In this week’s episode, host Kristin Hayes talks with Rachel Cleetus, policy director of the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists and an expert on international climate negotiations. With COP26 in its first week, Cleetus walks through the main issues under discussion at the landmark United Nations climate conference, which include resolving lingering issues to implement the Paris Agreement and securing more ambitious commitments from the world’s biggest emitters. Cleetus also reflects on how the United States can show leadership at COP26 by emphasizing the climate provisions in the still-developing Build Back Better Act and promising more funds for global climate finance.
Listen to the Podcast
- The need for swift emissions reductions: “What we’re looking for is some robust provisions here that actually drive emissions down … This is absolutely a moment where we have no leeway in the atmosphere. All of the science is telling us we need sharp cuts in emission reductions, a sharp turn away from fossil fuels—so we don’t want hot air, and we don’t want offsets and credits that aren’t true emission reductions.” (9:06)
- Action in the United States builds credibility abroad: “The US pledge is a very important signal to the global community that we are serious and we’re back in—but we still don’t have the policies to deliver on it. We’re fighting for the Build Back Better Act here in the United States, which has some very important climate provisions. If we can secure them, there would be a significant down payment on that US [nationally determined contribution]. We can make up the rest through a combination of regulations with administrative actions, but those details need to be communicated clearly, so there’s credibility.” (17:40)
- Big emitters need to work together: “If we are going to meet our global climate goals, we do have to get to a point where the United States and China, the world’s biggest emitters, do work together in the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect to take actions to lower emissions. That means acting within their domestic borders, of course, but also recognizing that we have to roll back global fossil fuel finance. China has already pledged that it will stop funding coal overseas. The United States has said the Biden administration is committed to cutting back on fossil fuel investments abroad. Steps like these could be very, very important.” (23:11)
Top of the Stack
- On Being podcast episode, “Our future is still in our hands,” with guest Katharine Hayhoe
- All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson
The Full Transcript
Kristin Hayes: Hello, and welcome to Resources Radio, a weekly podcast from Resources for the Future. I'm your host, Kristin Hayes.
Today, I'll be talking with Rachel Cleetus, who's the policy director with the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Among her many talents, Rachel is an expert on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, process, and has been attending international climate negotiations since 2009. By the time this podcast airs, we'll be two days into this year’s negotiations in Glasgow at the meeting known as COP26. Rachel is joining RFF as the first guest in a three-part COP-focused podcast series.
Rachel is going to help set the stage for what we can expect out of the COP over the next two weeks, including issues under discussion, where progress this year is particularly critical, and how US action—or lack thereof—will affect the dialogue in this pivotal year for international climate negotiations. We’re very grateful to have Rachel with us for her insights on what to look for coming out of Glasgow. Stay with us.
Kristin Hayes: Hi, Rachel. Welcome to Resources Radio. It's great to talk with you.
Rachel Cleetus: Hi, Kristen. Great to be here. Thank you for having me.
Kristin Hayes: My pleasure. Well, I offered only a very, very brief introduction to your areas of expertise. So really quickly, before we talk about the COP, I'd love to hear a little bit more about you, your background, and what you've been working on these many years.
Rachel Cleetus: So, Kristin, I'm trained as an economist. I work at the Union of Concerned Scientists with a very interdisciplinary team, and I do a fair amount of work on climate impacts, resilience, as well as clean energy, and what it'll take to decarbonize our economy here in the United States, particularly the power sector.
And then on the international front, it's been really over a decade now of engaging with these negotiations to help achieve these global goals to curtail emissions and stave off some of the worst impacts of climate change. Copenhagen in 2009 was a very sobering start to my participation, and then the Paris Agreement in 2015 was a high point, so I’ve definitely seen a lot of ups and downs over the years.
Kristin Hayes: I’m very interested to hear where you fit your expectations of this COP into that scheme of things. But thank you for that and for sharing a little bit more about your background. As I mentioned at the outset, this conversation is the first of three COP-focused podcasts that we'll be releasing over the next few weeks. There's a tremendous amount to cover, and as I was thinking about how to organize this first episode, I wanted to propose that we start by framing the conversation based on the four keys to success at COP26 that were outlined by Patricia Espinosa, who is the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, back in February.
So this is my framing here, and I'll just review those. Those four keys to success are the following: 1) promises made to developing countries are kept, especially the pledge by developed nations to mobilize $100 billion in climate finance annually by 2020; 2) governments wrap up outstanding items and negotiations to fully implement the Paris Agreement; 3) countries lower emissions and raise climate ambition, not only with regard to emission reductions but also increasing ambition in adapting and building resilience to the impacts of climate change—so that very much ties into your expertise in the impact side; and 4) then, the last one, the last key to success, as outlined, is no voice or solution is left behind through reengaging with observers and non-party stakeholders with a unity of purpose.
Okay. With that long introduction, let's take those in turn. The first of those, the first key to success as identified by Patricia Espinosa, relates to climate finance. Let me turn to you at long last: How are developed nations doing on keeping their pledge to mobilize funds at scale—I think technically by last year—to support decarbonization in developing countries?
Rachel Cleetus: So back in 2009 in Copenhagen, richer nations promised that they would jointly mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 for developing countries to invest in both cutting their emissions and in adapting to climate change. And now over a decade later, unfortunately, they've fallen well short. We heard a clear understanding of that just earlier this week when there was a report released at the behest of the UK COP presidency talking about where climate finance stood right now. This was prepared in partnership with the environment ministers from Canada and Germany, Jonathan Wilkinson and Jochen Flasbarth.
When they released this, two things were clear: one, that they failed to meet that threshold; and two, that it's unlikely that they will get there at the earliest by 2023. That means that we've had several years now where these resources have not been flowing, and this is a top priority in Glasgow: that developed countries, richer nations, step up to show how they will deliver on this $100 billion, make up the past shortfall, and really open up a conversation, post-2025, on how they intend to significantly ramp up the finance that they're going to be providing, because unfortunately, in the interim time, the needs have only grown.
For example, African nations are now calling for $1.3 trillion in financing by 2030, and that's really because the climate crisis has gotten worse. We're seeing worsening impacts like floods, droughts, intensifying storms, and heatwaves. So the needs are really acute.
I just want to mention one key thing that Jochen Flasbarth said when the climate finance report was released earlier this week. He said, "Delivering on the pledge has nothing to do with the generosity of the Global North. It's about fairness and responsibility." That's a key thing to understand. This is the responsibility of richer nations who have contributed the most to heat-trapping emissions thus far. The report is disappointing also because it doesn't nudge countries towards ramping up their finance for adaptation, which has been lagging far behind mitigation. And there's still uncertainty about how much of it will come in loans versus grants and how much the private sector will really step up in addition to public sector financing.
Kristin Hayes: Do you see any opportunity for the discussions at COP26 to actually help overcome any of the barriers that have held countries back from mobilizing those additional funds? Is there the potential for progress here, or is this really something that happens outside of the COP process?
Rachel Cleetus: Well, there's some really interesting bright moments here too. So for example, at the UN General Assembly in September, President Biden committed the United States to scale up its international climate finance to $11.4 billion per year by 2024. That's very welcome, it's much needed, and that can really spur greater ambition from other countries as well. We've seen EU nations step forward and Canada step forward. Now we need to make up the deficit more fully. In the United States we're also now in the near term; Congress has started an appropriations process for this year's FY22 climate finance commitments, and right now, the topline number—$3.1 billion for fiscal year 2022—is an encouraging sign.
Kristin Hayes: Well, that's great. And I suppose that's definitely something to be on the lookout for: what sort of additional announcements related to climate finance might come out over the next few weeks.
Let me turn to the second of these keys to success, which deals with the Paris Agreement reached at COP21 back in 2015. As you noted, that was sort of a highlight in this whole process, but what are the outstanding items that governments need to wrap up in order to fully implement that agreement? What's still on the table? And if you could tell us just a little bit about which of those are close to resolution, and which are still quite far? Maybe if you do feel like speculating on which ones you think are most likely to get across the finish line this year, I'd love to hear that, too.
Rachel Cleetus: Sure. One piece of overdue homework is deciding on the rulebook for implementing the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement has gone into force, but we still don't have a complete rulebook to implement it. There are a few outstanding items here, chief among them a decision on carbon markets in the so-called Article Six of the agreement. What we're looking for is some robust provisions here that actually drive emissions down—not simply offsets, not simply moving the chairs around on the deck. This is absolutely a moment where we have no leeway in the atmosphere. All of the science is telling us we need sharp cuts in emission reductions, a sharp turn away from fossil fuels—so we don't want hot air, and we don't want offsets and credits that aren't true emission reductions. So sound rules for the carbon markets.
The second piece is developing what's called common time frames for nations’ emission reduction pledges. Right now, nations are voluntarily putting down whatever year they want as a target year for emissions reductions, and that creates a lot of uncertainty and disparity in understanding who is doing what. What we need to see now is a common five-year time period for these emission reduction pledges. For example, going forward, we need to hear what nations are going to do by 2025, by 2030, and so on in five-year increments. That's a piece that's still under discussion.
And then there are various rules around transparency, which is really about how we get a greater understanding of the commitments—the details of the commitments that countries are making.
Kristin Hayes: Right. And are some of those closer to the finish line than others?
Rachel Cleetus: I think with the transparency framework, there is a lot of shared agreement around what it needs to include, what the obligations need to be both in terms of the emissions reduction pledges, but also increasingly an understanding that they need to extend to climate finance pledges as well. So I think we have a good chance there.
I think regarding the common frameworks discussion, there are some edgy points between different countries, including China and the United States, and I think this one is a question mark.
Article Six—the carbon markets—we've come so close in previous COPs. At the last COP in Madrid, it was Brazil asking for a lot of leeway and hot air around credits related to forest carbon that led to a breakdown of the conversation there. So this one, again, is a big toss-up. There's a lot of commitment to getting it done, but we still have bad actors in the mix who can slow things down.
Kristin Hayes: Okay. My understanding is that there are interim meetings between these annual COP meetings, and so these issues are under discussion year-round. Presumably, there has been progress between Madrid and now, in many ways. Are they picking up where you left off in Madrid, as you just mentioned? Was that the end spot from which these negotiations will begin?
Rachel Cleetus: Indeed. There have been conversations in the interim. Unfortunately, in the last couple of years, they've been seriously affected by the COVID pandemic, and a lot of this has been virtual, and that has led to really a very slow and difficult trajectory in the interim. We're not as far along as we would've liked to be going into COP26, but I think there is a lot of energy now since COP has not happened for the last couple of years to make this one count.
One other piece that we really hope we will hear more about at this COP is a meaningful attempt to address the issue of loss and damage. Now, for folks who are not familiar with this term, loss and damage in the context of the United Nations negotiations refers to parts of climate impacts that cannot be addressed through mitigation or adaptation measures. Essentially, impacts that are so extreme—such as loss of land due to sea level rise that there's simply no way to adapt one's way out of it—and is already affecting many, many climate-vulnerable countries.
Unfortunately, negotiations on this, even though it's mentioned in the Paris Agreement—there's a Warsaw mechanism for loss and damage that was decided in the subsequent COP—we have not seen progress. It has been blocked by richer countries, including the United States, who have tended to be fearful that this will be a conversation about reparations.
The reality is these impacts are here and now. They're affecting people. It's going to get even worse going forward, and we have to get our arms around this very vexing issue. And that means starting now in this COP to make sure that we have additional finance available for loss and damage and start to open up a conversation about a human rights–centered framework to address these very real needs.
Next year, the COP will be in Africa. Africa is one of those places that has seen really cruel, harsh, and devastating impacts of climate change. There are over a million people in Madagascar right now who are facing climate-caused famine and food insecurity. We really need to be addressing this within the United Nations negotiations. We hope that the United States and other nations will take a different posture at COP in Glasgow to begin these very necessary negotiations on loss and damage.
Kristin Hayes: And that's above and beyond the $100 billion that we were talking about in our previous conversation on climate finance, is that right? The idea here is that that $100 billion pledge was focused on mitigation and adaptation, but the needs have become clearer to the point where there are expectations of needs above and beyond that $100 billion. Is that right?
Rachel Cleetus: Absolutely. This is above and beyond what had been pledged before, and when we get past 2025, we really need to be talking about trillions of dollars. That's what's going to be needed to make a transition to low carbon energy around the world and to address these very serious climate impacts.
Kristin Hayes: I can see that that's a very tall task.
Rachel Cleetus: It might sound like a lot, but just bear in mind that we are subsidizing fossil fuel to the tune of $5.9 trillion, so this is the challenge. We are doubling down on fossil fuel production. We are continuing to subsidize fossil fuels, and then we're going cheap when it comes to dealing with the consequences of that. We really need to rebalance our priorities as a global community and policymakers need to take the lead on that.
Kristin Hayes: Let me move on to the third of these keys to success, and just to remind our listeners, it starts by saying that countries both lower emissions and raise climate ambition, so not only with regard to emissions reductions, but adapting and building resilience. I interpret that item, at least as it was phrased, as both retrospective, where countries have lowered emissions over time, and prospective, where they continue to lower emissions and, most importantly, they raise their ambition to continue the trends related to emissions reductions and also adaptation and resilience.
Part of this is about articulating concrete plans that will actually make those emissions reductions and adaptation measures possible in the years ahead. I want to focus on that forward-looking piece. What can you tell us about the levels of ambition that have been demonstrated in any newly announced nationally determined contributions? Are there other particular announcements that you are on the lookout for that you would encourage our listeners to be on the lookout for over the course of the COP?
Rachel Cleetus: Yeah, absolutely. Going into this COP, the UNFCCC, as it always does, has put out a report talking about how far countries’ current emission reduction pledges—the so-called nationally determined contributions (NDC)—take us. And unfortunately, we're still far off track from where we need to be in terms of what the science is telling us is needed by 2030. Remember, the IPCC has pointed to the need to cut global emissions on the order of 45-50 percent below 2010 levels by 2030, so essentially halving emissions by 2030. That's what would be needed to reach the Paris Agreement goals to stay within 1.5°C.
Right now, we're on track for 2.8°C or more with current pledges, and those current pledges include the US’s NDC, which is 50-52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. And here comes the problem. The US pledge is a very important signal to the global community that we are serious, we're back in, but we still don't have the policies to deliver on it. We're fighting for the Build Back Better Act here in the United States, which has some very important climate provisions. If we can secure them, there would be a significant down payment on that US NDC. We can make up the rest through a combination of regulations with administrative actions, but those details need to be communicated clearly, so there's credibility behind the US NDC.
We haven't heard yet from China on its 2030 pledge. We know that if we're going to have a fighting chance of meeting our global climate goals, China, as one of the world's largest emitters, has to sharply curtail its submissions and get off coal. By 2030, we mean not some distant, aspirational mid-century net-zero goal. This is a very consequential decade, and we need to see countries like China, Brazil, Australia, and others really make clear that they intend to do more by 2030.
Kristin Hayes: Forgive me if I'm not quite sure how to ask this question, but I'm wondering, just as a follow up to that, how can countries, aside from demonstrating their own levels of ambition and building this community of understanding of collective responsibility, are there other ways in which the COP process encourages increased levels of ambition? I feel like that's such a critical term and people talk a lot in this context about, “yes, we really need to be raising ambition,” but how do you actually do that in practice?
Rachel Cleetus: I think how it works in practice is really ambition begets ambition. The United States has a crucial role to play here. Having been on the sidelines for the last four years under the previous administration, it's enormous that we're back at the table and back with good intentions. The Biden administration has shown that it's seriously committed, and that can create an atmosphere in which other nations are more willing to step up as well. Going into this COP, having a serious climate finance pledge and an emissions reduction pledge from the United States is very good. Now, we obviously need more. More details, more concrete action from the United States, but it's already created a very favorable climate of diplomacy between multiple countries, the United Kingdom, the European Union, et cetera. I think the big question mark here is, are we going to see additional pledges from countries like China and India? Is the United States going to do more on climate finance and loss and damage? Do we have the trust and the credibility to actually break through to higher levels of ambition overall?
Rachel Cleetus: The International Energy Agency released a report earlier this month where they made clear that we still do have choices that are within our control to meet our Paris Agreement goals, but that window is narrowing quickly. We don't have time to waste on incremental progress, empty promises, or faraway goals. We really need to see real action from countries now.
Kristin Hayes: I should note, we've been talking a little bit about the United States. and how much US climate policy action is likely to drive, or at least be a key component, of overall success at the COP. I should note that we’re recording this episode on October 26th, so just a few days before the deadline imposed by congressional leadership to move on reconciliation, which has become, along with the potential infrastructure bill, really key vehicles for potential climate policy here in the United States. So there's still a lot of unknowns. The landscape may change dramatically between when we're recording and when we're airing. I'm going to ask the negative version of this question for just a second. What happens if the United States can't get those ambitious plans in place by the time negotiations are wrapping up? What if those policy specifics still aren't hammered out?
Rachel Cleetus: Well, I think what will be crucial is to have the framework pretty clearly articulated. Obviously, our congressional process, our political process, takes a little while for a bill to move toward final passage, but what people need to hear is that what has survived in the framework that has been agreed on includes some very important climate provisions. For example, the clean energy tax credits will be huge in terms of driving clean energy on our grid and encouraging greater electrification of our transportation sector. So those kinds of provisions, we need to hear that they've survived and they've stayed strong in this bill.
The administration does have other tools at its disposal too, and it should make it clear that they will be implementing robust regulations across the economy: vehicles, the power sector, industry, on methane emissions as well.
Kristin Hayes: You did mention too, some of the main discussion partners, I might even use the term allies, who have been working together on climate negotiations this year. The United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union.
What about China? I'd like to talk about China for another minute, as you've already emphasized the importance of their pledges and their leadership in this space. Do you think the United States and China can get back to the spirit of cooperation on climate that really made the Paris Agreement possible?
Rachel Cleetus: I think there's no other choice. If we are going to meet our global climate goals, we do have to get to a point where the United States and China, the world's biggest emitters, do work together in the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect to take action to lower emissions. That means acting within their domestic borders, of course, but also recognizing that we have to roll back global fossil fuel finance. China has already pledged that it will stop funding coal overseas. The United States has said the Biden administration is committed to cutting back on fossil fuel investments abroad. Steps like these could be very, very important. And just to be clear, this is in the interest of both our countries—our domestic interests—because both countries are facing tremendous climate impacts. China saw some terrible flooding earlier this year. The United States as of early October has already experienced $18 billion-plus extreme weather- and climate-related disasters—everything from wildfires to hurricanes to floods and droughts and heatwaves. This is in our own self-interest.
The other piece is both countries are leaders in clean energy. There's a tremendous economic opportunity here in terms of building huge renewable energy, electric vehicles, and domestic supply chains to create jobs and cut pollution from fossil fuels. That pollution from fossil fuels has also imposed a huge health burden in China, as well as here in the United States, where it falls primarily on Black, brown, and Indigenous communities, and low-income communities. So again, the reason to do this is obviously in the spirit of global cooperation, but the reason to do it is that it's in the best interest of our own countries.
Kristin Hayes: Yeah, I think that's certainly something that I personally will be watching for a little bit out of the COP—whether there are specific commitments, either policy-related or more likely technology-related, that might come out of joint US-China discussions. So, it’s very interesting to hear a little bit more about that.
Rachel Cleetus: The other big piece is whether we will hear anything from India about its 2030 NDC. India has a very ambitious commitment to have 450 gigawatts of renewable energy online by 2030. If climate finance is forthcoming, they can really deliver on that goal. They've made it clear that they need climate finance to deliver on that goal. The United States has been engaged in direct conversations with India around that. If that really does come online, it will push a lot of coal off the system in India, and that would be tremendous in terms of bending the emissions curve.
Kristin Hayes: Great. Well, I don't want to lose track of the very last of these four keys to success, which deals with inclusion. As we are winding towards the end of our conversation, I want to ask you a little bit about that. What should we look for, or expect, ideally, in terms of incorporating diverse voices and diverse solutions into discussions at COP26? Do you have any sense of what stakeholder engagement has looked like in the run up to the COP? What role can those diverse voices really play in influencing the negotiations at this point?
Rachel Cleetus: Well, this has been a very fraught COP in terms of delivering on the in-person aspect of it. Several civil society groups, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, called for the postponement of this COP because of public health concerns and the really gross global vaccine and equity situation. Nevertheless, the COP is going ahead in person, and what we are hearing from civil society groups around the world is it is very hard for them to travel to Glasgow. Many are choosing to stay away, and if they're coming, they're coming after overcoming tremendous hurdles. So this COP is already set up to be inequitable in terms of participation from the Global South. That's kind of a reflection more broadly of where we are as a global community, where rich nations, again, on the vaccine front, have not lived up to their responsibilities. I think in terms of inclusivity, obviously the COP presidency has been trying to reach out to different sectors across the world, but just the basic fact that arriving in Glasgow—participating in person—is so complicated for representatives from the Global South, just sets us up for a situation where there's a real risk of an inequitable outcome.
Kristin Hayes: And are they taking any steps to mitigate those concerns? Have they transitioned to a hybrid COP in a way that would allow at least some participation? I do know that the COP organizers have offered vaccines to participants who are able to come. But as you point out, there are so many hurdles in between leaving one's country and arriving in Glasgow that simply being able to get a vaccine doesn't cover many of the challenges, at least.
Rachel Cleetus: Yeah. And unfortunately, the vaccine rollout was way too slow and happened too late for many. We're already hearing, for example, from some Pacific Island participants that they just can't leave their homes. We also have to think about what it means to actually gather in person and then come back to your home country. Many are returning to countries where the vaccine is not that available, so that means the risk of bringing something back when you come home is also high.
The COP presidency has certainly tried, but it has been too little, too late. In terms of virtual participation, the details are not quite clear yet. We know that some of the sessions will be broadcast online, but that again comes down to, do you have good Internet access where you are?
So there are a lot of reasons why it's not going to be perfect, but I would say the bar is even higher for richer countries to make it worthwhile, having undertaken this extraordinary effort in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic. Let's make it worth it, please.
Kristin Hayes: Yeah, that's a really good point. Okay. Well, Rachel, this has been so illuminating and very much appreciated. I want to close with one substantive question before our regular closing feature. As someone who's been following these negotiations for many years and understands the stakes of this one, I'd like to ask for your opinion. What does a successful COP look like to you? Where would we land in two weeks where you would say we got the job done?
Rachel Cleetus: Well, success has always meant, “Is this in line with what the science shows as necessary?” And we've seen a steady stream of sobering scientific reports this year from the IPCC, from the United Nations, from the International Energy Agency. So it's pretty clear what's necessary.
The other piece is, this is the United Nations, and this is the one venue where the outcome needs to be equitable as well. So will it answer to the needs of the most climate-vulnerable around the world? Those for me at the two metrics of success for a COP—this COP and every COP.
Kristin Hayes: Fantastic. Well, fingers crossed. I know that's a paltry way of indicating the stakes here, but certainly, we're all going to be watching with great interest to see what's accomplished over the next two weeks. Thank you again. Thank you so much for laying this groundwork and for really helping our listeners be grounded in what to look for over the course of this very important COP.
Rachel Cleetus: Thank you so much for having me. It's really been a pleasure.
Kristin Hayes: Great. Let's close with our regular feature, Top of the Stack, and I'd love to ask you Rachel, if you had any good content that you wanted to recommend to our listeners. It could be on this topic, it could be more broad, it could be any sort of media format, but let me ask, what's on the top of your stack?
Rachel Cleetus: I've been listening to a podcast called On Being, and the latest edition of it that I heard was one featuring Katharine Hayhoe, who's a climate scientist who speaks so beautifully and humanely about the human connections with the climate crisis.
I've also been reading a collection of writings called All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis. I guess the common theme here for me is, as I've been doing this work over a couple of decades now, the need for personal resilience—the need to think about hope even in moments of darkness—is very, very important I think for the climate movement and for me personally, so I look for spaces to keep me going. It's a marathon, not a sprint. For many of us who have young people in our lives, we know what's at stake. I have two young children who are teenagers, and I think a lot about the future that we're going to be leaving them.
Kristin Hayes: Well, thank you for those recommendations, and it is always very important to find opportunities for hope in these weighty discussions, that's for sure. So thank you so much, and it's been great to talk with you.
Rachel Cleetus: Thank you, Kristin. It's been great to be here. Thank you.
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Resources Radio is a podcast from Resources for the Future. RFF is an independent, nonprofit research institution in Washington, DC. Our mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. The views expressed on this podcast are solely those of the podcast guests and may differ from those of RFF experts, its officers, or its directors. RFF does not take positions on specific legislative proposals. Resources Radio is produced by Elizabeth Wason, with music by Daniel Raimi. Join us next week for another episode.