Hot & Bothered Podcast #9: A Holiday Gift for Climate Wonks, with Kevin Ummel

Hot & Bothered Podcast #9: A Holiday Gift for Climate Wonks, with Kevin Ummel

Daniel’s map for “Carboniferous” in “Nonstop Metropolis: A New York Atlas” by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro (University of California Press, 2016). Cartography: Molly Roy; artwork: Bette Burgoyne. Underlying data from Kevin Ummel, adapted from research he did for the Center for Global Development. Courtesy of University of California Press. Click here to view the full map.

Just in time for a season of holiday excess, Daniel spends the ninth episode of Hot & Bothered indulging in some heavy data wonkery, while Kate gets the week off. First, he touches on fears among scientists that the Trump administration could actually erase or conceal key climate data. Daniel’s colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania are helping lead an effort to safeguard this valuable material through their #datarefuge campaign (see links below).

Next is Daniel’s feature interview with Kevin Ummel, which reveals why the rich have such high carbon footprints, just what kinds of consumption really drive carbon emissions, how urban density does (and doesn’t) make a difference, and what all this means for developing ethical climate policies, like a properly designed carbon tax. Indeed, if we are still perfecting our knowledge of the climate system, we’re at a much earlier stage in the social science of carbon emissions—figuring out which social and spatial factors are most important. Kevin Ummel is a data scientist and environmental economist based in Colorado. He was formerly a Research Scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and  a Visiting Senior Associate at the Center for Global Development. He currently consults for organizations like the Citizens’ Climate Lobby and the World Resources Institute. Kevin and Daniel collaborated on a map of New York’s per capita carbon emissions that was published this October, alongside an essay of Daniel’s, in Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas.

You know a melancholy Santa Claus will be listening carefully to our bonus episode as he circles above the melting North Pole in the early hours of December 25, trying to find a solid patch of ice near his workshop to land his sleigh. He might even be as shocked as you to find Daniel closing the episode with a passionate plea for optimism. But he’ll certainly be convinced. And with that jolly thought, happy holidays from Hot & Bothered. See you in 2017.


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Check out the full Hot & Bothered archive here. Hot & Bothered is produced by Colin Kinniburgh. Music: Mercurias Meet Victor Rice, “Carregar (Instrumental),” courtesy of Total Running Time.

Protecting climate data from Trump’s anti-science administration

University of Pennsylvania #datarefuge project

Environmental Data and Governance Initiative

Climate Mirror

End of Term Harvest

Consumption-accounting of carbon emissions

Kevin Ummel, “Who Pollutes?”, Center for Global Development

Kevin Ummel, “Household Impact Study”, Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Daniel Aldana Cohen, “Petro-Gotham, People’s Gotham,” excerpt at The Leap Blog with map “Carboniferous,” developed with Kevin Ummel’s data

Daniel Aldana Cohen on urban climate emissions on Forecast podcast

Fun bonus holiday link:

Kate Aronoff, “Star Wars Goes to the Countryside,” Jacobin

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