I got into it… the more scared I was,” he admits, “and from where I sat as a...


Can a Circular Economy Salvage the Climate?

Produce, consume, discard; we all know the routine. Raw materials are extracted, produced into goods, and used – sometimes only once – before turning into waste. And maybe we think that recycling that Starbucks cup or Smartwater bottle is the best we can do for the planet. But that’s the wrong way to think about it, says John Lanier of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. “Recycling is not the answer or the solution to advancing the circular economy,” Lanier asserts. It's an answer, but actually...


Jay Inslee: The Climate Candidate

As the 2020 presidential election approaches, Greg Dalton will be sitting down with some of the candidates to talk about their plans for a clean energy supply, a greener economy, and their specific strategies for addressing the climate crisis as President of the United States. Keep your eyes out for those episodes on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Washington Governor Jay Inslee is a notable departure from other Democratic presidential hopefuls who regularly mention, but...


Mindful Travel in the Age of Climate Change

We’ve all heard that hopping on a plane is one of the worst things we can do for the climate. So how do we justify the environmental costs of world travel? Seeing the effects of global warming for yourself could be one argument for getting on that flight. For James Sano of the World Wildlife Fund, things got real on a trip to Antarctica. “I was expecting lots of crevasses and big chunks of ice,” Sano recalls. “But then I suddenly found myself with my skis on a beach. And in the ensuing...


If You Won't, We Will: Youth Action on Climate

Although many climate conversations talk about impacts on future generations, all too often those younger generations are not at the table or in the room. So how are young people taking charge of their climate future? For Isha Clarke, a high school student and activist from Oakland, California, by speaking truth to the senior U.S. Senator from her state. “I think that truth is respectful and that you can speak truth in a way that is compassionate and authentic,” says Clarke, who recently...


David Gergen on Climate Politics and Public Opinion

What does a former advisor to Richard Nixon think about the climate crisis? “This is turning out exactly the way scientists predicted, with one exception: it’s happening faster than they thought,” says political analyst David Gergen, who served in four presidential administrations. “The question is what can we do rapidly that would alleviate this and be fair to all.” Gergen is in favor of urgent acting on climate, but is skeptical of the all-encompassing vision of the Green New Deal. “The...


Republicans and a Democrat on Climate

This program was recorded in front of a live audience at The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco on April 30, 2019. During the 2016 presidential election, climate change barely surfaced as a campaign topic. This cycle it’s a different story. “It’s gonna be the first election where it's a major issue,” predicts former congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL). “I don't support it, but we can thank the Green New Deal for that.” Democrats have rallied around the Green New Deal and its lofty promise...


Sea Changes: Why Oceans Play a Bigger Role in Climate Change Than You Think

Global temperatures would be soaring even higher were it not for a powerful heat-trapping ally: oceans. From regulating the temperature of the planet to generating half of the oxygen we breathe, oceans are a vital part of sustaining life on Earth. Increasing their temperature as little as two degrees, however, has an opposite effect, threatening marine biodiversity and turbocharging dangerous hurricanes and typhoons. But there are bright prospects on the horizon for humans and oceans. Join...