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Apr 23, 2014

Fighting Climate Gloom and Doom: A USA Today Op-Ed from RMI CEO


On Earth Day yesterday, RMI CEO Jules Kortenhorst and New Climate Economy program director Jeremy Oppenheim co-authored a USA Today op-ed:

“When mythological Cassandra spurned Apollo, he flew into a rage, punishing her with the gift of prophecy but the curse that no one would believe her. Predictably, she went insane.

“On this Earth Day, let’s leave Cassandra behind. Let’s not go insane because the specter of climate change is met with widespread disbelief, whether literal denial of its happening, questions of its severity, or feelings of impotency in the face of such a daunting global challenge. Yes, a prevailing message of doom, gloom, and helplessness has left many people with no perceived option but to turn away, but there is hope.

“Market capitalism, for all its faults, offers promise. Far more so than national governments, it is fast, flexible, and adaptive. Now we must harness it to tackle the energy and climate challenges before us even faster.”

Read the rest of the op-ed, about how market-based approaches and innovation can shift the conversation from doom and gloom to hope and solutions.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


Showing 1-3 of 3 comments

April 24, 2014

How come no one is interested in a cheap and simple, open-source way to double plant growth and carbon sequestration in two years? Examples are at: http://www.subtleenergies.com/plant-lynx.htm

April 24, 2014

If the few billion in the developed world keep on consuming at present rates, even with greatly reduced fossil fuel consumption, and the billions in the less developed world start to approach N.American consumption levels, no amount of new green solutions can overcome the increase in the human footprint. Other resource needs will still strip the planet bare. The embedded energy in a carbon fibre BMWi3 will still be significant, even if it uses less fossil fuel energy to run. I'm not optimistic that technology can solve our climate change problem.. we need to reduce expectations and consumption.

May 11, 2014

Outstanding reply, posted on the USAToday page:

Robert Wilks · Top Commenter · Queens College, City University of New York

Yes, there is hope. But what is required will be far, far more than promoting some vague notion of innovation. Yes, new materials like carbon fiber are a great start, but that’s only the very first part of the very first step. All phases of life need to be radically transformed to be far more energy efficient, and those changes need to happen quickly. Once we reduce our overall energy demand, that will make the shift from fossil fuels to renewables somewhat more doable. And the first thing to aid that transition would be to STOP subsidizing the vastly profitable and destructive fossil fuel industry to the tune of $10 billion per year and START subsidizing the renewables industry by at least the same amount.

We really should have started our shift from fossil fuels to renewables 30 years ago, at precisely the moment Ronald Reagan was ripping the solar panels off the roof of the White House. We have had reasons to do so since the 70’s, but when “morning in America” came, America hit the snooze button and has been sleeping ever since.

There needs to be pressure to divest from fossil fuels. There needs to be active communication, demonstration, and pressure applied. Any way we the people can force the fossil fuel industry to leave carbon in the ground needs to be pursued aggressively.

The article says we can rely on markets to make things happen quickly. Really? Free markets result in billionaires controlling not only those markets, but also controlling the government, elections, the media, the economy, jobs, and the environment. We don’t need more markets, we need more democracy.

And we should eat less meat. Meat production emits carbon, uses water and crowds out forests.
And we should stop deforestation, over-fishing, and the warming and acidification of the seas.
And no, developing countries are not going to be coaxed into “leap-frogging the dirty technologies”. They will follow our bad example: they want big cars, meat and air conditioning, and developed countries like the U.S. will have very little to say about it.

One does not go from uniformed apathy directly to hope. One has to see the doom and gloom that’s staring us right in the face before we can get our asses in gear. Once we start TAKING ACTION, then maybe hope can be justified. But not until then.

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