Well, we made it ten episodes in before hitting on the most emotionally charged of home appliances—the cooktop. Despite gas stoves not being a significant cause of emissions, they are a clever lock-in device used to drive homeowners to want to keep (or even add) gas hookups to their homes. The plan may ultimately backfire as we all become aware of how terrible it is for our (and especially our kids’) health to be combusting gas inside our homes. Fortunately, there’s a quiet, powerful, and clean alternative — induction cooking.
Ben chats with Weldon about the joyous exploration of 2-year-olds as they learn how the world works, including the toilet. They take the same curiosity to unpack the health concerns of burning methane gas in our homes and exploring why induction is going to be the ideal way for most of us to cook in the future.
They discuss how Weldon’s new company, Channing Street Copper, is solving the biggest barrier to induction adoption—removing all the complex electrical work. By adding energy storage (a big battery) to the stove it can work with a standard power outlet and even continue to work during power outages.
Ben and Weldon wrap up discussing the fundamental optimism needed to be a parent and that choosing to work on climate is just doubling down.
Weldon Kennedy is a Co-Founder and CMO of Channing Street Copper. He previously founded and scaled the first Kenya-native running shoe company, Enda, after serving as the Managing Director for Change.org Europe.
Referenced in the episode:
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Editing help from Stuart at Castos
Transition Music: NiNe GriNd by Balkan Bump
Post-show notes addendum
I wanted to share a few things I’m currently reading, listening to, or otherwise thinking about at the moment. Let me know if you find this new section interesting, or if it’s an unwanted distraction!
Jeff Goodell’s, The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet. My friend Joel recommended this and I was hesitant. The title wasn’t exactly the fuzziest. That being said, the book is gripping, and disturbingly beautifully. It has made me think about the future need for heat adaptation.
Vaclav Smil’s, How the World Really Works. Vaclav is a well known writer of energy history. There is a deep, blunt, realism that he brings to all the challenges of the energy transition ahead. I’m rereading this as I found my first time through it was too rushed for it to have its full, humbling, effect.
The Big Guide to Batteries, by Ben James. My friend Noaa (from episode 7) sent over this guide and it was a great primer to the world of different battery technologies and chemistries. Batteries are going to show up in our lives more and more and I think getting a basic understanding of the tradeoffs of different approaches and how they will fit different applications will be a useful intuition to build.
What Have We Learned From a Summer of Climate Reckoning? The Ezra Klien Show had a great episode with Kate Marvel from Project Drawdown, guest hosted by David Wallace-Wells. It helped me make sense of all of the record breaking heat over the summer. The conversation has me thinking about how the climate system is going to be very slow to visibly reward us for decarbonization progress. Near-term health and quality of life impacts are going to be super important to emphasize to keep motivated. Fortunately, most of the things that are good for the climate are better ways to live in the present.
Costco on Acquired. Ben & David of Acquired unpack the history and strategy of Costco. I found the business to be fascinating. Especially the deep tradeoffs the company makes that enable them to be so far ahead on keeping costs down. What are the climate lessons? To be determined—but I do think we need to trim all the margins we can in deploying climate solutions. And Costco may also be an underutilized distribution channel for reaching consumers. That’s where I want to buy my next induction stove! Besides, I can’t be the only Climate Papa that loves a good trip to Costco.
Covid got me for the second time. I tested positive on our daughter’s first day of kindergarten, of course. I’m feeling for all the parents and kids who are likely to get hit by this wave. Brace yourself and I hope you can stay flexible on your plans. Covid doesn’t seem to care what’s on the calendar.