When will petitions become class action lawsuits?

pen_1CLIMATE CHANGE WILL SOON COST POLLUTERS & THEIR PROTECTORS

This year environmental groups all over the world are collecting millions of signatures on petitions to bring to the Paris climate talks in December. The intention is to prove that ordinary people want their governments to act quickly and seriously. We expect, perhaps naively, that government people who want to be re-elected will see the writing on the wall and will get serious with climate change.

What if those signatures were on class action lawsuits instead? Environmental lawyers are now finding numerous ways to punish governments and polluters who together seem to collude to destroy the only home we have without repercussions. An example is another recent landmark ruling in The Hague, that found that the Dutch government has a duty to protect its citizens from climate change. The old argument that a government can blame neighbouring governments and thus shirk its responsibilities was thrown out.

While we bring our petitions, governments will use the Paris photo op to make great pronouncements about their intentions, then return home and try to implement a plan. Some will intervene in their domestic economy and build strength, creating jobs through the clean tech bonanza. Others will continue to be manipulated by the big fossil fuel companies and drag their feet, being left behind by the rest of the world both environmentally and economically. Someone needs to pay for this environmental and economic neglect of citizens. It might be time for environment groups to create a different kind of carbon bubble, based on class action lawsuits as a first step toward ever more severe punishment.

Here’s the link to the Dutch story.

Momentum Toward a New Energy Age – Nails in the Carbon Coffin

Warren Buffett & Al GoreI recently got promoted with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project organization and finally got to meet him. It was a special day as he is, of course, an idol of mine. This happened at a big training session for 600 more Canadian Climate Leaders (8000+ in the world) held last week in Toronto.

My personal agenda aside, the hope is that this group becomes obsolete soon. We work on educating the public and creating momentum, as the world shifts into the new energy age. We’re still probably decades from a full shift, but momentum is definitely ramping up. A few recent developments in the news may have more impact than we will (but we’re working as hard as ever on educating our world).

WARREN BUFFET BETS ON SOLAR

Warren Buffet, iconic American billionaire investor recently pulled his money out of oil and invested about a billion dollars in solar. This is really important for momentum because although the investment trends have been going this way, Buffet is more than a person. He’s a larger-than-life icon for the investment world. His move is a signal to investors everywhere, that the time to make the shift to new energy technology is now. A good analysis of why he did this can be found here.

Similarly but negatively, a few years ago, T. Boone Pickens, another iconic billionaire, started backing natural gas fracking in a big way, causing a huge investment shift into that business. This was very unfotunate. Not only did it do nothing for greenhouse gas emissions and wreck a lot of landscapes, but it was a myth built on weak profit numbers, created for political reasons (expensive mid-east wars, energy independence etc.) We now know that fracking wells peak in a few years and that fracking cannot make money when the oil price drops below $80. And we still don’t know completely what vile chemicals they are pumpiing at very high pressure down towards our fresh water aquifers.

SOLAR AT 4 CENTS PER KWH

In its own way the fracking debacle may end up doing some good. Buffet and others are finally seeing that coal, gas and oil either have no future, or are just too political and volatile for investment gambits. Renewables, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly positive. The technology is proven, you can build it fast, and now the economics are fabulous. For example, solar just hit 4 cents per kilowatt in an important utility bid in Austin, Texas. Nothing can touch this, not natural gas, not even cheap old coal.

It’s time for everyone, investors, homeowners, business owners, corporate executives, urban planners, government policy people, developers, etc. to get on the clean tech bandwagon and slam the last few nails into the carbon coffin.