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War in Ukraine Sets Energy Transition on "Hyperdrive" | Global Stage | GZERO Media

War in Ukraine sets energy transition in "hyperdrive"

GZERO Media caught up with Microsoft's Chief Environmental Officer Lucas Joppa at the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss ways to keep nations focused on climate change amid the converging crises of war and pandemic.

Tony Maciulis: When you have these very immediate and acute crises happening concurrently like pandemic and now of course the war in Ukraine, has it been a challenge to keep the focus on climate change?

Lucas Joppa: I would say yes and no. It's a challenge because obviously these are crises in and of themselves and they need to be dealt with and focused on. But on the other hand, I think that these crises, what they've done is they've really shown society that we have things that are going to happen to us. And if we know that they are coming, it would behoove us to do something about them now to prepare for it now. The biggest thing that we have coming for us is the impacts of a rapidly changing global climate system. It's front and center of our minds. We know we have to get out and do something about it. And so on the one hand, yes, we're focusing on these crises, but it hasn't shifted focus off of climate either.

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Climate activists march from the White House to the US Capitol.

Bryan Olin Dozier via Reuters Connect

(Un)happy Earth Day?

Usually, the run-up to Earth Day features a steady drumbeat of governments pledging more climate action, the UN telling us it’s (almost) too late to save the planet, and developing countries bickering with wealthy ones over who's most responsible for cutting emissions. On April 23, everyone moves on, and the momentum dies until it picks up again weeks before the annual COP summit in the fall.

Not this year.

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Kerry: Putin Has Bigger Problems Than Ukraine | Global Stage | GZERO Media

Kerry: Putin has bigger problems than Ukraine

The escalating crisis in Ukraine deserves the world’s focus right now, former US Secretary of State John Kerry told Ian Bremmer at the Munich Security Conference. “But the key is to remember here that Ukraine, one way or another, we’re going to resolve it ultimately over X number of years,” he said. “But the climate crisis remains existential, just as it was before the Ukraine crisis came up.”

Kerry, who now serves as President Joe Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, also warned that the biggest concern for Russia’s economy right now is not its expensive military operation in Ukraine, but rather the country’s melting permafrost, crumbling urban infrastructure, and how they extract their natural gas. “Russia has a profound climate problem,” Kerry added.

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Nations Don’t Need Carbon to Grow Their Economies, Says John Kerry | GZERO World

Nations don’t need carbon to grow their economies, says John Kerry

If John Kerry were only able to accomplish one thing as US climate change czar, he'd focus on changing the minds of the one-third of countries in the world that say they're "entitled" to pollute because they didn't before.

For Kerry, it's a fallacy that heavy carbon use is the only way to develop an economy because these nations can leapfrog from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

If we are able to cut by half the amount of carbon we're now releasing into the atmosphere by the end of the decade, he says, we may be able to meet the Paris Climate Agreement goal of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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Climate change trade wars

The COP26 climate summit in Glasgow is almost done and dusted, with some ambitious commitments and breakthroughs from governments and corporations to more aggressively tackle the climate disaster. Yet, though there seems to be broad agreement on what needs to be done to stop the planet getting hotter — like getting to Net Zero emissions over the next few decades — big disagreements remain on how to pull it off.

As countries try to turn jobs green while also boosting exports to keep foreign cash flowing in, reliance on protectionist economic policies is becoming an increasing point of friction between governments. Here are two juicy examples where this dynamic is playing out.

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Net Zero Emissions by 2050 "Lacks Sense of Urgency" — Suntory CEO | GZERO Media

Net zero emissions by 2050 "lacks sense of urgency" — Suntory CEO

Like many other big corporations, Japanese brewer and distiller Suntory want to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But that's not enough for CEO Tak Niinami. "It's far away and lacks the sense of urgency," he says. Niinami predicts that especially after COP26 people will be wary of greenwashing, so it's essential for corporations to "to be transparent, showing society what we are doing and how much progress we are making" on climate.

Suntory CEO Tak Niinami spoke during the first of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory. Watch here.

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon.

REUTERS/Ammar Awad

What We're Watching: American missile defense, Chilean impeachment scandal

The US ups its missile defense game. Israel has used for years a precise missile defense system — known as the Iron Dome — as a bulwark against short-range rocket attacks from terror groups. In recent weeks, the US has been using the same technology — jointly developed by Israeli and American defense contractors — in the US Pacific territory of Guam to test its own defense capabilities against Chinese weapons, according to the Wall Street Journal. This comes after Beijing, as part of a military drill, recently sent sophisticated hypersonic missiles into space that could reach Guam, about 1,800 miles from mainland China. The Pentagon is not messing around in anticipating potential threats from Beijing right now as bilateral tensions continue to rise. However, the DOD says this tech isn't a long-term fix because Iron Dome isn't meant to be used to thwart cruise missiles, which are capable of transporting a nuclear warhead long distances. Meanwhile, the US military has requested more than $200 million to develop a new missile defense system for Guam, but Congress has yet to deliver.

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Want to Land a "Green Job? 3 Tips from LinkedIn | Sue Duke VP & Head of Public Policy | Global Stage

Want to land a "green job? 3 tips from LinkedIn's Sue Duke

Upgrading your resume with some "green" skills to get a job in the future low-carbon economy? First, think long-term because whatever's good for you will be good for the planet, says Sue Duke, vice president and head of public policy at LinkedIn. Second, get training that aligns with your company's climate targets, and third, expand your network to make it "greener." Watch her interview with Tony Maciulis, chief content officer at GZERO Media, during the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

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