Tuesday, July 18, 2017

California's Cap-and-Trade Program is Alive and Well

This is the eighth installment in a series of posts on California's climate leadership. These posts address a wide range of related topics including economic benefits and renewable energy.

With unprecedented bipartisan support, California lawmakers have voted to extend the state's cap-and-trade program. This carbon pricing program is key to meeting California's ambitious carbon reduction targets. The plan puts a statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions and allows companies to buy and sell pollution credits.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Event - Global Climate Action Summit 2018

The Global Climate Action Summit will take place in September 2018 in San Francisco, California. The world's climate leaders are coming together for an event that will be hosted by California Governor Gerry Brown. The summit will be attended by representatives from subnational governments, businesses, investors and civil society. The goal of the summit is to inspire increased global ambition to act on climate.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

California's Clean Energy Legislation Hides Problems

This is the seventh installment in a series of posts on California's climate leadership. These posts address a wide range of related topics including economic benefits, renewable energy, and cap-and-trade.

California's clean energy legislation masks the problems that plague the Golden State's energy picture. Clean energy is a key part of climate action and California is undeniably a global leader in renewable technologies. California has been a renewable energy leader for years. State support has helped the clean energy industry and benefited the economy. As reported by Bloomberg, "Technology driving the clean energy boom is the reason California companies lead most of their peers in US."

Monday, July 10, 2017

G19 Leaves Trump Behind and Moves Forward on Climate Action

A recent G20 summit communiqué out of Hamburg Germany acknowledged the abdication of Trump but emphasized the global commitment to responsible climate action. Historically the G20 has made unanimous declarations but Trump's decision to quit the Paris Climate Agreement resulted in a break with this tradition. Despite the isolation of the US, the world's leading economic powers indicated that they remain serious about climate action. The summit was marked by riots and Trump was singled out as the preferred target of the protestors.

Trump was characteristically awkward at the summit and he appeared to have difficulty following the discussion at times. At one point Trump had to be diverted from his day-dreaming to turn around and pose for the cameras. Trump's only contribution was an initiative to help other countries burn fossil fuels more cleanly. This is rather ironic as the Paris Agreement seeks to end the burning of hydrocarbons.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Event - Sustainability Summit: Approach Reporting Ratings and Value

The 16th Annual Sustainability Summit will take place on July 18 - 19, 2017 at the Conference Board in New York, NY. The summit is titled: "Making your Approach to Sustainability, Reporting, and Ratings/Rankings Deliver Value for Your Business". The 2017 Sustainability Summit will provide a unique opportunity for sustainability practitioners at leading companies to enjoy a safe space to address the most urgent and persistent strategic, operational, and implementation challenges they face in addressing the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance of their companies. The Summit will enable peer-to-peer exchange and engagement with leading practitioners and subject matter experts to work in a collaborative way through the major challenges that corporate sustainability professionals face today. We will focus on key challenges through interactive sessions that enable participants to learn from and support one another.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Enemy Within: The Fifth Verse of the Star Spangled Banner

This Fourth of July there is very little to celebrate. The man who occupies the most powerful office in the land is a travesty. The environment is being raped and the climate is being savaged. The litany of indignities being unleashed upon the institution of the presidency and the American people warrant despair. Perhaps most alarmingly there is growing resistance to the Constitution unfolding from within the executive branch.

This is a sad day for those who believe in the Consitution and the institution of democracy.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Event - Sustainable Earth Sciences Conference

The fourth Sustainable Earth Sciences (SES) Conference will be held alongside the Near Surface Geoscience Conference & Exhibition 2017, the 23rd European Meeting of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics, and the Second European Airborne Electromagnetics Conference. These events will take place on September 3 - 7, 2017 at the Clarion Hotel & Congress, in Malmö, Sweden.

Event - WE Day Canada

We Day will take place on July 2, 2017, 4 PM - 9 PM on Parliament Hill, 111 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario. This event can also be viewed live on Facebook, see details at the bottom of this page. This is a family-friendly event, bringing together world-renowned speakers, A-list performers, and tens of thousands of Canadians celebrating our commitment to making the next 150 years count. Help us inspire the next generation of change-makers to make their mark on our beautiful nation.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

EVs Illustrate Problems with California's Ambitious Climate Targets

This is the sixth installment in a series of posts on California's climate leadership. These posts address a wide range of related topics including economic benefits, renewable energy, and cap-and-trade.

California has the most ambitious climate targets in North America however, there are problems in paradise. Trends in California's vehicle emissions reveal that there is a disconnect between the state's ambitious goals and the actual performance.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Climate Impacts in California

This is the fifth installment in a series of posts on California's climate leadership. These posts address a wide range of related topics including economic benefits, renewable energy, electric vehicles, and cap-and-trade.

 California Governor Jerry Brown is emphatic in his conviction that fact-based appraisals of the implications of climate change are essential.  Although Brown is aware that fear causes many to turn away from climate impacts, as all responsible leaders should, he welcomes the facts as they are, not as he would like them to be. Facing the truth about climate change takes courage and Brown has that kind of courage.  "Most people don’t want to think about catastrophe, I am not one of those people. I like to think about catastrophe."

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Gov. Brown is Calling out the GOP for its Irresponsible Anti-Science Stance on Climate Change

This is the fourth installment in a series of posts on California's climate leadership. These posts address a wide range of related topics including economic benefits, renewable energy, electric vehicles, and cap-and-trade.

California Governor Jerry Brown unambiguously ascribes blame for climate inaction in the US to the GOP. Republicans currently control the Executive and the Legislative branches of government. The GOP not only ignores climate action they undermine public awareness by subverting the facts.

As explained by Gov. Brown, the GOP has, "a slavish adherence to the non-belief in anything to do with climate change." Brown could not be more clear when he said the rhetoric coming out of Trump and other Republicans is both, "implausible" and "stupid." He went on to ask the GOP, "Where are you? You’re in an ‘Alice and Wonderland’ world."

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

California is the Deal-Making Global Climate Leader

This is the third installment in a series of posts on California's climate leadership. These posts address a wide range of related topics including economic benefits, renewable energy, electric vehicles, and cap-and-trade.

In the wake of the Trump administration's abdication, California has become the US leader on climate action. The Golden State is reaching out and making deals both domestically and with much of the rest of the world. The state is working with nations like China, Canada, Mexico and Scotland to broaden the scope of climate action.

California Governor Jerry Brown has been emboldened by the Trump administration's failure to act on climate. Late last year at the COP23 climate meeting, Gov. Brown said, "We may not represent Washington, but we will represent the wide swath of American people who will keep the faith on this."

In February the environment ministers of Canada and Mexico went to San Francisco to sign a global pact to reduce greenhouse gases. The deal is being called the NAFTA of climate action.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

California is Reaping Economic Benefits from Climate Action

This is the second installment in a series of posts on California's climate leadership. These posts address a wide range of related topics including renewable energy, electric vehicles, and cap-and-trade.

California's efforts to combat climate change serve both human and planetary health but such action also pays lucrative economic dividends.  California is a working example of a climate focused economy that crushes Trump's assertion that the Paris Agreement is bad for the economy. California's prodigious economic growth is directly related to the state's climate and environmental policies. It is important to note that these policies are even more stringent than those called for in the Paris deal.  As explained by California Governor Jerry Brown, "Trump is wrong when he says Paris is bad for jobs. It’s good for jobs. The jobs of the future."

Monday, June 26, 2017

California's Climate Leadership in the Wake of Trump's Abdication

This is the first installment in a series of posts on California's climate leadership. These posts address a wide range of related topics including economic benefits, renewable energy, electric vehicles, and cap-and-trade.

The Trump administration's refusal to act on climate change is a missed opportunity that is being countered by the great state of California. Trump has said he is withdrawing the US from the the Paris Climate agreement and he has decimated Obama-era federal climate action and environmental protections. California governor Jerry Brown has made it clear that his state will pick up the mantle that the federal government has dropped. Shortly after Trump signed his energy plan, Gov. Brown said the president’s, "outrageous move will galvanize the contrary force."

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Event - Sustainable Innovation Forum 2017

The Sustainable Innovation Forum (SIF) 2017 for COP23 will take place November 13-14, 2017. The 8th edition of the SIF will be taking place in Bonn, Germany – the home of the UNFCCC. This is the largest business-focused event during COP23. There will be more than 60 speakers, more than 600 attendees and 80 plus countries represented. Gathering the most influential national and local policy-makers, UN agencies, business leaders, investors and international NGOs, SIF17 is where policy meets innovation, and the ambitious goals and visions of the Paris Agreement will be put into action.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Call for Climate Action on World Refugee Day

The refugee crisis is a large and growing problem that will only worsen as the Earth continues to get hotter. World Refugee Day is an initiative started in 1998 to combat hostility in society towards refugees and asylum seekers. This year the day affords an opportunity to reflect on our humanity or lack thereof.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Event - Pac-12 Sustainability Conference

The Pac-12 Sustainability Conference will take place on Monday, June 26, 2017, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM PDT, 500 David J Stern Walk, Sacramento, CA 95814, United States. In an effort to influence conferences and universities around the country on this important issue, the Pac-12 will host the first conference-wide college sports sustainability summit in June 2017 in Sacramento, California as part of the annual Green Sports Alliance Summit. This event will convene sustainability officers from across the conference to design new collective initiatives and share best practices to transform college sports into a platform for environmental progress.

Event - Living Soils Symposium Montreal

The Living Soils Symposium will take place October 31, 2017, at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. The subtitle of this event is, "restore the climate feed the world".

Creating living soils is part of a rapidly expanding movement towards growing healthier foods while restoring our climate and ecosystems.

This three-day bilingual event will bring together scientists, academics, food producers, students, government delegates, NGOs, activists, entrepreneurs, and consumers, to discuss the crucial role of living soils in addressing some of the world's most pressing environmental and social justice issues. These issues include:

Monday, June 12, 2017

EL Announces Best Products and Projects Award Winners

On Friday, June 9th Environmental Leader (EL) announced the winners of the 2017 Products and Projects Awards. These innovative and inspiring products and projects are reviewed in an EL report (see link at the bottom of the page).

These companies are shining examples of corporate efforts that add business value in a wide range of areas including efficiency, renewable energy, waste reduction, heat capture, packaging, agriculture, and building retrofits.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Event - Geothermal 101 & Business Development Workshop

This workshop will take place on Thursday, June 15, 2017, at Boughton Law Corporation, 700-595 Burrard St., in Vancouver, British Columbia. It seems as though solar and wind take up all the oxygen in the renewable energy space, however, geothermal is an underutilized resource with huge potential for growth. This promising form of renewable energy will be explored at the Geothermal 101 & Business Development Workshop.

Find out more about the schedule, speakers and pricing below.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Businesses and Governments React to Trump's Exit from the Paris Climate Deal

Trump's decision to abandon the Paris Accord seems to have spurred a wave of climate action. The business community, investors, states, and cities are pushing back against the Trump administration's reckless disregard for climate change.  Prior to Trump's decision to abandon the Paris Agreement a wide range of interests warned the administration to stick with the deal. Trump claims that he withdrew from Paris to protect American companies, cities, and states. However, companies, cities, and states think the president's decision is doing them more harm than good. This includes hundreds of businesses, 150 cities, and seventeen states. Hawaii is the first state to pass a law in support of the climate agreement.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tackling the Problem of Plastic Waste on World Oceans Day

June 8 is World Oceans Day an opportunity to reflect on the importance of our oceans as well as solutions to the numerous threats they face. In 2017 the action focus is plastic pollution. Our oceans are indispensable to life of Earth and fate of humanity is intimately tied to their well-being. Our oceans are hotter and more acidic and they are increasingly unable to serve as carbon sinks. Coral reefs are dying and entire aquatic ecosystems are being destroyed. Norwegian billionaire and ocean advocate Kjell Inge Røkke aptly summarized situation when he said, "the oceans are also under greater pressure than ever before from overfishing, coastal pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and ocean acidification, and one of the most pressing challenges of all, plasticization of the ocean. The need for knowledge and solutions is pressing."

Monday, June 5, 2017

Canadian Leadership on World Environment Day (WED)

June 5 is World Environment Day (WED) and this year the host Country is Canada. The theme for 2017 is 'Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator'. WED is the United Nation's principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. This event began in 1974 with the theme "Only One Earth", and it is now celebrated in 143 countries annually.

WED raises awareness on environmental issues from marine pollution, human overpopulation, and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Event - Asia Clean Energy Forum

The Transformative Role of Renewables in Southeast Asia – Perspectives from IRENA’s REmap Renewable Energy Roadmaps for the Region will take place June 5 – 8, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. This event will overview the key themes and findings from IRENA’s various reports with a perspective on what can be achieved in Southeast Asia up to the year 2030.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Trump Dumps Paris Accord Prompting Outrage and Action

It is done, on June 1 just before 4 pm, Donald Trump did the unthinkable, he announced that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Accord and in so doing he has sentenced future generations to an apocalyptic hell. As the news broke, I couldn't help but think of the iconic "blue marble" photograph. On December 7, 1972, the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft took a picture of the Earth at a distance of about 29,000 kilometers. Almost 45 years later I am struck by just how fragile the little blue marble seems in the tiny hands of Donald Trump.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Nuclear Fusion: Realizing the Dream of Abundant Clean Energy

The dream of almost limitless clean energy from nuclear fusion is close to being realized. After 6 decades of research and testing fusion finally appears to be on the cusp of delivering on its promise to revolutionize energy production. Sometimes called "star in a jar" because the technology mimics the energy conversion processes like those in our sun.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The US Military's Clear Consensus on Climate Change

There is no disputing the fact that America's fighting machine sees climate change as a clear and present danger. Those who are responsible for America's defense unanimously agree that climate change poses a significant risk to US national security and international security. This consensus is shared by the Pentagon, all branches of the US armed services, intelligence leaders, and senior military experts.

There has been a steady stream of reports that conclusively acknowledge that climate change is real and requires urgent action. The Pentagon's defense reviews in both 2010 and 2014 reiterated science-based views on climate change. In 2016 the Center for Climate and Security, a nonpartisan group of senior military and national security experts, released a "consensus statement on climate change".

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 described as an oligarchy full of kleptocrats or 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 is troubling.

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 Should 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."