Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pope Francis & Donald Trump: Environmental Advocacy vs. Climate Denial

Donald Trump and Pope Francis are a study in contrasts. The Pope is a leading supporter of climate action, he respects other traditions, and he is a selfless champion for the world's poor. The pontiff's attributes are in stark contrast to Trump's climate denial, xenophobia, and advocacy on behalf of himself and the wealthy.

The meeting between these two men represents a clash of two diametrically opposed ideologies. This organic antagonism extends well beyond their opposing positions on the issue of climate change. Trump is an opportunistic materialist while the pontiff is a principled and spiritual man. The president is a science eschewing narcissist who habitually lies, the pope is an honest and humble man who values the role of science.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Complementary Roles of Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy

Although it may not always be an accurate appraisal, environmentalists prefer renewable energy over nuclear power. They commonly lump nuclear power in with dirty fossil fuels like coal. Every nuclear plant that closes is heralded as a great victory. However, closing nuclear power plants commonly results in increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Those who welcome such closures don't seem to realize that the energy produced at this facility will need to be replaced. If that energy is created by coal or gas powered energy generation it will increase emissions. When Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS), was taken offline in 2012 and 2013 the state began generating hundreds of megawatts of energy from natural gas-powered facilities.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Trump's Corruption may be his Lasting Legacy and his Undoing

The Trump administration can be best described as an oligarchy full of kleptocrats and a kakistocracy. Donald Trump is known for shady dealings and now that he is president his corruption has predictably become a defining feature of his presidency. While this should not surprise anyone who has followed Trump, the extent of the corruption should be troubling to all but the willfully ignorant.

Trump has a long history of corrupt business practices. This includes the scam that was Trump University. He has also failed to pay vendors for services rendered. Trump's progression from corruption as a "business man" to presidential corruption was seamless. Within a week of winning the election on November 8th he was hard at work exploring ways that he can profit from the presidency. Even before taking the oath of office he had created an influence peddling scheme whereby he sold access to foreign diplomats in the form of exorbitantly priced bookings at one of his hotels.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Event - International Conference on Water, Informatics, Sustainability, & Environment (iWISE2017)

iWISE2017 conference will take place Monday, July 3 - Wednesday, 5, 2017 at the River Building – Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario. The conference is organized by Science Target Inc. in collaboration with professional and academic institutions both are local and international.

Climate Change will increasingly challenge the Earth’s ecosystems to sustain human life and that’s why it is essential to find practical solutions to the challenges we face to build resilience in different tracks such as water, environment, biodiversity and energy with the help of the decision support tools.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Reasons for Climate Optimism in 2017 Despite the Elephant in the Room

Contrary to expectations, events in 2017 give us reason to be optimistic. There has been so much good news over the last couple of years culminating in the Paris Climate Agreement. Both 2015 and 2016 were good years for climate action. However, this momentum was interrupted by the election of arguably the most ill-informed man ever to have control over the White House. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Why Trump Will not Quit the Paris Agreement

Upholding the Paris Climate Agreement makes good political sense. Trump's calculus is unlikely to factor the urgency of reducing carbon pollution to avert a climate catastrophe but he may embrace the deal as a matter of self interest.

Both the Washington Post and The New York Times recently reported that the momentum has turned against the Paris climate agreement in the Trump White House. However,  adhering to the deal makes political sense for the president in the context of the constitutional crisis he has created by firing FBI Director James Comey.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Trump Represents a Serious Risk Factor for Corporate America

If you look below the surface Trump represents a serious risk to the interests of corporate America. Trump expected adulation from the corporate community for his deregulation efforts, however, they are increasingly seeing him as the harbinger of risk. Trump not only poses a serious risk to the world's ability to reign in climate change, According to recent research, corporate America thinks that he also poses a risk factor for them.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Event - Ecocity World Summit 2017

This event will take place on July 12 - 14, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The ECOCITY World Summit addresses the way humanity builds its home — its cities, towns, and villages.

The series focuses on key actions cities and citizens can take to rebuild our human habitat in balance with living systems, and, in the process, slow down and even reverse global heating, biodiversity collapse, loss of wilderness habitat, agricultural lands, and open space, and social and environmental injustices.

Event - Impact Capitalism Summit Nantucket

The 9th annual Impact Capitalism Summit (ICS) will take place July 19-20 on Nantucket Island. Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, Big Path Capital has announced the largest convening of investors focused on maximizing impact and maximizing return across asset classes.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Media has Learned How to Keep Trump from Escaping His Lies

Birds fly, fish swim and Trump lies. Not only does Trump lie, his whole team lies. His Press Secretary gets tied up in knots almost every time he is confronted by the press. Trump himself said that it is not always possible to tell the truth. In response to the uproar about his litany of deceit Trump has threatened to cancel White House briefings.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Senate Vote to Preserve Methane Rule May Signal Change

The Senate has voted down a resolution designed to roll back climate pollution standards emitted by the oil & gas industry on public and tribal lands. The rules prevent 180,000 tons of methane associated with drilling from escaping into the atmosphere each year. This preserves both clean air and climate protections. A critical mass of Republicans joined Senate Democrats to keep the standards in place. This includes Senators John McCain, Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Corporate America Rejects Trump's Climate Ignorance

Corporations are opposing Trump and standing for climate action in increasing numbers. Governments around the world are applying pressure in an attempt to get Trump to honor the Paris Climate Agreement. A little more surprising to some is the fact that corporations are also urging the White House not to quit Paris. Never has the business community faced such a pivotal choice.

"It’s imperative that businesses take an active role in meeting the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement," said Anna Walker, Senior Director of Global Policy and Advocacy at Levi Strauss & Co. "It will be critical that we work together to ensure the U.S. maintains its climate leadership, ultimately ensuring our nation’s long-term economic prosperity."

Monday, May 8, 2017

Vive La France! French Electorate Rejects Climate Denial and Commits to Progressive Action

The world can breathe a sigh of relief as the country that hosted COP21 has recommitted itself to continue its climate leadership. On Sunday May 6th, three-quarters of French voters rejected the anti-globalization, anti-immigration, anti-climate rhetoric of the far-right.

Emmanuel Macron won the French election by a landslide (66 percent), beating xenophobic candidate Marine Le Pen and her National Front party. In the French election globalization defeated populism, a more open worldly vision for France defeated the closed, nativist view of the far-right.

Climate change appears to have been a key issue that contributed to Le Pen's defeat. She was forced to change her stance on the issue because unlike her counterpart in the US, French voters would not go along with her climate denial. In 2012 Le Pen said: "I am not sure that human activity is the principal origin of this phenomenon." In an attempt to capture voters she recently revised her position adopting the Republican line saying, "I am not a climate expert, I think that human activity does contribute to a proportion, which I can’t measure, to this phenomenon."

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Event - Impact Capitalism: Diversity Driving Revenue

This event will take place on May 16th, 2017 at Thomson Reuters, 3 Times Square (7th Avenue between 42nd & 43rd Streets) 30th Floor, Carnegie Room, New York NY New York City. Diversity Driving Revenue is designed for investors to explore how diversity and inclusion can provide insights into risk management and drive financial outperformance long-term.

Event - Innovate4Climate

The inaugural edition of Innovate4Climate will take place on May 22-25, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.  Innovate4Climate is destined to become the place where finance, markets, and technology meet to accelerate climate action. 

While climate change poses an immense challenge to humanity, it also represents a potential – perhaps the opportunity of a lifetime. National climate action strategies or NDCs submitted as part of the Paris Agreement require a $23 trillion investments between now and 2030.  There are a number of opportunities in renewable energy, low-carbon cities, energy efficiency, sustainable forest management, and climate smart agriculture.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Which Side is Your Business On?

In the age of the Anthropocene, there are two diametrically opposed ways of doing business and they are about to go head to head. In today's highly polarized political climate, the battle lines are being drawn. One side sees increasing shareholder value as the overarching duty of a corporation the other acknowledges that long-term viability is premised on managing a much wider range of variables.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

If Trump Pulls out of the Climate Agreement Europe Could Impose a Carbon Tax on the US

"Europe Levels a Carbon Tax Against the US." This could be the headline if President Trump pulls out of the Paris Climate Agreement.  The latest word suggests that the Trump administration is thinking of exiting the historic deal. There are likely to be repercussions from such a move. One of the possible responses involves imposing a carbon tax on all goods being shipped out of the United States.

The idea was proposed by Nichola Sarkozy the former president of France. As quoted in DW, shortly after US election on November 8, Sarkozy Sarkozy said, "Donald Trump has said – we’ll see if he keeps this promise – that he won’t respect the conclusions of the Paris climate agreement". Sarkozy who was running again for president said that he believes Europe should impose a carbon tax on the US.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Climate Protesters are Part of a Broad Coalition that Cannot be Ignored

On Saturday, April 29th people came together to demand action on climate change. This is one of a series of protests with a message for the Trump administration, Republican lawmakers and the business community.

At the end of April large numbers of people, organizations, and even a few forward looking businesses came together in support of climate action. In Washington DC alone more than 200,000 people assembled for what was called "The People’s March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice". The march shut down Pennsylvania Avenue, surrounded the White House, and rallied in front of the Washington Monument. Thousands of others also marched in almost 400 cities across the US and dozens of countries around the world. Countries that held marches included Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Greece, Japan, Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico, New Zealand, Uganda, and the UK.

In 2013 we saw the beginnings of a new environmental movement that culminated in the first Peoples Climate March in 2014. The largest climate march in history may have heralded the birth of the next generation of environmental protest.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Event - Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council's 2017 Summit

Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council's 2017 Summit (SPLC Summit 2017) will take place on Monday, May 8, 2017 - Wednesday, 10, 2017 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown,1550 Court Place, Denver, Colorado. The Summit brings together 400+ leading procurement and sustainability professionals, suppliers, and NGO experts from diverse sectors and regions to share, simplify, and spread the best sustainable purchasing practices across the whole economy.

Event - FSC General Assembly 2017

The Forest Stewardship Council's (FSC) General Assembly 2017 will take place October 8 - 13, in Vancouver Canada. This event has taken place every three years Since 1996. The international membership of the FSC comes together at this event to discuss the challenges and solutions of responsible forest management and the future direction of the organization. Members submit motions months before the general assembly begins. Motions are then discussed and debated, before being voted on by all delegates. The FSC General Assembly 2017 will be the 8th assembly of members in the history of the organization. The first general assembly took place in 1996 in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Trump's First 100 Days are a Climate and Environmental Nightmare

Trump's first 100 days have been a dismal failure. Trump failed to deliver on almost every single one of his promises leading many to conclude that the self-proclaimed deal-maker can't seem to close. True to his word he is making progress on one front, depriving Americans of clean air and clean water.

Trumps Muslim ban failed, his attempt to pass health-care legislation also failed. Congress will not finance his wall and nor will Mexico.  Rather than drain the swamp he has made the swamp bigger. The president has rewarded the wealthy on the backs of the poor and the middle class. His one-page reward-the-rich tax plan does not have a snowball's chance in hell of passing and if it were ever enacted by Congress it would trigger economic ruin.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Business Benefits from Science-Based Climate Action

Science is important to governments, the economy and business. Leading sustainability focused corporate efforts are engaging science-based efforts including emissions reduction targets.  Science is enhancing business and driving them to adopt fact-based objectives.

There is a mutually beneficial relationship that is emerging between business and science.  As explained by Ros Le Feuvre, SYNBIOCHEM director of operations at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, "I think the academic community is becoming more aware of the commercial potential of their science and how to exploit it, there is a more open culture and increased dialogue. Over the past decade we‘ve developed closer relationships with industrial partners, from large multi-nationals to smaller start-ups."

Thursday, April 27, 2017

War on Science Makes Fossil Fuels a Climate Archvillain

In addition to their causal role in climate change the fossil fuel industry is guilty of promoting disinformation on a grand scale. Part of this propaganda effort involves attacking science. By waging war on science the fossil fuel industry had hoped to conceal their role as the leading driver of climate change. Although fossil fuels powered America's meteoric growth, we can no longer ignore the fact that dirty energy is the primary cause of the climate crisis. Nor can we ignore the powerful influence of the industry.

To retain their social license to operate oil giants withheld what their own scientists were telling them. They knew about the relationship between fossil fuels and greenhouse gasses years before mainstream science. When scientists began to publish their own research showing the relationship between GHGs and global warming, the fossil fuel industry responded with profound skepticism.

To make matters worse the fossil fuel industry is engaged in sophisticated multi-pronged campaigns of subterfuge to undermine science and manipulate people. This malfeasance was meant to obscure their role as brokers of planetary death.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Scientists Take on Trump and GOP Climate Denial

The March for Science that took place in more than 425 cities on Earth Day spearheaded critical resistance to the irrationality of the Trump administration and the GOP. The goal of the march was to  advocate for "evidence-based policy-making, science education, research funding, and inclusive and accessible science."

Climate science has garnered some of the most virulent anti-science opposition. The fossil fuel industry and their Republican minions have masterminded an anti-science crusade that has undermined climate action and this invites a climate catastrophe.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sham Hearings Make a Mockery out of Climate Science

Lamar Smith (R-Texas), is the Chair of House Science Committee and he has made some astounding claims about climate change that are clearly factually inaccurate. Smith is well known for harassing climate scientists and challenging government science agencies. He has also made spurious allegations suggesting that scientists rigged climate data.

At a congressional hearing on March 29th Smith dismissed testimony that accused him of being a climate denier because it came from the Journal Science. Even though this journal is one of the oldest and most respected scientific publications in the world Smith claims it is not objective.

Smith has said: "I believe climate change is due to a combination of factors, including natural cycles, sun spots and human activity. But scientists still don't know for certain how much each of these factors contributes to the overall climate change that the Earth is experiencing."

Monday, April 24, 2017

Apple's Earth Day Leadership in 2017

Leading corporations are helping to show the way forward this Earth Day and no company has come further in recent years than Apple. 

They were slow off the mark but since Tim Cook took over as CEO in 2011 and hired former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson in 2013 Apple has made amazing progress. Jackson is Apple's VP of environment, policy, and social initiatives. In the last four years Apple has significantly improved their environmental sustainability performance while ameliorating working conditions and transparency.

In 2017 Apple led the Greenpeace Tech Company Rankings and strengthened its competitive advantage by showing leadership in recycling, clean energy, emissions reduction, waste management and water stewardship.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Event - Renewable Energy UK

Renewable Energy UK will take place on May 6, 2017 in Cheltenham, UK. This discussion will highlight the latest methods to generate energy using solar panels. There will be unrivaled senior-level industry debate with an audience of more than 60 of the sector’s thought leaders and key decision makers.

This year’s Seminar programme is designed to support your professional learning and global network development. It is packed with policy updates, expert advice and market opportunities from a line-up of renowned speakers. An exhibition of leading suppliers and service providers will also run simultaneously alongside the Seminar providing direct access for delegates to leading industrial providers and service specialists.

Event - EcoLinks 2017 Environmental Education Conference

EcoLinks 2017 Environmental Education Conference will take place on Friday May 5 to Saturday May 6, 2017, Niagara Region, Ontario. OSEE is hosting a suite of PD events to support educators with integrating environmental education into their teaching practice. The first event is the annual EcoLinks Conference. This year it will be held at the Ball's Falls Centre for Conservation in Jordan, Ontario, where a second (optional) day has been added to offer Project Wet Certification.

As usual, there will be hands-on workshops by educators, for educators, and the chance to learn new skills to engage students in Environmental Education and to network with fellow educators. As always, lunch and refreshments are included.

The event is open to outdoor & environmental educators, ECEs, administrators, homeschoolers and any teachers wanting to integrate environmental content.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day 2017: We Have Met the Enemy and it is the U.S.

Earth Day is celebrated around the world but the election of Trump and Republican lawmakers changes everything. Earth Day has been celebrated every April for almost half a century, during that time we have made considerable progress. The high point occurred exactly one year ago, today when the leaders from 175 countries formally signed the historic Paris Agreement.

As we reflect on this Earth Day 2017 we should realize that the event was born in the U.S. and it has grown to become the largest civic observance in the world. These celebrations have contributed to a movement that ultimately gave birth to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Endangered Species Act and several other environmental laws. It also contributed to the Paris Agreement, the most important climate agreement in human history.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Price Declines Driving Solar's Energy Leadership

The declining costs of harvesting energy from the sun mean that market forces will drive the ongoing growth of solar energy. As predicted by GMO at the beginning of 2016 market forces are driving the growth of renewable energy. By the end of last summer, GMO reported that solar was emerging as the least expensive source of energy on Earth. By the end of last year, these expectations were confirmed by a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Event - CLIMATE MARCH (Peoples Climate Movement)

The Peoples Climate March will take place on April 29th, 2017 in Washington, D.C. and across the country. It takes place on the 100th Day of the Trump Administration and the goal is to stand up for our communities and our climate and to show the world and our leaders that we will resist attacks on our people, our communities and our planet.  People are coming together from across the United States with solutions to the climate crisis they are also demanding that Congress act.

This effort is even more important in the context of the Trump Administration’s and the Republican Party's climate denial. Congress must protect the gains made in recent years and move our nation to a new, clean energy economy. This is a moment to bring the range of progressive social change movements together. Pushing back against the Trump agenda and at the same time pushing forward on our vision of a clean, safe world where the rights of all people are protected and expanded. This means we all must work together and now, more than ever before, because everything is at stake.

Event - SWR Annual Evening of Recognition Celebrating Sustainability

The Sustainable Waterloo Region (SWR) 8th Annual Evening of Recognition Celebrating Sustainability will take place Thursday, April 27th, 2017 from 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM at Maxwell's 35 University Avenue East, Waterloo, Ontario. SWR will release their 2016 Year End Report and present this year’s awards. The evening will also feature opportunities to hear local sustainability stories and celebrate the winners of our 2016 awards.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Figueres on Mission 2020 and The Climate Turning Point Report (Videos)

As part of the 'Mission 2020' campaign, Christiana Figueres is working to advance climate action and safeguard the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Figueres is the former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The new 'Mission 2020' campaign advocates progress in a few key areas by the end of the decade. The goal is to keep us on track in the race to tackle climate change within the rapidly closing window of opportunity.

Friday, April 14, 2017

PR Case Comparisons: The Bad the Good and the Tragically Funny

While United is stealing headlines for its appalling conduct, there are other corporations that have shown tremendous leadership in response to a public relations crisis. Some leaders have the good sense to respond quickly to get ahead of a problem, others, well not so much.

When United opted to forcibly remove Dr Dao they made a decision, they followed that up with a series of bad decisions. Now the victim is all lawyered-up and counting the days until his big payday. The United debacle is a nightmare that has only just begun and it will likely take a very long time to fade from public memory.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

United Failed to Inculcate Sustainability into their Culture

The event aboard United Flight 3411 on April 9th is not just a PR crisis, it represents the company's failure to inculcate sustainability into their corporate culture. Dr. David Dao was bloodied by security agents as he was violently removed from the flight to make room for company staff members.

It is worth noting that like most corporate giants United claims to take sustainability seriously. United's corporate responsibility report talks about the diversity of its employees and their code of ethics.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Writing a Sustainability Focused Charter: Mission, Vision, and Values

A sustainability charter is an important precursor to executing a sustainability initiative or program. A charter often serves as an organization's constitution and its contents are commonly included in the Executive Summary of a business plan. A charter spells out an organization's structure and goals. It provides a framework for identifying areas of focus, mapping strategy, making decisions, and actionable planning. A charter can include a mission, vision and values statement all of which formalize the actions and objectives of an organization. It can also outline the geographical scope and the organizational culture.

Monday, April 10, 2017

How to Combat Digital Media's Promulgation of Fake News

The web of lies spun on social media are challenging fact-based renditions of reality.  The resistance to the truth undermines science-based policy including environmental protections and climate action.  However, there are ways that we can use digital media to combat alternative facts rather than memeify them.

We must start by acknowledging that fake news disseminated through digital media has been used to pull off one of the biggest scams in human history. The result is our current dystopia.  This president and his party have made good on their threats to decimate environmental protections, climate action, social justice and even government itself.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Event - California Energy Summit 2017

This event will take place on May 16 to 18, 2017 in Santa Monica, California, USA. The California energy market is at the center of a maelstrom of change that will have profound impacts on strategic directions and opportunities for utilities, power producers, preferred resources providers and customers on multiple fronts:

Event - International Student Energy Summit 2017

The Student Energy Summit (SES) will take place June 13-18, 2017 in Mérida, Mexico. SES is a global event that brings together the world’s brightest students to learn and discuss the current issues and trends in energy. The event is planned completely by students and brings together 700+ young energy leaders from over 100 countries as well as renowned energy experts from across the globe.

The vision for SES 2017 is an event that will build on the success of past conferences and inspire students to play a role in transitioning the world to a sustainable energy future.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sustainability Leadership at BMW (Videos)

BMW is a leading force in sustainable mobility and modernity. They have show leadership in the electric vehicle space by investing in EVs. They have also produced industry leading results. The BMW iSeries is a technologically sophisticated luxury electric car. In 2011 they announced plans to partner with GM on hydrogen fuel cell development.

On 21 March 2017, the BMW Group published its current Sustainable Value Report detailing the company’s sustainable operations. The report reveals the ways the sustainability has been sewn into the DNA of BMW. The depth of this engagement is explained in the following video by Ursula Mathar, BMW's Head of Sustainability and Environmental Protection: