Category Archives: Climate Change

Our Common Cause

I believe that our global climate crisis is the biggest challenge that my generation will ever face and that it is up to kids like myself all over our planet to solve this crisis. As ominous as the problem is there is good news about the passion and perspectives that children all over the world have, about how seriously many of us take this topic and of how committed we are to solving it. With that in mind I’d like to share a few recent examples of hope from all around the world with you.

France & Canada

Take my new friend Myriam Khelifi, a French Canadian who lives in the Province of Quebec who wrote me after my recent blog on the Yellow Vest riots in France.

Hey, Delaney!

I’m Myriam – a young climate activist, just like you! I am 15 years old and I wanted to propose you a mutual agreement: team work. 

I created myself a blog 2 years ago, on which I post a lot of articles, magazines and videos (I have a YouTube channel) regarding many issues about global warming. Although it’s mostly written in French because it’s my mother tongue, some of them are available in English.

I’ve invited her to write a guest blog or two for our site and as she’s considering the topic to start with she wrote the following;

I could talk about the oil sands in Alberta or the Kinder Morgan pipeline that Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister, wants to build even though people are against it. I could even talk about any other subject – I’ve already done a lot of research about coral bleaching, GMOs, plastic in the oceans, etc. 

If you don’t think the world is changing, that children all over the planet are serious about this topic, then consider that the young woman who wrote about oil sands in Alberta, the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the Prime Minister, coral bleaching and plastics in the ocean is “just” 15 years old.  Thanks Myriam for helping make my point and being such an inspiration to me and so many others.

India

I am humbled by how often I hear from children in India and their fears concern me deeply. In fact, one of my first classroom presentations after starting The Sink or Swim Project was to a girls’ school in India by Skype. That was an amazing experience, me here in Miami near midnight and the children in their classroom live in front of me on the other side of the world a morning later talking about their concerns. Sea level rise threatens an estimate 50 Million people in Bangladesh alone who are predicted to become Climate Refugees (the number of Climate Refuges that South Florida could produce within my lifetime is 2.5 Million people).

So, yeah, India has a very serious problem on its hands and notes like this recent one from my new friend Pathan are common (as are his concerns):

Hi Delaney

I am Pathan Arshadkhan from India.

The world’s most air polluted cities are here but no serious action done by government.

What can I do for my country and my people?

My response includes ways to engage his local government, to start small on fixing this very big problem and I am confident that he and children all over India are doing just that right now.

Cambridge, England

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And while we are touring the world a bit allow me to share with you that I am honored to announce that on April 2nd I will be the opening speaker at the University of Cambridge (England) for The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and its annual Climate-Related Financial Reporting Conference. I am grateful to know that the University and conference attendees want to hear from a child as they consider ways to measure and manage the complex issues of climate change.

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership was created to assist people, businesses and industry all over the world seek profitable, sustainable, ways to work together to address common challenges and become agents of true global change. The Institute has offices in Cambridge, Brussels and Cape Town as well as delivery partners in Beijing, Melbourne and São Paolo. By working with multinational businesses, multilateral agencies and governments all over the world the Institute and its amazing staff delivers sustainable projects in Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia and Australia.

The conference, as outlined on its website, “is designed for financial officers, risk officers, strategic managers, enterprise risk managers, investors, regulators, insurers, accountants, auditors and accounting academics who are interested in understanding the development progress and potential impact of near- and longer-term initiatives to report the implications of global climate change on potential financial performance, the implications of firms’ decisions on global climate change, and the degree of firms’ interactions with and dependencies upon stocks of natural capital.”

As I said, I am truly honored that the University of Cambridge would think to invite me overseas to speak at this important event and would like to thank them, Dr. Alan Jagonlinzer and the University of Zurich for sponsoring me. You can learn more about the Conference by clicking here.

The United States of America

Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities. The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United states and are projected to intensify in the future but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur.

United States Global Change Research Program

Fourth National Climate Assessment

November 23rd, 2018

And that brings me back home to America. The good news is that it’s not just children who are “getting it.”

Slowly, but surely, even Republican lawmakers in our country are breaking rank with the past and with our President, seeing the growing gravity of the problem and starting to pay attention to the science as much or more than antiquated, protectionist politics.

Take for example the recent New York Times article (which you can read here) entitled Trump Is Increasingly Alone On One Side Of The Climate-Science Divide where it was reported that three Republicans from the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, Representative’s Walden of Oregon, Upton of Michigan, and Shimkus of Illinois wrote an article for Real Clear Policy and within it state “climate change is real” and suggested that we change our ways so as to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

And if that’s not enough proof that things are starting to change, that reality is sinking in, in a historic first a candidate for the 2020 Presidential race, Washington Governor Jay Inslee launched his bid for the White House by announcing that our nation’s most pressing issue is climate change. “It is time for our nation to set a new priority,” Inslee told supporters gathered at a solar-panel business in Seattle. “This is truly our moment. It is our moment to solve America’s most daunting challenge and make it the first, foremost, and paramount duty of the United States … to defeat climate change.”

Of course, when I say reality is starting to set in I am not referring to the current occupant of the White House. President Trump remains America’s Climate Denier in Chief, an abate embarrassment as he desperately works to secure re-election votes from coal mining states, utilities and others who want to continue their polluting ways. Our President is so delusional, so unwavering in his ignorant, evil, support of carbon pollution that according to the Washington Post (click here) he’s in the midst of creating a committee of scientists to take issue with his own Administration’s Fourth National Climate Assessment, a report last year that concluded “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities. 97% of the world’s scientists agree that our planet is warming and that man’s reliance on fossil fuels is the cause, but leave it to Mr. Trump to seek out the 3% who are likely biased in some fashion and might want to suggest otherwise just as tobacco companies ran advertising with biased doctors promoting cigarettes’ use a generation ago.

We still have much to do, and do quickly, but from Miami to Canada, India, England and beyond, today’s youth have tired of the pollution, and the politics of deceit, and are quickly coming together to solve our common cause, our global climate crisis.

The Savings & Simplicity of Solar

 

Great Letter to the Editor today in the Miami Herald about the savings and simplicity of having a solar power system on one’s home that I wanted to share with everyone. In my home our experience is exactly the same as the Letter’s writer, Simon Rose. Our home has solar power, a battery storage system for night time and is connected to the local utility by net solar metering. Our bill runs between $7.00 and $15.00 per month total and whether the utility is operating or not, say after a Hurricane, we always have power. It’s amazing or, as Mr. Rose says, “charging is on the house”.

MERITS OF SOLAR

For years, I’ve been asked what it is like to be a solar homeowner: Do you have to change your habits? Do you have power at night? Do you have power after a storm? The answers are simple: No. Yes. Yes.

In July 2015, we installed a solar system on the roof of our Miami home. Through net-metering, our FPL bill is a constant $9 and change per month, so our investment should be paid off after about six years. Realtors calculate an average $15,000 premium for the sale of a solar house. We recently installed a battery storage system, so when a storm hits, we’ll be able to power our house on sunshine during a grid outage. All from silent, non-toxic power.

Rooftop solar installation prices have plummeted in the last decade and now, thanks to Solar United Neighbors co-ops, the savings are greater and homeowners receive free, unbiased support throughout the entire process.

For my money, the two best investments a homeowner can make are solar panels and an electric vehicle. When you go solar and buy an electric vehicle, charging is on the house. Really!

– Simon Rose,

Miami

How A Carbon Fee Can Help Solve Our Climate Change Crisis

My recent vlog/blog post “There Will Be Riots & Blood In The Streets”, garnered a great deal of response, comment and debate and I am grateful to each and every one who wrote and shared their thoughts with me. The Yellow Vest riots and protests in France are, I feel, indicative of the struggle many may face as we transition from the long comfortable fossil fuel based economy we live in to one based on sustainable energy. It is a transition that we must make if we are to ever solve this global crisis, but it will not be without some struggles. How we finance the transition, and how people throughout our entire society benefit from the transition, will be very important to its success.

To help us with that transition some very forward-thinking people here in the US have conceived and touted a Carbon Fee whereby carbon emissions would be subject to an additional fee and the money raised by the fee would be returned to everyone, to our citizens (not the government). You can learn more about the idea in a recent article by Jeff Dorian, Group Leader of the Broward Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, by clicking here.

Greg Hamra, a faculty member at the University of Miami’s School of Architecture and leader of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby Miami Chapter, has long been active in our climate change battle and is deeply invested in advocating for the Energy Innovation Act & Carbon Dividend Act (HR763). With his work in mind I am pleased to share a Letter to the Editor he wrote recently to the Miami Herald:

CLIMATE POLICY

The Green New Deal, like the Paris Accord and elements of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, is the result of fantastic hard work at building political will for climate action. However, each is nonbinding and represents important, albeit aspirational, goals. These goals must be translated into specific policies that have years of political work ahead before they can be introduced. But they are road maps without a vehicle.

The Energy Innovation Act and Carbon Dividend Act (HR-763) is the vehicle; the critical policy mechanism needed to redirect market capital from dirty high-carbon fuels, toward clean energy and low-carbon solutions.

The Energy Innovation Act creates the conditions necessary to achieve significant greenhouse gas draw-down at the scale and speed required.

Winning slowly is the same as losing. We have to go big and fast.

HR-763 has 10 years of grassroots work behind it. It has the economic studies behind it. It has the support of diverse Economic Nobel Laureates. It is shovel ready. It’s the first bicameral, bipartisan climate legislation in U.S. history. It’s the policy for which we’ve been waiting.

– Gregory Hamra,

Coral Gables

Dr. John Van Leer has been a central figure and long-time advocate for a Carbon Fee, as well as a vocal and passionate member of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Dr. Van Leer also just so happens to be an esteemed professor in the Department of Ocean Sciences here at my school, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, as well as someone that I’ve been honored to share the stage with a time or two as we’ve spoken at various environmental meetings over the last few years. Dr. Van Leer wrote me following my recent vlog/blog and with his permission I wanted to share his note with you so as to help explain the difference between a “Carbon Tax” and “Carbon Fee”. So, thanks to Dr. Van Leer for his permission to use his recent email, as well as his passion to help find solutions to our climate crisis. Please enjoy this special guest blog:

Hi Delaney,

I see a very different path forward, than the Orwellian one you described. What is the key difference between what France foolishly did and what we should do in the US?
There must be social equity in the policy we adopt, otherwise your video’s future will likely occur.

Both James Hansen and George Schultz see an increase in carbon emissions pricing by assessing a fee not a tax. It is a fee because the government does not keep the money it collects. It is refunded to all the citizens equally, so there is social equity. Poorer people receive greater dividends than the price increases they must pay in increased fuel cost. These dividends commence the month before the fees are imposed, so they are fairly treated and will not need to riot to be treated fairly.

I have been talking about Building Our Better Future Faster. I doubt we will ever make this needed change by a series of draconian regulations imposed from above like France has tried.

British Columbia has used a FEE and DIVIDEND approach successfully reducing emissions since 2008 with province wide buy-in by the vast majority of voters and unusually strong growth in the renewable energy sector as a result. So Canada has adopted a national carbon pricing on a provincial basis with some cap and trade in some provinces and fee and dividend in others.

Additional Considerations

The reduction of emissions is too important to be enacted by only one party. Recently, single party politics has triggering increased divisiveness with each election cycle, even before Russian amplification. Our founding fathers wanted their version of democracy to be difficult to change, rather than governed by royal whim, quickly and arbitrarily imposed by a king.

Instead, we must drive this kind of deep structural change right through the political center. Otherwise it will be reversed the next time a different political party becomes dominant. A recent example was the Clean Power Plan designed to curtain coal fired power generation, being carefully vetted under Obama and rescinded by Trump before it was ever implemented. Working together may seem maddeningly slow, messy and inefficient.

It has taken a decade of excruciatingly difficult negotiations, respectfully put forward, by thousands of CCL volunteers who have been seen as engaged in “Mission Impossible.” This exercise in democracy has happened in conjunction with many other cooperative groups, to find a narrow channel to navigate between the reefs and shoals of competing interest, and governing orthodoxies, of our principle parties, plus their many splintered factions.

Government may be distrusted by the “right” as imposing stifling bureaucratic regulations and taxes, which they say will kill the economy and destroy jobs. Government may be distrusted by the “left” as representing only the interests of large businesses, which are willing to sacrifice the poor and middle class and quite possibly the planet.

So, by giving equal refunds to all households, there is complete transparency, because all the people know where all their money went – into their bank accounts – every month. They can trust themselves to spend their money as they see fit.

Hopeful Regards

John

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