Former energy exec’s podcast tackles climate change

(Lauren Radack)

Lee Krevat’s podcast allows him to merge many of his interests and skills in one place — his passion for fighting the ill effects of climate change, his talent at improv comedy, his experience in the field of clean energy and his abilities as a rapper.

Krevat launched the podcast in January, following his retirement in the fall of 2018 from Sempra Energy — the parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric — after 20 years, where he had worked on such efforts as modernizing the utility’s electrical grid.

“I was looking for a way to use what I have to offer to make a difference, and this is what I came up with,” said Krevat, 55, who also mentors and advises young companies in the fields of clean energy, clean transportation and energy security.

The podcast is called “Climate Champions,” and is hosted on the Podbean podcast site. It can also be found on I-Tunes, Spotify and other podcasting apps. The podcast airs weekly, runs for 20 to 60 minutes, and each week features a different guest, all with a theme of mitigating the effects of climate change, said Krevat.

So far, Krevat has produced 26 episodes of the podcast, featuring CEOs, politicians, academics and regulators. At the end of each episode, he improvises a rap that sums up the content of that week’s podcast, a signature touch that has surprised and delighted his guests.

On a recent episode, Krevat interviewed U.S. Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, about his Climate Playbook, a compilation of existing legislation by Democrats and Republicans to address climate change.

Krevat “wrapped up” the Peters interview with a rap that included the lines, “You want to take the climate change effort even higher, because you want to avoid intense wildfire... As I sat across from you, you sat there with your smile. But you also talked about working as hard as you can to get agreement across the aisle.”

“That’s top of the charts, Lee, that’s really something,” Peters said afterward with a laugh.

Krevat grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and studied computer science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Penn., before working in Silicon Valley, and later moving to San Diego to take a position with Sempra.

He first performed with an improv comedy troupe in 1989, and currently works with two San Diego groups -- Old Town Improv Company and Finest City Improv. Although he considers himself an introvert, he said performing with improv groups has helped him come out of his shell, and to feel comfortable in front of the microphone as he does his podcast interviews.

After leaving Sempra, Krevat said he talked about launching a podcast, but found himself busy with consulting work in the clean energy sector. But his wife, Kathy, urged him to follow through with the podcast idea, and bought him a microphone and sound mixing gear that he needed to produce his interview show.

He’s since traveled around the U.S. and Canada seeking out interview subjects for the podcast, and will soon travel to Scotland for additional interviews.

Up to 200 listeners tune into his podcast on the Podbean app, but he said the number of listeners is probably close to 1,000 when I-Tunes and other podcast sites are factored in. His goal is to hit 10,000 listeners by mid-2020.

“That number’s been growing so I’m very excited,” he said.

Krevat and his wife live in Carmel Valley, where he produces his podcast and she writes murder mystery novels. Her latest book, “The Trouble with Talent,” is part of a series about a single mother who runs a gourmet cat food company and also solves murders on the side.

The couple have two grown daughters, Shaina and Devyn, who both work as computer coders and write fiction as well.

Krevat said he feels an urgency to address climate change, because impacts such as extreme weather, disease and loss of species are being felt across the planet.

“We have a threat to the human race right now,” Krevat said. “So if you have a means to help, you have a responsibility to help.”