All signs point to $5 per gallon gas prices for San Diego
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Gas prices are rising.
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How high will they go ? We've gone up about eight cents just in the last 24 hours or so.
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I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Cavanaugh.
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This is KPBS midday edition.
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What will it take for San Diego to achieve net zero net zero by 2045 is really the new North Star that is guiding our climate action planning in our region , in California and in the US and beyond.
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And how do you recycle lithium ion car batteries ? Plus , we'll tell you about a world premiere musical at the La Hoya Playhouse.
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That's ahead on midday edition.
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Russia's recent invasion of Ukraine has sent oil prices soaring , with U.S. oil prices briefly reaching a near 14 year high today.
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That means higher prices at the pump.
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San Diego's average regular unleaded gas price has risen nearly 20 cents just in the last week , and all signs point to $5 a gallon.
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Gas prices on the horizon.
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The rising gas prices have state leaders and others searching for ways to limit their impact on the economy.
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But it also brings up questions about San Diego's reliance on gas driven cars and climate change.
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Joining me to talk more about what this means for San Diego is Rob Nichols , energy reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
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Rob , welcome.
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Thanks , Jade.
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Always nice to talk to you.
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So when do we expect $5 gas to be a reality in San Diego ? Well , and might be coming sooner than we thought when I wrote my story about gas prices yesterday in this morning's paper.
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The gas analysts were saying they were thinking that within a week we get to an average price of $5 for regular gallon of gasoline.
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But I checked this morning and according to GasBuddy , which is this group that tracks where customers can get the cheapest gasoline all across the country , according to GasBuddy , we're at four ninety six as of late this morning.
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So we're only four cents away from getting there.
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So we've we've gone up about eight cents just in the last 24 hours or so.
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So we're about there.
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So what is at the root of the price increases today ? Basically , the root cause leaf lately has been the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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Russia is a big supplier of oil.
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Oil is a global commodity , and oil prices are directly linked to or indirectly linked to gasoline prices.
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And when Russia invaded Ukraine , there were all kinds of sanctions and all kinds of concerns about oil supplies globally.
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And the oil prices have just shot up.
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And can you explain why gas prices tend to rise as we enter summer months to ? The big reason why is because California switches from winter blend to summer blend.
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It's kind of an odd way to describe it because you're thinking summer , you're thinking , OK , June , July , August.
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But they make the switch over to the summer blend of gasoline starting in February , and it's a gradual process.
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It takes a number of months where the gasoline suppliers , they eventually make this transition slowly from winter gasoline to summer gasoline.
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The reason why they do that is because summer gasoline has less oxygen in it and less polluting.
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But it's also more expensive.
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Now , some are calling to suspend this shift from winter to summer blend , though it would reduce the cost of gasoline here.
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It doesn't come without those negatives , you know , especially in terms of its environmental impact.
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You touched on this previously.
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Talk a bit more about that.
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Patrick De Haan , who is the fuel analyst for GasBuddy.
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And he brought up something that I had never heard anyone else bring up before in this debate.
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He was saying that perhaps that California could consider a wave and basically stay on winter gasoline during this summer just for a temporary amount of time.
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He predicts that that would save about 20 to 40 cents per gallon by the time the entire summer is done.
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Now that's the good news , but the bad news cited , if you said there are some downsides to it by delaying this and having winter gasoline go through the entire summer , that that winter fuel has more butane , which is a higher emitting content.
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And that's one of the big reasons why we have the summer blend is because we want to be able to reduce the amount of air pollution in California.
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So much of California in San Diego was part of this as well is in a valley , especially when you're talking about Los Angeles , Southern California.
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And a lot of times there are air pollution problems or more accentuated than the ones you might see in other parts of the country.
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So what else is being discussed as ways to keep gas prices from going even higher ? Well , there is a Republican Assembly member in Rockland , California , who has put forth some legislation over in Sacramento that would temporarily , at least for this year , suspend the excise tax in California for gasoline.
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And that's a pretty hefty amount that's about 50 cents per gallon where that goes.
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Also , the governor brought up just a couple of months ago , brought up the idea of suspending the increase in the gas tax that is tied to inflation.
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But that would work out to about one cent per gallon , more so if you fill up your tank 10 to 15 gallons , you know you can do the math it's.
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Save about 10 or 15 cents , but so far , there has not been a whole lot of support from the Democrats who dominate the Legislature in Sacramento to go along with that.
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Now there are some climate change activists and others who may see rising gas prices as welcome news , you know , in hopes that it might force people out of their cars and spur more environmentally friendly forms of transportation.
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Do we have any idea how high gas prices impact people's decision to drive less or choose another way to get around ? That's a very good question.
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I imagine some economists can probably crunch the numbers and come up with some sort of number to figure out that.
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At what price do people start making that transition ? I'm old enough to remember in the 1970s when Japan was making more fuel efficient cars and was ahead of the American car makers who were putting out cars gas guzzlers , they got like 10 , 12 , 15 miles to the gallon at the most , whereas the Japanese carmakers back in the 70s were having cars that had 20 25 , 30 miles per gallon.
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And the Japanese carmakers like Toyota , Nissan , they made some real inroads.
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So that could happen.
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But we'll have to just wait and see with these increases in gas prices.
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Does this change perceptions at all on the cost of electric vehicles versus gas driven ? It might , yes , because the overall price of a gallon of gasoline would get so high that people would think , OK , we're going to.
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Maybe I should make that transition if I'm going to buy a new car.
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Still , electric vehicles tend to be a little bit more expensive than internal combustion engine vehicles.
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But California Gov. Gavin Newsom say that by 2030 , I believe we won't be selling any new internal combustion engine cars.
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So this might be able to further that bulls have to wait and see on that as well.
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I've been speaking with Rob Nicholas , Sky Energy Reporter with the San Diego Union Tribune.
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Rob , thank you so much.
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Thank you very much.
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As we just heard in the discussion about the complexities of gas plans and soaring gas prices set in climate action goals is one thing actually achieving them is much more difficult.
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That's what San Diego County leaders are finding out as they evaluate the results of a new study.
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Last year , the county commissioned a regional decarbonization study to determine if San Diego's existing climate action measures put us on track to achieve net zero emissions by 2035.
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The answer is no , not by a long shot.
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The study finds that additional policies would be needed to reach the goal , especially involving transportation and building , and additional climate action changes may start to affect the way San Diegans work and live.
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Joining me is Scott Anders , director of the Energy Policy Initiative Center at the University of San Diego.
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The center was involved in conducting the study for the county.
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And Scott , welcome to the program.
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Thank you , Maureen.
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It's great to be here.
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The title of your report is the regional decarbonization framework.
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And I'm wondering , can you translate that for us ? What were you actually evaluating in this study ? Well , the broader regional decarbonization framework report that you're referring to is kind of a technical report that's looking at what it would take to get the San Diego region on a pathway to deep decarbonization.
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So net zero emissions by mid-century and the specific chapter that we developed is looking at local policy opportunities.
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And so what we did was to review the climate action plans in our region to try to understand , as you mentioned in your intro , whether or not they put us on a pathway to these deep decarbonization goals.
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And just to backtrack for a minute and achieving net zero means we are no longer adding to the amount of greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere.
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Is that what it means ? Yeah.
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So net zero emissions means that we do whatever we can to reduce or avoid emissions and do as much as possible.
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But we recognize that we probably won't be able to reduce all emissions.
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There are certain sectors of the economy that are to address like heavy duty trucks , some industrial processes.
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And so we will reduce to the extent we can and whatever remaining emissions there are , we will have to remove an equivalent amount from the atmosphere in order to achieve a net zero target.
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The county upped the ante on climate by pushing up the timeline to achieve net zero.
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They want to reach that by 2035.
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Now that's 10 years earlier than the state goal.
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Are we on track right now to get there based on our analysis of the current climate action plans in the region ? We are not on track to get to those targets , but I should point out that the climate action plans in the region have a target , usually in the twenty thirty five timeframe to get about a 40 or 50 percent reduction.
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So the current climate action plans never set out to get to a net zero target.
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So how far away would we be then if we just stuck to what what the goals are now ? Well , what we found is looking at the commitments of reductions in the current caps gets us relatively few reductions in the bigger scheme.
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And then we also did another scenario where we said , Well , what if we take the best measures , kind of the ones that get the most impact from all the climate action plans and apply them to the entire region ? What would that get us ? And that gets us significantly more reductions , but still leaves a significant amount of remaining emissions to be addressed.
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And what are the areas of most concern , the biggest sources of emissions in the county ? Yeah , the largest source by far is transportation or cars and trucks , basically.
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So that accounts for some forty five percent or so of emissions.
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And then from there , electric in natural gas represent another , say , 20 plus percent.
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And so those categories , those three really energy categories , if you think of it more broadly.
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So cars and trucks , electricity , natural gas account for a very significant portion of overall emissions in our region.
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Now does the report or your section of it offer any ideas on how the county could meet its net zero goal ? What we do in the report is we do three separate but related analysis.
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First , we looked at the authority that local jurisdictions have to influence or regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
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Second , we reviewed all the climate action plans in the region to kind of find out who's doing what and what are the similarities of differences between and among climate action plans.
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And then finally , and I referenced earlier as we did this kind of estimate of what would the greenhouse gas emissions impacts be of all of the climate action plans in aggregate ? And that's the first time we've done that in our region.
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So that was kind of an interesting endeavor.
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But from there , we then very specifically delve into the four different decarbonization pathways that are addressed in the other chapters of the technical report , and that includes decarbonising.
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City buildings , transportation and then also we looked at natural natural climate solutions , so this would be like the ability for trees to remove and store carbon or other ways of removing carbon.
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Well , to that point on it , an even larger scale.
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The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued an alarming report recently.
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It urged nations to drastically reduce emissions to stop oncoming climate disaster.
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Are you presenting a regional report like this with the same sense of urgency ? Well , I think again , the assumed goal for our regional decarbonisation framework project is net zero by mid-century , and so that really is reflective of the broader goals set out by the the IPCC , who looked at many scenarios of emissions.
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And the only scenario to keep global temperatures at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius was the scenario that reached net zero by mid-century and actually then went negative thereafter.
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And so net zero by 2045 is really the new North Star that is guiding our climate action planning in our region , in California and in the US and beyond.
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Do you know what the county is planning to do with the recommendations in this report ? My understanding is that the next step in the process.
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So the regional decarbonisation framework , broadly speaking , includes three elements.
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One is the technical report , which our chapter we're discussing here today , and that was that was released recently.
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There's also a workforce development piece in that report.
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Actually , I believe was was released just yesterday.
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And then the final piece is looking more at some implementation pathways about how to kind of move forward in this this regional framework.
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Do you know when the county might be coming up with policies in line with these guidelines ? Maureen , I'm not exactly sure of the county's timeline on this , but my understanding is that the whole regional decarbonisation framework process that would be the technical report , the workforce development piece and then the implementation pathways piece will be completed toward the end of the summer , I think , in the August or September timeframe.
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I've been speaking with Scott Anders , director of the Energy Policy Initiative Center at the University of San Diego.
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And Scott , thank you very much.
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Thanks for having me , Maureen.
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This is KPBS midday edition.
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I'm Maureen Cavanaugh with Jade Heinemann.
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We continue our conversations about California's ambitious climate action goals.
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One goal is to make all new cars sold in the state.
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Zero carbon emission vehicles by 2035.
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That means more electric cars and a lot more car batteries that will need to be reused or recycled.
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KPBS science and technology reporter Thomas Fudge has the story.
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A lab at San Diego State University is filled with bundles of wires , some of them testing battery cells.
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Near the center of the room is a black steel case containing about 300 cells and weighing more than a thousand pounds.
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It's a car battery that once inhabited a Nissan Leaf.
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Now imagine about a million battery cases like that being dumped into California's waste and recycling stream every year as electric vehicles and their batteries reach the end of their lives.
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That's what could happen soon after 2035 , when all new cars sold in California must be zero carbon emission based on an executive order by Gov. Newsom.
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San Diego State's electrical engineering professor Chris Me , is one person looking for an answer to the battery question.
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Some of them may have enough power or energy capacity that we can use to find energy storage projects.
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If you extend the life for another 10 years , you delay the whole life cycle of those battery.
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When me speaks about using the batteries for energy storage , he's talking about storing solar energy that would turn car batteries into solar energy banks for businesses and agencies that can make withdrawals whenever the Sun doesn't shine.
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Kevin Wood , professor of mechanical engineering at SDSU , is also working on the demonstration project that's funded by the California Energy Commission.
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He says lithium ion car batteries are typically retired when an electric car loses that crucial mileage range , but the battery still have 60 to 80 percent of their energy life left.
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So why don't we try and utilize those batteries right and use those systems that we already have in place that there's no extra energy input required and use those for grid scale energy storage ? I mean , that's that's the idea.
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California is leading the way in the use of electric vehicles.
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The governor's office reports California has 10 percent of the nation's cars , but 40 percent of all zero emission cars.
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Caroline Goggin is the deputy secretary for environmental policy at the Cal EPA.
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And for two years , she's been leading the Lithium Ion Car Battery Advisory Group.
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Gone Can says used up EV car batteries are hazardous waste , and their elements ultimately need to be recycled even if they have a second life as an energy storage vessel.
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But there's another good reason to recycle them is we think about our circular economy and particularly the critical materials which are in these batteries.
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They are also a source of these critical materials to be put back into the manufacturing process.
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Those valuable materials include lithium , cobalt , nickel and manganese , all of which have to be mined.
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Scientists Chris , Me and Kevin would say one key issue is finding a way to make battery reuse economically feasible.
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Wood says China exports newly minted lithium ion phosphate batteries.
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They're not as good as car batteries , but they're quite inexpensive and good enough to use for solar energy storage.
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Wood says it may not make sense to customers to buy a repurposed car battery when a new one from China will cost , not much more.
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We have to figure out how to minimize cost.
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Specifically , we're talking about grid scale , storage rate , sustainability and costs are two really , really important things and they're not always correlated , right ? Sustainability , a lot of times cost more money , and the reality of the situation is cost a lot of times wins.
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Cal EPA's Car Battery Advisory Group expects to finalize its report on reuse and recycling of batteries this month.
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Then it'll be passed on to the California Legislature with the expectation that new laws will follow.
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Some big questions remain like who will be responsible for reusing and recycling these batteries ? Wood says that is one of several challenging debates people will have to have before 2035 , when all new cars in California will have to be zero carbon emission.
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Joining me is KPBS science and technology reporter Thomas Fudge.
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Tom , welcome to the program.
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Hi , Maureen.
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Now , California has a lot of zero emission vehicles on the roads already.
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So what happens to the used batteries now ? I did ask somebody with Cal EPA that very question.
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Well , what happens to them now ? And she started by saying that we are not seeing yet large scale retirements of these.
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Batteries , because electric cars have just not been on the road for that long , but we are seeing some retirements of them.
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She said in some situations , the car manufacturer is taking responsibility for them.
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In other situations , the car is dismantled and the dismantled her will find a way to recycle the batteries.
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And in other situations they are ending , you know , this is kind of the worst case scenario is in some situations , they are ending up in the waste stream.
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How long does an average EV battery lasts these days ? Well , it kind of depends on the driver who is driving the car because the expectation is these EV car batteries will last about 10 years.
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It is suggested that they be swapped out when they get down to 80 percent of their original power.
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But you know how people are.
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I mean , they put it off and they may wait until it's down to 60 percent of its original power.
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But eventually , you do want to get rid of an old battery because your electric car doesn't have the range that it normally has.
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It doesn't have the spunk that it normally has , and that's when your average person is going to swap it out.
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Well , as your report tells us , apparently having tons of old deteriorating electric car batteries in our landfills is not the environmentally friendly outcome California is looking for.
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What hazardous materials might leach out of those batteries ? These batteries are mainly made from heavy metals that are mind before they're put into the battery.
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That's a good point to make because the mining does take a lot of energy and is not environmentally friendly itself.
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But these batteries contain cobalt , lithium , manganese , all of which are heavy metals that are toxic depending on the amount that you're exposed to.
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So right ? You can't just take these battery packs and put them in the landfill.
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They do have to ultimately be recycled.
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So why isn't that the plan ? Why not just recycled old batteries ? Why do researchers want to turn them into solar storage units ? Well , you could just recycle them , and recycling is not a bad thing to do.
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Of course you are retrieving by recycling it , you're retrieving these heavy metals and hopefully putting them back to use again.
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But to go immediately to recycling after it's done being a car battery doesn't make a lot of sense because that means that the life of the battery is going to be very short when it actually has.
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When it's taken out of a car , it actually has quite a bit of life left.
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And so a lot of people are saying , Well , why just throw those away ? Let's find a second use for them.
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If old electric car batteries were used to store solar energy , where would they be kept ? They would be on site solar storage.
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In other words , let's say a business or an institution.
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We're not talking about homeowners here.
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They wouldn't really be using these kinds of batteries because they would be a little bit too big for a homeowner.
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But let's say a business wants to store solar energy.
00:23:48.630 --> 00:24:02.010
They have solar panels and they want to be able to use that solar energy when the Sun don't shine , right ? The EV battery could become like a bank , an energy bank that a business can make withdrawals from.
00:24:02.370 --> 00:24:05.390
And so they would it would be on site storage.
00:24:05.400 --> 00:24:07.260
That's kind of what these folks imagine.
00:24:07.890 --> 00:24:15.240
Now our researchers envisioning a whole new industry developing to reclaim and reuse these EV batteries.
00:24:15.840 --> 00:24:19.070
Well , I think a whole new industry would have to exist.
00:24:19.080 --> 00:24:40.860
I was talking with Chris Mee , who's engineering professor at San Diego State , about this , and I asked him , Well , do you imagine there would be factories that are doing what you are doing in your research demonstration project and in what he is doing is finding a way to take these old car batteries and turn them into energy storage units.
00:24:41.220 --> 00:24:44.130
And he said , yes , there would have to be factories to do this.
00:24:44.130 --> 00:24:59.190
If we're going to do it on the scale , that is going to be able to handle approximately a million car batteries that are retired every year in the state of California , where the money would come from to create those factories.
00:24:59.400 --> 00:25:08.820
All of those questions have yet to be answered , and there are a lot of big questions that still need to be answered when it comes to reusing these car batteries.
00:25:09.240 --> 00:25:17.340
Yeah , apparently , you tell us California lawmakers will be using the information from the Cal EPA Battery Advisory Group.
00:25:17.700 --> 00:25:27.920
So are they expected to enact new laws governing the disposal of EV batteries ? Well , I think if this system is going to happen , they will have to.
00:25:27.930 --> 00:25:36.690
There are going to have to be some changes in statute if we are going to require that these batteries be reused and recycled.
00:25:36.870 --> 00:25:39.690
This really is a bridge that we haven't crossed yet.
00:25:40.320 --> 00:25:56.730
And the big questions are , how is that going to happen ? You mentioned that the Car Battery Advisory Group from Cal EPA is going to be finishing up their their study , their report and that report is going to be done this month.
00:25:57.120 --> 00:26:00.060
After that , it's handed over to the Legislature.
00:26:00.060 --> 00:26:02.880
And what happens then ? Well , I guess we'll just have to see.
00:26:03.750 --> 00:26:08.280
I've been speaking with KPBS science and technology reporter Thomas Fudge.
00:26:08.310 --> 00:26:09.090
Tom , thank you.
00:26:09.840 --> 00:26:10.830
Thank you , Maureen.
00:26:21.680 --> 00:26:34.040
Back in 2020 , when then candidate Joe Biden was debating then President Donald Trump , he came out strongly against one particular practice separating migrant families at the border.
00:26:34.460 --> 00:26:44.060
So it was surprising when in December news broke that the Biden administration had suddenly dropped out of negotiations to compensate families for the harm they suffered.
00:26:44.360 --> 00:26:50.300
KQED's Michelle Wylie talked to advocates who believe money and politics are to blame.
00:26:50.840 --> 00:27:03.530
Back in October , the Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration was in talks to pay up to $450000 to those harmed by family separation under the Trump administration's so-called zero tolerance policy.
00:27:04.160 --> 00:27:12.830
These payments were just one part of negotiations between the administration and the American Civil Liberties Union to settle a long running class action lawsuit.
00:27:13.280 --> 00:27:17.570
And , according to ACLU attorney Legal learns , that number wasn't firm.
00:27:17.900 --> 00:27:25.650
There was no offer on the table , there was no specific amount on the table and we were prepared to continue negotiating.
00:27:25.730 --> 00:27:33.080
But as soon as that figure 450000 was out in the world , the backlash was swift.
00:27:33.200 --> 00:27:41.450
This incomprehensibly stupid idea of pet is going to be a slap in the face to every hardworking American.
00:27:41.630 --> 00:27:48.260
Dozens of House Republicans just sent a letter to three cabinet secretaries behind the reported plan , demanding answers.
00:27:48.380 --> 00:27:53.780
And in December , the Biden administration pulled out of talks to compensate families altogether.
00:27:54.710 --> 00:28:04.010
The two sides were trying to settle claims filed by parents under the Federal Tort Claims Act , a law that allows people to be compensated if the federal government causes them harm.
00:28:04.190 --> 00:28:10.640
For example , police harm someone and or unlawfully detained them.
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Then the victim was allowed to sue the government.
00:28:15.290 --> 00:28:22.520
Carol Anne Donohoe is the managing attorney for the Family Reunification Project at Al Otro Lado , a California based immigrant rights group.
00:28:23.090 --> 00:28:26.630
She says the families can clearly argue they were harmed.
00:28:26.900 --> 00:28:28.760
In some cases , it was physical harm.
00:28:29.030 --> 00:28:32.300
It's emotional distress because we ripped their children from them.
00:28:32.360 --> 00:28:37.550
And for parents who've been allowed back into the U.S. to reunite with their children and pursue legal status here.
00:28:37.820 --> 00:28:40.220
That money could really come in handy.
00:28:40.730 --> 00:28:45.020
A woman named Sandra sought asylum at the Arizona border in early 2017.
00:28:45.470 --> 00:28:51.290
She had fled Guatemala with her two children because she didn't trust police to protect her from a violent neighbor.
00:28:51.770 --> 00:28:59.120
But three days after arriving in the U.S. , officials took her kids away , saying the facility she was staying in couldn't support them.
00:28:59.540 --> 00:29:06.080
Sandra was deported without her children and didn't see them for three years until she was allowed to return last spring.
00:29:06.420 --> 00:29:08.350
Don't miss them will be the end of their mission.
00:29:08.400 --> 00:29:13.650
You'll they get it , and then we'll soon get this done better.
00:29:15.050 --> 00:29:23.150
She and the kids , now 14 and 15 , are sharing one bedroom in a relative's home , and she's suing the government for the trauma that the separation caused.
00:29:23.540 --> 00:29:27.920
She didn't want to use her last name for fear that talking to the press would harm her case.
00:29:28.490 --> 00:29:32.540
Sandra says it's hard in the U.S. because things are so expensive.
00:29:32.960 --> 00:29:41.570
She's trying to earn enough so they can move into their own apartment , and she tells her kids to focus on their studies so they can get good jobs and not suffer so much.
00:29:41.780 --> 00:29:46.330
Most 360 M.D. already lists since the negotiations fell apart.
00:29:46.340 --> 00:29:55.940
People like Sandra will have to go back to court to argue their cases , and the Biden administration will have to defend Trump's family separation policy in front of a judge.
00:29:56.450 --> 00:30:00.170
If the government loses , it may end up paying families anyway.
00:30:00.470 --> 00:30:04.040
The Justice Department declined to say why negotiators walked away.
00:30:04.370 --> 00:30:11.330
But according to UC Berkeley political scientist Lisa Garcia , Bedoya , the upcoming midterm election may have played a role.
00:30:11.540 --> 00:30:20.240
What the White House in a midterm wants is they want the conversation to be one where they think that they can be portrayed in a positive light.
00:30:20.540 --> 00:30:28.250
But the ACLU's Gelernter says it'd be wrong to assume that compensating families for family separation will hurt Democrats politically.
00:30:28.550 --> 00:30:32.390
You recall in 2018 not just Democrats and liberals.
00:30:32.840 --> 00:30:40.490
Conservatives and Republicans were outraged about Trump administration taking little babies away from their parents.
00:30:40.910 --> 00:30:47.600
So I think the Biden administration is wrong to think the politics will be against them for doing what's right here.
00:30:48.020 --> 00:30:53.720
And Garland says regardless of the politics , the administration needs to do the right thing.
00:30:54.080 --> 00:30:55.070
I'm Michelle Wylie.
00:31:01.120 --> 00:31:10.660
As heat waves , hurricanes , floods and fires become omnipresent in our everyday lives , so too does anxiety and fear for the future.
00:31:11.140 --> 00:31:20.200
In response , some mental health professionals are encouraging people to become active in the climate justice movement as an act of personal resilience.
00:31:20.530 --> 00:31:27.820
The non-profit Youth for Climate focuses on empowering young people to become leaders in the climate justice movement.
00:31:28.150 --> 00:31:43.600
Joining me to talk about how to become a climate activist is Megan Phelps , program coordinator at San Diego's 350.org Youth for Climate and Staff Research Associate at the UC San Diego Climate Psychology and Action Lab. Megan , welcome.
00:31:43.840 --> 00:31:45.160
Thank you and happy to be here.
00:31:45.520 --> 00:32:07.540
So what do you hear from young people about feeling anxious and worried or even depressed about the effects of climate change in the future ? So what we're seeing is that a lot more young people are feeling anxiety , anger and fear about the climate crisis and the fact that government is not taking adequate action to protect their futures.
00:32:07.660 --> 00:32:12.720
In fact , that's one of the top reasons that young people report joining our organization.
00:32:12.730 --> 00:32:20.500
We just did a feedback survey of our members , and 90 percent of them reported that that was one of the reasons that they joined our organization.
00:32:20.870 --> 00:32:40.540
Why do you think climate change is causing more anxiety among youth now ? I mean , is it social media ? I think that social media does play a role because they're seeing other people like them care and are worried about the issue , which makes it more salient and also just seeing more impacts.
00:32:40.660 --> 00:32:50.830
Some authors of a recent study that surveyed young people in forty two countries found that 77 percent of young people surveyed agreed that the future was frightening.
00:32:51.190 --> 00:33:02.830
Many were questioning whether they wanted to have children , and that's a correct ethical response to the crisis because it's so huge and won't impact their lives.
00:33:02.830 --> 00:33:16.240
So I think just the fact that they're confronting the issue more and seeing it in social media in the news is a huge factor in increasing their concern.
00:33:16.510 --> 00:33:22.980
So how do you think becoming active in the climate justice movement can help with some of those feelings ? I think a couple of things.
00:33:22.990 --> 00:33:32.090
One is just feeling like they're making a difference and that their fears might not come true , that they can inspire adequate climate action.
00:33:32.140 --> 00:33:47.470
And then the other thing is just being with other like minded people helps alleviate some of the climate anxiety because it's being validated and they feel a sense of collective efficacy that together we can solve this.
00:33:47.830 --> 00:34:04.040
Is there a certain age group or a demographic that you're seeing experience more climate anxieties ? Youth for Climate focuses on high school students , so I'm seeing a lot of high school students becoming more anxious about climate and then college students.
00:34:04.060 --> 00:34:12.220
I think the people who are starting college now are feeling more worried about it , and I think that's kind of true across a lot of age groups.
00:34:12.220 --> 00:34:17.650
So even the adults who participate in youth for climate , we have an adult support team.
00:34:18.130 --> 00:34:22.120
They also are feeling some of that climate anxiety , too.
00:34:22.300 --> 00:34:35.170
And we're doing an after school program right now at San Diego High School and really emphasizing the intersection of climate change and other more immediate health impacts like reduced air quality.
00:34:35.560 --> 00:34:52.630
And the Climate Equity Index has identified some of those neighborhoods that lower income neighborhoods of color as being the most vulnerable to climate change impacts in the future because they have fewer economic resources to be resilient.
00:34:52.960 --> 00:35:02.920
So we're doing outreach to those neighborhoods and really trying to empower people to work with their communities to rise up and advocate.
00:35:03.370 --> 00:35:20.710
What steps can you take to become a climate activist ? Well , you can become active with our organization , Youth for Climate , by going to our website , San Diego 350.org and filling out our volunteer interest forum.
00:35:20.890 --> 00:35:34.420
I think taking action for climate is a personal thing , but it's also better when we come together and build strategic campaigns and rely on each other to create a stronger movement.
00:35:34.900 --> 00:35:43.630
How can you incorporate being a climate activist into your everyday life ? I think again , joining an organization is the best way to do that.
00:35:43.720 --> 00:35:47.210
Of course , there are personal steps that you can take.
00:35:47.320 --> 00:36:00.280
Growing numbers of people are decreasing their meat and dairy intake , driving less , transitioning to public transportation and then , of course , voting.
00:36:00.450 --> 00:36:05.100
And sending letters to elected officials.
00:36:05.340 --> 00:36:26.970
Phone calls are also important civic actions will be crucial to address fossil fuel emissions , which are a huge driver of climate change , and just finding a climate organization near you and being with other like minded people is not only possibly the most effective thing to do.
00:36:27.000 --> 00:36:29.340
It's also really meaningful and fun.
00:36:29.670 --> 00:36:40.800
I have been speaking with Megan Phelps , program coordinator at San Diego , 350.org , Youth for Climate and Staff Research Associate at the UCSD Climate Psychology and Action Lab.
00:36:41.190 --> 00:36:42.030
Megan , thank you.
00:36:42.630 --> 00:36:43.580
Thank you so much.
00:36:54.990 --> 00:36:57.600
You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition.
00:36:57.630 --> 00:37:00.000
I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Cavanaugh.
00:37:00.510 --> 00:37:06.300
Next week , La Jolla Playhouse hosts the world premiere of Bang in It , a bang in new musical.
00:37:06.540 --> 00:37:15.480
The play looks at a mixed race woman involved in competitive collegiate bhangra , a dam style that mixes Indian and Western influences.
00:37:15.870 --> 00:37:21.210
KPBS Arts reporter Beth Accomando speaks with the play's director , Stafford Arima.
00:37:21.840 --> 00:37:48.270
So tell me what appealed to you about directing bringing it ? One of the greatest gifts of banging it is its inherent joy when a new work comes , you know , across one's desk and you literally open the pages and you listen to the demo recordings and the script , the characters , the dialogue , the songs leap off the page.
00:37:48.780 --> 00:37:52.530
Then you know that there's something really special about this work.
00:37:53.130 --> 00:37:58.180
And what role does the music play in this ? The music in bang.
00:37:58.320 --> 00:38:02.430
It has such a effervescence to it.
00:38:02.850 --> 00:38:04.560
It's it bubbles it.
00:38:04.560 --> 00:38:06.540
It kind of sparks.
00:38:06.840 --> 00:38:12.630
It has elements of of musical theater kind of classic sound.
00:38:12.900 --> 00:38:17.100
And then there is classic Indian sounds that are also in this score.
00:38:17.340 --> 00:38:24.570
So a very rich and diverse score that inevitably moves , touches and inspires an audience.
00:38:24.990 --> 00:38:31.410
The score is energetic , and it is one of the main ingredients of how this story is being told.
00:38:31.650 --> 00:38:35.580
With such fervor and with such excitement and you brought up dance.
00:38:35.580 --> 00:38:39.270
Dance is very key to this and its particular style of Bhangra.
00:38:39.280 --> 00:38:47.340
So how does that reflect the character ? When I read the play and it said Bhangra competition , I have to be really honest.
00:38:47.340 --> 00:38:50.280
I had never heard of Bhangra.
00:38:50.550 --> 00:39:09.540
And so of course you just Google away , and all of a sudden you see this incredible movement , this choreography and this historic movement that's steeped in tradition and how now it's kind of risen to this world of the collegiate world where the kids are doing it.
00:39:09.540 --> 00:39:36.440
And it's it's hip and it's such an important character to this piece because at the core of this story , it is about a young woman in college named Mary Biracial figuring out her identity , how she fits in the world and how she fits into her culture and through the story of Bhangra and through the ideas of the movements and the choreography.
00:39:36.450 --> 00:39:42.480
We tell the story not only through music and not only through script , but also through dance.
00:39:42.780 --> 00:39:46.740
Well , it seems like dance and music are this great kind of cultural ambassador.
00:39:46.750 --> 00:39:47.040
00:39:47.060 --> 00:39:54.420
You know , dance is such a universal language and it touches people in so many different ways.
00:39:54.420 --> 00:40:07.020
And it's not just a North American phenomenon , it's a world wide phenomenon and movement and rhythm and bodies and motion just electrified the people's souls.
00:40:07.020 --> 00:40:22.140
And so banging it incorporates all of that kinetic energy into its movement , into its choreography , and tells the story through this extraordinary dance form called Bhangra , and talk a little bit about the character of Mary.
00:40:22.170 --> 00:40:39.660
What is she going through in this play ? Our protagonist in the musical is named Mary Clarke , and she is probably like a lot of us living in a world that is constantly changing and trying to figure out where one fits into this world.
00:40:40.050 --> 00:40:42.660
And that's what makes for me bang in.
00:40:42.660 --> 00:40:44.370
It's such a universal tale.
00:40:44.580 --> 00:40:50.220
It's not just about , you know , college students and only college friends are going to enjoy this piece.
00:40:50.670 --> 00:40:54.660
We all know what it feels like to not quite fit in.
00:40:55.470 --> 00:41:02.310
And how do you work with this creative team ? Because you do have music , you have dance , you have the performers.
00:41:02.820 --> 00:41:12.600
What is that kind of mix like ? One of the greatest gifts about collaboration are finding all of the the pieces of bringing something to life.
00:41:12.600 --> 00:41:18.540
And in a musical , you have the music , you have the dancing , you have the design , you have the story.
00:41:18.990 --> 00:41:26.010
And this team is quite extraordinary in their openness to kind of play.
00:41:26.700 --> 00:41:29.340
A new work requires that energy.
00:41:29.340 --> 00:41:39.780
A new work that has never been seen on a stage before , requires a creative team that is open to , well , does this song really work here ? Maybe we move that song somewhere else.
00:41:39.780 --> 00:41:41.790
Is this dance work here ? Maybe we cut it.
00:41:41.940 --> 00:41:44.970
Maybe we move this scene to the top and move that scene to the bottom.
00:41:45.270 --> 00:41:50.490
And that fluidity is it's almost like orchestrating an orchestra.
00:41:51.060 --> 00:41:54.410
You have all these major players who are contributing their art.
00:41:54.820 --> 00:42:08.690
And the director tends to kind of be kind of in the eye of the cyclone where all of these amazing kind of creative energies are floating around and lots of drama and lots of laughter and a couple of tears here and there.
00:42:09.010 --> 00:42:13.520
But we all work together to come to tell one story.
00:42:13.900 --> 00:42:28.840
And that is what makes the collaboration of a musical so enthralling is , even though we're coming at it from different points of view , we're all there to tell the story in the most succinct and the most entertaining and the most inspiring way.
00:42:29.460 --> 00:42:31.780
I'm just curious how you work with the choreographer.
00:42:31.960 --> 00:42:39.010
The working relationship between a choreographer and a director is is very unique in all different productions.
00:42:39.520 --> 00:42:41.960
Roosh , who is the choreographer for banging it.
00:42:41.980 --> 00:42:50.280
We have such a great simpatico , a an ability to be able to share an idea that perhaps is in my head.
00:42:50.290 --> 00:42:52.510
Oh , I see it moving like this.
00:42:52.510 --> 00:43:10.480
Or perhaps can the character try that ? And then Rouge will say , Oh , well , maybe that and this and you kind of build ideas together , and then you will let the choreographer go into the room and create the magic with the actors and the and the performers.
00:43:10.780 --> 00:43:27.880
And then actually out of that kind of pre-production discussion , you get a whole new kind of creation of magic because not only has Rouge gone in and worked with a semblance of something that perhaps she wants to bring to the page and to the stage.
00:43:28.270 --> 00:43:35.670
But then you have performers who add to the level of , Oh , well , maybe I can do this trick here or try this kind of move here.
00:43:35.680 --> 00:43:43.660
And so once again , it really is all about collaborating and not just between director and choreographer , but also with performer.
00:43:44.110 --> 00:43:51.940
And what did you personally identify with most in this play ? I am biracial and I'm kind of bi national.
00:43:51.940 --> 00:43:59.410
I guess I'm I'm Canadian born , but I have American citizenship and my nationality is Canadian born.
00:43:59.410 --> 00:44:01.480
But I am Japanese and I'm Chinese.
00:44:01.480 --> 00:44:22.090
So this piece that opens the doors to talking about identity and how one fits into the world connected to me because I lived the majority of my life in Canada for 20 plus years , and then I spent another 20 plus years in the United States , which is , you know , a very different country than Canada.
00:44:22.360 --> 00:44:27.250
And then also being Canadian , but also Canadian , Japanese and Canadian Chinese.
00:44:27.760 --> 00:44:33.070
I found myself drawn to this work because of the complexities of those questions.
00:44:33.340 --> 00:44:52.270
Who am I ? What part of me is am I more Canadian and my more American and my more Chinese , Japanese Canadian ? And so because this piece unravels some of those discussions and talking points , I found that to be a personal connection for me , just as Stafford , not necessarily as the director.
00:44:52.660 --> 00:44:52.960
00:44:52.960 --> 00:44:55.060
Well , thank you very much for talking about banging it.
00:44:55.150 --> 00:44:55.840
00:44:57.190 --> 00:44:59.770
That was Beth Accomando speaking with Stafford.
00:44:59.770 --> 00:45:01.300
Arima banging it.
00:45:01.300 --> 00:45:06.910
A being a new musical runs March eight through April 17th at the La Jolla Playhouse.