Monday, March 12

Yi-Tan Tech Conference Call - Climate Change

Jerry: "It's not Easy Being Green"

Climate Change - speaker: John Holdren

Pip on the issue: for the past couple of years, have been watching the issue - watching/evaluating monumental shifts from thought to idea to action. One of the statistics last year was the number of mentions of global warming and alternative energy - # of mentions of global warming and alternative energy was flat in 2005, 2006 altNRG went from 70% and global change 260% - cement is happening.

Effect for business re business change is going to be more impactful on business - down to the minutia (washing towels). When are clients going to feel "icky" when you fly around the world for the client call.

Political tipping point on climate changes - including the drumbeat of science (every day an article showing changes are coming out more frequently) being reinforced on personal experiences and reinforced on TV and the blogs. Rapidly changing attitudes in the business world and showing in the ads - and the religious change. US government changing POV from pre 2005 (not going to sign Kyoto if China not there) to post-2005 (Senate resolution very different).

Economic change - will finally get action in 2009 - some form of carbon tax - it is now an irresistible force. Systems effect is changing - first order effects (geophysical), second order (biophysical) to third order (disease vectors) to four order (how it impacts US). Blerb from Peter Schwartz.

How is this impacting us today? Energy economy climate nexus - sits in the middle of economics, politics, technology and others. Can not understand this problem unless we look at the problem from all sides of the issue. The more of those pieces one thinks about, the more challenging this problem becomes. Greater the number of areas of knowledge grows the level of concern - this is systematic symptoms.

What organizations are getting traction on this now? John: in the private sector - this challenge is not a threat, but an opportunity. GE, Alcoa, Duke Energy, etc coming out claiming a need to have the government regulate greenhouse gases. They see that government policy is inevitable, they also see that there is an opportunity. There is an overall change in the business community. Pulls the run out from the naysayers. - a wiki spoof site.

David Isen: Some of the positive feedback loops that could accelerate the issues? John: Jim Hansen is taking serious action - issues are becoming more likely. One of the feedback effects is the melting of the ice in the Artic, then the highly reflective ice is replaced by highly absorbing water - which is a positive feedback look accelerating the temperature. Fate of the carbon in the permafrost and tundra as there is in the atmosphere. If there is a major defrosting of the tundra, we could have a pulse of drastic CO2 content and methane in the atmosphere which could have a pulse effect.

Howard: disproving the skeptics. John: skeptics are in retreat. The only danger is that skeptics can make a comment in one sentence, where it takes paragraphs to reverse the comment. But now, people are behind it. Pip: people are

Judy: cold futures - more desirable 2025: how can we weather global climate change. Came up with a dozen strategies. How can we actually do the things we need to do - Millennium Development Goals. John: for the UN, climate change - Confronting Climate Change on the UN website. Talks about the synergisms and the win-win tactics that can be applied to adapt and accelerate the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals FAST. Huge amount of leverage in energy end use - REDUCE the amount of energy we use.

Example of a win-win: reducing the black soot emissions from two-stroke and burning - BIG impact on the action. Immediate benefits on health.

John summary: must address this problem - it will not wreck the economy to fix it, it will if we do not.

Pip: consuming less is a big deal - without making a big difference. Corporates have a huge impact. Can control the moral level - they are not all BAD people - they can help the company and the shareholders. Governments - thinking either or versus and. And helping people who need it now (thinking globally).

Lots of people have been trying to make social issues into the business. GRI - confluence of libertarian (what is needed for the business) and the measure of success of a business in the long-run.

Carbon-0ffsets - very difficult for consumers to determine how to consume less. Intrigued by the idea of buying your way to carbon neutrality. People find it difficult as a way to contribute or to make happen. A lot of people do not want to put into the switching costs, they are willing to buy their way out of them. People can buy "green power" which supports geothermal, solar and wind which can provide a revenue stream to build up green power.

A book I read: Power to the People, by Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran. Gives a lot of thought into issues at hand - including distributed power generation and the issues people have been addressing. Vijay is switching over from power to other topics, but is still at the Economist.

Don't overlook the people in the second half of their life - they want to be able to give back both in business and in popular culture. A whole spectra of activities - boomers may want to be remembered as the peopel who made the first effort in solving this problem.

American Chemical Society - sustainability of food and water, various scientific organizations are building momentum.

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