The Global Search for Education: Climate Activist Prachi Shevgaonkar Interviews Sam Fankhauser

This month audiences can screen Net Zero Speaks with Sam Fankhauser on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by the Protect Our Planet Movement and Planet Classroom.

The challenges faced by the world’s nations to replace fossil fuels that are damaging our environment with renewable energy and technology alternatives range from political pressures to supply and demand to cost.

In Net Zero Speaks with Sam Fankhauser, Net Zero’s Prachi Shevgaonkar, a climate entrepreneur and the founder of Cool The Globe, gets answers to these problems.

Sam Fankhauser is Professor of Climate Change Economics and Policy at the University of Oxford, where he is affiliated with the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. He is also Research Director of Oxford Net Zero and a visiting professor at the London School of Economics.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Cool the Globe Founder Prachi Shevgaonkar

Why did you decide to interview Sam Fankhauser? What inspired you about him?

As a young college student, when I first started looking for resources on climate change, I came across the “The Oxford Net Zero” Initiative. I learned more about climate change and the role I was playing in it. It troubled me. I wanted to do something about it, at least at my own level. I would often scour through research papers from Oxford trying to find ways to quantify my climate impact. I realized soon that numbers were important. If I wanted to continue on this journey of climate action, I needed to be able to measure it. From this idea, I started building an app to help citizens reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to a target. To date, Cool The Globe App has mobilised over 4 million citizens from around the world. We have 30,000 users from 110 countries, who have collectively saved 2 million kg of greenhouse gas emissions by integrating climate actions into their day to day life. Through this journey, I saw at an individual level how powerful setting targets for climate action and assessing them can be. So when it came to selecting a thought leader, I wanted to interview someone who could give me a close account of how the net zero quest was playing out on a global scale.

I had known about Dr. Samuel Fankhauser as the founder of the Net Zero initiative at Oxford. He has been at the forefront of tracking where the world is headed in achieving net zero. I would have never imagined getting an opportunity to speak to him, which is why I was extremely honoured when he agreed to the interview with us.

What surprised you most about your interview?

Professor Fankhauser is a global expert in many of the complex technical issues around climate policies, financing, supply storage, etc. I was enriched by his insights on all of the above, but what surprised me the most was that time and again spoke about collective action — why we all have to be a part of the solution.

I was most moved by his answer to a simple question — What gives you hope? Having spent over 3 decades speaking with world leaders, global experts and the brightest minds in climate, what still gave him hope was the power of the youth. This inspired me as a young climate entrepreneur to keep moving forward in our mission to integrate climate action into the lives of global citizens.

What are the 3 main takeaways for the Net Zero audience from your interview?

Here are my 3 main takeaways from the interview:

First we have a long and difficult journey ahead to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. We can only reach this goal with collective efforts from every fabric of society.

Professor Fankhauser spoke about how the time has now come to make tough, at times risky decisions, and look at things differently. This was a big learning experience.

Professor Fankhauser began and ended the interview by speaking about hope. His case for hope and optimism was my biggest takeaway from my interview.

Thank you Prachi!

C. M. Rubin and Prachi Shevgaonkar

Don’t Miss Net Zero Speaks with Sam Fankhauser, now streaming on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by the Protect Our Planet Movement and Planet Classroom.

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