Call it climate change, call it global warming, or call it a solution, namely creating a sustainable energy future. I am struggling to tell a story of impending environmental disaster that both informs and motivates. The story is that of disasters that are likely to change the conditions of life for all humans and indeed, everything living on earth, and within the lifetime of my young grandson.
There are many stories and many partial solutions. Proven solutions can apply to any municipality. I have sketched out a range of options and proven pathways to success. Planning for a sustainable energy future for Mytown
I want to explain my sense of urgency to friends who don't yet understand; I want to provide the scientific basis for concern—the evidence for global warming and what can happen even if we act, and what can happen if we don't act; and I am seeking to learn what we can do together to make a difference.
The thing is, the story has been and is being told by people with resources, authority, and experience far beyond my own. So perhaps what I can do is assemble a guide and reading list for anyone who wants to know what the future holds. And really, you will have to help write the story of our own future. I can't do it alone.
Current sources of information and advocacy
These online sources have newsletters with frequent updates.
Climate Code Red http://www.climatecodered.org/ Premise: politics and business as usual have failed; the case for action at emergency speed for a safe climate. David Spratt. Also see: David Spratt and Philip Sutton Climate Code Red: The case for emergency action. 2008 ISBN: 9781921372209
Think Progress http://thinkprogress.org/climate/ Edited by Joe Romm, covering climate science, solutions and politics. Romm was acting assistant secretary of energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy in 1997, where he oversaw $1 billion in R&D, demonstration, and deployment of low-carbon technology. He is a Senior Fellow at American Progress and holds a Ph.D. in physics from MIT.
Joe Romm. "An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces" http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/09/28/330109/science-of-global-wa…
Nature Climate Change http://www.nature.com/nclimate/index.html
Climate Reality Project. Al Gore. http://climaterealityproject.org/ The climate crisis is real and we know how to solve it. The Climate Reality Project is bringing the facts about the climate crisis into the mainstream and engaging the public in conversation about how to solve it. We help citizens around the world discover the truth and take meaningful steps to bring about change
Climate Central http://www.climatecentral.org An independent, non-profit journalism and research organization dedicated to helping mainstream Americans understand how climate change connects to them. Why climate change matters. Communicate the science and effects of climate change to the public and decision-makers, and inspire Americans to support action to stabilize the climate and prepare for a hotter world. The climate crisis isn’t just some far-off threat: it’s a clear and present danger.
350.org Advocacy group. http://www.350.org/en In 2012, with the help of millions of people, we'll create a wave a hard-hitting climate activism all over the world that can lead to real, lasting, large-scale change. We think we can turn the tide on the climate crisis--but only if we work together. If an international grassroots movement holds our leaders accountable to realities of science and principles of justice, we can realize the solutions that will ensure a better future for all.Bill McKibben.
RealClimate: Climate science from climate scientists. http://www.realclimate.org/
Excellent sources on the science for beginners and beyond: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. A think tank.
climatesafety: Climate science & analysis for the rest of us. http://climatesafety.org/ Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC) "...to synthesise and communicate the latest climate science, to analyse and critique the UK’s existing climate targets and promote climate-safe policy with risk management at its core." Many useful links on right panel to graphics, courses, politics blogs, science blogs. Clear graphics: http://climatesafety.org/graphics/
Findings Report from the UCS-Erb Workshop on Climate Change Communication “Increasing Public Understanding of Climate Risks & Choices: Learning from Social Science Research and Practice” http://erb.umich.edu/blog/2012/05/23/report-of-the-workshop-on-climate-… May 23, 2012 The Erb Institute is committed to creating a socially and environmentally sustainable society through the power of business
CLIMATE INTERACTIVE http://climateinteractive.org/ Science-based modelling and graphic.
CLIMATE SCOREBOARD A key factor in global warming is the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, expressed as ppm=parts per million. There is a posited relationship between this measure and the amount of global warming. Some argue that to keep warming from exceeding 2 degrees Centigrade, CO2 must be kept under 350 ppm. However, observations in the Arctic show CO2 levels approaching or exceeding 400 ppm. Can any of the various proposals for mitigation (including those not yet accepted or implemented) impact significantly the trend towards global warming? The Climate Scoreboard, a simulator, shows the following outcomes: business as usual: 975 ppm, 5C°/8.9F°; confirmed proposals: 885 ppm, 4.5C°/8F°; potential proposals, 645 ppm, 3.3C°/5.9F°; low emissions path: 450ppm, 2C°, 3.5F°.
Interactive simulation as way to learn--what if we did something, how would this impact the global temperature?
"What would we have to assume—about the technology, the economy, and the world—for a breakthrough to grow with enough speed and scale to deliver climate goals? "
SmartGridNews.com Perspective and news on smart grids. www.smartgridnews.com/
Selected books, videos, and graphics
Horror movie http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/131-years-of-global-warming-in-26-s… Data source: NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures.
James C. Hansen 2009 Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. “It would be immoral to leave these young people [grandchildren] with a climate system spiraling out of control.”—Dr. James Hansen
James Hansen. "Why I must speak out on climate change."
http://blog.ted.com/2012/02/29/why-i-must-speak-out-on-climate-change-j… (summary of the talk)
David Spratt and Philip Sutton Climate Code Red: The case for emergency action. 2008 ISBN: 9781921372209
Jeremy Rifkin The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World.
Jeremy Rifkin video on his message: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9wM-p8wTq4&feature=endscreen&NR=1
Clive Hamilton Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change.
Joseph Romm, Hell and High Water.
Mark Lynas Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet.
Bill McKibben Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.
Jonathan Koomey, Cold Cash, Cool Climate: Science-Based Advice for Ecological Entrepreneurs (Burlingame, CA: Analytics Press, 2012); reviewed at http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2012/05/21/cold-cash-cool-climate/
Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.
Resources for citizens and municipalities
http://www.icleiusa.org/ ICLEI USA is the leading membership association of cities & counties committed to climate action, clean energy, and sustainability
ICLEI’s has developed a "Five Milestone Methodology" for setting and meeting your climate mitigation or sustainability goals:
Getting Started Prior to launching into the Five Milestone process, you should take a few preliminary steps to get organized and to make a commitment. The chief elected official should publicly commit to developing a sustainability plan and should appoint someone to coordinate the planning process, typically a sustainability coordinator. To guide the plan development, local governments should form an external sustainability advisory board along with an interdepartmental team to participate in the development of the plan.
The plan provides for systematic steps to gather information, involve all stakeholders, measure, introduce change, monitor, followup and evaluate.
Benefits of using the ICLEI system:
Save money, reduce energy use and waste, and lower greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change
Measure energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, climate resiliency and sustainability performance
Set achievable goals and develop sustainability plans, climate action plans, or energy plans
Create more sustainable, economically prosperous communities
Renewable energy information http://www.icleiusa.org/climate_and_energy/renewable-energy-guidance
Examples of local action by citizens
Climate Action Plan, Albany CA
http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=256 In June 2006, the City of Albany committed to becoming a member of ICLEI-Local Government for Sustainability and participating in the Alameda County Climate Protection Project (ACCPP). As part of the project, the City to conducted a baseline Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, set a community-wide emissions reduction target, and developed a Climate Action Plan (CAP).
Climate Action Plan: The Albany City Council adopted the Climate Action Plan (CAP) in April 2010. The CAP is comprised of polices and measures that, when implemented, will enable the City to meet its target for greenhouse gas emission reductions. Several climate protection measures and policies are either in place or in the planning stages.
Berkeley Climate Action Plan. Berkeley CA
The Berkeley Climate Action Plan Executive Summary and Full Report are available for download. In 2006, Berkeley voters issued a call to action on the climate change challenge by overwhelmingly endorsing ballot Measure G. The mandate was simple but bold: Reduce our entire community’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 2000 levels by 2050. The ballot measure directed the City to develop a Climate Action Plan to achieve that target.
Adopted by the Berkeley City Council on June 2, 2009, the Berkeley Climate Action Plan is the result of the community-based climate action campaign that the Berkeley voters set in motion. The plan is rooted in the vision for a sustainable Berkeley that emerged from the climate action planning process.
The City of Berkeley is committed to promoting an integrated strategy to help Berkeley residents become more energy efficient. Learn how to increase energy efficiency in your home and reduce your household carbon footprint.
The goal of the Berkeley's Green Building Program is to remove barriers to green construction, and to promote polices and practices that encourage building green. Green buildings provide healthy, comfortable building interiors, maximize savings through the efficient use of energy and water and limit construction impacts on the natural environment.
GUIDES AND RESOURCES FOR LOCAL PLANNING
http://www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate/local/activities/action-plan.html Developing a Climate Change Action Plan
Eric Mackres and Borna Kazerooni, Local Energy Planning in Practice: A Review of Recent Experiences Washington DC: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy 2012 http://aceee.org/research-report/e123 “ ...local strategic energy efficiency planning, if effectively managed, presents an opportunity to achieve considerable energy savings, save money, create jobs, and protect the environment. ”
Michael R. Boswell, Adrienne I. Greve, Tammy L. Seale Local Climate Action Planning Washington DC, Island Press, 2012 ISBN: 978-1-59726-962-9 (paper). 78-1-59726-961-2(cloth) This is the first book designed to help planners, municipal staff and officials, citizens and others working at local levels to develop Climate Action Plans. CAPs are strategic plans that establish policies and programs for mitigating a community's greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions. They typically focus on transportation, energy use, and solid waste, and often differentiate between community-wide actions and municipal agency actions. CAPs are usually based on GHG emissions inventories, which identify the sources of emissions from the community and quantify the amounts. Additionally, many CAPs include a section addressing adaptation’how the community will respond to the impacts of climate change on the community, such as increased flooding, extended drought, or sea level rise.
Jerry's articles on the environment
"Why can't our political system deal with climate change?"
Review of Clive Hamilton, Requiem for a Species
"A revolution to preserve a world for grandchildren"
Discussion of The Third Industrial Revolution by Jeremy Rifkin
Sustainable energy solutions for municipalitiesPlanning for a sustainable energy future for Mytown
Thanks to Ari Halberstadt for information about ICLEI and the programs in Albany and Berkeley CA.
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when? (Hillel, Sayings of the Fathers)