Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cap & Trade? Uh, maybe not....

Annie Leonard and her Story of Stuff animator friends have been hard at work, raising awareness of other pressing issues related to the tippy boat of our current insane lifestyle.

The Story of Cap & Trade is a quick peek at the problems inherent in the carbon market proposed by the Obama administration. It doesn't take much imagination to see how the big players could game the system and produce no net positive carbon reduction.

In the end, I favor a straight carbon tax. Yes, we'll all have to pay more for energy. Get used to it. For over a century, we've been externalizing the costs of our carbon-rich way of life-- and the planet is knocking on our door demanding payment.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

10 in 10

In early 2009, Franny Armstrong, the UK filmmaker behind The Age of Stupid, co-founded the organization 10:10. Its purpose: to raise the banner of a specific, achievable target for greenhouse gas reductions that government and citizens of the UK alike could stand behind and support.

The goal: 10% reduction in GHG emissions nationwide by the end of 2010. Such a reduction would be in line with the overall reduction that climate science has put forth as necessary to avoid the worst of climate change, namely 80% reduction by 2050. But that larger value is too much to grasp, and leaves folks discouraged, or worse-- looking to someone else or some unknown technology to solve the problem for them. 10% in 2010 is a manageable chunk, an easily achievable goal in most households-- and most minds.

Citizens, government ministers-- even entire political parties-- flocked to the 10:10 banner. To date, nearly 60,000 people, over 2,300 business, over 1,500 schools & colleges, and over 1,200 other businesses have taken up the challenge. 10:10 has gotten great traction in government as well, from town and county councils to Parliament. MP and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Milliband has publicly engaged with Franny on the issue and helped to create a lot of buzz and attention.

So much for the UK. What about us here across the pond? Could such an idea catch fire in the American consciousness? I'm willing to believe it can. It's a small, specific, achievable goal easily within reach of almost all residential and most business locations. There are already many thousands, if not millions, of folks who've already begun the work, including yours truly. There are pockets of consciousness and activity popping up across the country. I think we can do this. I think we must do this.

No need to join 10:10 UK, though supporting their cause is supporting the greater cause of taking action to stop anthropogenic climate change. Just make a personal pledge to yourself, your family, your planet. Together, we can do even more, since community support is vital for this idea to gain traction here. Tell your neighbors about it, your family, your friends, your co-workers, your local shopkeepers, your hairdresser, your grocer, your meter reader! Spread the word!

10:10 USA!

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