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#AcceleratingNetZero

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Making sense of batteries, with Giles Whittell

A race is on for control of vital materials that go into batteries. China is way out in front, and demand for these materials — lithium, copper, nickel, cobalt and rare earths few people can name — is going to quintuple by 2030. Is it time for democratic countries to form a western battery alliance to make sure they’re not held hostage by dictatorships as they make the energy transition?This ThinkIn is part of Tortoise’s Accelerating Net Zero coalition.The initiative brings together our members and a network of organisations across a programme of ThinkIns and journalism devoted to accelerating progress towards Net Zero.Visit the homepage to find out more about the coalition and join us. With thanks to our coalition members: a network of organisations similarly committed to achieving Net Zero. editor and invited experts Giles WhittellSensemaker Editor Amber RuddFormer Secretary of State, Energy and Climate Change Chris SkidmoreMP for Kingswood Lee RowleyMP for North East Derbyshire Steve LeVineEditor, The Electric

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Is NIMBYism killing the planet?

This is a digital-only ThinkInRussia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown how risky it is for one country to hand over control of its energy supply to another. Switching to renewables will allow the UK to generate more energy domestically – something which gets strong support from all sectors of the public, even if they live close to an onshore wind farm. So why did Conservative MPs push onshore wind out of the government’s energy strategy? And are planning rules that allow a single local objection to kill windfarm projects a danger to the planet?This ThinkIn is part of Tortoise’s Accelerating Net Zero coalition. The initiative brings together our members and a network of organisations across a programme of ThinkIns and journalism devoted to accelerating progress towards Net Zero.Visit the homepage to find out more about the coalition and join us. With thanks to our coalition members: a network of organisations similarly committed to achieving Net Zero. editor and invited experts Giles WhittellSensemaker Editor Dr John ConstableDirector, Renewable Energy Foundation Dr Rebecca WindemerLecturer in Environmental Planning, UWE Bristol Dr Stephen JarvisAssistant Professor of Environmental Economics, London School of Economics

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Should we stop flying?

Aviation has never been equitable. Just 1 per cent of people cause half of global aviation emissions. And while flying accounts for a relatively small percentage of global emissions – 3.5 per cent when CO2 and non-CO2 impacts are taken into account – it is really hard to decarbonise. In this session, we will test the idea that to go faster on aviation, we can’t rely on unproven tech. We have to make it more equitable. And in this case, that means driving down demand among the world’s wealthy. They must believe it is fair that they fly less. This session is part of the The Tortoise Climate Summit: Is a fair transition faster? editor and invited experts Jeevan VasagarOur Planet Editor, Tortoise Anna HughesDirector, Flight Free UK Cait HewittPolicy Director, Aviation Environment Federation Sebastian MikoszSenior Vice-President for Environment Sustainability at the International Air Transport Association (IATA)

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Disappeared nations and flooded cities: what happens when a country drowns?

This is a newsroom ThinkIn. In-person and digital-only tickets are available.Kiribati is an independent island nation in the Pacific Ocean and home to 120,000 people. It’s also under threat from rising sea levels caused by global warming. Or to look at it another way, Kiribati is threatened by the current pace of reductions in carbon emissions. If nothing is done about rising sea levels, Kiribati, a place where humans have lived for nearly 5,000 years, will cease to exist by the end of the century. Kiribati is not alone. The Maldives, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and others all face an uncertain future due to climate change. And it’s not just island states under threat: cities like Bangkok, New Orleans, Jakarta and many more are vulnerable. Closer to home, Portsmouth, Chichester, Conwy and other coastal areas could be submerged by 2050. What happens when a town, city or nation sinks below the surface, and what does it mean for the people who live there? This ThinkIn is part of Tortoise’s Accelerating Net Zero coalition. The initiative brings together our members and a network of organisations across a programme of ThinkIns and journalism devoted to accelerating progress towards Net Zero.Visit the homepage to find out more about the coalition and join us. editor and invited experts Ellen HallidayEditor Liam SaddingtonESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University Michael B. GerrardAndrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice; Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School Simon CrowtherFlood resilience consultant

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Climate backlash: are we bored of climate change?

This is a newsroom ThinkIn. In-person and digital-only tickets are available.With calls for green levies to be scrapped and celebrities mounting campaigns to fight off-shore windfarms, not to mention Nigel Farage talking about a ‘referendum on climate change’, does all this point to the fact we’re losing patience with climate change? Perhaps now we’re all more literate about the climate emergency, we’re more aware of greenwashing and performative activism. Everyone knows there are tough choices to be made, but do we – and our leaders – have the will to make them during a cost of living crisis? Are there different ways to talk about fighting climate change and make sure everyone is on board, or are we in danger of losing sight of what’s important? This ThinkIn is part of Tortoise’s Accelerating Net Zero coalition. The initiative brings together our members and a network of organisations across a programme of ThinkIns and journalism devoted to accelerating progress towards Net Zero.Visit the homepage to find out more about the coalition and join us. With thanks to our coalition members: a network of organisations similarly committed to achieving Net Zero. editor and invited experts Giles WhittellSensemaker Editor Anne McIntoshBaroness McIntosh of Pickering. Conservative Party politician and life peer Matt WinningComedian and Environmental Economist; Author, ‘Hot Mess: what on earth can we do about climate change?’ Rebecca WillisProfessor in Practice, Lancaster Environment Centre; Expert Lead, Climate Assembly UK Sam HallDirector, Conservative Environment Network

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What will accelerate the UK’s EV transition?

This is a digital-only ThinkIn.The UK has made a good start in the shift to electric vehicles, introducing ambitious targets and incentives for EV adoption. We know that electric vehicles are the future: so what’s delaying the switch? According to Economist Impact’s rEV index, 24% of consumers in the UK intend to buy an EV in the next five years. But what’s stopping the remaining 76%? Affordability, choice, access to ultra-fast charging infrastructure and range anxiety are cited as the biggest barriers. So, with the 2030 deadline looming closer, what steps can the UK take to address these challenges? And what do the potential tipping points towards widespread EV adoption really look like?ReadoutWe were lucky enough to be joined by someone who could give us some fresh insights. Martin Koehring was one of the people behind the Economist Group’s rEV index, supported by bp and identified some key drivers of EV success:- Charging infrastructure- Energy infrastructure- Regulations- Availability- CostThe UK performs well in some areas, according to Koehring, but falls short on ultra fast charging (we need more of this in motorways and service stations), energy systems (we need more uptake of renewable energy), and price (compared with conventional cars, the cost of running an EV is 1.3 times higher in the UK).All this adds up to a lack of faith: just 24 per cent of UK consumers feel confident in buying an EV. Solving that is down to plugging the gaps above but there need to be behavioural shifts too. It’s lucky, then, that we were also joined by Mark Earls, the behavioural change expert. “The horrible hard truth,” he said, “is that people do things for all kinds of reasons. They do the thing they do normally because it’s the thing they did yesterday and the day before that.” The solution, Earls explained, is not to make people agree with the EV lovers but to make them want to do it on their terms. That can be boiled down to the following: 1. Make switching to an EV easy. 2. Help people see other people switch. 3. Hammer home the benefits of switching.Let’s not pretend though that there is not a material cost to EVs. As one of our speakers, Dr Ganga Shreedhar from the LSE, pointed out, two types of cost come from sourcing the materials to make EVs from global supply chains and potentially displacing pollution. We’re not going to get rid of the car altogether, but we need to acknowledge EVs aren’t a panacea. And walking and cycling are undoubtedly much better. Charlie Hicks, a county councillor in Oxfordshire, was right to stress the importance of planning in this regard, designing places where people can get to important amenities within 10–15 minutes by foot or by bike. We should try to make sure the relationship between EV users and people who take greener forms of transport is not oppositional. Having good public transport, Shreedhar explained, eases up the investments you might have to do to install EV infrastructure. And having an EV is still much better than having a car. They emit three times less carbon dioxide than conventional cars, and 20 per cent less even in countries with a low share of renewable energy.Marrying better infrastructure with some behavioural nudges will get the UK a long way in catching up with other countries on EV usage. That exciting future just shouldn’t get in the way of the people who prefer Bromptons, National Rail or their own two feet to get around. editor and invited experts Giles WhittellSensemaker Editor Dr Ganga ShreedharAssistant Professor, Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, LSE Mark EarlsAward-winning writer communications and behaviour change expert Martin KoehringSenior Manager for Sustainability, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Economist Impact

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Accelerating Net Zero: what we’ve learnt, and what next?

This is a digital-only ThinkIn. Continuing our series of special edition Open News meetings, where Tortoise journalists and members come together to take stock of what our reporters have uncovered about what’s driven the news this year, and what it has told us about the forces that are shaping our world. What have we learned? What questions remain unanswered, and what new ones have arisen? At Tortoise, we always said that we would stay interested when the rest of the news media moves on. This week, now the dust has settled following Cop26, we return to our Accelerating Net Zero initiative. With our coalition partners and members, we will figure out a plan of action for 2022.  editor and invited experts Giles WhittellSensemaker Editor Friederike AndresPolicy Advisor, Federation of Small Businesses Stephen LorimerChief Executive, Centre for Net Zero

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Goodbye Big Oil, hello Mega Oil?

If the world needs to cut carbon emissions by half by 2030, the message hasn’t got through in Saudi Arabia. Or Mexico, Venezuela, Iraq, Russia or Suriname. Saudi Aramco is planning to ramp up oil production by a million barrels a day by 2030 and other national oil companies (NOCs) are following suit. Their output and investment in exploration are heading up, not down. Their market share will grow to 75 per cent by 2040. They feel little pressure to respond to climate change or limit their environmental impact. The household names grouped together as Big Oil in the rich North may be reconciling themselves to net zero and a future in renewables, but the NOCs are eager to pick up the slack and the governments that depend on them for tax revenues are unlikely to interfere. So on Energy Day at Cop26 we’ll ask: what is to be done about the NOCs? Are any of them serious about diversifying away from oil and gas? If not, how can the governments that control them be persuaded to make the energy transition the planet needs, and who’ll pay for it? editor and invited experts Giles WhittellSensemaker Editor Akintunde BabatundeManager of the Natural Resources and Extractive Programme, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism Dr Valérie Marcel Associate Fellow, Environment and Society Programme, Chatham House Natalie BennettLeader of the Green Party England and Wales 2012-16