Are you interested in environmental issues or European policy? Would you like to understand what the European Green Deal is and how will it impact our lives in the years to come? Then you have come to the right place.

Together with exciting interview guests from policy, business, and science our podcast hosts – Aaron Best, Ewa Iwaszuk and Ricarda Faber from Ecologic Institute – will help you make sense of the European Green Deal's complexity.

In a series of podcast episodes, we will help you understand the significance of different measures by focusing on relevant and relatable themes. We will talk about topics such as sustainable fashion, the future of cities and what our diets could look like in 2050.

The podcast is available online and on the following streaming platforms:
Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Deezer | Google Podcasts | Amazon Music | YouTube

All episodes

Episode 15:  

Decarbonizing buildings and transport - a new future for EU emissions trading 

 In the finale of "Green Deal – Big Deal?" Season 1 we dive deep into EU ETS2, the EU's expanded emissions trading system, now encompassing buildings and transport. 

Hosts Ewa Iwaszuk and Aaron Best are joined by Sibyl Steuwer from the Buildings Performance Institute Europe and Matthias Duwe of the Ecologic Institute to discuss the complexities of integrating buildings and transport into the EU’s emissions trading system, exploring the challenges and opportunities this expansion presents.  

Episode 14:  

Material world: Using resources sustainably in a time of planetary crises 

In this episode of "Green Deal – Big Deal?", we tackle the complex world of natural resources, a topic that underpins many aspects of Europe's ambition for a green future.

In conversation with guests Janez Potočnik, Co-chair of the International Resources Panel, and Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director-General of European Commission’s DG Environment, hosts Aaron Best and Ewa Iwaszuk discuss how the use of natural resources is closely linked to the climate and biodiversity crises, highlighting the global nature of resource use and its impacts. 

Episode 13:  

Bringing creativity and beauty to Europe's green transition

In this episode of "Green Deal – Big Deal?" we discuss what mud houses, 3D printers and beauty have to do with Europe’s journey to becoming a climate-neutral continent.

Specifically, we speak with Alina Ujupan, part of the team behind the European Commission’s New European Bauhaus Initiative, and Edouard Cabay, winner of a recent New European Bauhaus prize for… Spain’s first 3D printed building using earth. 

Episode 12:  

Ensuring a Just Transition to net-zero emissions

What does Just Transition really mean?

In this episode, we dive into the multifaceted nature of Just Transition, covering its environmental, economic, social, and political aspects.

Podcast hosts Ricarda Faber and Aaron Best of Ecologic Institute are joined by guests Frank Siebern-Thomas, Head of Fair Green and Digital Transitions, Research Unit in DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission, and Ludovic Voet, Confederal Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation. 

Episode 11:  

Europe's race to renewables - cheaper, vaster faster

The renewables race is on!

Utility-scale solar photovoltaics and onshore wind are now the cheapest sources of new power in most countries. A 2022 report from the IEA projects renewables to cover 90% of global electricity growth in 5 years. At the same time, the EU aims for 42.5% renewable energy by 2040, fueled by the Renewable Energy Directive.

In this episode, Ricarda Faber and Aaron Best of Ecologic Institute, interview guests Professor Johan Lilliestam of the Research Institute for Sustainability Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS) and Dr. Andrzej Ancygier of Climate Analytics. They shed light on the past, present and future of renewables in the EU, describing the major market shifts, policy events and technological developments that have made renewable energy one of the most exciting facets of achieving sustainability in Europe. 

Episode 10:  

Nature Restoration Law: restoring Europe's ecosystems & protecting biodiversity

Our planet is experiencing a biodiversity crisis. And the problem across the EU is also severe, with more than 80% of habitats in the EU now in a bad or poor conservation status. To reverse this alarming trend, the European Commission has proposed the Nature Restoration Law, which aims to restore at least 20% of EU land and sea by 2030, and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.

In the latest “Green Deal – Big Deal?” podcast episode, the hosts Ricarda Faber and Aaron Best from Ecologic Institute speak with interview guests Humberto Delgado Rosa (Director for Biodiversity at the European Commission) and Sabien Leemans (Senior Biodiversity Policy Officer for WWF). We discuss the decline of nature in the EU, the reasons to protect biodiversity, and the current political debate that could decide the fate of the Nature Restoration Law and the species it seeks to protect.  

Episode 9:  

The fight for better air quality in Europe

Air pollution has been a long-standing environmental problem in Europe. Though significant progress has been made, over 90% of the EU’s urban population is still exposed to air pollution levels exceeding the science-based guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO). The fight for better air quality in the EU is not over – and it’s a battle in which citizens can take an active part.

In the latest “Green Deal – Big Deal?” podcast episode, the hosts Ewa Iwaszuk and Aaron Best from Ecologic Institute speak with interview guests Margherita Tolotto (Senior Policy Officer for Air and Noise at the European Environmental Bureau) and Agnieszka Warso-Buchanan (Senior Lawyer in ClientEarth). We discuss the problem of air pollution, the important role that lawsuits have played in forcing action, the current effort to bring the law in line with the science – and what citizens can do to have their voices heard in this debate.

Episode 8:  

The European Green Deal symphony: conducting the net-zero transition

The journey to net-zero emissions requires thousands of different policy interventions at all sorts of different times and across all sectors. Similarly, an orchestra is made up of many different instruments - all of which have to play the same tune at the right time! The conductor makes sure that all these different instruments do exactly that. Likewise, a governance framework plays that role in climate policy: it makes sure that all the policies are playing the same tune, working together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect and restore nature. Of course, there are many questions associated with governance of the European Green Deal!
In the latest “Green Deal – Big Deal?” podcast episode, the hosts Ewa Iwaszuk and Nick Evans from Ecologic Institute discuss these questions, together with their interview guests Claire Dupont (University of Ghent) and Sharon Turner (independent expert associated with European Climate Foundation and University of Sussex). The two guests explain their understanding of EU governance, how it has evolved over the years, and its crucial role in shaping Europe’s future. 

Episode 7:  

Fifty shades of green: sustainable finance and the EU taxonomy

How do we classify which investments are the right ones to power the transition to a climate and nature-friendly economy? This is a pretty big question, and one that is crucial to a successful implementation of the European Green Deal. The EU taxonomy – the subject of our latest episode - specifies the various criteria that investments will need to fulfill to be considered sustainable. In practice, the taxonomy is a long list of economic activities with benchmark performance standards. 

But how do we guarantee that these investments actually achieve what they are set out to do? How do we ensure that we don’t finance activities that support one goal, such as climate change mitigation, but harm our ability to achieve others (e.g., reversing biodiversity loss)? And how is the EU taxonomy implemented in practice? In the latest episode, the hosts discuss these questions, together with their interview guests Ben Allen (Research Director at the Institute for European Environmental Policy) and Nicole Kramer (Sustainability Analyst at Greenomy).

Episode 6:  

From packaging to microplastics: unwrapping EU plastics policies 

Since we learned how to produce plastic, humans have manufactured more than 8.3 billion tons of it – most of which ended up as a waste product, somewhere on the planet. This leads plastic waste to enter the landscape, rivers, beaches, and eventually ocean. We asked our listeners what, in their opinion, is the issue with plastic pollution. The answers ranged from negative impacts on human health and the environment to lack of recycling infrastructure and the global dimension of the plastics problem.  

So how can we possibly address a problem of this size? In the latest “Green Deal – Big Deal?” podcast episode, the host Ewa Iwaszuk and a guest co-host Linda Mederake from Ecologic Institute try to get to the bottom of the problem of plastic pollution, together with their interview guests Frieder Rubik (Institute for Ecological Economic Research) and Jean-Pierre Schweitzer (European Environmental Bureau) who share interesting information and perspectives regarding plastic pollution.

Episode 5:  

Beating the heat: Europe prepares for climate change impacts 

In Europe and beyond, the summer of 2022 is hot. Very hot. A runway at a London airport melted in the heat and from Paris to Warsaw the grass in parks turned dry and yellow. The Rhine – the river flowing through Rotterdam, Köln and Strasbourg – is running dry. This is the same river that catastrophically flooded a year ago, destroying towns in Germany and Belgium. The impact of climate change on urban areas in Europe is unmistakable.

On one of those days when the temperature hit 30 degrees, the “Green Deal – Big Deal?” podcast host Ewa Iwaszuk from Ecologic Institute in Berlin speaks with her guests about the climate change impacts in cities and especially about the EU's plans on how to adapt to and better deal with those impacts. The discussion focuses on the possibilities that nature offers to help us cope with challenges such as heat and flooding. 

Episode 4

Farm to Fork: feeding a continent without wrecking a planet 

Food production is a sector completely dependent on healthy environment and predictable climatic conditions. At the same time, modern agriculture is among the major contributors to climate and biodiversity crises. We ask our expert guests about the food systems approach adopted by the European Commission's “Farm to fork” strategy and investigate how the strategy will impact producers, consumers and the global food markets. We discuss strategies to address food waste and explore why meat is a politically sensitive topic.  

Episode 3

Sustainability in style: circular fashion in the European Green Deal 

Clothing is something that everyone, everywhere deals with every day. However its production has an enormous environmental footprint. In our current podcast episode we explore the concepts of circular and sustainable fashion and discuss the potential impact of the recently published European Union Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles. 

Episode 2

It's electric! The future of mobility in Europe.

In our second episode we discuss the challenges and issues that the mobility transformation needs to address, including environmental problems like climate change and air pollution, with our interview guests Katarzyna Sobótka-Demianowska (CLARITAS Investments) & Kerstin Meyer (Agora Verkehrswende).  A special focus is on electrification and batteries, which are central to the mobility transformation. 

Episode 1

What is the European Green Deal… and is it ambitious enough?

What is the European Green Deal, really? And how does the European Union plan to achieve its ambitious goals? In the first episode of our podcast we take a closer look at the European Green Deal with our two guests: Hans Bruyninckx and Åsa Persson.

Our podcast hosts

Aaron Best

Aaron examines how the economy can provide for people’s well-being while protecting the planet. He works for Ecologic Institute in Berlin and enjoys chasing the light with his camera.

Ricarda Faber

Ricarda analyses the design and implementation of policy frameworks for accelerating sustainable energy transitions. 
She is a Researcher at Ecologic Institute and enjoys hiking the Swiss Alps in her free time.  

Ewa Iwaszuk

Ewa investigates how nature can help us address the climate crisis and different urban challenges from heatwaves to social exclusion. She works for Ecologic Institute in Berlin and grows eggplants on her balcony in her free time