It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here: ‘How to Win a Climate Change Argument’ (Infographic)
Source: 'This Cheat Sheet Will Make You Win Every Climate Argument' (Climate Desk via Grist)
*This is a very handy reference for those of us still fighting climate change denial. However, I do have an issue with the infographic’s title, specifically, its use of the word “believe.” Science is not about beliefs, it is about facts. People can choose to accept the facts or they can ignore them, but either way facts remain facts. I think a better (more scientifically robust) title would be ‘Do you accept the facts of climate change?’ 
‘Global temperatures highest in 4,000 Years, Study Says’ (New York Times)

It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here: ‘How to Win a Climate Change Argument’ (Infographic)

Source: 'This Cheat Sheet Will Make You Win Every Climate Argument' (Climate Desk via Grist)

*This is a very handy reference for those of us still fighting climate change denial. However, I do have an issue with the infographic’s title, specifically, its use of the word “believe.” Science is not about beliefs, it is about facts. People can choose to accept the facts or they can ignore them, but either way facts remain facts. I think a better (more scientifically robust) title would be ‘Do you accept the facts of climate change?’ 



SustainaWiki is a wiki site designed with one thing in mind: offering information about sustainability to anyone who needs it! Don’t see a page you’re looking for? Make a username and create the page!

I had a quick look around SustainaWiki and it appears quite new with much of the content fairly limited and using 2012 references. So far there are pages addressing energyfoodhome improvementhow-to guides, landscaping, technology, transportation, and waste management. If you’ve got some time and knowledge to share… well, you know what to do. If you need some guidance, you might want to check out the users guide.

I recently stumbled upon this article from Postmedia’s award-winning national science writer, Margaret Munro. It was written in advance of June’s Rio+20 summit, which was widely viewed to have achieved limited results. That said, the article offers a good summary of some of the big systemic changes that we’re likely going to have to pull off on the long road to building a sustainable and resilient future. In other words, it’s going to take a whole lot more than riding a bike, recycling, and using cloth shopping bags.

The article has a bit of a Canadian focus, but the steps are universal:

1. Start a revolution

2. Energy game change

3. Put a price on carbon

4. Overhaul corporate motives and mindsets

5. Green Canada’s blackened record 

6. Transform cities

7. Connect the dots before you buy

8. Eat less meat

9. Embrace education (and contraception)

10. Get politically active

You can read the rest of the article and an explanation of each of the steps here, but I’ll post the first one here as an example:

“For most of the last century, economic growth was fuelled by what seemed to be a certain truth: the abundance of natural resources. We mined our way to growth. We burned our way to prosperity. We believed in consumption without consequences,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last year. He went on to describe it as a “recipe for national disaster. It is a global suicide pact.”

“We need a revolution,” he said. “Revolutionary thinking. Revolutionary action. A free-market revolution for global sustainability”.


Tools for Change: ‘Smart Environmental Policy with Full-Cost Pricing’

From The Pacific Institute of Climate Solutions via YouTube:

Canada’s natural resources, ecosystems and wildlife are indispensable to the sustainability of our planet and economy. Despite this, both the public and private sectors do not adequately consider the environmental consequences of production and consumption when calculating their bottom line. There is a growing need for full-cost pricing, a system that adjusts market prices to reflect not only the direct costs of goods and services, but also their impact on our country’s natural capital. Presenting the findings of a March 2012 paper, Dr. Olewiler argues that the onus is on the federal government to create the conditions for full-cost pricing to succeed.

Nancy Olewiler is the Director of the School of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University. Her areas of research include natural resource and environmental economics and policy. She has published extensively, written two widely used textbooks (The Economics of Natural Resource Use and Environmental Economics), and produced numerous reports for the Canadian federal and provincial governments, including studies on energy and climate policy, natural capital, and federal business tax policy. Nancy is the Chair of the TransLink Board of Directors, and has previously served on the boards of BC Hydro and several of its subsidiaries. She is also a member of advisory committees for Statistics Canada, WWF-Canada, Sustainable Prosperity and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. 

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions has lots of other great solutions oriented talks here


(Graphic source: TEEB4me)

For two centuries, technologies damaged cities. Factories brought dirt and noise. Then cars added sprawl: Los Angeles creates fewer encounters than dense Manhattan. Even in the 1990s, the desktop computer swallowed valuable space, and chained each person to his own desk. Carlo Ratti, director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says 20th-century technologies were no use to a dense city such as Venice.

But the internet was perfect for cities. It created new networks that reinforced older urban networks. Patrik Regardh, head of strategic marketing for the mobile-phone operator Ericsson, says urbanites email, phone and use social networks more than people outside cities. After all, they have more contacts, and so they communicate more. In Stockholm, for instance, women use Facebook to team up for safe jogging tours at night.

When laptops arrived, urbanites could use the new networks anywhere – but they often still needed a coffee shop to get online. Starbucks rose thanks to the laptop computer. Now, though, people carry their networks around in a 10-sq-in device. This is transforming city life in countless ways: everything from finding a date to finding a bus in an instant. Greg Clark, the UK’s minister for cities, says the London bus finder app “actually makes the transport system hugely more effective”. Now we just need a good app to find parking spots. Clark sighs: “A lot of congestion comes literally from people driving around looking for a parking space.”

In short, smartphones are helping make the densest cities the best places to live, as witnessed by property prices in Hong Kong, New York, Paris and London. By contrast, sprawling cities that rely heavily on cars – Moscow, Istanbul, Beijing – are becoming dysfunctional as roads clog up. I recently took three hours on a Saturday afternoon to reach a Moscow airport. If you live like that, your networks shrivel because you stop meeting people.

A quote from the FT article, 'The app of life'.

(Image credit: FT

From Salon:

For a long time, tactical urbanism was associated with guerrilla gardeners and fly-by-night pop-up parks, whereas large-scale “city planning” was seen as the job of bureaucrats with blueprints. But more and more often, City Hall is taking a more active (as opposed to purelyreactive) role in these types of smaller, cheaper, localized efforts, and sometimes even leading them. “Tactical urbanism has always been a combination of both bottom-up and top-down,” says Mike Lydon, a principal at the Street Plans Collaborative, an urban planning firm, “but now you’re seeing more of these ideas proliferate at the municipal level.”

In a way, thinking small is the next logical step in America’s urban renaissance. When cities really started changing 10 or 15 years ago, the economy was booming and the Internet was a newfangled gizmo. Today, cities have less money but more ways to communicate, two conditions perfectly suited to more focused, low-cost planning. Now you can home in on a specific neighborhood (or even just a few blocks), find out what the residents there want or need, cheaply implement it on a trial basis, and make it permanent if it works.

“We try to distinguish tactical urbanism from DIY urbanism and other similar movements,” says Lydon. “The intent is always to make something long-term and permanent.” In essence, cheap, ephemeral projects act as advertisements for better infrastructure. A roll-up crosswalk ends up painted onto the street by the city. An instant playground is taken over and maintained by the parks department. Just last week in Cleveland, after a pop-up cycle track was removed after its one-week lifespan, locals, disappointed to see it gone, starting asking the city for a permanent one to replace it.

Its easy to see why penny-pinching local governments would want to get in on this. The pedestrianization of Times Square, which began in 2009 as a pilot program that utilized little more than paint, orange traffic barrels and $10 lawn chairs, was a landmark moment in city-sanctioned tactical urbanism (the plaza has since been upgraded with curbs and sturdier seating). That same year, San Francisco launched Pavement to Parks, an initiative to turn underused street space into pedestrian refuges. Upon dedicating the first one, Mayor Gavin Newsom acknowledged that the city was catching up with what was already a grass-roots phenomenon. “I know that many of you have been talking about this for … at least 13 or 14 years,” he said. “Formally, it’s been at least a decade since community groups came together and talked about converting this pavement into a plaza.”

New York and San Francisco were early adopters, but Ethan Kent, vice president of the nonprofit Project for Public Spaces (PPS), says that until recently, such efforts existed as “a cool trend, but not the paradigm shift” that’s now transforming official policy. Last week in Philadelphia, for instance, the chief of staff for the mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities announced that the city would add more parklets and pedestrian plazas this year, building on the success of the Porch, a public plaza created in November out of underused space near 30th Street Station for the low cost (by municipal standards) of $300,000. This “Lighter Quicker Cheaper” endeavor, as PPS calls it, resulted in a space where less turned out to be more: Instead of spending lots of money to program it, it was left flexible for people to program themselves. Today, depending on when you show up at the Porch, you could find a fitness class, a farmer’s market, a live performance, or some of the 16,000 people who work within a five-minute walk eating lunch there.

“The ‘Lighter Quicker Cheaper’ method gets people focused on the uses,” says Kent. “Typically people can’t see how they can change the public realm because they feel like they’re depending on big capital projects.” But when city governments become tactical urbanists, it combines the best of both worlds: a space provided and sanctioned by the city, but one that the community can remake in its own image.

Check out the rest of the article here.


(Photo: Better! Cities & Towns Online)

From The Washington Post:

Countries or regions that have already passed cap-and-trade: This includes the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, California, and Quebec. They’ve all set hard limits on a significant portion of their carbon emissions. (Different countries have different targets and exemptions for various sectors.) This is a sizeable chunk of the planet: By my calculations, these countries and regions represented roughly 19 percent of the world’s carbon emissions in 2008.

Countries that could shift to cap-and-trade this decade. Mexico and Brazil have both recently passed laws to significantly slow their rate of emissions growth by 2020. (Brazil’s target is voluntary.) They’ve both set up task forces to study various ways to achieve this, with cap-and-trade as an option. Japan, for its part, has set up a limited cap-and-trade scheme for Tokyo and has a voluntary carbon-trading scheme at the national level that has slightly curbed emissions.

Meanwhile, China is setting up its own regional cap-and-trade systems in several of its provinces and is looking to set up a national program by the end of the decade. Jennifer Morgan says that her organization, WRI, recently hosted a Chinese delegation in the United States to study California’s climate program, as well as the small cap-and-trade system for electric utilities in the Northeast. While China’s program likely wouldn’t shrink the country’s overall level of emissions, it would at least slow the country’s ferocious growth in greenhouse gases.

Countries that are still pondering the idea. According to the World Bank report, there are at least 14 developing countries that are in various stages of study. Chile, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Thailand, and Jordan are all developing some sort of “crediting mechanism.” South Africa has a carbon tax that could well be converted to a cap-and-trade program.

Add these programs all up, and it’s potentially quite significant. Right now, about 6 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas sources are capped and traded. By the end of the decade, according to some estimates, that could rise to as much as one-third of all emissions.

Many of these countries could eventually link together — Australia’s climate-change minister, Greg Combet, has suggested that eventually South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and China could cooperate on some sort of pan-Asian carbon-trading system. And, the World Bank notes, there’s still plenty of demand for carbon-offset projects in the developing world under the U.N. program. All told, the global carbon-trading market rose to a record $176 billion in 2011.

Check out the rest of the article here.

(Image credit: Climatepedia)

Tools for Change | Communication: “Let me tell you a little story.”

From TEDxTalks:

Bill Harley, a Friend, storyteller, author, songwriter, teaching artist; two-time Grammy winning artist in the spoken word category; Lifetime Achievement awards from the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities, Children’s Music Network and the National Storytelling Network.

(H/T Climate Bites)

From The Montreal Gazette:

Environment Minister Pierre Arcand announced the official adoption of Quebec’s cap-and-trade system to fight climate change Thursday – three days after what Arcand called the federal government’s “utterly regrettable” announcement that Canada will withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol.

Arcand said if industrialized countries abandon Kyoto – the lone legally binding international agreement on greenhouse gas reduction – it becomes all the more crucial for states and provinces to take legislative action to reduce emissions quickly.

Arcand said the cap-and-trade system will be good not just for the climate, but for the economy.

“With the adoption of this legislation, Quebec is positioning itself at the starting line, beside California,” he told a news conference Thursday at Montreal’s Biosphere.

“We are participating in the emergence of an economic tool that will transform one of the most significant environmental challenges of the 21st century into a real trampoline toward a green, prosperous and sustainable economy.”

States and provinces, through endeavours like the Western Climate Initiative, are acting independently to create a linked North American market for carbon credits, which aim to reduce emissions, encourage investment in clean energy technologies, create green jobs and improve public health.

California became the first state to adopt a cap-and-trade program in October, and like Quebec’s system, it comes into full effect in January 2013.

Check out the rest of the article here

    (Photo credit: Globe & Mail)