Climate Confident

Decoding the Tesla Phenomenon & More: Climate Revelations with Jeremy Bentham

November 01, 2023 Tom Raftery / Jeremy Bentham Season 1 Episode 143
Climate Confident
Decoding the Tesla Phenomenon & More: Climate Revelations with Jeremy Bentham
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Show Notes Transcript

In this week's episode of the Climate Confident podcast, I had the pleasure of Chatting with Jeremy Bentham, Co-Chair & Senior Advisor at World Energy Council. Jeremy brings a wealth of knowledge from his extensive background in the energy sector.

πŸ” Key Highlights:

  • A Personal Responsibility: Jeremy laid out five actionable steps that each of us can incorporate into our daily lives to make a tangible difference
  • Driving Change through Supply Chains: 8 key supply chains cause over 50% of emissions? Targeting these is vital
  • The Tesla Phenomenon: We discussed the role of Tesla in the EV market - how one company's vision can disrupt an entire industry
  • Policy & Demand – The Dance: Jeremy articulated the delicate interplay between policy-making and market demand
  • Sectoral vs. National Approach: We talked about interventions at the sectoral level. Recognising unique challenges within sectors, be it aviation or steel, is key


And finally, ever heard of the Dodo Club? It is Jeremy’s latest initiative - a newsletter and a call to action for those who refuse to go the way of the dodo.

Thanks to Jeremy for this deep dive into our role in shaping a sustainable future. 

As ever, be Climate Confident.

(P.S. - My hat's off to Jeremy, even if he wishes he had one like mine! πŸ˜‰)

Check out the video version of this episode at https://youtu.be/GQTA1kSkyWk

 

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Credits
Music credits - Intro by Joseph McDade, and Outro music for this podcast was composed, played, and produced by my daughter Luna Juniper


Thanks for listening, and remember, stay healthy, sta...

Jeremy Bentham:

As a policymaker, recognizing as, as we're beginning to see now, that stimulating this through policy can be a domestic industrial competitive advantage. And you're seeing now a competitive cycle emerging between Chinese five-year plans, US IRA, EU Green Deal that's happening too. So it's about accelerating those things.

Tom Raftery:

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you are in the world. This is the Climate Confident podcast, the number one podcast showcasing best practices in climate emission reductions and removals, and I'm your host, Tom Raftery. Don't forget to click follow on this podcast in your podcast app of choice to be sure you don't miss any episodes. Hi everyone. Welcome to the Climate Confident Podcast. My name is Tom Raftery, and with me on the show today, I have my special guest, Jeremy. Jeremy, welcome to the podcast. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Jeremy Bentham:

Well, thanks Tom, that's great. Yeah. I'm Jeremy. Jeremy Bentham. Let me say about myself. I'm British by origin, but international by choice of nature, I guess. I currently live in the Hague in the Netherlands with my wife and my elderly mother and other family members as well. I was educated as a scientist in the United Kingdom and in the United States, but I've got a lifelong love of theater. Try to balance those areas of my life. I've actually got 40 years of experience in the international energy industry, working in many roles in all parts of the industry, but laterally I was the early chief executive of Shell Hydrogen and then led the whole company's scenario and strategy activities. So I've been involved in deeply considering energy transitions for the best part of, well, more than two decades now. Since retiring from corporate executive life. I'm doing a, a number of different things all with that kind of, theme of trying to promote a better life with a, with a healthy planet. And so I'm co-chair for scenarios for the World Energy Council. I'm on an advisory board for the Business World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Senior Fellow with Mission Possible Partnership, President's Council for Pathfinder International. But basically what that comes down to is being a, a sort of, a bit of a grizzled guide and coach for anybody who's really kind of grappling with radical uncertainties particularly in areas like decarbonization and energy transitions. So it's a little bit of a potted history as well. I hope I didn't take up too much of your time.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. No, no, no, that's fine. That's fine. I mean, should I ask, because it seems a little, kind of almost confrontational, but energy transitions and Shell has, Shell really transitioned at all in the last 40 years.

Jeremy Bentham:

Well, okay. It's actually been a lot of transitions in the the last four years. But I'm not here to kind of, represent or defend my former employer. But you know, clearly a company like Shell was very early in, recognizing the significance of greenhouse gas emissions. So, my predecessors in that leading scenario role that I spoke of were already making films and publishing films about that kind of pressure on the environment, you know, back in the very, very early nineties. But the, the world wasn't kind of ready for it yet. I mean, it's taken a long time for the world to really wake up to the significance of the way we use energy and hence begin to see changes in energy markets. And if you think of, you know, a company, a company as a, a server of customers if you don't have any customers, you can't serve them. And so it's taken a while for those things to build up. But I like to think that my, my role, my wife used to say, if I can say this would be a barnacle on the rudder of big Shell. And so in that help kind of, you know, direct the rudder over time and see changes. And you know, with, you know, the focus already beginning in the the late nineties with the formation of Shell Wind Energy, which is still active. Shell solar. Shell hydrogen, which I led for an early period of development. It's always tried to be on the front foot in those areas and on the front foot in, encouraging customers, but having to serve customers that are there. I think that's kind of, where people who now kind of recognize the urgency of situations feel that somehow you know, companies have, have got behind. But actually, you know, the companies could only be at the forefront of where the markets are. And so it's one of the things I'll kind of come back to, again, not defending, but how do you build and create the markets where people are using energy differently? Because that's kind of what's important. We all use energy all the time, so we're talking about using energy differently.

Tom Raftery:

Yeah. And, and it, it, it is a challenging one, I know. A lot of it change is always hard. And you know, even if you're living in a house as an individual and you have a gas boiler, you know, what's the, if it's not for conscientious reasons. What is the burning platform to make you rip out that gas boiler and for example, put in a heat pump instead for heating your home? You know it now gas prices have changed wildly, so maybe it's that maybe you've got more security of, of energy bills. I don't know. But the, the point I'm getting to is change is hard even at an individual level, so I can imagine at a massive corporate level, it must be orders of magnitude harder yet again.

Jeremy Bentham:

It, it certainly can be. And you know, you know, stars kind of have to align and, and you can work to help align them. You know, we have, I think, again, seen in the world some, you know, remarkable things that are successful over the last period of time. We now have a, a solar power industry, you know, growing at double digit per annum growth globally and has been actually for nearly 20 years. You know, we're seeing, you know, that pace of growth in light duty, so passenger electric vehicles with battery electric vehicles. So, you know, stars can align and then you get a prolonged period of explosive growth.

Tom Raftery:

Yep. Yep.

Jeremy Bentham:

And it, you know, it starts from a small base but it eventually gets to a bigger base and then naturally some of that growth has to slow down'cause it's become so, so huge already. So. I don't want us to lose sight of the urgency, but also, you know, I want to learn from and direct attention to the successes. And then how can those be replicated in other areas where you need success. And, and so you, you were speaking there almost about you know, the ordinary citizen and, and what can I do as an ordinary citizen? Rather than, as a a corporate leader or a policy legislator in government and things like that. And I, I like to think there are, you know, five things that can be done. And fertile ground can be created for those, those things. But as an individual. I mean, first of all, you know, we can be a lifelong learner. I, I also speak to a lot of students as well, and and they're in that learning phase and I try and encourage them to learn a little bit about the way the ah, the world works, you know, the way the economy works and the way then the energy supports that. You know, because, you know, we can't really operate or build or move anything without energy. And so it's, it's part of every part of the economy you know, some way. So we have to kind of, learn that and learn how it is that that comes about. And then also not get misled by some of these simplistic slogans where you think, ah, in order to stop emissions, you know, just stop oil when in fact, you know, that moves like that would basically just stop people, you know? It would stop hospitals, it would stop schools, it would stop everything. But you can look at, you know, okay. But how do you substitute? So, you know, none of this is really rocket science, but you need a little bit of, of thought, a little bit of understanding about kind of what needs to be done. So there's that role as a lifelong learner. That was the kind of number one. Yeah, number two is, is actually a role as a citizen. You know, we do get to vote. People do put up platforms of policy and we can use more or less responsible environmental and energy policies. And particularly with that knowledge as a lifelong learner, we can have a sense of what is responsible, what isn't. So if there's that element. We're actually consumers as well,

Tom Raftery:

Yep.

Jeremy Bentham:

As individuals, but we can become part, not as just of our individual choices, which are there. You, you made the point about the heat pump. You know, we can make that individual choice, but we can also look to be part of consumer movements that signal there's a real demand for something. And so if I you know, just pass on a an insight that is that more than 50% of greenhouse gas emissions actually derive from just eight supply chains, eight value chains that touch us all,

Tom Raftery:

Right.

Jeremy Bentham:

know, whether that's clothing, textiles, whether it is cars, whether it's electronics or computers and things that we're, we're, we're talking through, there's just eight of those. And, and those are decisions we make individually, but you can signal that, you know, well actually there's a market for low emissions footprint computers. And then you know that that will then back up into, okay, well then you need to have, you want to serve that market. It's attractive to serve that market, but you, you then need to have uh, you know, low emissions, aluminum and low emissions, steel and low emissions, lithium mining, et cetera, et cetera. It backs up the supply chain. So that, that's a kind of consumer element that we can do

Tom Raftery:

Yep.

Jeremy Bentham:

The number four would be that, we have family and friends and colleagues, and we can take some of those insights like the eight supply chains that account for over half of emissions and talk about them. You know, we, we can help create further understanding. And then you know, I, I think you finally, you know, if you you think of our, our roles in, in life. Then beyond that, that social role you know, we have a role as, um, you know, people with purpose. And indeed you can make choices to really get involved in all these areas or to let it pass. And, and so those are just a few thoughts that I, I kind of. Place with you and whoever your listeners are.

Tom Raftery:

thanks. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, you, you make a, a, a few good points there. Definitely. I, I think in terms of larger organizations, there are two things that move them. One would be money, and the other would be regulations. And in terms of the money, well, customer demand is obviously a big signal there to your demand signal point and obviously the price of goods in the supply chain. But policy is the other one. And regulations. And I mean, that goes back to your point about voting. And I think I, it, it, it's a point I've made on this podcast as well several times. I think one of the most important things people can do as individuals is to actually prioritize climate when they go to the polling booth. Now, unfortunately, in the last few elections here in Spain, there have been very few mentions of climate by any party in the political campaigns. So I don't know how we signal to politicians that actually this is something we want them to prioritize and be talking about, but those who are should be the ones where we send our votes to.

Jeremy Bentham:

Yes. And you know, one of the aspects of politics, of course, is that it deals with many different topics. And so people will get packaging of policies or policy areas. And so indeed it can be frustrating if you are interested in the environment, but you're not seeing environment or energy being particularly significant. But you can be part of the, the, the areas that make it significant. Let me share a, an interesting little personal anecdote from, I, I think it was just last week where I, I was asked to share a panel a small panel, just two of us being interviewed for the Hague University of Applied Sciences with a leading young lady in the activist movement Extinction Rebellion. And Extinction Rebellion had just been blocking the main road artery into the Hague, which is where the central government center centre of government is in the Netherlands over several days, and it caused huge disruption, huge profile and it at least convinced the government to accelerate some changes in the way that energy duties are levied in the Netherlands. And so as well as the vote, which is the best way you can be part of these citizens' movements that certainly first of all, you know, raise profile. So, so it brings awareness but, you know, can have a, a more direct influence as well. Now what what was kind of interesting is that, that I think the university had tried to set up this platform to somehow have Mr. Grizzled old energy man and young environmental activist lady in conflict

Tom Raftery:

Head to head

Jeremy Bentham:

But in fact, you know, we actually share the same long-term goal. We have may maybe different contributions that we, that we make. And I would say that if you think about you, you have to raise awareness and then you have to kind of understand what needs to be done and then you have to get it done, et cetera, et cetera. What she's doing whilst, it might irritate a lot of people, is part of raising awareness. And what I'm involved is understanding what needs to be done and helping to get people to do it. So we're I, in a sense allies and I think the the students kind of got that because I've seen a couple of very positive LinkedIn posts from students about that session.

Tom Raftery:

Fantastic. Yeah, no, I mean, I'm a, I'm a big fan of the kind of things that Extinction Rebellion are doing, I gotta say. I liken it very much to what the suffragettes did back in the early part of the last century. Their, their goal was very laudable, obviously, as is Extinction Rebellion's. Their methods are if, if I think of Extinction Rebellion, their, their methods are quite tame compared to what the suffragettes were doing. I mean, you saw the Suffragettes throwing themselves in front of racehorses and in some cases being killed. You saw them burning libraries. You saw them bombing places. I, I forget exactly the, the where they set off bombs, but, you know, they weren't nearly as tame as what Extinction Rebellion are doing. Extinction rebellion, hold up traffic and and spray buildings with orange paint, which washes off, I mean, it, it, it's very tame in comparison. So I, I'm a huge fan of what they're doing, I gotta say, because it is gaining those headlines. It is bringing it onto news programs so people are having that discussion. It is bringing it more into the limelight.

Jeremy Bentham:

Yep. And that's why I said I, I felt we were odd allies in this. And at the same time, although I don't think this is an Extinction Rebellion slogan I'm, I get concerned when I hear activists such as, certainly you know, in the UK with this kind of simplistic, Just Stop Oil type of slogan.

Tom Raftery:

I, I, I, I get that Jeremy, but I, I think, I think that's, there, there's a, there's a comms thing there, which says if you get a simple three word slogan. It sticks in people's minds. It's obviously simplistic. It's like, Get Brexit Done. I mean, that's a classic example, three word slogan. Nobody thought that it was going to happen overnight or anything like that, but it's the same with Just Stop Oil. It's, it's a three word slogan. Very easy to remember, gets the message out there, but nobody really believes when they're saying that that it could be, you could turn the tap off straight away. I, I gotta think, I mean that to your point, it's very simplistic, but it's a strong message which sticks in people's heads. And so it, it, i, it for, to my mind, it, it's a comms thing. The same way Get Brexit Done was to get the message out there and, you know, to, to get on television shows and get on podcasts and things like that.

Jeremy Bentham:

A and then you've gotta be a bit careful about when these kinds of things can be misleading. So, we don't need to share our opinions on just Get Brexit Done. As I mentioned, I'm internationalist by choice. But know, the question is can it mislead?

Tom Raftery:

Yeah.

Jeremy Bentham:

Can it kind of mislead the. And one of the things that I see happening, and I've, I I've written an article on this is that it directs if you like, mob attention or mass attention somehow to oil supply. And it doesn't direct attention to the way oil is part of the economy and that that needs to be changed. Because we see when you get disruptions, like what happened at the beginning of the Russia, Ukraine war, you get this huge peak in prices when you get a supply disruption without any demand side activity. And ultimately, again, it's the poorest in society who suffer most from that. And so it doesn't take you anywhere and it just, you might as well just say, just punish the poor. So, you know, that's . And so why I'm trying to, you know, it will never work in the mass market, but for people to just say, Just Substitute Oil,'cause at least it makes you think about, well substitute it for what, or substitute it how and I think that that's a more powerful statement or a, a, a better statement rather than what is equivalent to just punish the poor

Tom Raftery:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, no, no. I mean, to, to your point about the, the price hike at the start of the Russian War, there wouldn't have been a price spike at the start of the Russian War had there been an easy alternative, readily available. So the, the, the issue, the, the issue with Just Stop Oil is yeah, we could stop it tomorrow if there was a readily available alternative. So what we need to do is ramp up the readily available alternatives so that we can Just Stop Oil. Yeah.

Jeremy Bentham:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And so, you know, it's you know, the real challenge that we need to wrestle with is, you know, how we wrestle down demand for fossil based fuels as quickly as possible. And you know, we kind of understand that. But I know from my, you know, scenario work, 'cause I, I, I led scenario work from you know, the mid, you know, 2006 o onwards. So I'm able to now look back, you know, over 15 years at kind of how we thought then and, and, and how we think now. And yeah, at that time I led the development of two scenarios that people still talk about.'cause they had, you know, good names to help think about things. So they were called Scramble, and Blueprints. And essentially Scramble considered what was kind of the most sluggish way that energy transitions could develop over time and Blueprints with an s that's important. I'll come back to that, maybe later, was the most accelerated way you could envisage. And then, and looking back after, 15 years, you know, what you actually saw was that what has happened over that time period on some of the techno economic aspects. It's been as much progress as Blueprints. So you know, the takeoff of battery electric passenger vehicles, the takeoff of wind and offshore wind, the takeoff of solar. So those techno economic aspects have grown explosively as they did in the Blueprints outlook

Tom Raftery:

Wow.

Jeremy Bentham:

But a lot of the socio political side, a lot of those choices that we make as people have been as sluggish as Scramble.

Tom Raftery:

All right.

Jeremy Bentham:

And, and that kind of tells you something about you need to do both. But a particular amount of attention needs to go into that sociopolitical side. But you know, you know, things are happening. Things do happen. So, if you were to have the more Blueprints type outlook, then what would've happened at the Paris Cop at the end of 2015, would've happened at the Copenhagen COP

Tom Raftery:

Hmm.

Jeremy Bentham:

in 2009. It so it happened. It just happened later. Slower. And you see that in a number of different ways. So we can see, I can see the ball rolling now in a number of different areas, which is really kind of positive. It's just a shame, but we can't go back in history that it didn't happen 10 years ago.

Tom Raftery:

Yeah. Talk to me a little bit because this isn't a discussion we've had on the podcast so far. Talk to me a little bit about the importance of scenarios, Jeremy, because it's, it's an area, as you say, you've been working in for at least 15 years now. So why are scenarios important and what can you achieve through them?

Jeremy Bentham:

Okay, no thanks. Well, yeah, it's, it's probably, it's more than 15 years now.'cause I'm still co-chair of scenarios for the World Energy Council. So I'm still involved in that activity. Let me frame it this way. You know, our world is being driven by very, very powerful currents, whether those are political currents or economic currents, technological currents, social currents, environmental currents and, and every current that is strong also generates countercurrents. And so you've got this mix of currents and countercurrents and in advance, it is impossible to tell which will be strongest.

Tom Raftery:

Sure.

Jeremy Bentham:

So there's always alternative outcomes that are plausible. And we have to understand that if we're going to engage appropriately with the future, if we're going to explore the future, well. In fact, it's such kind of fundamental part of reality that if we ignore it, you know, we're effectively just being lazy. We're doing lazy strategy, we're doing lazy decision making. We're lazy in our judgment. So in that sense, scenario mindset doesn't necessarily mean kind of well written out books with lots of tables and figures, but that scenario mindset is, is fundamental and you need to kind of take your decisions with that in mind. The way that a lot of people, a lot of companies, a lot of governments take decisions is that they try to focus on what they think is some kind of fantasy, most likely outlook, and then optimize to that or add some kind of, dubious probabilities to something and effectively average that way and optimize to that, whereas a much more balanced approach is to look at these different outlooks that are plausible and do what I refer to as minimize regret. And so you might have a regret, which is a lot of loss, or you might have a regret that's missing a big opportunity. They're both regrets, so you can balance them up as regrets. But what you're doing is having a much broader recognition of how the future might be, trying to make wise decisions within that, potentially also recognizing where you are an agent in that. How the choices you make may be affecting the choices that others make as well. So I kind of like to say that the, you know, the scenario mindset is fundamental for the reasons that I said, but also secondary in the sense that it is there to help you make wiser decisions. It's a means to an end, and that end is wiser choices. Does that kind of make sense

Tom Raftery:

to you? Yeah. No, it does. I mean it essentially, you are taking into account much, many more possibilities, I gotta think when you're doing kind of scenario based planning, rather than just going, okay, no, we're gonna do this. So if you're taking in more potential possibilities than you're hopefully making a better decision at the end of the day.

Jeremy Bentham:

Yes, and, and also, it's very important because there's two crafts in this. There's a, a technical craft and a social craft. I'm gonna say a little bit about both of them if I can. You know, ultimately you're, you're trying to surface important fresh insights and bring them to life in the minds of others. And so there's that element that's surfacing the insights, which is kind of like the technical craft and then them bringing them to life in the minds and hearts and decisions of others, is a actually a, a social or a psychological craft almost. Now if I just say something on that technical craft a lot of the uncertainties are associated with the way that choices are made by individuals or by governments or by businesses or whatever and those choices are in a sense they're not random, but neither are they predictable. People are people.

Tom Raftery:

Hmm. Sure.

Jeremy Bentham:

And so you have to really grapple with very different perspectives. So you've gotta be humble and go out there. And for instance, you, if you thought of me as you know, a big corporate energy man, I better be listening to that young lady from Extinction Rebellion and her perspective and how she sees the world and, and, and understand that. So, it, it brings you into a position where you recognize that the horizons of others are different to your own horizon. The behavioral economists speak about what you see is all there is. We kind of know that's not true, but we behave as though it is. So it's taking you beyond that. And I think that's really, really important because it, it affects not just the quality of, of the scenarios you are dealing with, but it affects how you are dealing with other people. Are you really listening? Are you really paying attention? Are you really understanding that perspective and seeing what that might have what effect that, that might have. So that was just a another little important part of the the technical craft. And then, you know, that leads you almost naturally into that social craft because effectively you're trying to create a, a learning environment. And and every senior leader I ever met, whether it was in my company or many, many outside in government, or other major organizations would tell you, Hey, I'm open to learn. It's, it's a sort of a, one of those mantras. What I also learned was that none of them are open to be taught. They're senior, they're successful. You know, they kind of really believe, they know it already. And so you've gotta create circumstances where they do learn, where they learn from themselves. So you, you, you bring them to a place, into a journey. You meet them where they are with what's on the top of their minds, and then help create circumstances in which they can learn and then make the wiser judgements we spoke about.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. Okay. Okay. Leading them by the nose. I got it.

Jeremy Bentham:

No, no, but, but you are, there is an ethical aspect to it because ultimately you are trying to help enrich the mindset of other people. And you know, that can be a manipulation. So you've gotta think about, okay, am I doing this for the right reasons?

Tom Raftery:

Hmm.

Jeremy Bentham:

Am I doing this in a way that actually benefits those that you are affecting? And so there is a, an an ethical aspect to that kind of of work. But ultimately, you know, I'm still let me say a combination of naive enough or arrogant enough to believe I can still make a contribution to promoting a better life for people with a healthy planet. And in that, you know, I've gotta help people often see the world a bit differently to the way they see it currently. And that scenario mindset is helpful to me in doing that, but introducing that mindset to others is helpful in making them more open to that learning process.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. Who, who do you think needs to be given that kind of scenario mindset, or who do you think you need to influence most to kind of make the changes that we need to make, to get to where we need to be?

Jeremy Bentham:

Hmm, that's that's interesting. And, and there's a, an aspect of it. First of all, I, the easy answer is kind of, everybody needs to think this way because this is the only way to think about the future. Yeah. So, so there is that aspect. But you know, clearly I've spent much of my last 20 years engaging with senior leaders in industry and senior leaders in government, and we know industry and government are important actors in what we're talking about. You know, so I still think, I still look to kind of reach out there. But again, earlier I, I, I mentioned those different roles that we can have as individuals. So we may not be a senior leader in industry or, or, or government but we're still an agent. We still make choices. And if we can see these different possibilities and understand what they are and what our individual role can be indeed, you know, to say, well, okay this issue needs to be highlighted. I can highlight this by joining this citizen's movement or supporting this citizen's movement. Or it can be in the area of I do see the need for more younger people to be educated in this area so I can give support to places like the United World Colleges that are seeking to educate young people in some of these issues as well. And I mentioned earlier that consumer side and being part of consumer movements, and so it's it's really of, of benefit. to everybody and it can be applied in this area by everybody. know, clearly, most immediately I like to influence the people who are making the immediate decisions and, you know, big investments. Even if you start thinking of them now, they're only actually an operation in five to 10 years time. So you're, you're trying to do that. But even more broadly can, can I show you share with you an example, you know, from my own life, nothing to do with environment or climate, but very early in my career I was called to the office of my boss's boss's boss's boss

Tom Raftery:

Whoa.

Jeremy Bentham:

Okay. I didn't even know that such a person existed. I mean, a big organization. My reference indicator in the organization at that time was MFD 3326. So given that there were some people with the indicator MF, you can see how far down, you know, the line that I was there. But it was all about something that I'd mentioned to my boss and talking about, you know, what kinds of job I'd like to do next. And there used to be a, a, a, a particular pathways through the company for young engineers, which is kind of what I was at the time. And I I felt my heart and my contributions would be better somewhere else, somewhere more broadly in the area. And so I was called to my boss', boss', boss' boss, and he said, you know, Jeremy, it's come to my notice that you may be interested in something. An opportunity has come up. We I don't know whether this fits what you were thinking or not but I'll tell you what it is. The only thing is you have to decide here and now whether you're going to take it because it's already at the point of being offered to somebody else

Tom Raftery:

wow.

Jeremy Bentham:

and Whoa. Now the good thing was because I've been thinking through these different possibilities I recognized, ah, yeah, this has some of those features. Now of course it will mean, you know, changes in where I'll probably end up working, changes for my wife and family, et cetera. There was a lot of things there, but because I'd actually spent some time thinking through different possibilities, I was able to sort of say, you know, there and then well, having thought about it, I think this is right, so please go ahead and offer it to me. And yeah, I got a, a reputation for being a quick decision maker, which was not fair because I've never really been a quick decision maker, but I was really helped, by that, what I later thought of is that scenario mindset of having kind of thought about the future and how it might relate to my immediate future. Just a, a little anecdote.

Tom Raftery:

Cool. I'd love to chase down the, how does one develop a scenario mindset, but I don't think we have time for that. And it goes a little bit off topic, but here's, here's a slightly different question for you, Jeremy. You have now 'cause I've got a magic wand, all the power in the world, and you have to help the world decarbonize in the shortest possible time. Go . What do you do?

Jeremy Bentham:

Well. I'll, I'll just sketch something out on the supply side, but then I'll go to the demand side because that's where I, I I, I think, you know, the attention comes from, it gets pulled that way. So we kind of know you know, the five things that, that needed to be done for, you know, there's a huge need for quantum leap in energy efficiency. And a lot of that is to do with actually smarter, more compact cities with integrated transport, integrated wastewater, heat, electricity systems and things like that. We know that it's about electrification of the economy. From one fifth to almost two thirds of the economy and a lot of that being through non fossil sources, you know, wind, solar, et cetera, et cetera. You know, we know it's about substituting liquid fuels 'cause you still need liquid and gaseous fuels. You still need molecules for energy dense and, and thermal uses. But then you've got this, you know, substitute oil, you know, biofuel, substitute gases, you know, hydrogen and because you're still gonna need to mop up emissions, you need carbon capture, sequestration, et cetera. So we know, you know, technically we know those things and we kind of know how to do them. Some of them we need to know how to do more cheaply. But a a lot of that will be about scale and learning and things like that. But how do you motivate those kinds of investments needed for that? And I mentioned earlier, you know, there are the, these, for instance about eight supply chains that we all engage with as, as individuals, as consumers, as users. That account for already more than 50% of emissions. And we can recognize that. And you can put, you know, policy in place to help stimulate, but you can also help signal that there are premium markets that business are gonna want to invest in to to take. So, you know, for instance as examples, yeah, we talked about passenger electric vehicles earlier. That came about, was driven effectively out of California where there was a progressive, fertile ground of policy, but it wasn't about the environment. A company called Tesla recognized there was a market for a computer on wheels. And that there were people who would pay a lot of money for computers on wheels and that got the ball rolling and it's then rolled and made Tesla hugely market valuable company, but has actually encouraged others to come into that. And so I think this recognizing these high footprint supply chains and looking for the development and stimulation of premium markets and recognizing that the companies who who see this and can build a competitive stronghold by stepping in, can actually build those huge values. As a policymaker, recognizing as, as we're beginning to see now, that stimulating this through policy can be a domestic industrial competitive advantage. And you're seeing now this a competitive cycle emerging between Chinese five-year plans, US IRA, EU Green Deal that's happening too. So it's about accelerating those things and I think you asked, you know, me personally, if I could get one thing going, it would be you know, premium markets in the high emissions supply chains, that channel revenue into the big investments that you need in steel manufacture, synthetics manufacturers, cement manufacturer, et cetera. that too much of a ramble or, or could Is that clear it up

Tom Raftery:

No, no, no, that's, that's fair enough. That's fair enough. We're coming towards the end, of the podcast now, Jeremy, is there any question I haven't asked that you wish I had or any aspect of this we haven't touched on that you think it's important for people to think about?

Jeremy Bentham:

It's interesting'cause I, I, I was kind of expecting that question might come, but I've written a couple of things. I would say, oh, I'd love to cover. And we've we've covered them. You know, one of them was the, the five things we can all do as individuals. And the other one was recognizing that it's, ultimately the commercial engine that drives the big things over time. And it can be primed by policy but also it is pulled by demand and changes in demand. And so we've had an evolution, from if you like, the international and national perspective on climate change that came out of you know, the UN processes and the COPs and things like that. And actually only five or six years ago, a bit longer now, maybe about 2015, I was beginning to emphasize the significance of the sectoral perspective. And that is recognizing that different sectors, you know, aviation and shipping and steel are using very different technologies in very different ways. And if you're not understanding those and intervening with those sectorally, you're missing the point. And so not replacing the national perspective 'cause that's where jurisdictions and policies are often set, but it was adding the sectoral perspective and now I'm beginning to see that that is also being enriched now by this supply chain perspective. And that's one of the things that I'm, I'm trying to promote now and hence why I, I bring it up in response to the question that you asked.

Tom Raftery:

Sure, sure, sure. And I think as well, I think, I think you're dead right with examples like Tesla and also talking about policy, because there's a, there's an interesting dance that happens between those two things. We had legislation passed here in the EU mandating that auto manufacturers from 2020 onwards had to have their average emissions per vehicle be less than, I think it was a hundred grams, CO two per kilometer, or thereabouts. You know, and they would be fined for if, if they went over that. I don't think that legislation would've passed, had Tesla not demonstrated the viability of creating a mass market electric vehicle. And then suddenly the EU were able to go, well, if they can do it, all the other ones can as well. And all this lobbying we've had from them saying, it's impossible, that's rubbish. So it, it, it's, it's, it's fascinating the way that technology can demonstrate and then regulation can require, and I think that's, that's an interesting dance that is being played out and needs to play out more.

Jeremy Bentham:

Absolutely. It's a very good point and, and a good example. And you, we we can also see how policy dances play out around the world when, when you think about it you know, you know, solar panels, solar really kind of originated after the investment in R&D in the US following the oil price spikes back in, you know, the late seventies and early 79 as well. And so that kind of, you know, policy created the R&D and, and that was happening there in, in California. But then the momentum was taken up in places like Germany with the Energiewende and that certain things forward and created more market. But then places like, you know, Japan and Korea, South Korea were doing that. And ultimately, and yeah, I was working with the, the Chinese State Council since about 2010 on their thinking about energy and energy scenarios. And you know, the Chinese State Council simply decided that this was going to be, the manufacturing of solar panels was going to be one of their target industries, and they were gonna policy, put the policy in place to do that and did and so you get then this effect happening around the world. Now you see this, this accelerating. Now people are a bit worried about, oh, all these solar panels coming mainly from China. Maybe we, we should have some more local manufacturers says all kinds of things. Interesting dance.

Tom Raftery:

Fascinating, fascinating, fascinating. Jeremy, this has been really interesting. If people would like to know more about yourself or any of the things we discussed in the podcast today, where would you have me direct them?

Jeremy Bentham:

Oh possibly a couple of things. If they go on LinkedIn, you can find me. My name's Jeremy Bentham, but you'll find me under Jeremy Bracket, JB Bentham. Or I think that the, the LinkedIn thing is you know, linkedin.com/in/jeremy b Bentham.

Tom Raftery:

I'll put a link. I'll put a link in the show notes. Jeremy.

Jeremy Bentham:

Okay. And then there's another link which is I've, I'm just publishing today, the third edition of the Dodo Club newsletter. For those who don't wanna go the way of the Dodo, you can join the Dodo Club. And there is the Dodo Club newsletter. And you know, if you go onto your search engine, you'll be able to find that, or, or indeed we can give a link

Tom Raftery:

I'll, I'll put a link in the show notes fantastic, Jeremy, that that's been really, really interesting. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast today.

Jeremy Bentham:

Well, it's, it's been a pleasure. It's great to see you. It's great to talk to you and I wish I had as cool a hat as you, but I don't yet, but maybe I'll have after this engagement we've had.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about the Climate Confident podcast, feel free to drop me an email to tomraftery at outlook. com or message me on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you like the show, please don't forget to click follow on it in your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.

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