“In terms of what’s actually scary? For me… it’s how do we feed our population? How do we feed the next generation? That’s an open-ended question that, I think, if you think down the road, the consequences of that are not pretty.”Peter Howard
In this episode, I speak with Peter Howard, an expert on sustainability and climate change policy, and more recently, carbon sequestration.
Peter and I discuss how to develop effective climate and carbon policy, as well delving into how biological carbon emissions sequestration technology works, including how it might be scaled to address ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Peter’s background includes an honours degree in Biology with a focus in ecology and conservation from Kings University, and a Master of Environmental Studies from York University, focussing on Ecological Economics and Sustainability in Business.
His career to date has included a combination of both public and private sector experience, including positions as an Ontario Government policy maker at the Ministry of the Environment, as a management consultant for Price Waterhouse Cooper, and currently, as the Vice President of Sustainability and Project Development at Pond Technologies – a Canadian biotech start-up.
Advice Peter Gave to Listeners:
I think that what you can do is engage and be open. In other words, if you are somebody who doesn’t believe in big government, who doesn’t believe necessarily in the government restricting your freedoms or becoming a large bureaucracy, that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you have to oppose all forms of climate change policy, or that you have to deny that climate change is happening, or that you have to acknowledge it’s happening but deny humans are responsible, or however that logic goes. I want to be the first person as part of the, I don’t know, “neo-Socialist elite” that says I agree with you. Governments, by and large, can be horrendously inefficient, and I don’t think they necessarily have a role in telling you how to live your life, so I agree with you. Good. Can we get that off the table and talk about how we’re going to move this forward so that we can control all the things that are important to us?
Everyone cares about the availability and the price of food in the supermarket. Everyone cares about whether or not a hurricane comes along and washes their house away. Let’s get that out of the way, and let’s acknowledge that there’s lots of different points of view on what government roles should be, and none of them necessarily eliminate the potential to talk about climate change and what its impacts are, and how do we get a bipartisan support and understanding across that spectrum to come to some sort of policy that everyone can be happy with and create climate wealth?
“Depressing Books” Recommended by Peter:
- Dyer, Gwynne. Climate Wars. Random House Canada, 2008.
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC
- Monbiot, George, and Matthew Prescott. Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning. Penguin, 2007.
“Uplifting Books” Recommended by Peter:
- Hawken, Paul, et al. Natural Capitalism: Creating the next Industrial Revolution. Earthscan, 2010.
- Shah, Jigar. Creating Climate Wealth: Unlocking the Impact Economy. ICOSA, 2013.