Climate Emergency: Move Fast and Break Things!

“Move Fast and Break Things” shouldn’t only be Facebook’s motto. Everyone engaged in climate policy needs to understand that we need to adopt a new kind of war footing: get new ideas into prototype as fast as possible, try them out, then choose the ones that can scale the quickest and most effectively. This is not a time for political candidates to tread cautiously on climate, hoping that people will divine their true intentions behind the rhetorical timidity.

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Cutting Oil Use - A True Heavy Lifting Challenge!

A recipe for climate disaster! Barclays’ recent study shows how hard it is to cut oil use, let alone get to “zero net carbon” emissions by 2050. Under “most likely” scenario, world oil demand peaks in 2030-2035, with 2050 demand about 5% above today, 105 million barrels/day. What can we do to change this?

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Remembering the First Earth Day (1970)

The first Earth Day in 1970 shifted the 1960s early environmental movement into overdrive. In September 1969, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson announced that a national Earth Day would be held the following April 22nd. As a student at Caltech, the announcement electrified me: Here was a cause I could support: a clean environment, focused on passing laws reducing air and water pollution.

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Deepwater Horizon - Remembering the Worst US Environmental Disaster

Just in time for a remembrance on Earth Day, April 20th marks the 9th anniversary of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. We shouldn’t forget that the fossil fuel age is not just about carbon dioxide concentrations increasing in the atmosphere, it’s about significant adverse impacts on people and the environment of this dependence.

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Slaying the Seven Dragons of Climate Change Inaction (Part Two)

Seven Dragons are generic types of psychological barriers, compiled by psychologist Robert Gifford at the University of Victoria (Canada), that hold a person back from doing something. These barriers may help explain why a person (or society) agrees that climate change and environmental sustainability are important issues yet doesn’t take sufficient action to effectively deal with them. (Part Two)

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Slaying the Seven Dragons of Inaction on Climate Change

Seven Dragons are generic types of psychological barriers that hold a person back from doing something. These barriers help explain why a person (or society) may agree that climate change and environmental sustainability are important issues yet doesn’t take sufficient action to effectively deal with them. How many dragons can you find (and then slay) in your own thinking about dealing with climate change?

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Bring the Green New Deal Home - Decarbonize the Campus by 2030!

The most effective place to implement complete decarbonization is on the nation’s 2,500 college and university campuses. We can get to zero net carbon by 2030 on almost every campus and do it in an economically beneficial way. But it will take an energized, committed and thoughtful student effort, three student generations really, to get the job done. So I say: Students of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your emissions!

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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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