92. Vicki Hollub Thinks Oil Has a (Low Carbon) Future
This week we get into Republicans and climate change, faith and climate change, and some exciting news in climate philanthropy!
And our guest for this episode is President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum, Vicki Hollub. Not only is she the first and currently only female CEO of a major oil and gas company, but Occidental – or Oxy as the company is fondly known – is the first US oil and gas major to announce their strategy to reach Net Zero across emissions scopes 1,2 and 3.
We explore with Vicki the process of capturing carbon for enhanced oil recovery and why this has translated into plans to build the largest Direct Air Capture facility in the world, how they see their new DAC business venture beyond Oxy’s own fields, a vision of the energy future with oil and how they think they will contribute to a Net Zero carbon world.
But with the complicated history between oil and gas majors and the public, will the public trust needed to ensure Oxy’s success be rebuilt in time?
And stick around later in the show for a musical performance from Alex Serra!
Thank you to our guest this week!
President & CEO, Occidental Petroleum
Our musical guest this week is Alex Serra!
As Christiana mentioned early in the episode, check out #Faiths4Climate
Keep up with Christiana Figueres here:
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Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:00:12] Hello and welcome to Outrage + Optimism, I’m Tom Rivett-Carnac.
Christiana Figueres: [00:00:15] I’m Christiana Figueres.
Paul Dickinson: [00:00:17] And I’m Paul Dickinson.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:00:19] This week we discuss Republicans and climate change, faith and climate change and big news for climate philanthropy. We speak to Vicki Hollub, CEO of Texas oil and gas giant Occidental Petroleum. And we have music from Alex Serra, thanks for being here.
So guys back to normal delivery now this week, no Race to Zero, we’re back to just your day to day outrage, not to mention we’re thrilled you stayed with us everyone hope you enjoyed it. But we’re back to normal service. How are you guys doing? Good week?
Christiana Figueres: [00:00:57] It’s not any less exciting Tom back to normal. Honestly, there is no normal. Everything is on steroids right now.
Paul Dickinson: [00:01:07] A friend of mine said that you spend all your time trying to think is this happening? Is that happening? And we’re going to get back to normal, but there is no back to normal. This is the one thing we’ve learned that change is the eternal present and we should always be ready for it and grow.
Christiana Figueres: [00:01:19] Thank you, philosopher Dickinson.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:01:21] All right. Well, the next time we put a mini series here, the music is just going to have to be basically bom bom bom bom bom in order to keep that tempo going up again. Right. OK, so as we set out a few weeks ago, we are going to dive in to some key issues that are coming up in climate change at the moment. We can’t cover everything in these podcasts. Is so much going on and that’s a good thing. Plenty of reason for both outrage and optimism, but we’re all going to sort of dive into the things that have most caught our eye in the last week on climate change. And this week, we’re going to start with you, Mr. Paul Dickinson.
Paul Dickinson: [00:01:54] Oh, really? OK, well, I’m going to tell a little story that in my not very illustrious career, but I was once at a very fancy lunch with a famous billionaire, and he started off the conversation and he said, we must have taxation and regulation or else nothing will change.
[00:02:14] And there was a bit of a pause and then he repeated himself and said, we must have taxation and regulation or nothing has changed. And then there was a bit more of a pause because I was surprised he repeated himself. And then for a third time, he said, we must have taxation, regulation, or else nothing will really change. But just before I tell you about the rest of my story, do you agree with that? Christiana and Tom?
Christiana Figueres: [00:02:36] Well, I would say, among other things, yes, there is no one truth and one instrument that can account for everything in transformation, but yes, very strongly. But not the only instrument.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:02:51] I would rephrase, I would say when things change, we will have taxation and regulation.
Paul Dickinson: [00:02:56] That’s so clever, I don’t think it makes sense, but OK, so but here’s the point of my story.
[00:03:03] Mitt Romney, we’ve all heard of him. He’s the famous senator with a kind of conscience. Now, it’s not the right thing to say. But anyway, he’s he’s extremely credible human being and has taken a noble stance on many issues, I believe. And he actually was being interviewed by New York Times and he said talking about climate change. He said those things we tax, we get less of and those things we subsidize, we get more of. And it’s kind of that simple, right? I mean, as you both know, I’ve spent 30 years with a lot of other people getting corporations to account for their greenhouse gas emissions. And if there’s a cost on them and if it’s high enough, we have all the math ready to go.
[00:03:41] Everything will just change. It’ll all just change. I just think it’s so simple. A former chair, because we’re talking to Vicki Hollub from Occidental, a former chair of Shell, Mark Moody-Stuart in 2019, I think said it was essential to have a realistic price on carbon emissions. He was asking why Extinction Rebellion were not backing 100 dollars a tonne. So I just think this is the critical thing. And I wonder about the whole Race to Zero. Is it about putting this into law?
[00:04:08] Get those prices and we just get the change done and we’ll be safe again. I’m just wondering if it’s that simple.
Christiana Figueres: [00:04:17] Well, it’s that simple, if you could get everyone to agree, but we know the big T word is a very difficult word for everyone to agree to.
[00:04:27] Now, what is actually very good news is that in the United States, some of the Republicans are beginning to move over to putting a price on carbon, as we know we can put it several ways.
[00:04:41] But taxing pollution, which is what carbon is, it’s both local and global pollution. Taxing pollution just makes an extraordinary amount of sense because you do put a high price or you tax those things that you don’t want. As you said very clearly at the very beginning.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:05:01] I think, of course you’re right, Paul. And there’s this little switch down here. And if we flick it, everything will be fine. But I think the truth is, of course, that we’ve known that for a long time. If we flip that switch, then we can actually recalibrate the economy around the things we want and get rid of the things we don’t want. But it continues to be incredibly hard to do that. I think it’s amazing that Mitt Romney is actually stepping up. It’s a thin list of Republicans that are doing that. I was having a chat today with someone in the U.S. who’s closely involved in the construction of what will become the package of legislative measures to deal with climate. And they said that actually what that’s going to be is a build back better bill at some point. And the reason for that is because they still can’t name something like a carbon tax on the bill and have any chance of getting it through, even when both houses are controlled by the Democrats. So you’re right. And it’s great that Mitt Romney is stepping up, but it’s also appalling and a cause for significant outrage that today when the crisis has gotten so bad, you still can’t put on the tin what it’s supposed to do in the U.S. in order to get the bill through because it will just be dead on arrival.
Paul Dickinson: [00:06:10] Well, just to close on this from my side, I kind of think, people are talking about tax and dividend.
[00:06:16] I mean, tax is not such a terrible word. You know, who do you think pays for the Pentagon? People in the US love their armed forces. You know, it’s not like these aircraft carriers and the planes and all the troops and all the tanks and all the submarines. Father Christmas or Mother Christmas didn’t deliver them. They were paid for.
Christiana Figueres: [00:06:33] They don’t come for free. Right.
Paul Dickinson: [00:06:34] They do not come for free now. I actually think probably we were talking about this before a good time to spend some of the military budget responding to climate change. But the point is, with a tax and dividend, the money doesn’t even have to go to the government. The money just comes in from the carbon tax and it goes out as a dividend to the people. Particularly poor people will be able to pay and respond, it should be a wealth transfer basically from the rich who use more carbon to the poor, who use less carbon. And it’s so simple, you know, all this investment, all these new technologies we need all this research and development, it all just gets paid for and we’re good. And I just think we’ve got to kind of remember that maybe at the heart of what we should be persuading governments to do in the Race to Zero.
Paul Dickinson: [00:07:15] I mean, I’m looking at Christiana because she’s got a quizzical face and I know she knows so much more about this than me, so I’m just kind of a little bit nervous, that’s all.
Christiana Figueres: [00:07:27] Now, I’m delighted by your passion around that one Paul.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:07:31] Christiana has been around the traps with this one for a few decades. The only thing I would just add just to that is that is what it demonstrates to me, apart from what Mitt Romney did and the fact that he came out and talked about this is just how much I miss thoughtful dialogue across the aisle and with different political perspectives on this. If we can all just agree this is a crisis, we’ve got to do something about it. We’ve got to do it urgently. I’m totally up for fiscally conservative policies that can have a go at this and liberal policies and government intervention and stimulate the market. That’s the discussion we should be having. That’s a really intellectually interesting conversation. I don’t feel ideologically wedded to either side. I’m ideologically wedded to science, but then finding solutions within that definition. And I just miss that because at the moment it feels like particularly the US, which dominates so much of the narrative, if you agree with science, and therefore you have one policy answer or you just don’t agree with the science and don’t really have any answers, which is ridiculous.
Christiana Figueres: [00:08:30] I’m going to revive Paul Dickinson, who mentioned Extinction Rebellion because in my attempt here to change the decibel of this conversation. I wanted to share with you that just a few days ago, Gail Bradbrook, the founder of Extinction Rebellion and I joined a Plum Village activist retreat.
[00:08:56] Now, Plum Village is the main monastery of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist Zen master and I was so impressed that as we participated in this activist retreat, first of all, it is all obviously by Zoom not in person, which is what we’re used to doing in retreats at Plum Village, they had 800 people online.
[00:09:23] And what it told me was the thirst that all of us who are working on climate change have for both working out there, with the kinds of topics that you were talking about, but also trying to answer the question, how do we regenerate ourselves?
[00:09:43] How do we remain passionately engaged, as the two of you have just demonstrated, but without depleting ourselves? Because if we don’t tend to that, we just end up empty vessels, empty in our heart, empty in our soul, emptying our brain, and we just empty ourselves. And I was so impressed by the thoughtfulness.
[00:10:06] And that was the word that you used. Tom, how thoughtful, how you miss thoughtful conversations. What a thoughtful person Gail Bradbrook is. We had a conversation, the two of us with one of the leading monks at Plum Village.
[00:10:24] And I was just again, we’ve had Gail on this podcast, but I was just so impressed by a woman who is passionately engaged on these issues, as we know, but also very, very aware of the fact that she and all of us need to take time and intent and intentionality to regenerate ourselves.
[00:10:48] And I was just bowled over by her depth and the profound thinking that she puts in there, which leads me to give a shout out there to faith groups who are calling today for rise for climate justice. And how fantastic is it that now five to six years after the Paris Agreement, this is now pretty well established? This is the controversy that we had before 2015 between those who believe in creation and those who believe in evolution. That has actually not for everyone, but substantially we have resolved that by agreeing that we all have a responsibility to care for our home planet.
[00:11:44] And that is where so many faith and spiritual communities are actually so deeply rooted in to call for that awareness, as well as in this case, for climate justice for everyone who will be so negatively impacted by climate.
[00:12:07] So, I just wanted to give a shout out to Gail, to Plum Village to Rise for Climate Justice, to that whole piece of thinking that, you know, all of us, we don’t take enough time to acknowledge and and really be in tune with that other kind of energy, because we tend to spend a lot of time and the excited energy and, you know, the three of us can do it. Yes, we can.
[00:12:39] But there’s also this other piece of energy that is necessary in order to continue in the mission.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:12:47] Yeah, I so agree with you and thank you for raising that. I think that and that’s such a cause for optimism that those things are kind of integrating. And they’ve been doing it for a while. All the way back to 2015. And also Gail, we went together, Christiana, to one of the Extinction Rebellions in central London. I mean, obviously not so many happening recently.
[00:13:11] They felt so different to many previous activist engagements. They felt joyful. And I think much of that was Gale, bringing a really different vibe. I mean, obviously, she would say it’s decentralized, lots of leaders, but she kind of set a tone in how she thought about that and presented it. And when that thing gets manifest, I think it really it’s it’s directly connected to the effectiveness of the action, the quality of the engagement. And you really see that in her. And I really hope that now this kind of engagement more with faith and climate can take that to the next level because it just feels like it’s such rich ground.
Paul Dickinson: [00:13:47] I mean, the genius, if you will, of religious thinking is it’s holistic thinking. I was brought up in an atheist household. But I mean, religious people, they don’t have the perspective of an economist or a politician or a negotiator or a business person. You are an investor, the religions are interested in all living things, you know, both present and future and for better or for worse, religions are sort of brave enough to question actual human purpose. And, I think there are real issues about, you know, rich people hoarding money and commercial individualism kind of causing us harms against each other and other living creatures.
[00:14:27] And, as someone who doesn’t have faith, I still sort of treasure that holistic comprehension, which I think the Enlightenment world has, you know, taken away from us. I make this joke, we learn more and more about less and less. And now we know everything about nothing, and we can help learn from the religions and little bit about the sort of eternal truth which to your point, Christiana can help nourish us, because I totally know what you mean about that.
[00:14:57] Kind of frantic. I mean, last week it was the Race to Zero. It’ss probably not so easy to say. It’s probably not so easy to say awareness of the concept of zero, but they’re both important.
Christiana Figueres: [00:15:10] Om.
Paul Dickinson: [00:15:11] Let’s do one together. Tom.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:15:13] Om.
Paul Dickinson: [00:15:18] Beautiful, beautiful.
Christiana Figueres: [00:15:19] We don’t do that enough.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:15:21] All right, so we’ve had two very good reasons for why Paul was a little optimistic, a little outrage, optimistic about Republicans. Outraged it hasn’t happened, Christiana that was, I thought, deeply optimistic. And I have one which is optimistic as well, and that is that our good friend, Andrew Steer, the CEO of the World Resources Institute, many of us have known him for many years, has been appointed by Jeff Bezos as the CEO of his Earth Fund.
[00:15:47] Now, we have seen this one from multiple sides, of course, because we have a partnership with Amazon in creating The Climate Pledge.
[00:15:56] Christiana, you talk regularly to Jeff about, you know, the fact that he’s engaging in climate and all these things and this Earth Fund is a big deal. Right? You know, it’s ten billion dollars, which makes it the largest fund on climate by a significant margin, you know.
Christiana Figueres: [00:16:12] To be spent over this decade, a critical, decisive decade.
Paul Dickinson: [00:16:16] Absolutely. Yeah. Using just basic maths.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:16:19] Yeah. Well time scale. Not defined yet, but. But short. Right.
Paul Dickinson: [00:16:22] So I’ve got that wrong. But I was just thinking like ten, ten you know.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:16:25] Yeah. Maybe it will be but who knows.
[00:16:28] And I just think that the reason this is a real source of optimism for me is a few things. Number one, you know, there was a bit of sort of pushback that the Bezos Fund wasn’t bigger. But hey, 10 billion is massive in making an impact on this issue at this critical moment. Who knows where it will go next? But I think this could really be transformative. And the first round of grants, that was 900 something million, which is already gone out the door. We are already seeing it having an impact. And secondly, where this goes now is going to be really important. And it requires a kind of stewardship of someone who understands the climate movement, knows how to be effective, but is also innovative. And it just strikes me Christiana you should comment you’ve been on the board of WRI for a long time that Andrew is really that person. He’s proved himself to be science driven, practical, a deft politician. And I think we will see a massive impact and a massive increase in action to deal with climate change just as a result of this appointment, which is probably an appointment that most people listening to podcasts have never heard about. But it’s going to be really impactful.
Christiana Figueres: [00:17:31] Yeah, we’re very excited about Andrew’s appointment there. It’s been a long time coming, honestly. The power behind the throne over there has taken a long time and interviewed many, many people.
[00:17:50] And they were really intent on getting the right person.
[00:17:54] The person who is fully knowledgeable in the climate space, who is creative, who is innovative, who has broad respect from everyone in the community, who knows about finance, by the way, and who knows how to best optimize the impact of philanthropy in the broader financial or climate finance space. Remember that he comes from the World Bank, where he was out for a long time. And so he has dealt with all of these issues from many different perspectives. And he is very creative and always has a good sense of humor and is definitely an optimist about what more we can do. So, very exciting. Very, very exciting to want to see Andrew take over the Earth Fund. WRI has benefited enormously from having Andrew there. And I’m sure they are now pretty quickly finding the next CEO there. But he is in a very good position and we’re going to be very benefited. Everyone is going to be very benefited by Andrew’s leadership over there.
Paul Dickinson: [00:19:13] Yeah, and just on the more general point, I’d love to really give a shout out to the billionaires who put billions into climate philanthropy because I’ve spent 20 years working in NGO. I think NGOs can do incredible work. They need to work in partnership with the whole rest of society. You can’t kind of do it on your own. But, you know, it took me a while in the NGO world to learn that the thing that makes things happen is money. And so, you’ve got incredible philanthropists, Michael Bloomberg, Chris Hohn, now Jeff Bezos. And there are so many other billionaires in the world to which this is a shout out. This is a shout out to the billionaires. Join the Race to Zero. Put some of your money into action on climate change. You’ll never regret it and neither will the next thousand generations. Thank you.
Christiana Figueres: [00:20:04] Amen.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:20:05] Excellent. OK, so and actually philanthropy climate philanthropy has more nuance in it than this. And we should unpack that at some point because the way that the space has evolved between NGOs and philanthropists, there’s a lot to that. Right. I mean, one observation that I’ve made in the time I’ve been in the climate movement is that strategy development has moved from NGOs to foundations over the last ten years, and there’s good and bad in that. So I’m just flagging that. That’s potentially an interesting thing for us to talk about in a future podcast. I know how you love it when I just do scheduling on the fly.
Paul Dickinson: [00:20:42] You didn’t interrupt me this time, so it’s fine.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:20:45] So we have an interview for you today and it is a fantastic one. Today we are bringing you a conversation that we had just yesterday. We’re recording this on Wednesday. You’re listening on Thursday with Vicky Hollub, the CEO of Occidental Petroleum, the Texas oil and gas giant. She is the first and currently only female CEO of a major oil and gas company. But Occidental or Oxy, as it’s known, is also the first U.S. oil and gas major to announce their strategy to reach net zero emissions across Scopes one, two and three. Paul, would you like to explain what scopes one, two and three means?
Paul Dickinson: [00:21:24] I would love to. Clay could we have some tiny little explanatory music?
[00:21:31] Scope one, two and three is the center part of greenhouse gas accounting. Scope one is the fossil fuel your organization purchases and scope two is the electricity your organization purchases. And those are both in your audited accounts. Easy to calculate scope three is everything else, and particularly for an oil company, it is the oil and gas that is combusted. That product from the company, scope three is the product. Thank you.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:21:56] Excellent. That was a very good description.
Christiana Figueres: [00:21:58] Nicely rehearsed. Very nicely rehearsed.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:22:03] I think it’s been rehearsed for twenty years.
[00:22:04] Well so anyway, so Vicki joined Occidental in 1982 and so she’s been there for clearly a very long time. This conversation really delves into their strategy now to reach net zero, as I said, the first U.S. oil and gas major to make that commitment. They have a completely different approach to other oil and gas companies in Europe. We delve into that. We delve into what that strategy is, where it makes sense where we push back and where we question, how they’re engaging with policymakers. It’s a lively conversation.
[00:22:36] I hope you enjoy it. Here’s Vicki Hollub.
Christiana Figueres: [00:22:43] Vicki, thank you so much for joining us on Outrage + Optimism. We are truly looking forward to this conversation. I believe you and I have gotten into the habit of seeing each other or chatting in Davos at the World Economic Forum, which is not happening in its usual form this year. So I’m delighted that we are chatting here today. And again, thank you so much for taking the time. Now, Vicki, when one thinks of a large or major oil and gas company, you don’t necessarily think of a female CEO. And so, my first thing is congratulations. You became the CEO of Occidental way back in 2016, which by now seems like dinosaur time, way back then. How much has happened since then and is it true, is it correct that you are still the only female CEO of a major oil and gas company?
Vicki Hollub: [00:23:43] Yes it is. I would say that you’re right, a lot has happened since then.
[00:23:49] Coming through the beginning of a major downturn when I took over coming through that and surviving it, not only surviving it, but excelling because of our teams, then we get to to what was just one good year and then suddenly we’re into this price war, then pandemic and then social unrest.
[00:24:13] All sorts of things have happened. We did a major acquisition and we did the transition of that. And now we’ve really started the transformation of our company. So I don’t think there are too many things on the list that CEOs see that I haven’t been through already.
Christiana Figueres: [00:24:28] Absolutely.
[00:24:31] I wouldn’t say I got a passing score on everything, but it’s definitely been an education.
Christiana Figueres: [00:24:37] Yeah, when I think of it, it’s sort of like taming a wild horse that goes up in the front and in the back. I mean, it has been such an incredible roller coaster ride for you. And through all of this that you have brought Occidental, I would say, to a pretty impressive leadership position, at least among the US based companies, certainly not compared to the Europeans, but compared to the US based oil and gas companies. You brought it to a leadership position on climate by coming out with your commitment to carbon, zero targets across all three scopes one, two and three. And so I would really love to hear from you. How did you make that decision? Why did you make the decision? How did your investors and shareholders react? How did the public react? How was that for you?
Vicki Hollub: [00:25:34] Let’s say initially we started getting interested in carbon capture in order to make some of our operations more sustainable over time.
[00:25:45] And we’re the world’s largest handler of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery in the world. And the definition of enhanced oil recovery is when you inject CO2 into the reservoir to generate more production from that reservoir. And the way that CO2 actually generates more production from a reservoir is that it becomes miscible in the oil and it makes the oil less viscous and more able to move to the producer well, and the way it sequesters CO2 is that CO2 helps to move oil out of the tiny pores within the reservoir where the oil is trapped. And with the CO2, it again lowers the viscosity and allows that oil molecule to move out of the reservoir. But the CO2 molecule then fills that void that the oil molecule has created. So the CO2 portion of it stays sequestered forever in the reservoir. So this process of using CO2 to enhance oil recovery, we’ve been doing for about 40 years.
[00:26:53] What our decision was back about more than 10 years ago was that we needed to transfer from using organic CO2 to using anthropogenic CO2, because initially we felt like anthropogenic CO2 was a long term source, non declining source of CO2. And it could be at lower cost if we could get the facilities designed correctly and optimize over time.
[00:27:22] So that’s what started this down the path. Then as we started to realize more about what was happening in the world, then it became as much about sustainability with respect to our climate footprint as about the cost of the CO2 and the sustainability of oil production.
[00:27:42] And so I can tell you that your question was around how did our stakeholders react?
[00:27:49] The employees loved this and especially our earlier career employees who have now had questions about whether or not they should be working for an oil company.
[00:28:00] So this strategy to to use our core competence and to leverage the the infrastructure that we have in the Permian Basin, which is a huge footprint on CO2 facilities, pipelines, plants and all of that, to leverage all of that, to do not only what’s right for our shareholders with decreased cost of CO2 and increased oil production, but to also do what’s right for the climate by taking anthropogenic sources. And then once we started looking at the anthropogenic sources, we thought we couldn’t get very many companies to want to talk to us about retrofitting their facilities with carbon capture. So we decided that rather than having to depend on other companies to agree to do that, we would look into taking CO2 directly from the atmosphere because CO2 in the atmosphere has more than doubled since pre-industrial times. So we’re now on this on this path. And I would say nothing has energized our employees more than this strategy. And initially our investors didn’t quite understand it.
[00:29:05] But over time, they’ve realized that it’s a benefit to them as well as a good sustainability course for us to take.
Christiana Figueres: [00:29:15] So let’s go a little bit deeper into that, Vicki, because you use the term or that would be the term is direct air capture when you capture CO2 in the atmosphere and then use it for, well enhancement.
[00:29:33] And so, obviously, there is way too much CO2 in the atmosphere and that is the cause of climate change and of all the destruction that we’re seeing.
[00:29:47] But I have to admit, there is a very fine line.
[00:29:50] And I would love to hear how you walk that fine line, because on the one hand, you’re saying, yes, let’s take CO2 out of the atmosphere, which I think everyone would agree with. But then you’re also saying and the purpose of that is actually to do oil well enhancement. And so I would I would argue there are those who would say, wait, wait, wait, you can’t really take CO2 out, which is the problem with climate change, and then use it to take out more fossil fuels or oil in this in this case, which is the one of the major causes of climate change. So that’s a very fine line there. And I would love to hear how do you walk that fine line, especially if you are expecting to have some subsidies, government subsidies from that. How do you walk that line and be able to give a compelling argument to the public sector that they should actually invest in this?
Vicki Hollub: [00:30:59] So you’re right that the use of oil products certainly emits CO2 in the atmosphere. But what makes our strategy so interesting and unique and so important for the world is that when we inject CO2 into the reservoir to increase oil production, let’s say for one barrel of oil, it takes more CO2 injected into the reservoir than what that barrel of oil will emit when used. So that’s why this process actually is worst case, carbon neutral, meaning you have to inject the same amount of CO2 into the reservoir as what the barrel emits. But more often it’s carbon negative because most reservoirs are going to require a lot more CO2 injection than what the oil production will emit. And that’s to us right now. That’s the biggest challenge we have, is to help people understand that concept. If people can understand that concept, they’re going to be really excited about what we’re doing, because what we’re doing is there’s no way to shut down oil production right now today, because if we did, we would have no telephones, no cars, no televisions. A lot of our medical products wouldn’t be able to be made. So a lot of the things that bring us the quality of life that we have today that would just stop immediately.
[00:32:30] So we feel like the gap that we feel in this transition is to make sure as we go through this transition that our oil is neutral or negative because that’s what it’s going to take. And the other critical thing about this is that using CO2 in an oil reservoir also means that you’re getting more oil out of that reservoir. So if you look around the world, when in most reservoirs around the world, only about 10 to 15 to 20 percent of the oil in those reservoirs is ever produced. And so you leave 80 percent of the oil in the ground in those reservoirs. We can recover more than 70 percent of the 75 percent of the oil in a reservoir, we can recover using CO2. So why is this important? This is really, really important because to ensure that as we go through this transition, that the extended development that we have over time can be slowed down and eventually stopped because with our process, if we applied our process, every reservoir in the world basically can’t be done.
[00:33:48] But just theoretically, if it could be done, then that would probably be enough to supply the rest of what we would need in the world if we can get the transition right.
[00:33:59] And so we are the company that can make this transition happen faster by ultimately providing net zero carbon fuel to the world and aviation needs at maritime needs that we needed to make products. And I feel like the last barrel of oil produced in the world should come from an enhanced oil recovery reservoir and not from any of these other reservoirs. And so we feel like that we will be able to stop development in places where it shouldn’t be. Like there are sensitive places around the world where oil should not be developed, the environment should not be disrupted. We believe that getting more out of the reservoirs that exist today will help with that issue as well.
Paul Dickinson: [00:34:44] That makes a lot of sense Vicki. But I’ve got to tell you, I interviewed Jim Mulva, who was running Conocophillips actually back in 2008, and I actually quoted his own website to him in the interview and he was talking about carbon capture and storage. Then Conocophillips is saying it’s the gas business in reverse and we know how to do that. And look, I remember I once wrote a plot for a film that never happened about how the world was safe from climate change. But the oil and gas industry was there doing massive direct capture and massive carbon capture and storage. But, you know, 12, 13 years is a long time now. I don’t doubt your brilliant engineers. You’ve got the best engineers in the world. You could kind of do anything.
[00:35:24] What’s it going to take to get the taxation regulation to get our policy right so you can make money saving the world?
[00:35:35] What’s that going to take? And are you able to kind of make those laws happen?
Vicki Hollub: [00:35:40] I can tell you, we’ve already done a lot to remove some barriers, so the first thing in the US is that we had to get a little bit of help.
[00:35:50] So we now have the ability to claim some tax credits because of the Future Act that was passed a few years ago now. Senator Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota push that legislation through. So that is helping and that helped us launch our strategy. And so then as we launched our strategy, we started realizing that tax credit was important. The California Air Resources Board, low carbon fuel standard was important too. And so with that, we’re able to make this first plant happen. Now, it doesn’t mean that we need that forever, because what’s happening now is a lot more companies around the world are starting to want to achieve the same thing. And so we’re closer than anybody’s ever been.
[00:36:45] And our plan is to build the largest direct air capture facility in the world in the Permian. United Airlines wants to get to net zero by 2050. So they need offsets. So now we believe that we’re going to be able to do this with partners who care as much as we do and are willing to go down a path to become carbon neutral. And that’s how we make this work.
Paul Dickinson: [00:37:12] Ok, that’s a brilliant answer. But I got one more question for you. Have you got shareholders you can go to who you say, we know we need this capital and it’s going to be 5, 10 years before we see a return on it. Can you do that?
Vicki Hollub: [00:37:27] Oh, no, we can’t do that, we cannot do that. So the other thing about us is we’re a never quit company, but we’re also a company that’s pretty innovative around how to get things done. And we love to collaborate. So we are working with others to use others’, money other companies’ money to build this because it helps them.
Paul Dickinson: [00:37:53] Ok, interesting. I also, last thing almost a comment to some degree, I don’t mean you specifically, but I mean just generally the industry can’t do things necessarily on its own. It needs the shareholders.
Vicki Hollub: [00:38:07] The way our shareholders have gotten on board with this is they know that it will lower the cost ultimately of CO2 for our enhanced recovery operations. And so it will actually expand the oil production that we can recover over time by more than a billion barrels. So that’s the economic part of it that works for our shareholders.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:38:31] Okay. Now the engineering prowess of the oil and gas industry is remarkable. My family used to work in oil and gas. So I kind of grew up with some of this stuff. So it’s very interesting to talk to you about it. So I just want to ask you a question. I mean, I have to confess, hearing you talk about your strategy, I’m a bit confused in terms of how I should respond to it. Because it’s so different. Most companies say if we’re producing this polluting fuel, we’re going to change our revenue models and change it in this way. Whereas you’re coming at it from a completely different direction. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, but we’re going to find this other method to mitigate the impact. And you’ve said yourself, climate change is a threat. We need to do what we can to get on top of it. We need to reduce emissions. And you’ve made a distinction, not reduce fossil fuels. So you create that distinction and that it’s an interesting approach that you’re taking. It’s complicated for people like me that come from this climate perspective. But it’s interesting and I’m keen to learn a lesson. But one thing I would say that you are absolutely going to need to deliver. This is public trust, right?
Vicki Hollub: [00:39:34] Yes.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:39:34] You’re going to have to have stakeholders in society that trust what you’re saying and believe that you are authentic in your attempts to really do something serious here. And you’re coming from a legacy from a company. The unfortunate reality is that the oil and gas industry, potentially, including Occidental, have a long legacy of not being completely clear about the facts and lobbying against the reality of trying to do something about climate change. And so trust is low.
[00:40:03] So first, I would love to know generally how you rebuild that trust to the point where you need it to be? And second, I’m really curious, you’ve made a commitment to be transparent about where trade association membership might diverge from your corporate position, but you’re also still giving significant money to people like Senator Jim Inhofe and people like Senator Ted Cruz that may have significant areas of overlap with your own interest. But we’re never going to deal with the climate crisis while they’re just sitting there in Congress and stopping things from going through. So if you’re going to be a leader at this most critical moment, no one else is going to step up and say they need to change their path. How are you going to make that happen? Because without that, the public trust is not coming back.
Vicki Hollub: [00:40:53] I’ll just be completely transparent with you about this. We’re a member of the American Petroleum Institute.
[00:41:00] And I can say that the main reason we’re members of the American Petroleum Institute is because it has this phenomenal program for safety in offshore operations. That’s why we continue to be a member. I can’t say that we agree with all API says or does, and I don’t want to differentiate on any of that right now. But it is the safety that is the reason that we feel API has some credibility. They have credibility around all the ways that they have made our industry safe over time, because that’s a collaboration of all the companies working together to make people safer and to help in the environment from emissions in our operations standpoint. So we should respect them for that. Now, with respect to some of the people that we’ve in the past donated money to or for their campaigns, I can say right now we’re not doing donations right now.
[00:42:01] And we are going to hold people accountable for their behaviors and what they do. And so in this upcoming cycle, the next time that we start to resume our donations, we will take into account what people have done and what they may or may not have incited. We’re going to use some very thoughtful judgment around that. And we have always supported people who supported our industry, but also we’ve aligned with people across the aisle. We have some Democrat friends that have done more for our company than some of the Republicans, actually, and I mentioned earlier, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, there’s nobody in my mind that done as much to to help further carbon capture than she has because she understands that she was a part of a program where that was done before. And so we want to support the people that are doing the right thing. And we didn’t get it right every time in the past, clearly. But we’re going to try to work harder to get it right on a go forward basis.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:43:06] Ok, thank you for that.
Vicki Hollub: [00:43:07] And I can tell you one other thing that we are doing, because you’re right about it. There are things about our industry that I love. I love the technology as you were saying, that’s been developed by our industry historically. All the things we’ve been able to do, the places I’ve been able to work, I was able to work in Russia and Venezuela and Ecuador, in the jungle, in Ecuador and in western Siberia. I was not Moscow sitting in some plush place, assuming that they have those in Moscow. I was in western Siberia and I was there and minus 40 degree weather. And I’ve been through a lot of things in this industry that were just amazing. I went there right after the fall of the Soviet Union. So it’s an incredible time. And I’ve seen what our industry can do right. But I’ve also seen what our industry has done wrong and we’ve used the wrong excuses for the things that we’ve done wrong. And now what we’re trying to do is open our company up and make ourselves more transparent in what we’re doing. And so I would say we have a very good relationship working with the Environmental Defense Fund. We’re a member of the Carbon Capture Coalition. We’re a member of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative. So we are trying to partner with those that especially with those that may have a different view, because, quite frankly, if we don’t bring people in that have a different view than what we have, we’re never going to get better. We’re never going to see the things that are really true.
Christiana Figueres: [00:44:37] So true, so true.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:44:39] Thank you for that. And I and I agree with your point.
[00:44:42] I grew up all over the world in remote places, and it always struck me that people were driven by this kind of desire to go to remote places, which is such an interesting contradiction between then looking for oil and the implications of that. But just one follow up to your very helpful response. You explain you’re a member of the American Petroleum Institute and we’ve heard that from others as well. Do you also use your membership to push API to be more progressive on climate? Because they are also very problematic at the moment.
Vicki Hollub: [00:45:08] Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s been a change in API and how they are saying things and things that they’re doing now, so API has changed and we do push and we’re pushing our industry too.
[00:45:23] We were one of just three companies that joined GCI, but I can tell you, I was lobbying Bob Dudley after and that was Christiana the first time I was at Davos and saw Bob talking about D.C.I. I lobbied him to invite us to come into API. And when he did, he invited Chevron and Exxon to. So we all three joined in. And that’s the eye opening to me because as Christiana has said earlier, the US was lagging behind the European oil companies.
[00:45:56] And we have been for a long time. But the way we’ve caught up is you’re right, is our strategy is different. We’re not going to build and provide solar or wind. We are using solar and we’ll continue to expand our solar footprint in our own operations.
But that’s not our core competence. What we feel like we can do here is, as I said earlier, there’s a gap that needs to be filled during the transition period because oil will be here for a while. So why not make sure that we’re making it as low carbon and preferably no carbon as we can during this transition because we’re not going to be able to stop oil. I don’t know when we’ll stop it, when peak demand will occur. But between now and then, we need to aggressively move toward a no carbon scenario for oil production and use.
Christiana Figueres: [00:46:48] Yeah, but to get back to API you asked us whether we had noticed changes in the API.
[00:46:55] Definitely. The news that the American petroleum industry is actually moving toward the institute, is moving toward a price on carbon, is very new for them.
[00:47:11] And this is total speculation, admittedly. How do you think API will be changing perhaps its positions or how do you think they might be working over the next four years under a Biden administration?
[00:47:27] What sort of changes would you expect from API?
Vicki Hollub: [00:47:32] I think API is getting much more progressive toward toward environmental across the board.
[00:47:39] For example, I believe that we will be working more toward helping EPA and other regulatory agencies develop legislation that will further regulate some of our activities, mostly around methane. It’s going to happen anyway. And the way our company likes to work in the way we’re trying to influence others is that it’s best to collaborate with any regulatory agency that you’re working with. And so I’d say that in the US, in order to get the credits from the Future Act, you have to have an MRV plan. MRV plan means monitoring, recording and verification. That plan exists to ensure that you know where the CO2 is going and that you’re measuring it, monitoring it and keeping it in the ground. And we worked with the EPA to help put that in place. Other oil and gas companies opposed it. But we wanted that regulation in place. We felt like it was best for everybody, again to see that transparency. And so for us it’s all about collaboration. It’s all about opening ourselves up so that regulators can really see what the real issues are. And then we can work to develop the best practices and regulations that can achieve our goals, all of our goals is to eliminate methane emissions. But it’s hard to do. And we’re using the best available technology today. We’ve reduced our methane emissions by our emissions by 40 percent over the last couple of years. But there are more things that we need to do there.
[00:49:17] So I believe that API will certainly work, I think, with the administration on ensuring that we advance regulations in the United States.
Paul Dickinson: [00:49:29] And Vicki, just a tiny point. Thank you so much for that. But just to say, as a scientist, I know who’s very good on all of this kind of stuff says that actually most of the scientists are saying we need biomass carbon capture and storage at the most enormous scale. That is to say, we need to grow things and pump the smoke on the underground. I know that’s not exactly your plan right now.
Christiana Figueres: [00:49:49] Pump the carbon.
Paul Dickinson: [00:49:50] Pump the carbon. Sorry, smoke is very, very technical term.
[00:49:55] But seriously, it may well be that governments around the world are putting enormous resources into biomass, carbon capture and storage in 5 or 10 years. And I’m sure they’ll be knocking on the door of whatever oil and gas company is the expert in that technology, which looks like it might be you, but thank you.
Vicki Hollub: [00:50:12] Well, yeah, we want to be a part of anything like that because we have the skills and experience to make it happen. And so we do want to be a part of that. And we’re excited about anything.
[00:50:24] And we and I’m sure you all know this, but most models show that without a significant amount of carbon capture, we cannot achieve our goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees. We have to have a lot of this and we have to have a lot of things happening. That’s why the solar plant that we have in the Permian, when we built that back in 2019 and put it online, it was the largest solar facility powering oil and gas operations in our country. So when we go, we like to go big. And so that actually, just an aside, our solar plant worked flawlessly during the winter storm that we just had.
Christiana Figueres: [00:51:03] You’re so right about the scale. The scale that we have to reach. And to that we would say scale and speed, because it’s not like we can wait to capture this 10 or 20 years from now and has to be like ASAP.
[00:51:16] And the IEA has been pretty clear about the fact that in order to get to the ambitious 1.5 degrees, which is the maximum temperature rise that would protect human existence on this planet, we would have to capture 10 gigatons of CO2 per year, 10 gigatons, which is where, I come back to your point about collaboration, because there’s no way that one single company with the most fantastic engineering skills that you have is going to do that. It’s just a very, very daunting task to do that.
[00:51:58] And as Paul says, a lot of that can and should be captured by biomass. But we probably need negative emissions, as we call them, or carbon capture as well.
[00:52:12] So, we started this conversation talking about what has happened in the past five years. But oh, my gosh, Vicki, how much is going to change in the next five years? Probably the speediest change and transformation that this industry has ever seen. So buckle up for an incredible rodeo ride here. Thank you so much for joining us Vicki. And we have this little tradition in the podcast that at the end we ask each of our interviewees, we ask them as you see toward the future of this planet and to a human existence on this planet, if there is a spectrum between outrage and optimism, where do you place yourself?
Vicki Hollub: [00:53:00] Definitely on the optimism side, I think the world is changing as I see companies changing, people changing. I think that where I’m most optimistic is getting a coalition of people focused on solving the climate change issues. Where I’m outraged is I’m outraged at the social injustice in the United States today, outraged that we can’t be a leader in the world on that.
[00:53:30] And so I’m just really, really outraged about that. But some optimism on one side and outrage on the other. And we got to do something about both.
Christiana Figueres: [00:53:40] Absolutely. Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more with you.
[00:53:43] Well, thank you so much, Vicki. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you very much for taking time. And are we allowed to say that your husband is cutting your hair these days?
Vicki Hollub: [00:53:54] Certainly.
Christiana Figueres: [00:53:55] Because it looks fantastic.
Paul Dickinson: [00:53:59] Can I borrow your husband for my crazy COVID hair?
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:53:59] My wife is not like me anywhere near her, so high degree of trust.
Christiana Figueres: [00:54:10] Kudos to him for a job very well done. Vicki, thank you so much.
Vicki Hollub: [00:54:14] Thank you.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:54:15] Thank you. Bye bye.
[00:54:23] So, how amazing the people we get to talk to on this podcast. And Vicki Hollub is just in such an interesting position.
[00:54:30] And we said earlier in this conversation that we missed having interesting and thoughtful conversations with people who potentially had different perspectives than us. And really here was one, and I really enjoyed hearing this completely different approach on the work we’re doing. What do you guys leave that discussion with?
Paul Dickinson: [00:54:47] I was really struck by her frankness in one particular regard, and she said, and people will remember this, but she says, I’ve seen what our industry can do right. But I’ve also seen what our industry has done wrong. And we’ve used the wrong excuses for the things we’ve done wrong. And now what we’re trying to do is to open our company up and make ourselves more transparent about what we’re doing. And I think this is really critical. There was a very large lawsuit, actually, from a few cities, including the city of San Francisco and Oakland, against oil and gas companies seeking reparations for sea level rise and the cost of building sea walls around San Francisco and the airport and suchlike.
[00:55:40] But the point is that I’ve read the text quite carefully and it does allege wrongdoing by the companies particularly seeking to upset the debate about climate change. And this is historically, the companies have sort of funded disinformation. But I detected that she is keen to put any of that may have been by her company or other companies behind. And she seeks to, in your words, Tom, rebuild trust and find a new basis for her company to move forward in service of their shareholders, customers and society. And she sounds like she actually means it. And I hope and believe she does.
Christiana Figueres: [00:56:26] I was quite impacted by her sincerity, she truly is not playing games here at all. She is very sincere about the choice that she and Occidental have made and I was struck. How difficult it must be for oil and gas companies right now, because if you’re a coal company, well, there’s there’s little to speak for you, but if you’re an oil and gas company, then the horizon is so much more complicated because obviously you want business continuity for sure. And the question is, how do you do that? Obviously, you want to be on the right side of history. But the question still remains, how do you do that? What is the transition?
[00:57:26] I think most oil and gas companies have realized or are realizing that a transition is necessary. But do you transition the way that she has chosen by absorbing CO2 out of the air and injecting it into wells with all of the difficulties that we very frankly spoke to her about there? Or do you transition by investing much more and increasingly more of your disposable capital into the new energies, into renewable energies?
[00:58:01] You know, you could make strong arguments on both sides. And ultimately, what I’m almost guessing is that for a while we will have some companies aligning around Path A and some companies are aligning around Path B, how long that will take and how many, path A one path A two path B one. There will be sub-paths under that, but those are basically the two broad directions.
[00:58:46] I don’t think we can avoid having those two approaches move forward, probably side by side until one gains much more traction and traction. I would define traction as a social licence to operate for sure, social pressure, but also shareholder and stakeholder value, stranded asset perceptions. All of those things will come to bear. But what a difficult position right now to be the CEO of an oil and gas company, knowing that you have to move into the future and moving into completely unknown terrain.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:59:31] Yeah, it’s very like you, Christiana, to see it from a compassionate perspective to the individual that sits in a different spot. And I think that’s very much to your credit. I mean really, for the first time since John D. Rockefeller, these CEOs since that it’s kind of been who can drill the most holes in the ground and suck the most out. And the game has been where is the oil? How do we manage the distribution, etc. whereas now it’s completely different. It’s how we manage a totally uncertain future, which everybody is diverging on. As you said.
[01:00:03] I thought that it was interesting to have somebody who, you know, she didn’t try like some CEOs try, to draw you in with their charisma and their charm, and they sort of clearly have that different role. Very straight bat, very clearly playing very straight from a toe. I mean, kind of a Johan Rockström vibe, very different, obviously. But a sort of like, this is the thing, this is what’s happening, here’s how we’re going to try and solve it, which arguably is sort of what’s needed at this moment.
[01:00:38] I find it very difficult to say that that approach is credible. Just keep burning the stuff and then suck more carbon out. I have a really visceral reaction against that, to be honest with you.
Christiana Figueres: [01:00:46] Well, but that’s the question, right?
[01:00:48] The question is, how long will there be a shareholder and stakeholder value or stakeholder support for this?
[01:01:00] How long will there be capital that is willing to be invested in this way? How long will it be perceived as a low risk move into the future?
[01:01:15] It’s clear the moment is clearly not now, because if it were, she would choose something else.
[01:01:24] So she is really moving into a space there of, I would say, into gray space that is clearly there for these companies. And she’s moving into that space, having decided what direction they’re moving in. From our perspective, very risky.
[01:01:45] This huge plant that she was talking about from our perspective, I’m like, oh, my God, is this a big, huge stranded asset? Or as we used to call it in the development world, is this a white elephant?
[01:02:00] But she’s very sincere, and she is very convinced.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [01:02:05] And as I say I have a sort of visceral reaction against it. But I also kind of miss that different perspective. And who’s to say that she’s not right on this, right?
[01:02:14] That could be the biggest industry in the world, sucking carbon out of the air and doing the investment and the R&D in that. What do you think, Paul?
Paul Dickinson: [01:02:21] I’m pretty unconvinced by sucking a carbon out the air, having a machine to do that simply because nature does it so much better. But I mean, just two things here. One is I was really struck, you know, to Christiana’s point about it’s not easy to be in her position. I said to her, do you have shareholders that can wait five or 10 years for return? She said no. All right. So, you know, there are no long term shareholders. You have to remember each time we go and talk to our financial adviser or whatever and say, which is the best performing stock? We’re essentially saying we have no interest in any long term investments So we’ve got to recognize we’ve got a responsibility to tell our pension funds or whatever. No, I want you to make those long term bets. I want to take some risk on this. The second thing I would point out is that whilst I’m not a huge believer in direct air capture, because essentially it hasn’t been done at scale yet, I will re-emphasize this point. A scientist I profoundly trust, former editor of Nature Climate Change. She is absolutely focused on biomass, carbon capture and storage that is essentially growing things really, really quickly and then burning them in closed systems and pumping the CO2 underground because we need to get billions of tonnes out of the atmosphere. So rather than direct air capture machines, biomass, carbon capture and storage, maybe she would say if she was on the show, I think an absolutely necessary emergency strategy, a kind of low risk geoengineering, probably quite expensive, but maybe very, very necessary. And the point of my long story is that if that’s true, then in fact, the technologies that Occidental are developing may be very, very marketable.
Christiana Figueres: [01:04:11] Well, but here’s the point, Paul.
[01:04:13] What I think is so complicated about this equation is continuing to pump oil and therefore CO2 while you’re capturing it.
[01:04:25] To go back to one of my favorite analogies, the bathtub that I usually think of the bathtub when I think about a carbon budget. But basically what she’s talking about is we will continue to fill the bathtub because we’ve taken out the plug from underneath and we are letting some water out.
[01:04:48] But anybody knows that that doesn’t necessarily empty the bathtub. That’s the problem. You can’t add more and remove. We have to stop adding and remove. So I don’t have a problem. With the removal, because science does tell us that we will need to remove much more than we even think right now, and I would definitely prefer for it to be organic and and and let’s say by forestation, capture and storage, so natural capture and storage definitely much better with respect to safety hazards later, et cetera, et cetera.
[01:05:35] But we will have to both remove. But the problem is using remove as the antidote to adding emissions. That’s the problem. So if you stop adding emissions into the atmosphere and remove, that’s a much, much better equation. You can’t add emissions because you’re removing that for me is the problem.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [01:05:58] Yeah. And and the scale of removals that are necessary even, without trying to equate that the removal equals, keeping the tap running in the bathtub are enormous. Right. And the IEA estimates that we will need 2000 facilities capturing 2.8 gigatons of CO2 just to limit warming to 2 degrees. If we want to go for 1.5, we’re going to need to capture 10 gigatons of CO2. So that’s the idea that therefore capturing allows us to keep emitting really begins to fall apart.
Paul Dickinson: [01:06:29] But Christiana is, as ever right, a very large scale bringing back nature, at something like it was before humans chopped it all down, would actually sequester that amount if it’s robust enough to deal with changing climate.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [01:06:45] Yeah, lots of interesting conversations about net zero and what that means.
Christiana Figueres: [01:06:48] Well, the and the other thing, right, is that by capturing via biomass and bio regeneration of our soils and our oceans, by capturing CO2 in that manner, we have so many other benefits that come from that, whereas air capture, direct air capture, as was explained by her, and then putting it into wells to get more oil from a social and environmental point of view has absolutely no benefit. It has, as she well explained, it has an economic benefit because they can eke out more oil out of each well, but it doesn’t have any social benefit, as reforestation would have for those people who live around there or environmental benefit as being able to protect aquifer’s, being able to protect local climate, being able to produce many products out of a reforested area and in actual nuts and fruits and whatever you have, it just does not make sense to do that kind of capture if it’s not an overall positive contribution to the challenges that we’re facing.
[01:08:12] And it’s very expensive to buy.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [01:08:13] And it’s expensive. Six hundred dollars a tonne. Awesome. All right.
Paul Dickinson: [01:08:17] Just one more tiny thing. I want to call out to entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs of the world.
[01:08:26] We need really good measuring, reporting and verification of bio-sequestration. So please invent low cost, highly accurate measuring equipment for storage of greenhouse gas emissions, carbon in soils and biomass. That will be a great business. Thank you, entrepreneurs.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [01:08:49] From now that’s how I’m solving all global social problems. That’s just by calling on others to do it. That’s a great idea. Paul, I like it.
[01:08:55] Ok, excellent. All right. So this has been a great conversation. How fantastic. Talk to Vicki. Great topics we get to discuss. We are leaving you, as ever with some music. And this week we have Alex Serra, a soul musician from Barcelona whose hypnotic single Everything is Changing, invites us to change the way we view our immediate surroundings and focus on what we love. We will pass over to him now and he will explain this song. Why it’s a song with a purpose. Thank you for joining us. Hope you enjoy the music. We will see you again next week. I believe we have another Race to Zero series for you next week. It’s a very exciting one. Don’t miss it.
[01:09:32] Thanks for being here. We’ll see you then.
Paul Dickinson: [01:09:35] Bye.
Christiana Figueres: [01:09:36] Bye.
Alex Serra: [01:09:39] Hello, my name is Alex Serra and I’m a soul musician from Barcelona.
[01:09:45] So the inspiration for this song came after a long journey, I went traveling in South America and South Africa. I was traveling for four years and it was one of the most inspiring times in my life. And I felt super free and fresh and it was beautiful, and then I came back home to Barcelona and I realized I started getting a little bit sad and I was wondering why is it that I can’t be in my own home and be happy, you know? And I realized that in my mind, I was complaining a lot about the stuff that I didn’t like about my hometown, my city, you know, and I decided to change it and to start focusing on the things that do change. And there’s so many beautiful things to appreciate.
[01:10:46] I think we are living one of the most critical times in the history of human beings. And it’s critical because it’s affecting the whole planet. It’s affecting nature in ways that never before we were aware of. I think the pandemic has helped force something. It’s helped to realize that we are all connected. Absolutely. What happens in China affects what happens in Europe and the USA, in Africa, everywhere.
[01:11:18] And so it’s giving us the opportunity to start learning how to be more sustainable, to start learning how to grow our own food, how to become more healthy on our own. And this is information that we can start sharing with each other and perhaps we start realizing that we don’t need so much to live and to be happy.
[01:11:42] We got the tools and that’s that’s where this song came from. And it’s a reminder to focus on what you love and what you appreciate.
Clay Carnill: [01:16:40] So there you go. Another episode of Outrage + Optimism, the song that you just heard was Everything is Changing by Alex Serra. I’ve been watching all of Alex’s really cool music videos on his website and YouTube that he’s made just really illustrative with just vivid cinematography and great music. It’s been so nice just to watch all the places that he’s traveled to and watch all the interesting people that he’s met in these videos. It’s kind of this peaceful and relational exercise for the soul while we slowly crawl out of lockdowns around the world. And you should check them out, too. I have links to his music and music videos in the show notes. And also, I should note, you can support him on Patreon. So go check that out. Outrage + Optimism is a global optimism production. Our Executive Producer is Sharon Johnson and our Producer is Clay Carnill. Global Optimism is Sara Law, Katie Bradford, Lara Richardson, Marina Mansilla Hermann, Sophie McDonald, Freya Newman, Sarah Thomas, Sue Reid, Sharon Johnson and Jon Ward. And our hosts are Christiana Figueres, Paul Dickinson and Tom Rivett-Carnac. And special thank you to our guest this week, Vicki Hollub. So thank you to everyone who’s been leaving us reviews on Apple podcasts. You know, we’ll be reading some more on the podcast soon, and we might read yours.
[01:18:12] So have you left your review yet? If you go to Apple podcasts, tap the stars, type us a message, maybe we’ll read it. You know, read yours next week here. I’ll read one right now as a teaser. OK, here’s a good one. Nev, 45, said Paul Dickinson should be in stand up. I agree. Many laugh out loud moments on this podcast as well as outrage and optimism. Absolutely. My favorite podcast. Thank you. I actually forwarded a screenshot of this to Paul just now on WhatsApp, so let’s see if he responds next week. Go leave your review. We’re going to read some. @GlobalOptimism on all social media channels is how you’ll find us. You can see footage from our podcast recordings, teasers and trailers for things to come. Lots of excitement awaits you there. So follow us so we can stay connected. OK, that is a wrap. As Tom mentioned earlier, there is a Race to Zero episode coming next week in your feed. So get ready for that music. And the easiest way to not miss it is to hit subscribe.
[01:19:26] So we’ll see you then.