I recently attended the Bay Area premiere of a powerful and sobering film entitled “Climate Refugees,” a 2010 Sundance Film Festival Selection. Filmmaker Michael Nash visited 47 countries over the space of nearly two years documenting the extraordinary human toll that climate related disasters are causing. The number and scope of these stories is sadly long: the narrow sandy atolls of Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean that are about to be engulfed by rising sea levels; the millions of Bangladeshis that are crowded into the slums of Dhaka after being displaced by cyclones; the Africans trudging for miles to find water and scratching out an existence as the once huge Lake Chad quickly dries up; the rural Chinese living in makeshift tents as both flooding and creeping desertification destroy their homes; the melting glaciers in Alaska that are imperiling time honored Native American traditions and livelihoods; and the wrenching social and economic changes wrought by Hurricane Katrina in our own backyard.
Whenever I hear from the deniers of climate change I am reminded of the above political cartoon from Joel Pett. The cartoon gets to the heart of the matter whether you believe the science behind climate change or not as it highlights the benefits of going to a cleaner mix of energy and creating a better world.
"We're going to take our money elsewhere." Maybe those words will have the impact that “global warming,” “climate change,” “green economy” and others have failed to make on skeptical U.S. policymakers. And who uttered the line above – Mr. Kevin Parker, head of Deutsche Bank’s asset management division – is no less important than what was said.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Google co-hosted a morning program this week entitled “Electric Bills and Oil Spills-Will California Continue to Be a Clean Energy Leader?” With more than 400 people in attendance, the question certainly seemed to be a timely and important one.
Greenpeace just released a very interesting report on the world’s renewable energy future. In the organization’s words, “to successfully combat climate change, we urgently need a revolution in the way we produce, consume and distribute energy.”
Despite the ongoing tragedy in the Gulf, there is still a glimmer of hope to be found amid the devastating oil spill: real attention is finally being paid to the need for a clean energy transition, and at the highest levels of government no less. In a speech delivered at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh last Wednesday, President Obama reiterated his appeal to Congress to pass a climate change bill this year.
Recently, I learned The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has the highest per capita ecological footprint in the world – if every person in the world lived and consumed natural resources like an average UAE resident, we would require 4.5 planets to sustain the consumption levels! More than 80% of its carbon footprint is due to carbon intensive goods and services, such as energy and water.
Last week in snow-covered Davos wrapped up with a very different feel than previous Davos summits. The mood was slightly more optimistic than last year but attendees were also pragmatic about the pace of global recovery. Not surprisingly, the global economic outlook panel was one of the most widely attended demonstrating the reality of what is really on the minds of world leaders.
I have arrived in Copenhagen and my first impression is most favorable. Like a lot of visitors and participants in COP15, I immediately noticed how “livable” this city is. A clean beautiful train whisks you from the airport to Central Station where numerous hotels are within walking distance.
Given the increasing discussion around cap-and-trade in the United States (U.S.) in the lead up to COP15, many members of the media have been asking for Applied’s perspective on the impact of a "price" for carbon on business. Politics aside, it's important to recognize that while carbon may not currently have a "price" it does have a cost — we're just not accounting for it.