Episode 2 / Rachel Kyte

Investing in Climate Leadership

Apple 1024px-Podcasts_iOS.svg.png

About our Guest /

What is stopping us from providing affordable and reliable energy for all? What is the role of graduate education in addressing the racial inequalities still so manifest in the US? What does leadership in international affairs look like in 2020?


My guest on Episode 2 of Cleaning Up is Rachel Kyte, former climate supremo at the World Bank, UN special representative and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, now Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Rachel Kyte CMG is the 14th Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and the first woman to lead the oldest graduate school of international affairs in the United States, where she took her Global Master of Arts in 2002. Prior to joining Fletcher, Rachel was Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All.


Before that, Rachel was World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change, leading the Bank Group’s efforts to refocus its operations towards supporting a sustainable global economy and campaigning for the passage of the Paris Agreement. Earlier still, she was a Vice President at the International Finance Corporation. Rachel was born in the East of England and took her first degree at the University of London. In the New Years Honours last December last year was appointed Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, “awarded to men and women who hold high office or who render extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country”.


In Episode 2 of Cleaning Up, Rachel and Michael discuss what’s stopping us from providing clean, affordable and reliable energy for all (spoiler: it’s not technology or finance). Rachel reflects on a career spent in the development sector, reflecting on its weaknesses and providing positive examples of countries making good use of international funding.


In the second half of the conversation, Rachel talks about the extreme polarization and persistent racial inequality in the US, how she wants to improve diversity as the new Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts, and how she hopes to help her graduates avoid becoming the next generation of rabble-rousing populists.

Premiered / July 29, 2020


Guest Links / 

  • The Fletcher School of International Affairs at Tufts: Click here 

  • Fletcher’s School Dean Kyte’s statement on inclusion and racial justice: Click here

  • Sustainable Energy For All (SE4All): Click here

  • State of the Global Mini-grids Market Report 2020 (report by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and BloombergNEF): Click here

  • Climate action does not require economic sacrifice (2015 World Bank blog by Rachel Kyte): Click here

Show Transcript /