Al Gore was at TED. We’re making progress. Solar’s now cheaper than coal in some places — and continuing to fall.
It’s too late to avoid disaster: everything from more powerful storms to longer Zika transmission windows. Kiss low-lying areas good-bye.
But even Republican senators have told Al privately they’re on the verge of publicly acknowledging the crisis and joining efforts to confront it. Imagine that!
Pre-order An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power — here.
Watch the trailer here.
Seriously: watch the trailer here.
Within a few decades, why would anyone build a house without a solar roof?
Or replace an old one with one that fails to generate electricity?
(Another advantage: solar roofs won’t leak or need replacing.)
Calculate your current solar economics here.
Fueling cars from the sun — via your roof — is around the corner.
Gas stations are the Blockbuster Videos of the future. Today’s five-year-olds may never need one — or a driver’s license.
If they grow up owning cars at all, those cars will be (a) self-driving; (b) electric; (c) able to generate revenue from those who won’t bother owning one.
In a few years, you’ll have your car drive you to work and then — if you choose — send it off to make money driving others. The choice will be yours: share it with no one; with friends and family; with anyone willing to pay when you don’t need it.
Self-driving technology will put millions out of work — truck drivers, cab drivers, Uber and Lyft drivers, parking lot attendants, DMV clerks . . .
. . . and it will avoid millions of accidents, saving tens of thousands of lives each year in the U.S. alone — and putting yet more people out of work: insurance agents, claims adjusters, emergency room attendants.
Climate change could increase cloud cover, but that (we learned from the cloudologist who immediately followed the glaciologist) works both ways. Increased low-altitude clouds would cool us by their shade, but increased high-altitude clouds could warm the planet even more.
Spewing chalk dust into the upper atmosphere could deflect enough sunlight to cool Earth back to pre-industrial levels — a single fire hose spewing nonstop would provide sufficient volume, this inventor told us, and chalk dust is so safe we put it in baby food — but hang on, we were assured by everyone else: this is a terrible idea. It would be used to treat the symptoms of our problem, not the problem itself; would do nothing about the acidification of our oceans; could affect things that rely on traditional levels of sunlight — like plants.
No, Greenland and pretty much everything else is melting; the 16 hottest years on record have occurred in the last 17 years; we need to stop spewing billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.
Enter Ted Halstead, who unlocked the climate puzzle — a plan fore a gradually rising carbon tax, every penny of which would be remitted in dividends each year to every adult American, 70% of whom (especially the least affluent) would come out ahead and should thus want to vote for politicians who favor it. (Bonus: we save our planet for future generations, but that’s a harder sell.)
. . . The carbon tax would be collected at the refinery or at the first point that fossil fuels enter the economy—typically the mine, well or port—and then passed on to consumers in the form of, for instance, higher gasoline prices, airfare, and electricity bills (depending on your source of power). If your carbon footprint were precisely at the nation’s median, you would get back in dividends essentially the same amount as your costs increase. But since the wealthy have larger carbon footprints on account of their more lavish lifestyles, the majority would come out ahead, even before they start altering their behavior.
[But] . . . wouldn’t such a system encourage manufacturing companies and the jobs they provide to move to another jurisdiction? The answer . . . is border adjustments, levied on the carbon content of imports from countries with no or lesser carbon pricing. . . .
. . . Suppose the United States puts such a system in place: any products it imports from Europe or China would be subject to border adjustment taxes, in turn distributed to all Americans via dividends. The European and Chinese publics would soon realize that they are being disadvantaged by such a system, as the dividends that should be going to them are in fact going to Americans. The obvious cure is to push for similar legislation in their own lands.
Prominent Republicans back this plan — he flashed several faces up on the screen — George Schultz! James Baker! — and this is absolutely something the world should do — should have begun 30 years ago.
Start pushing it.
Pre-order Al’s book.
And seriously: watch the trailer here.
This is all so important, I may take the rest of the week off.
Quote of the Day
A penny saved may be a penny earned, but it's one boring penny. A penny invested, on the other hand, bounces around. It gets bigger one day, smaller the next. A bit player in the drama of global finance, that penny buys a guy a balcony seat in the theater of macroeconomics.~Susan Stewart
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