Oct. 28, 2021

Tech and Business Solutions for the Climate Crisis, with Molly Wood

Tech and Business Solutions for the Climate Crisis, with Molly Wood

Being energy efficient is probably the most impactful action you can take. Also we’re gonna need batteries. So. Many. Batteries.


Molly Wood is reporter and host for several long-running shows for Marketplace, from American Public Media, including Marketplace Tech and Make Me Smart, plus the independent podcast It’s a Thing.

Molly recently launched her newest Marketplace podcast, How We Survive, which breaks down technology and business solutions to help navigate the climate crisis. She joins Scott and Nora to talk about our current global energy crisis, the mad rush for lithium (one of the primary materials needed to make batteries), and the business behind climate-crisis technology.

You can read more about electrification as a solution for the climate crisis in this excellent story from Morning Brew's Emerging Tech newsletter:

Transcript

Nora Ali: From Morning Brew, this is Business Casual, the podcast that gives you a front row seat to candid conversations with some of the biggest names in business, asking them the questions you wish you could ask. I'm your host, Nora Ali.

Scott Rogowsky: And I'm your other host, Scott Rogowsky, who has pledged to become carbon neutral by the end of this episode. 

Nora Ali: Goals. 

Scott Rogowsky: Nora and I are here for your ears, bringing you stories of how business shapes our daily lives now and into the future. Let's get down to business.

Nora Ali: The effects of climate change are becoming harder and harder to ignore and businesses have no choice but to change the way they operate. For many, this starts with the transition from fossil fuels to alternative forms of energy like batteries, but the technology behind climate change solutions like these have complex economic, environmental and moral considerations. Joining us today to discuss the intersection of climate change and business is host of Marketplace Tech on National Public Radio, Molly Wood. Molly just recently launched her podcast, How We Survive, which breaks down technology and business behind climate change. The first season of the show focuses on the current mad rush for lithium, the primary material needed to make batteries, which many are now calling white gold.

Scott Rogowsky: Nora, how are we expected to banter at a time like this, when it says in our script for us to banter? When the world is ending, the world is ending. That's what I meant.

Nora Ali: It’s tough. Yes. We can banter with intention. So, Scott, I actually did a little bit of research into what the climate crisis is doing to my parents' home country of Bangladesh. The situation is dire.

Scott Rogowsky: Oh, I was going to say fantastic. They have it all buttoned up, figured out.

Nora Ali: So something like 75% of Bangladesh is below sea level. And it's susceptible to year-round flooding, which obviously is exacerbated by climate change. And now there's this migration crisis, where people who are living on the coastlines have to migrate to these urban slums that are more inland, but those are super densely populated, very crowded, very, very poor. And it just makes me reflect that for you and I, who, if you don't mind me saying, both of us are very privileged. We think about these really small decisions in our lives. For example, I just moved into a new apartment and for the first time in my life, I'm trying to be very conscious about making sure every single product, whether it's cleaning products or who I'm purchasing from, has some environmentally friendly angle at least.

Scott Rogowsky: Or at least it's a slogan that gets you to buy.

Nora Ali: Or at least a slogan. Yes. And I mean, sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't, but sometimes the steps we take can feel really futile and it might seem negligible and trivial, but we have to remember that for us, these impacts, we are not feeling in our everyday lives, but there's people in these developing countries, even the more unfortunate parts of the United States that are actually feeling the impacts of climate change. So, Scott, what have you done recently, not to put you on the spot, but what are the things that you try to do at least to make yourself feel like you are contributing to the solution?

Scott Rogowsky: Well, I've been going to the beach out here. I live in Marina Del Rey, California now, part of Los Angeles County. And it is on the water. So every day I've been going down, after we record our podcast, I'm out there with a shovel. I'm shoveling the sand from the top part of the beach, towards the shore, the surf. ’Cause I'm trying to basically reseed the beach. Beach rehabilitation, it's a big thing here. And you know, some say I'm silly and this is completely futile and I'm wasting my time. But I say, yeah, you're probably right. But at least I'm getting a, getting a suntan.

Nora Ali: Thankfully our guest, Molly Wood, actually has the evidence and did deep, deep research into what is going on right now, as far as the climate crisis and goes really deep on lithium, which I didn't know anything about prior to this. So here's our conversation with host of the How We Survive podcast, Molly Wood. 

Scott Rogowsky: Molly, your new podcast. First of all, you're number one in business podcasts. We're also in the business podcast category. You're now our arrival.

Molly Wood: I know. I'm so sorry. I don't want it to be like that. Frenemies.

Scott Rogowsky: And we’re bringing you on to our show. We haven't been on your show. I can talk about lithium all day long. I know the Nirvana song. [sings]

Molly Wood: That’s exactly what the show’s about. 

Scott Rogowsky: That's what it's about. Right? You're breaking down Nevermind, going track by track. 

Molly Wood: Someone had to. 

Scott Rogowsky: Uh, no. Molly, explain to those who have not been clued into the number one business podcast, tell us about this new pod.

Molly Wood: The podcast is called How We Survive. And it's an eight-episode documentary series that is about, it builds on reporting I've done on Marketplace and Marketplace Tech for the last two or three years about climate adaptation specifically. I am a solutions-oriented person and I've covered tech and business for a long time. And it occurred to me that I, here I am in the center of the part of America, the Bay Area in Silicon valley that keeps telling me they're going to save the world. So like, where are the solutions to the giant climate crisis that's going to maybe kill us all? 

Nora Ali: Thank goodness we talk about solutions, Molly, instead of just talking philosophically about climate change. And what I found so interesting is that as you're talking and interviewing people for your podcast, you had one woman say she was “team extinction.” And that we, as humans are not worth the problems we cause. So there's so many varying degrees of how people think about climate change today. What surprised you the most in doing this podcast about how people in modern times are now thinking about climate change?

Scott Rogowsky: Wait a minute, Nora. I had the same thing written on my OkCupid profile. That same exact paragraph I needed. I need to find this one. This is my soulmate, Molly. This could be the one. Who is this woman? 

Molly Wood: Well, I'll give you, I'll give you her number. I try not to, you know, set my sources up with podcast hosts, but you never know what they're into. It is of course, super easy to get overwhelmed in the climate conversation and a lot of people do. And it's a lot of diagnosis of how bad it is and not a lot of solutions. And what I found mostly, which I guess shouldn't have been a surprise, but sort of is, is that all politics are local. And that even with this kind of, you know, freight train of the climate crisis headed our way, there are still those personal interests that trump everything. There are the people who are like, I either don't want this in my backyard, I don't believe that humans caused it, I don't believe it should be solved, or I don't believe it can be solved. So it's hard to find that even when you start looking at solutions that are really good, first of all, those solutions themselves are more complicated than they seem, and they're not all good. And that people might not really want to get behind them because of their own, you know, very, very, very hyper-local concerns.

Scott Rogowsky: And, and it's these questions that you explore in this podcast, How We Survive, because the specific story you're tracking in Thacker Pass, Nevada, this potential site for a lithium mine. This is of course a divisive topic, but it does come down to the fact that, why are they trying to build this mind? Because we're trying to get off coal and gas, get off the fossil fuels, right? So that's a good thing. But as you've discovered, it's not that easy, not that simple, to say, it's a good thing when there are some negative impacts for sure.

Molly Wood: No solution comes without sacrifice. And so throughout the series actually, we do two episodes in Thacker Pass in Nevada because that's the site of this very controversial mine proposal. And so the heart of this series is lithium. I started looking at, okay, like what's a really big solution, potential solution that we can implement? And it's transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, electrifying everything. And you know, that's cars, it's buses. Sure. It's transportation, but it's also the grid. It's like putting gigantic batteries on the power grid so that we can store renewable energy, wind and solar specifically. ’Cause you know, the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow all the time. So it was like, all right, well, if you need batteries, what goes in them? Lithium. And people have been telling me for years that lithium is this huge bottleneck. It's all around. Like it's not rare, but it's all stuck in the earth or in, you know, brine, bubbling, hot salty water under the Earth's crust. So I started looking at ways that people are trying to get it and where they're trying to get it because right now the U.S. produces basically, Hmm, let me think: Zero of our own lithium. China controls the vast majority of the global lithium market. And it involves this like dirty, old extractive industry that has this historical baggage, like it's mining on some level, but it's just a fascinating business story. It's a person's story. There are billions of dollars at stake here. And like a dash of geopolitics. Kind of has it all. 

Nora Ali: Before we get into the controversy, even more around lithium mining. Can you give us some context on just how much lithium usage could cut down on carbon emissions over time? Maybe just even the magnitude for those who have not gone so deep on lithium before? 

Molly Wood: Yeah, totally. I mean, we're all just starting to go deep on lithium because everyone’s sort of realizing this all at the same time. I can tell you that the global lithium market, just some numbers behind that. So lithium is the key ingredient in batteries. Lithium is pretty much irreplaceable. It's the one thing that you kind of can't do without, for various chemistry-related reasons. Right now the global lithium market is like about $56 billion. The projection is that specifically because of electric cars, not to mention all of these other batteries, the market will be more like $220 billion by 2028. So it's just a phenomenally fast growing market. Obviously the first thing that's going to feed is electric vehicles and analysts that we talked to say that an electric car over the lifetime of a vehicle compared to an internal combustion engine is 40-to-50% more efficient because there are so much fewer emissions and there are so many fewer pieces in a car. So electric vehicles alone, massive impact. Then you get to the idea of transitioning our power usage to renewable energy, but there's this problem of intermittency, right? It's not always sunny and the wind isn't always blowing. And so batteries we're realizing are the key to energy storage. This is a huge part of the infrastructure bill right now, right? Electricity and the electricity market is the second biggest emitter behind transportation in the world. And it's real close, those two numbers. So if we can actually use this battery-based energy storage to get off of fossil fuels in the electricity industry and in the energy markets, we're talking about really, really, really profound change. 

Scott Rogowsky: Honestly, would you argue that there is not enough attention around lithium specifically? Because look, I've heard of wind, solar. We hear about these things, but I feel like the average person doesn't know what lithium is or how it factors into the potentially the future of our energy policy. Maybe we should change electric cars to, you know, lithium-powered cars. Would that help if we rebrand electric vehicles as lithium vehicles? 

Molly Wood: There is this like knowledge base that we're all gonna have to get. The lithium conversation's really interesting and it is pretty new. So I don't think everyone, I do think it's going to bubble up, especially as the United States is like, ooh, Hey, we're going to need to get a domestic battery supply chain. This like everything else is a supply chain conversation. It will matter where this stuff comes from. It will matter where and how we get it. If we want to have a just energy transition and not just an energy transition, but does everybody need to know that like lithium is number three on the, you know, elements chart? Probably not.

Nora Ali: But even for things that we talk about all the time, like electric vehicles that you've brought up, Molly, not everyone is even on the same page. So I do actually want to play a clip from Episode One where you're talking to an environmental activist at this Thacker Pass site and having sort of an elevated back and forth with him. Here's the clip. 

[CLIP OF HOW WE SURVIVE]

Molly Wood: Back at the protest site on Thacker Pass, protest organizer Max Wilbert is telling me how, instead of an energy transition, we need to change everything about how we live and leave pristine land pristine. Drive less, consume less, populate less.

Max Wilbert: I think that many of the mainstream solutions that we’re being sold, especially these technological solutions, like electric cars, are not real. I think they're greenwashing, they're more marketing than they are substance.

[END CLIP OF HOW WE SURVIVE]

Nora Ali: So, Molly, as you're talking to this activist, what did you understand as far as his issues with lithium mining and what his motivations are as an activist? 

Molly Wood: In asking all these questions, you just uncover layer after layer of things that are kind of all true. And so we talked to this environmental activist who said, I am opposed to this lithium mine for various reasons, not least of which is that he thinks that a lot of the environmental solutions, specifically the technology-oriented ones, that those are a version of greenwashing, because batteries do have a big carbon cost and every single person let's just say in America, replacing their car or their like set of unnecessary cars with an electric vehicle? That's not by itself a net good, right? That's not a green activity. We all are also going to have to change the way we live. Like we'll have to drive less. We don't need such big houses. We're going to have to consume less electricity. We're going to have to be more energy efficient. All of those things are true. And to my kind of earlier point about local politics can also become a blocker to the conversation. And so in a way, this podcast is about not letting the perfect be the enemy of trying everything to save our own butts on this planet.

Nora Ali: But the phrase “greenwashing”is so interesting. With greenwashing and marketing and PR from corporations who are just trying to show that they're on the right side of history, do you think corporations are properly incentivized to tackle climate change or do you think steel at this point, it's mostly for brownie points? 

Molly Wood: I am firmly of the opinion that top-down is despair and bottom-up is hope. So consumers drive policy. They have to have a thing to consume that is real. And so for example, it's really useful to track the entire life cycle of an electric car and determine that over the lifetime of that vehicle, it's quantifiable over the 20 year life span of a vehicle, this is 40-to-50% fewer emissions. That is true. And so people can say, all right, well maybe I don't need two electric cars, but if I buy one, that's still better. And if I put solar panels and a battery on my house and decentralize from the grid, I'm generating renewable energy and I'm consuming less. Corporations will be incentivized by the behavior of all of those people swimming in the same direction. It doesn't mean every single person, but look, even greenwashing is a response to a market force.That is a response to a consumer desire. And so if you can take the greenwashing up a level and call corporations out when it's real and tell a nuanced, layered story about what solution really means, right? It's never going to be a magic bullet. It's never every single thing all at once, but it's a whole lot of things moving together that get us to a better place.

Scott Rogowsky: Molly, I take issue with putting the onus on the individual to bear the burden of cleaning up our planet. Though it's something we should all do of course, but it's really these giant corporations that are burning the fossil fuels, producing non-recyclable goods, polluting our water. And every time we try to do things at an individual level, it just seems futile and we feel guilty about it. I just learned that only 8% of all plastic even gets recycled.

Molly Wood: I think that we have definitely, we have fallen into that mindset because we feel guilty and then we find out the recycling doesn't mean anything. And then a lot of people are like, oh, there's nothing I can do to deal with the climate crisis. We have also been led into that mindset very specifically by some of the companies who are about to testify in front of Congress, oil and gas companies, about the disinformation that they have created over the decades. Without a doubt. The concept of a carbon footprint was created by the oil industry to specifically shift the sense of responsibility from companies to people. So again, I say to you, yes, all the things are true. All the things are a hundred percent true, right? There are things that consumers can do, even if every single one of them could do it or could afford to do it, or did it, we would still need companies not to emit so much carbon. You know, I mean the same environmental activist, who it turns out, belongs to an organization that advocates for the end of industrial civilization as the solution to the climate crisis, will accurately tell you that in lots of ways, capitalism is incompatible with solving the climate crisis.

Scott Rogowsky: I agree. I, and this, this person's got it right there. I mean, it's a very radical thought, but industrialization and civilization have simply just gone too far.

Molly Wood: Oh my God. Scott just went full baby Thanos. 

Nora Ali: Oooh. Baby Thanos. While Scott contemplates capitalism, we're going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we'll talk more about who exactly is responsible for solving climate change.

[AD BREAK]

Nora Ali: Molly, I think at least you and I agree, and I think Scott agrees too, where we're all responsible in some way: corporations, individuals, governments, but basic Behavioral Economics 101, human beings are not rational. We're thinking more about short-term gain and not really looking at the longterm impacts. So do you think governing entities can incentivize humans to take action so that we can justify the steps that we're taking today? Or do you think most people would consider that government overreach? What is the solution here when it comes to the relationship of governments and us as individuals?

Molly Wood: Right. First of all, I want to validate Scott a little bit and say that everybody working on this podcast had moments of pro-extinction. We all like, it is very easy to go to the dark place when you do this reporting because it is, it is complicated.

Scott Rogowsky: It's not, it’s not the dark place, Molly, it's the good place. Actually, it's a happiness. There's a lightness. When you realize that--

Molly Wood: Just letting go. 

Scott Rogowsky: It's all going to end. 

Molly Wood: And to Nora, your question about what governments can do. I mean, look, policy has to be part of this. We're coming up on this summit in Glasgow, in Scotland, the COP26. So for reference, COP21 in Paris was where they came up with the Paris Accords that all these countries signed on to in terms of global climate, carbon emissions, and many people in the world of climate studies are saying that COP26 is probably the most significant gathering of world leaders since World War II. No question, because this is where they're going to, on some level, decide if no help is coming, or if we actually are going to get serious about this crisis. There is a, I believe, one federal reserve said a high risk of failure coming out of COP26. Like it's hard to remain convinced that governments will do the right thing because the right thing is really expensive. And because there's a lot of opposition to the right thing. This is where I'm a believer in the layers, in all of the things happening at once. Like humans are definitely not going to lay out and die. Investment in climate solutions and Climate technology has reached an all-time-high for each of like the last four years. The pandemic was actually a turning point in the climate conversation in a lot of ways, because it showed people that the worst can occur. Then actually in a later episode, I talked to Kim Stanley Robinson. He's a sci-fi author. He wrote this book called Ministry for the Future that came out last year. And Ministry for the Future, when I talked to him, he said, that is a book that I thought was like 50 years in the future. But it turns out it's two. It turns out all the things that I like predicted in my book are happening now. But he said, that's a good thing. He's like, look, if all the fighting happens now and the bad parts happen now, great. Right? ’Cause that means we get to the solutions faster.

Scott Rogowsky: And there's going to be these frictions and these tensions because, yes, now finally people are waking up to it. I mean, what really bums me out further is the fact that yes, you take individual action. I totally agree with you. We're on the same page here, but at the same time, you want to take the larger actions: voting for leaders who believe in climate change, who believe that we need to do something about it now. Okay. But guess what? And you retweeted this, President Biden's climate agenda, the heart of it is going to be likely ripped out of the budget bill, which is replacing coal- and gas-fired power plants. So what we're supposed to do when our elected leaders, the people we want to be in place to actually fix this thing, they have to kowtow to the politics and they can't even face the reality? 

Molly Wood: Yeah, I want to be super clear on this one thing: the U.S. is not going to be a leader here. Okay? Like we never have, like, let's just, let's just own that reality now. 

Nora Ali: Who is, who is leading now, Molly? 

Molly Wood: I mean, weirdly, it's hard to measure what they're actually doing, right? But China is out farther ahead in Europe is leading tremendously. Europe and the UK specifically have taken very extreme steps. And the UK is basically able to say like, yep, we're just going to like outlaw fossil fuel vehicles by, was it 2040? Like no more internal combustion engine. The end. Go find some lithium, but like don't sleep on the fact that for example, Indonesia is a country of 300 million people, right? It's a U.S.-sized country where significant portions don't have electricity. If Indonesia all comes online with like diesel, we cook. So we're trying to make sure that that country gets on renewable energy and not fossil fuel energy. And I don't mean to be like a giant bummer here, but I suspect that what we'll find is that the U.S. and Russia will be in like lockstep holding everybody back because we don't want, we don't want to change anything.

Scott Rogowsky: Yeah. We're the petro giants, right? I mean, that’s what it gomes down to. 

Molly Wood: Yup. We’re the petro giants. Like we really are. We may have to acknowledge that when we talk about solutions, like our government at least will not be it. Now, that doesn't mean that we don't have a robust culture of innovation and invention in the United States. And yes, we're seeing like a little bit of a coal explosion because of the natural gas prices. But like long-term, the market for coal is not there. So money will dictate some of this within the United States. I am not a total technocrat. I don't think every solution lies in technology, but a lot of them do. And I have talked to startup founders who've invented incredible things. And in many ways we have a magic bullet for climate: It's photovoltaic cells. It's solar. We just need to put it everywhere. So like, I still think humans aren't just going to lay down and die, but governments, you know, governments don't enable everything.

Nora Ali: So on the one hand we have these startups that are tackling these solutions, and then you have these large tech companies that are a huge part of the problem, but making promises. You have Apple, for example, promising to be carbon neutral for its entire supply chain by 2030, Amazon has their climate pledge fund, a lot of promises across the board, but then Amazon has essentially manufactured our need to get packages right away. What responsibility do these tech companies have? And does it feel like they actually mean it at this point?

Molly Wood: They have so much, so much responsibility because everyone does. And I would say that some of them mean it more than others and the way to parse whether a company means it or not is to look for the difference between carbon neutral and carbon zero. Just as one simple example. So Microsoft actually is a super forward-thinking company when it comes to the environment. And they're a company who has announced that they will not just be carbon neutral, because there are 1 million stories that we could all do about this idea of offsets. Carbon neutral just means that you, in some cases, continue to use as much fossil-fuel-based energy as you ever did, but you either finance a new solar or wind project somewhere else, or you buy credits, renewable energy credits, based on someone's solar farm in for example, a totally different state. So like if Apple says, oh, our campus is carbon neutral, it just means Apple's campus probably uses exactly the same amount of fossil-fuel power as it ever did. 

Scott Rogowsky: They're just paying, they're just paying for it. 

Molly Wood: But they're paying for somebody else's renewable energy and no one really knows that.

Nora Ali: Yeah. I think it's a bit of a misconception about that phrase. Can you specify more what carbon zero means and also what carbon negative means? Because Microsoft, for example, according to their company, blog plans to be carbon negative.

Molly Wood: Yeah. So what Microsoft is saying is we're going to actually decarbonize as many of our operations as we can. And on top of that, we're going to build or create renewable energy to put back into the grid so that we are a net benefit. So when we talk about like, does everybody need to know what lithium is? Not necessarily. Does everybody need to know the difference between carbon neutral and carbon zero? You bet your bupkis. 

Nora Ali: So we can look out for those phrases now. Now you know. 

Molly Wood: And look, Google is a really interesting example of a company that's talked about being carbon neutral for a long time and recently started talking about carbon zero. And Google is a company that even if it happened a little slower than they would have liked, Google was a leader. Microsoft is especially a leader in showing that it really can happen. And it pushed the rest of the industry. Amazon, greenwashing. 

Scott Rogowsky: No, really? ’Cause I thought Amazon was doing the best. I mean, they just bought the naming rights to that new hockey arena in Seattle. And instead of calling it Amazon Center, it's called the Climate Pledge Arena. 

Nora Ali: That's the solution right there. 

Scott Rogowsky: Yeah. So that's it. It's called Climate Pledge Arena, home of the Seattle Kraken. 

Molly Wood: Well, we all know that the pink ribbons solved breast cancer. I don't mean to be dismissive. Awareness does matter. Awareness does matter, but electrify your freaking fleet. 

Scott Rogowsky: What matters is we take a quick break right now, Molly. When we come back, we're going to dig even deeper into the market forces that could potentially solve the climate crisis and some of the more of these technological innovations that are driving us forward. 

[AD BREAK]

Scott Rogowsky: And we're back into it. I have so many more questions about being in Nevada in the middle of the summer, 110 degrees or whatever. Does this sound like the perfect environment for the city of the future, by the way? ’Cause Marc Lore wants to put Telosa there.

Molly Wood: I know. Yeah. I spent my entire summer in various deserts, either in Southern California or in Nevada. I have experienced now 120 degree heat. And I will say, this is not a future that any of us want. 

Nora Ali: I want to touch a little bit more on the different perspectives of the people you talked to there on the ground. So we did touch on the environmental radicals, but there's also the indigenous members that are at play there. So give us a little bit of the scoop on what the motivations are and what the understanding is of these various parties at that mine.

Molly Wood: Yeah. And, and again, this is such a microcosm of the way that we approach solutions and how there our business forces and their individual forces. And as we approach solutions to the climate crisis, how can we right some of the wrongs that have historically been done? And so one of the things that has historically happened is that, you know, white people have a real tendency to just take land away from indigenous people whenever they think it has some value. And one of the protests about this Thacker Pass project is that some members of the Fort McDermitt Tribe say that this is land that is sacred to their tribe. And that is a story that we're all familiar with, right? It's Dakota Access Pipeline kind of thing. And that pipeline protest, I think really did raise awareness of how common this is, to just come along and say, indigenous land doesn't matter. Simultaneously you have a lot of members of the tribe who are like our reservation in some areas doesn't have power or it didn't. We talked to one tribal member who said, I didn't have electricity or a bathroom until I was in middle school. And mining jobs are what got that for us on the reservation. And so there is this real tension when you come down to local needs between our crappy history in this country and the fact that people do want and need jobs. And so it was surprising to see that there was a real split opinion about whether this mine should come in and what it might mean for the land.

Nora Ali: And because we are solutions oriented here, for our listeners who I think are mostly not big tech execs or government officials, what are some of the steps that we can take right now, in addition to looking out for things like carbon zero instead of carbon neutral? I think that was a really good piece of advice. What should we be looking out for to actually contribute and not feel like what we're doing is futile?

Molly Wood: You know, I talked to a couple of long-time climate journalists, people who just burned out, they got so overwhelmed and depressed about it. But I will say one of the more fascinating things I learned is that energy efficiency, which is so boring, is massive. It is actually massive. Like when it comes to just you and your own little personal universe, like windows, better seals on your doors, turning your lights off, buying energy-efficient appliances, that stuff that seems so like flossing actually really, really, really matters. In fact, they say that for every step toward energy efficiency that you take, you get a fourfold return, like you do four times better for the climate and reduce your carbon emissions by four times. It is like probably the single most impactful thing you can do. The other thing I'm kind of fascinated with is this idea of decentralization. Like right now, we're all relying on, you know, power grids that we're discovering are increasingly unstable, who knew. And that, you know, when I think about the guy in New Orleans who powered his house with solar panels and a battery, that that is a way that every person, every building, every house can almost become a little like island of power. And that ultimately that is the goal like people are talking about with electric vehicles, the idea of two-way charging. Here's like a very specific invention. This idea of two-way charging, that the car in your driveway is a big battery storing energy, and that if you need it, there's no reason it can't also feed your house. And what's fascinating is that if you get EVs in every driveway, then all of a sudden you have a grid.  Like each one of those things becomes a little bit of energy storage. So I think that what we're going to see over time is that whatever we can do to decentralize, to become a little bit more self-sufficient, and I think this appeals to people in a lot of ways, right? One with energy efficiency, you can save money. Everybody wants to do that. You can be a prepper and want an electric car in your driveway to save your own butt when the apocalypse comes, or when the revolution comes, like whatever your version. 

Scott Rogowsky: There you go. 

Nora Ali: When Thanos snaps his fingers.  

Molly Wood: When Thanks snaps, and the grid goes down, like use your EV to keep the lights on. So I think that there's a lot of ways that we can start to think about our individual choices, about this idea of like relying less on these big centralized forces that you can't always trust, hat aren't about doing the right thing. Also, I'm just saying that in the course of this reporting, actually, as we started, I bought an EV and as a long time car person, those things are freaking or race cars.

Scott Rogowsky: Yeah. Molly, I got one too. It's phenomenal. 

Molly Wood: Live every car should be that car. 

Scott Rogowsky: I know, I know. 

Molly Wood: I'm on the road right now, watching people try to pass me on the right or the left or the whatever. And I'm just like, oh peanut, you wish. Wait ’til you find out about my torque. 

Nora Ali: Did you get it because of your reporting?

Molly Wood: I did. 

Nora Ali:  Or you were going to anyway. Wow. 

Molly Wood: It's like a write-off. 

Scott Rogowsky: You had to walk the walk. 

Molly Wood: Yeah, I did. I had to walk the walk. 

Scott Rogowsky: For a 20% discount on your S3 oo to tesla.com. Use promo code, Molly Wood, tesla.com/ Molly Wood at checkout to receive 20% of your next Tesla.

Molly Wood: I'm going to leave the disclaimers to you on that one. 

Nora Ali: Hashtag not an ad.

Scott Rogowsky: Molly, this has been an electrifying conversation. And truly you're an A-plus reporter with an A-plus podcast. Number one in the charts. We're coming for you though, Molly. But in the meantime, enjoy the crown. We're coming for it.

Nora Ali: JK.

Molly Wood: It’s cool. I’ve got eyes in the back of my head. 

Scott Rogowsky: Molly Wood, fantastic to see you and talk to you. Thank you.

Molly Wood: You two are great. Thank you. Congrats on your own podcast. 

Nora Ali: Thanks, Molly. 

Scott Rogowsky: And now, BC listeners, we want to hear from you. How do you think about the intersection of business and climate change? Where do you stand on the lithium Nevada mine controversy?  Where do you stand on pronouncing Nevada? Do you say Nevada? You shouldn't. Actually, which one is it? 

Nora Ali: It's Nevada. 

Scott Rogowsky: It’s Nevada. Send us an email at businesscasual@morningbrew.com or DM us on Twitter at @bizcasualpod, that's B-I-Z Casual pod, with your thoughts. 

Nora Ali: You can also leave us a voice memo on our website, businesscasual.fm, or give us a ring and leave us an old-fashioned voicemail. Our number is 862-295-1135. That's 8 6 2 2 9 5 1 1 3 5. As Business Casual grows, we are excited to get to know our listeners old and new. Drop us a line and don't forget to leave your name and where you're calling or writing from so we can hear from you in a future episode,

Scott Rogowsky: Business Casual is produced, reused, and recycled by Katherine Milsop and Bella Hutchins. Additional production and sound design and mixing by Daniel Markus. Alan Haburchak is director of audio at Morning Brew. Sarah Singer is our VP of multimedia and Jessica Cohen is our chief content officer. Music in this episode is sustainably sourced from Daniel Markus and the Mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder. If you like what you heard, please follow Business Casual on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you go for that delicious ear candy. And we'd love it if you'd give us a great rating and a review. 

Nora Ali: Leave a review and thanks for listening to Business Casual. I'm Nora Ali.

Scott Rogowsky: And I'm Scott Rogowsky. 

Nora Ali: Keep it business. 

Scott Rogowsky: And keep it climate.