Architecting Global Decarbonization with Open Earth Foundation’s Martin Wainstein

Recorded on the eve of the latest annual gathering on climate change – the United Nations’ 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) – Martin Wainstein of Open Earth Foundation joins The Decarbonization Race podcast to explain how global digital platforms to track emissions and climate change mitigation efforts are slowly moving through the crucible of international policy formulation. What emerges is a revealing look at the practicalities of crafting solutions that can help save our planet.

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As the the United Nations’ 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) climate summit gets underway in Egypt – where all parties are focused on implementation, how is the world working together to tackle the climate emergency?

In this special episode, Martin Wainstein, Founder and Executive Director at the Open Earth Foundation, provides a glimpse into what a global framework united on sustainability needs to look like. Wainstein tackles the sticky geopolitical issues when nations convene and define the large-scale digital infrastructure needed by national government and state entities, corporations, and individuals to track both emissions and climate change mitigation efforts.

Recorded on the eve of the latest UN climate summit, Wainstein explains how these digital platforms are slowly moving through the crucible of international policy formulation. What emerges is a revealing look at the practicalities of crafting solutions that can help save our planet.

Key Takeaways

  • Biodiversity and climate change are interrelated crises and need to be solved together.
  • War, nuclear threats, and geopolitical conflicts are hurdles to climate change progress.
  • Businesses are facing increased scrutiny on carbon emissions. To help provide transparency and legitimate data, companies need a digital infrastructure to track emissions and mitigation efforts as they strive to meet their net zero goals.


Dana Dohse: On this episode of The Decarbonization Race.

Martin Wainstein: Our role is not just we need better, more robust pledges. We need to think about the digital infrastructure.

Dana Dohse: Martin Wainstein, Founder and Executive Director of the Open Earth Foundation joins host Lincoln Payton to discuss the upcoming COP 27 Summit in Egypt, as well as what his team at Open Earth is doing to promote better digital infrastructure to support decarbonization efforts worldwide. Ready to lead the sustainability pack? This is The Decarbonization Race.

Lincoln Payton: Well, hello everybody. Welcome again to The Decarbonization Race. Delighted to have you back again and with a really great guest today, a guest and a friend and a real industry professional. Martin, great to have you.

Martin Wainstein: Amazing to be here Lincoln. What a pleasure.

Lincoln Payton: Terrific. And Martin is one of those interesting guys because his resume is so comprehensive, but we’re going to focus a lot on the whole COP 27 coming and the COP process, and if you like the history, the now and where it could and should and hopefully will be going. But before we do that, I’m going to talk a little bit about that background because it shows you his practical academic qualification for chatting with us today.

Martin is the Founder of the Open Earth Foundation. It’s a research and deployment nonprofit that focuses on digital innovation, open collaborations around planetary scale projects like open climate. So Martin, what does that mean?

Martin Wainstein: Let’s see. In some sense it means that we play a role as an open source, big picture lab that we think about projects, design and also build that are digital public goods in some sense. Another way to think about it is we think about what is the operating system that we need as humanity to better manage our spaceship earth? Something that augments our capacity to coordinate at scale, to deal with the resilience of the planet. And resilience is to some extent a scientific term in that level because it’s watching for not crossing tipping points, irreversible thresholds, that once we cross them, we have cascading effects.

So in the climate space, the 1.5 degree target or the two degree target, these are also based on the fact that there is a point of fever that we don’t want to get across. And it’s also the case of other tipping points like the protection of the Amazon, the role of biodiversity conservation. So we’ve realized that we needed organizations that really are thinking at the planetary scale, not just national level. And that really help bridge the technology space with the supernational level. So we work closely with the United Nations, World Bank as well as governments.

Lincoln Payton: It’s a very macro perspective and drilling down into practical applications. So that’s one element of your background. I know you also have a purely institutional academic background. You lead the research efforts behind the Yale Open Innovation Lab, so with appointments in the Yale Department of Electrical Engineering, the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale, the Business and Environment Center at Yale, and as well as the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT. So a little bit about what you’re doing with those very prestigious and influential organizations.

Martin Wainstein: Yeah, I think that that exemplifies a bit of my non-linear experience in my profession. Originally when I was an undergraduate student, I got fascinating by the field of astrobiology, of how life emerges in this planet, how you look for life in a planet. And that really just got me thinking of the planet as a living organism, but then realized that a lot of our macro environmental issues require business transition, business transformations and rethinking business models.

So then I discovered myself as an entrepreneur. I went back to Argentina, my home country, and started my first company and then realized also that purely entrepreneurship also makes you focus on one solution within one region and one market. And that I also had a thirst for that big picture perspective. So then I moved on to work on my PhD and that specifically focused on how do we transform the energy business system?

And I worked on thinking the business of delivering energy to society as a system and as a planetary skill system. In some sense, 60% of global historic emissions can be traced at just 90 companies. So it really is a relevant business system to consider. And then of course, what are opportunities in the new emerging energy business system, which in my case, I focus a lot on smart grids. But by then it was clear to me that I was perhaps too much of a big picture academic to be a traditional entrepreneur and too much of an entrepreneur and wanting to get things on the ground to be a traditional academic. So I’ve always had to craft my own box of where I fit well.

And that was the opportunity at Yale is to create a bit of that fusion, the Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale designed to help students think entrepreneurly [about] the business and the environments that work interdisciplinarily around this.

And by then, the role of digital innovation and digital public goods through my research on smart grids and potential really disruptive business models and the energy space, took me into the digital world. And so the Open Innovation Lab is the power for us to collaborate around innovating new systems and the role of digital infrastructure as what we collaborate on and the systems that are enshrined through that digital infrastructure.

So I know that this is a mouthful, but I really wanted to test that model, private public sector working on let’s say digital platforms that we can use. In some sense, the internet is the ultimate digital public good that we have in the digital space. So in some sense, how does the internet better equip us, humanity and our corporations and our governments, to deal with the existential crisis that we face through getting very close to pushing thresholds in the environmental area. And I can expect that there’s going to be a lot more because we also get to a point where applied science is now needed more than ever.

Lincoln Payton: I know you have the background in amongst all those technical skill sets and applications around the COP processes. And we have COP 27 coming up very shortly. And I think a number of emotions around that, Martin, if I’m honest, which is I think there’s expectation, there’s anticipation and excitement. I think there’s some frustration for what gets done, what tends not to get done. And we’ve got at the same time a very complicated world. So it’s not just in isolation. We have macroeconomic and we have macro conflict situations around the world. So it’s not the only point of interest. So we are really going to take your background and drill that into COP and see where that takes us, if we may.

So I guess first question, and it’s a bit of a level setter because we all hear the acronym, the abbreviation, COP 27 is coming in a couple of weeks time. What is a COP, first of all, and what’s the story?

Martin Wainstein: That’s a great place to start. COP stands for Conference of the Parties. So in United Nations parlance, the parties are the countries and specifically on Cop 27, Cop 27 is a climate COP. And these are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is one of the largest acronyms that UN has. That’s UNFCCC, now more known as United Nations Climate Change basically. So the countries or the parties are parties to this framework. And this is a framework that started in the historic Kyoto Protocol, set up in the nineties and then now moved into the Paris Agreement. So being parties to the UNFCCC means that countries are following the Paris Agreement, because it’s the primary instrument that the framework has put forth to get those parties to collaborate. We can also understand why anything that’s not a country in the climate space is called a non-party stakeholder.

So corporations and people, civil society, even cities are non-party stakeholders. They’re stakeholders to the framework, they’re stakeholders to the price agreement, but they’re non-countries. And so there’s roughly 195 parties, COP 27 is the 27th edition. So it’s been now a little bit over 27 years because particularly two years ago the COP 26 was delayed because of Covid. But it’s important to note, this year we have another very important COP, and that is COP 15, the Conference of the Parties that convenes to discuss biodiversity and the conventional biodiversity.

And this very equally important, we are now realizing how we cannot solve climate change, we also do not solve our biodiversity challenge when we protect the ecological habitats of biodiversity. We actually solve to some extent for nature based solutions for climate change. So there are these two Conferences of the Parties. The difference is the COP 15 on biodiversity is managed by a different set of United Nations bodies and frameworks, but equally is another type of COP. It’s fascinating to be in one of these events because people from all around the world are gathering to discuss and to negotiate these frankly, what are the most important discussions that we could have at this stage.

Lincoln Payton: Let’s focus on COP 27, which is the one that gets certainly a lot of attention and it’s coming first. What are the objectives? You said we are talking about GHG emissions, we’re talking about temperature climate move. What are the specific objectives of the COP process? And this particular Egypt meeting [COP] 27.

Martin Wainstein: So at the high level, the big negotiation has been done, was 2015, the Paris Agreement. But the Paris Agreement sets up the roadmap and now we have to go into applying it, implementing it. And so the countries have to negotiate a lot of those details, how they’re going to be transparent about their progress roles on finance. So countries have to help finance actions and help other countries in their adaptation to climate change. There’s a lot of important discussions that we expect to have in this COP around loss and damage. So there are key things that have been marked by the COP process. One is the notion of common but differentiated responsibilities. What this means is that we’ve all been part of warming the planet because we’ve all been part of emitting greenhouse gases, but some countries have emitted more than others. So it’s a common responsibility, but there are levels of differentiation.

So often the discussions at Climate COPs circulate around the differences between the global north and the global south, which in many ways it’s a high simplification for what we can understand as developed countries and developing countries. And those emerging economies are saying, well, we need to be able to grow the way that you’ve grown in the past. We are the ones that are more severely impacted by climate change. So we have to adapt, but we are also going to have a loss in damages from global warming that we are not economically equipped to affront. So some of these discussions are multilateral discussions around financing adaptation, financing loss and damage, even helping some countries finance mitigation outcomes. So unfortunately this creates a bit of a deadlock because, “well, you colonized me and you’ve grown a lot and you’ve also influenced in my country’s policies, and now I want to grow.”

And yes, we need to do something about climate change, but we also have to feed our people. So you hear a lot of these discussions and that just creates a little bit of a stall. We also have a backdrop this year of war nuclear threats that tempers a little bit of a climate agenda. Last COP was tainted by [COVID-19] that took central stage. And today we have a very visible war that also affects geopolitics. The last topic that I want to mention around what COP is about, and particularly this COP next year, in COP 28, there will be the first global stock dig. And the global stock dig is to some extent the heart, the pulse of the Paris Agreement because it’s the exercise where we come together to say, “What did you say you were going to do”, which in the parlance of countries is the nationally determined contribution to climate change efforts. “What have you done and how do we ratchet those ambitions to where we need to go”?

So currently all the countries’ nationally determined contributions take us to a three to four degree warmer world. So not where we want to go. So we have to increase ambitions and to increase ambitions, we need to know first are we in track to meeting the pledges that we’ve set out to do, and then the mechanisms in which we are going to navigate this taking stock. And this not just taking stock of emissions and mitigation, it’s taking stock of promises around finance. It’s taking stock about [inaudible 00:13:46] that need to be set up for adaptation.

So a lot of what this year has been about is to have the technical dialogues around how this first global stock dig will happen. The Paris Agreement expects to have every five years of global stock dig. And our argument is that that’s not enough. A global stock dig, we think about it in the analogy, it’s like paying your taxes. You face the fiscal system and say, “Well, this is my revenue, here’s how I have to pay”, and we cannot take taxes every five years. That would be very hard. It’s not a perfect analogy, but I particularly see it from the finance standpoint.

Lincoln Payton: Let me come in with a baseline common sense question here, which is, most of us don’t like paying our taxes, we put it off as long as we can, doing all the paperwork, but also writing those checks. To what degree is the risk that this stock taking becomes a little bit a finger pointing, a he said, she said, I don’t want to pay that level of tax. I’d rather it was collected somewhere else. What is the risk of that?

Martin Wainstein: Well, we already have that risk. So that’s already happening. That’s the backdrop reality. What I think is bigger risk is that we don’t agree on the level of transparency. As in the case of the United States, the IRS has a mechanism in which they need to be able to trust your financial reports and what your certified public accountant put together. So if the numbers are murky, then it allows countries to wiggle in their arguments. And also ideally, we want to move this to look a lot more like paying our taxes where you’ve got clear rules and you’ve got clear tools. As in the United States, Turbotax, one example of a tool that will just suck up the information from your bank account that’s already preformatted, you filtered through it, your bookkeeper will clean it up, put it in the right format. This could be done within a day because we’ve built a digital infrastructure for it.

Back in the day it was a lot more manual and you’ve got to get all those receipts and write them down, et cetera. So we want to move to a situation where countries have an easy time putting all those numbers together. And for that, we need a lot of the digitization process. In some sense we play a little bit of a technocrat in these discussions, which are often managed by lawyers. So most countries bring with an army of lawyers to negotiate because that’s what they are. These are negotiations, right? But there are also technical frameworks that are relevant for this, that enhanced transparency, that allow these processes of accounting to not be so cumbersome. So I think this is where we also come in and in a very interesting angle to this discussion, which is, so what is the role of the non-state actors?

And more and more it’s essential because when countries come in and negotiate their enhanced ambition, they need to have visibility of how their constituents, being the cities within their region or the provinces or states, the corporations that operate within their jurisdiction, the people within their jurisdiction, what are they doing around this challenge, in this collective effort? If the country has visibility, and obviously policy plays a role, but that let’s say corporations are really pledging net zero and they’re taking action and they’re going to reduce their emissions. So industrial emissions can be expected to be reduced and people are conscientious about their impact, then the country feels more comfortable ratcheting their ambitions because they’re not alone.

So how do we do that? Of course, countries could play a role on policy, removing subsidies of fossil fuel, subsidizing clean energy, creating mechanisms and incentives to getting climate action, be it economically viable, corporate disclosure, all of these things countries and sub-national governments can do. But we also see that corporates are not just mobilizing in investors just because it’s regulation, just because the SEC said X, Y, Z. Because business longevity requires adaptation to the climate reality, adaptation to a consumer that is now concerned about the livability of the planet and is expected more and more from corporates.

Dana Dohse: Martin is right. Companies today are facing increasing scrutiny from investors, stakeholders and rating agencies around their sustainability goals. And regulators at the city, state, and federal level in a number of markets have issued new rules requiring businesses to disclose information on their carbon emissions. This is creating an urgent need for companies to have a firm grasp on their energy use in carbon footprint. This is where digital infrastructure like carbon accounting software comes in.

Carbon accounting software helps organizations measure their greenhouse gas emissions data so that they can better understand their carbon footprint and set goals to reduce carbon emissions over time. Documenting and analyzing greenhouse gas emissions is the first step in creating an action decarbonization plan or informing an existing environmental strategy, aka the E in that ESG acronym. Without it, how do you know where you are in that journey? Carbon accounting software helps combat climate change by guiding companies towards effective decarbonization decisions. For more on carbon accounting software, click on the link in the show notes.

Lincoln Payton: Principles of transparent data and measurement and metrics which enable fair comparison, and it’s actually fair comparison, much like the analogy you gave in terms of paying taxes, having accurate, clear information enables people to one, set hurdles, but two, to actually feel good about what they’re doing. Because when you set targets, even if they’re voluntary, they’re reputational for your stakeholders. When you can prove it and show it, it has a real value, which I think our movement has a little bit of a challenge to overcome in terms of transparency issue.

Martin Wainstein: Yes, and the role of non [inaudible 00:19:46] through their pledges has been well accepted and welcomed, particularly the last couple of COPs. Glasgow, which was last COP was particularly relevant around this. The UNF Triple C, particularly through their climate champions team, let’s say crowded a huge group of investors and corporates to really pledge. However, the backlash to this after Glasgow was what we see a lot of these corporates making these hand wavy promises, how do we actually trust them? How do we trust that there’s accountability behind these corporate commitments?

So this has been such an important topic that the Secretary General of the United Nations launch a campaign in a working group to talk about accountability of the non-state actor pledges. And we expect recommendations coming out of that working group to be showcased in this COP. Our role is not just we need better, more robust pledges, we need to think about the digital infrastructure so that this becomes a frictionless process for corporates to keep track of their emissions, keep track of their mitigations. The role of markets as well, which is also very relevant in terms of the integrity, particularly as corporates look at carbon offsets and carbon credits as an avenue for meeting their net zero to commitments.

But of course, that doesn’t solve the problem. We really need to reduce our emissions. So one of the things that Open Earth has been doing over the last couple years, and I actually started this project back at Yale, is to think in terms of the architecture of nested climate accounting. That means that, let’s say my impact as an individual, I live in Los Angeles, so my emissions in some sense impact the city of Los Angeles. But if we think about a corporate, corporations have sites, offices, factories in different areas, and those sites are the primary sources of their emissions as well as their corporate flights, et cetera, those roll up to the immediate jurisdiction in which they’re at, whether that is a municipality or a state or city. So if you’ve got offices in New York, your role as a corporate to roll out procedures to reduce your impact actually helps New York meet its own targets.

And that rolls up to the State of New York and the more corporates are able to properly track that spatially, your positive impact in New York helps the city of New York, the State of New York and the United States nationally determine contribution. Now that is allows that visibility between the government and the corporate. So the government can see, oh, corporates are all doing all of this. Now that has to work at scale, and a lot of our push has been to think of this architecture and then to design the digital infrastructure to make that happen. And we also argue that if we do this well, there’s multiple co-benefits to this. If the corporation is able to inform the government of its actions in a very seamless way, digital verification, then it could play a role in how government then rolls up any form of policy, whether it’s a carbon tax, whether it’s an incentive, or even just purely disclosure policy.

The same information, digital accounting information is relevant for the investors. Investors also have the question. I talk a lot to international banks that say, “Well, we’re putting like a billion dollars of loans to countries and debt climate action projects. How do I know, how can I trace the dollars into the inventories of countries, into the national determine contribution”? Because let’s say if I’m HSBC or JPMorgan, I want to know that my climate action finance is actually helping move the needle. I need to be able to trace that. So the project has to roll up to that inventory, the national inventory level. And so that’s the other benefit is that we’re able to have more visibility. Normally countries make their inventory by getting sectorial data, like the EPA will get information from agriculture and the USDA will get information from DOE, et cetera.

These are sectors, but an alternative to this is the 52 states to provide their inventory. And the states are getting their information from their cities and their corporates that are registered within that state and the emissions of those corporates, et cetera. And then obviously there are cross border movements that have to be accounted for. So the key parts for us is that we actually launched an initiative called the digitally-enabled independent global stocktake. And it’s independent because the global stocktake is purely between countries in the UN. But if we want to make Corporates actually be part of the Paris Agreement, which was of course a big push when former President Trump announced that he was pulling out of the Paris Agreement, the corporate and the city world said, “Hey, we are still in”. And a lot of people might remember that and it’s still an initiative, but they’re not really in. The corporations are not part of the Paris Agreement.

What we propose through an independent global stock dig is to actually mimic the policy of the Paris Agreement where you have to put your pledges, you have to submit your accounting, you have to take stock of where you’re at in the context of the global stock dig. And so next year, as the countries are taking stock of their emissions, we say, “Well, why don’t we do an exercise of taking stock of all the non-state actors. Your corporation, your fund, and your city said they were going to do X. Well, how are we doing on that and how do we take stock of that so that”, these things can talk to each other.

Lincoln Payton: And you do a very, very good job of that. Just one question before we leave, that receptivity in the big corporate and non-government active play, are people receptive to moving in that direction?

Martin Wainstein: There’s more support around transparent and robust accounting on the non-party stakeholder than on the country side. But there’s a strategy for us that we can create an alternative accounting mechanism that that can inform how countries can literally adopt. And the next challenge is that we come up with a standards and the protocols for software platforms like Cleartrace that is helping corporations better take stock of their impact, particularly through electricity procurement and different things, actually can talk to other platforms, be able to incorporate similar spatial logics and protocols and data models. There’s a big digital infrastructure to be built. And what we are doing is what we can do with our size as a nonprofit is building reference architecture, reference implementations. But we’re going to have to create a lot more of cooperation around this, kind of like a broad, huge Linux for how we talk about this.

Lincoln Payton: What does success for you look like from COP 27?

Martin Wainstein: It’s hard because I don’t know how to edge into utopia of like what’s wishful thinking. There are things that I’m optimistic about and things that I’m not very optimistic about. Of course, I think that there’s going to be a lot of geopolitical noise around this COP. I don’t think we’ve done a good job yet at articulating what the global stock dig should look like. But success would be improving that clarity, how countries are preparing for that, how countries are already raising their ambitions, and that we’re able to negotiate that process. Success to me is also that we bring in, again, the digital infrastructure and how to do this at scale as part of the conversation. And equally in the non-party stakeholder world that we have more and more consensus in coalition around how corporate data reporting and sub-national act reporting is going to fit in. And we’re going to have better accountability, acknowledging the role of carbon accounting software tools and the robustness that they have to be part of a coalition of data providers.

And that the countries that are most economically and financially equipped, really put their weight on the financial commitments, particularly around loss and damage adaptation and finance. And I think another success for me is that we are able to enhance the space for innovation in this. So we’re actually brokering a discussion in this COP that’s very exciting, which is our nature based currencies. And the logic of that is the countries of the South that historically are like pleading to the north to finance X, Y, Z or get it to the north, are actually bestowed with huge natural capital reserves. And those are particularly threatened because of the pressures of economic growth and extractivism. That natural capital, those pristine forests and marine protected areas, we need to protect them and they are assets. We have to see them as capital assets and they can play a role as literally reserves in a central bank.

We have to be able to solve the equity between the north and the south, and we have to solve climate and biodiversity all within one equation. Pre Bretton Woods, we had gold backing our currencies, a commodity backing the currency, and now we have $12 trillion worth of gold in Bullions, and yet we value our entire forest of the climate at $6 trillion. That makes no sense. So if we can really think out of the box, particularly with financial mind gurus like you Lincoln, how do we split the switch? And we’ve actually had great conversations with Central Banks in the south and they’re super interested in really testing and simulating this. So expanding the innovation space and saying like, let’s try to think out of the box. If we need $2 trillion, $3 trillion a year, how do we mint that to finance these actions in a way that doesn’t create inflation? We’ve done it for Covid. The IMF printed $950 billion of SDRs, zero for climate.

Lincoln Payton: You and I have bounced around the NFT world and the blockchain world in tokenizing and monetizing and ways of moving these things around. There’s a lot of very interesting shoes to drop,, I think in the next immediate period of how we think differently. I’m often talking to people from a financial background about carbon being the currency of the future, and we’re all used to other currencies, but carbon and those natural resource reserves, very futuristic and interesting and something that I think we’ll follow up on. Last question I guess, and I’m talking now, you’re going to be in Egypt, a historical Middle Eastern hydrocarbon economy. At the same time you’ve got the European conflict that you mentioned, which is this winter probably going to be interesting on several levels for energy production. And what does that do? Those two, the interplay there around the renewable space?

Martin Wainstein: What I think this produced is the media realization that energy sovereignty is now important more than ever, and that renewables play acute role in that energy sovereignty in the future, particularly for Europe. We want to see a lot more speed around this. Also, the war in Ukraine has created another visibility of how this is not just about energy, but around global supply chains, particularly Egypt. Egypt relies significantly on Ukrainian wheat. And so the war directly impacted the food supply chain into the Middle East. So this has to, again, broker discussions on how do you have energy sovereignty, but other regional sovereignties in terms of other core human needs. In fact, that’s one of the key points about our work with the United Nations climate change, particularly in the innovation spaces. How do we think in terms of core human needs, nutrition and things like that.

And in local production, seeing a future where you produce your own energy and you play a role in producing your own goods and having more local trade is, I think, relevant. And a big part of this is to realize that we now, particularly for fossil fuel nations and the large carbon majors, which are the large coal, oil and gas companies, we’d have to start really drawing the business model transformation pathways. How are we going to cannibalize our fossil fuel core business models if I’m a carbon major, right? I need to sell something different in 2050 than what I’m selling in 2022. I’m hoping that this is going to bring a lot of this discussion to the Middle East, particularly countries that their national oil companies are the national economy. How do they see themselves innovating in the renewable space, the food production, like can we grow wheat in the desert?

And so now we’re innovating around water, around energy, around supply chains. There is a great opportunity for diversifying from fossil fuel into innovation in some sense, broadly speaking and digitization. So this is where we’re moving with a lot more smartness on the edge of our energy world, not just the electricity space. We’re going to see a lot of hydrogen discussions, very important. So I think that there’s going to be a lot more of these big picture discussions. And again, the smartness for all of this to ensure that as we’re doing this, it actually helps what we’re all meeting, which is to ensure that we move the needle to avoid a 1.5 degree target. If we do that, our grandkids will not know what a coral reef is, for example.

Lincoln Payton: Are you optimistic with everything you’ve just said? I know you’re an optimistic person, you’re a high energy person, and you’re actively engaging in these issues.

Martin Wainstein: Yeah, I’m not very optimistic about certain things about this COP. I am optimistic for humanity and our institutions to make the change needed, because more and more the climate impacts and biodiversity losses will start creeping into our front door. I mean, that’s historically climate just didn’t have a good PR agency. In some sense people don’t see the direct impacts, and now we do. We’re going to continue seeing them and the new generation feels it. More and more kids are playing a role at influencing their parents about what are you doing and what’s your job around this?

So I’m very optimistic about that because a lot of this is around intergenerational equity. What we do now for future generations. And whether you’re the head of a country, an oil company, most likely you’re a parent. Your kids are thinking about this, they’re feeling it, and the science is obvious. So I think more and more people will come to the realization, and I’m optimistic about the bottom up approach, not the 195 heroes heads of states that we need, around the 7 billion people, or even just the 10% critical mass of people or organizations that make the decision that really step up how that creates the cascading effects. We need to be prepared to bring in new architecture, new ideas, fresh ideas that people can relate to and say, “”Hey, a living forest with healthy nature inside is worth more alive than chopped down and dead.

Lincoln Payton: What do you do in your spare time when you’re not thinking about the planet? Or maybe you are always thinking about the planet, but you’re doing something that suggests you’re not.

Martin Wainstein: Yeah. When I’m not doing my Zoom calls–

Lincoln Payton: Which we live on these days–

Martin Wainstein: I am normally on top of a board. Either I’m surfing or I am snowboarding, or I’m on a electric one wheel or kite surfing.

Lincoln Payton: Martin, really great to be with you as always, and take care.

Martin Wainstein: Honored to be here and look forward to more of these discussions.

Dana Dohse: Thank you for joining us on The Decarbonization Race. For more resources to help you lead the pack in the most important race of our lifetime, visit