Climate of Hope

One of the positives of the US President pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Accord is it has galvanized the many who see the need to act to save our planet. Coupling the US exit with the President placing climate change deniers and fossil fuel supporters in key cabinet roles, he has placed the US government at the kids table, while the adults talk about solving the world’s problems.

Fortunately, even the President’s actions cannot stop the momentum as a tipping point on renewable energy and other efforts have been reached. As reported in the book “Climate of Hope,” by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Executive Director of the Sierra Club Carl Pope, cities, businesses and citizens have been leading the way. This is important as cities are significant contributors to climate change and can therefore make a huge dent in ameliorating its effect. And, they are sharing their successes formally and informally.

Some of these efforts include:

– Restoring and renovating older buildings into green buildings. Bloomberg touts the renovation of the 1931 built Empire State as a key example.

– Building new structures with an even greener footprint. In India they deploy white rooftops to reflect away the sun to minimize cooling costs, e.g,

– Building more pedestrian areas which provide safer and eco-friendly access to shops, restaurants and businesses. These car free zones actually are part of a solution to reroute traffic to reduce carbon polluting stoppage.

– Building with buffers to allow nature to do its jobs to absorb the pounding of the ocean, since,  so many large cities are coastal cities with some below sea level. We should use nature to provide defenses that stand the test of time.

– Developing master traffic plans embracing car sharing, ride sharing, bike sharing, pedestrian pathways, electric vehicles from buses to taxis, and the elegant use of mass transit based on capital needs and restrictions. Bloomberg is big on measuring things, so installing GPS in New York taxis allowed them to measure success and make modifications to their plans as executed.

– Planting more carbon saving trees in cities and other areas, as well as using other plants such as mangroves in coastal areas as they suck carbon out of the air.

– Conserving food and reducing wastage. We waste huge amounts of food, both before and after it is cooked. Imperfect fruits and vegetables go straight to the dumps unless concentrated efforts prevent it and guide distribution to other users. Buying local saves on transportation costs and emissions, as well.

– Challenging manufacturers for efficient production and distribution. For example, a significant amount of wood goes to pallets that are tossed after one use. Look to more durable pallets that can be reused. Plus, the US does an excellent job of distributing products by rail and can do even better, as the rest of the world improves their efforts. These transmodal distribution centers that marry the efforts of ships, planes, trains and trucks provide huge efficiences and enhance trade.

– Dissuading the building of new coal plants. Active efforts have reduced coal from over 53% market share in 1990 to 30% market share of energy in 2016. Market forces are reducing this further as natural gas became cheaper and renewable energy cost fell to become more on par with coal. If new coal plants must be built, do it in concert with retiring older, less efficient plants.

– Making investment funds available to pay for upfront costs for renewable energy in countries that have fewer capital funding sources. India could do even more with available funding, especially as they electrify more of the country.

The great news is these things are happening. And, they are being shared. Please read this book. It is brief and optimistic. Also, watch the soon to be released sequel to Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” Then spread the news about what is happening.

To be frank, these actions are positive and smart irrespective of one’s stance on climate change. And, a final note from Bloomberg is the millennials are paying attention. They want to work in places that are doing their part to fight climate change. Think about that as you plan.

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18 thoughts on “Climate of Hope

  1. Dear Keith,

    Thanks for this great post

    Mike Bloomberg and Carl Pope are my new heroes. Thank goodness peoples are stepping up to the challenge of addressing climate change in so many different ways despite the republican naysayers and lack of government support. The Koch brothers will get stuck in the past as their monies can’t stop progress.

    And I will definitely be reading Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth..

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, the sad truth is this administration is diminishing our scientific advantage in the EPA, Interior and Energy Depts. Deleting white papers online, transferring climate change experts, etc. is unwise. Macron’s offer to our climate scientists to come to France is enticing.

      Our country will move forward, but it would be easier if the White House would support the effort instead of bending over backwards for the fossil fuel industry. Keith

  2. As you said, Trump’s actions have galvanized others into taking their own actions, and I am more than pleased to see all this happening! Maybe it was the wake-up call that we all needed to realize what is at stake! Thanks for the good news, and it goes hand-in-hand with my a.m. post today!

  3. Growing numbers of colleges and universities are taking meaningful steps to go green as well. Sierra Club tracks them each year and gives them a large pat on the back. Good news indeed!

    • Hugh, that is great to know. My youngest son’s college is 100% self sustaining producing all of its food. It requires the students to work 15 hours a week, so some support the agricultural side.

  4. You might be interested in a Canadian blogger site by Rolly Montpellier. He is a climate change activist who features Naomi Klein, Bill McKibbon, and other leading environmental activists. He loves to share blogs too, so he may be of interest. He also has Facebook and Twitter accounts where he posts the latest, especially on Canadian issues. He is also working very hard with https://350.org/

    http://below2c.org/

    Might be good resources for you and Keith (and anyone else who want to do posts about climate change).

  5. Note to Readers: If you get a chance click on the post referenced in the suggested reads called “Climate Change and Your Money.” This cites a study by Mercer Investment Consulting and the largest pension scheme invest managers in the world. The study is from 2011, but is still relevant and can be linked to from the article. The post is a little longer than my more recent posts.

  6. Note to Readers: I read today the US submitted the official paper work to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Accord. It was left that we could come back in, but I was hopeful the embarassing backlash for the President may cause him to rethink his position. No such luck.

  7. thanks for the good news! I was disheartened when the numskull pulled out of the Paris Accord but also heartened by all the resistance to that idiotic decision. All those states and cities getting on board to fight climate change without the idiot in the White House. There is hope!!

    • Toby, it is indeed. I had hoped that his ego would not tolerate being left behind. We shall see. Jill reported on Scott Pruitt backing down on a planned methane governance rollback after being sued by 16 state AGs. It is increasingly apparent the watchdogs are in outside of DC. Thanks for commenting. Keith

  8. Note to Readers: Most of you know that I am big on measuring things. So, when Bloomberg said they put GPS in their NYC taxis to measure success, I applauded. In Charlotte, they have been measuring how much energy each building uses downtown and indicate such on electronic signage. The point is to set a benchmark to target reductions. Nice. Keith

  9. Note to Readers: At the Climate Justice Youth Summit on Aug. 3 in New York City, speakers focused on the impact of climate change on people of color and called on youth of color to lead the fight against climate crises in their communities. The daylong event was the sixth of its kind hosted by UPROSE, a Brooklyn-based organization that promotes sustainability and cultural expression.

    This event is a grass roots effort which highlights the impact environment and climate change has on people of color around the world. It is more often the people who do not cause the environmental problems who get hit the hardest.

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