Green New Deal - Will a Carbon Tax Work?

Raising gasoline prices enough to cut carbon emissions dramatically from transportation would be suicide for politicians, but if we don’t do it, how will we achieve climate goals? Electrifying transportation with a “moon shot” program is probably the only real solution, perhaps using the carbon taxes from gasoline sales to incentivize the transition.

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The Green New Deal & Building Retrofits

The Green New Deal advocates retrofitting 100% of the country’s buildings over the next 10 years to net zero energy. This is purposeless, wasteful and unnecessary. We need to pay attention to the “80/20 Rule” - 20% of the buildings are generating 80% of energy use; our focus should be on them. When you look at the numbers, this goal is quite achievable.

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The Green New Deal - Why It Could Work!

We already know what we must do to prevent the worst aspects of climate change from happening and, more importantly, we have done something like it before. When I helped organize the first Earth Day celebration on the Caltech campus in 1970, joining 2,000 other campuses in a massive national Teach-In, we collectively started a national environmental movement that over two short decades reduced pollution dramatically and protected nature everywhere.

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The Green New Deal – Can It Work?

All the buzz around climate change has descended on the Green New Deal proposed a few weeks ago by Senator Ed Markey and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In its current form it’s a mishmash of “progressive” politics and climate change practicalities. In this blog series, I deal with just with the climate change aspects.

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Is Paris Burning?

Do the Paris riots have something to tell us about how to approach climate change? How would your proposed climate change policies and recommendations sit with the 80% who are struggling to get by, if they thought it would make daily life harder, more expensive, etc.?

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A Marketer Looks at Climate Change - Part III: Crossing the Chasm

In 1991, Geoffrey Moore introduced a new term into the discussion of Diffusion of Innovation, particularly with reference to high-tech products. That term was “Crossing the Chasm.” In his book, Crossing the Chasm, updated in a 2014 edition, Moore argues, “There is a vast chasm between the early adopters and the early majority. While early adopters are willing to sacrifice for the advantage of being first, the early majority waits until they know that the technology actually offers improvements in productivity. The challenge for innovators and marketers is to narrow this chasm and ultimately accelerate adoption across every segment.”

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Plus Ça Change, Plus C'est La Même Chose

Tuesday’s US national elections changed little, except to put the brakes on further efforts by the Trump Administration to deal with climate change, such as by bailing out failing coal and nuclear plants. In many ways, it just replicated the 2010 election, which put the brakes on President Obama’s Administration and set the stage for the 2014 recapture of the Senate by Republicans.

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Resiliency – The New Green Wave?

Now that most of us have come to realize that climate change will not be reversed in our lifetimes, we’ve turned to the next new thing: dealing with it. Rather than embracing doomsday scenarios, our remarkable economic system is beginning to realize that there’s real profit in dealing with the potential impacts of climate change. Of course there are potentially real and massive losses in NOT dealing with these same impacts.

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Water Planning in the Age of Climate Change

Where is climate change heading? We don’t want to be like the Croatian goalie in this World Cup 2018 Final match, heading right when the French kick is going to the left? How can we plan far enough ahead to make sure our water systems will be adequate in a climate-challenged future that’s likely to be much drier in many parts of the U.S.?

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The First Greenbuild - 2002

With the 17th Greenbuild conference and expo scheduled to be held in Chicago in just two weeks, I thought it would be interesting to look back at the very first such event. This segment is taken from my forthcoming memoir, From Earth Day to Enlightenment: An Eco/Spiritual Odyssey, to be published in the fall of 2019.

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Planning for Climate Change

Planning for climate change requires a much better “crystal ball” than we have now. The IPCC reports show the current scientific CONSENSUS about the effects of 1.5C and 2.0C warmings by 2050. But what if those warmings happen sooner than we think? Shouldn’t we be planning for “worst case” scenarios? The question of how to go about planning for the effects of climate change is not academic and also should not be left to most government agencies. Perhaps the best example of planning for a warmer, wetter, hotter and (in some places) drier future is the U.S. military, by most accounts the best managed large organization in the U.S. and perhaps the world.

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Climate Change: Unknown Unknowns - Part 1

Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know (now). But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know…Those in the latter category tend to be the (most) difficult ones.

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The Great Denial

Every time I think we can somehow “muddle through” climate change and only be arguing about how much a carbon tax should be, I see a study like this one from the National Academy of Sciences that posits a continuation of warming, even an acceleration, that could leave Earth in a “hothouse” condition for millennia.

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Cultural Knowledge Gaps

We are living in the Anthropocene, the new epoch in Earth’s history, when human activity is the greatest biological, ecological and even geological force. Yet our cultural knowledge still dates back to the Pleistocene, to sitting around the campfire telling stories to each other. We need to quickly figure out how to make our most meaningful stories about what it means to be human, to include how we will navigate out of this self-created mess.

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The Human Face of Climate Change

The human face of climate change is often missing from stories about climate change, but it’s one we need to tell with greater emphasis to get political action. The lone house left standing on the shoreline at Mexico Beach got lots of photos in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael last week, but it was built by two wealthy people who could afford to spend twice as much (per sq.ft.) to protect it from such events.

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The Elephant in the Room

The elephant in the room on all of our green building and sustainability discussions is CLIMATE CHANGE. We all know and accept that it’s happening, but we haven’t yet owned up to the dramatic changes that we will have to undergo to deal with it.

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