Blogging on the new "Caring Economics" that takes into account the full spectrum of economic activities–from the life–sustaining activities of the household, to the life-enriching activities of caregivers and communities, to the life-supporting processes of nature.
When asked about a particular weather event’s link to climate change, scientists are typically cautious to make definitive statements — especially in the immediate aftermath, before they’ve had the chance to study the event.
But according to a new study, it’s getting easier for scientists to make the link between climate change and some forms of extreme weather. The study, published Friday by the National Academies Press, found that scientific advances over the past several years have helped scientists link increases in frequency and intensity of temperature and precipitation-related events like droughts and heat waves to climate change.
“In the past, a typical climate scientist’s response to questions about climate change’s role in any given extreme weather event was ‘we cannot attribute any single event to climate change,'” the report, completed by a committee of scientists, reads. “The science has advanced to the point that this is no longer true as an unqualified blanket statement. In many cases, it is now often possible to make and defend quantitative statements about the extent to which human-induced climate change (or another causal factor, such as a specific mode of natural variability) has influenced either the magnitude or the probability of occurrence of specific types of events or event classes.”
The report calls this branch of science, wherein researchers work to determine whether climate change contributed to a certain event, “event attribution.” To determine how and if climate change is linked to a certain event, scientists typically either reference the observational record of similar events — i.e. the recorded history of droughts leading back several decades — or use models to determine how likely a similar event would be in different warming scenarios. Most studies, the report states, use both of these tactics. More
What makes a great leader today?Many of us carry this imageof this all-knowing superherowho stands and commandsand protects his followers.But that's kind of an image from another time,and what's also outdatedare the leadership development programsthat are based on success modelsfor a world that was, not a world that isor that is coming.
0:45We conducted a study of 4,000 companies,and we asked them, let's see the effectivenessof your leadership development programs.Fifty-eight percent of the companiescited significant talent gapsfor critical leadership roles.That means that despite corporate training programs,off-sites, assessments, coaching, all of these things,more than half the companieshad failed to grow enough great leaders.You may be asking yourself,is my company helping me to prepareto be a great 21st-century leader?The odds are, probably not.
1:28Now, I've spent 25 years of my professional lifeobserving what makes great leaders.I've worked inside Fortune 500 companies,I've advised over 200 CEOs,and I've cultivated more leadership pipelinesthan you can imagine.But a few years ago, I noticed a disturbing trendin leadership preparation.I noticed that, despite all the efforts,there were familiar stories that kept resurfacingabout individuals.One story was about Chris,a high-potential, superstar leaderwho moves to a new unit and fails,destroying unrecoverable value.And then there were stories like Sidney, the CEO,who was so frustratedbecause her company is citedas a best company for leaders,but only one of the top 50 leaders is equippedto lead their crucial initiatives.And then there were storieslike the senior leadership teamof a once-thriving businessthat's surprised by a market shift,finds itself having to force the companyto reduce its size in halfor go out of business.
2:48Now, these recurring storiescause me to ask two questions.Why are the leadership gaps wideningwhen there's so much more investmentin leadership development?And what are the great leaders doingdistinctly different to thrive and grow?One of the things that I did,I was so consumed by these questionsand also frustrated by those stories,that I left my jobso that I could study this full time,and I took a year to travelto different parts of the worldto learn about effective and ineffectiveleadership practices in companies,countries and nonprofit organizations.And so I did things like travel to South Africa,where I had an opportunity to understandhow Nelson Mandela was ahead of his timein anticipating and navigatinghis political, social and economic context.I also met a number of nonprofit leaderswho, despite very limited financial resources,were making a huge impact in the world,often bringing together seeming adversaries.And I spent countless hours in presidential librariestrying to understand how the environmenthad shaped the leaders,the moves that they made,and then the impact of those movesbeyond their tenure.And then, when I returned to work full time,in this role, I joined with wonderful colleagueswho were also interested in these questions.
4:26Now, from all this, I distilledthe characteristics of leaders who are thrivingand what they do differently,and then I also distilledthe preparation practices that enable peopleto grow to their potential.I want to share some of those with you now.
4:44(“What makes a great leader in the 21st century?”)
4:46In a 21st-century world, which is more global,digitally enabled and transparent,with faster speeds of information flow and innovation,and where nothing big gets donewithout some kind of a complex matrix,relying on traditional development practiceswill stunt your growth as a leader.In fact, traditional assessmentslike narrow 360 surveys or outdated performance criteriawill give you false positives,lulling you into thinking that you are more preparedthan you really are.Leadership in the 21st century is definedand evidenced by three questions.
5:29Where are you lookingto anticipate the next changeto your business model or your life?The answer to this question is on your calendar.Who are you spending time with? On what topics?Where are you traveling? What are you reading?And then how are you distilling thisinto understanding potential discontinuities,and then making a decision to do somethingright now so that you're prepared and ready?There's a leadership team that does a practicewhere they bring together each membercollecting, here are trends that impact me,here are trends that impact another team member,and they share these,and then make decisions, to course-correct a strategyor to anticipate a new move.Great leaders are not head-down.They see around corners,shaping their future, not just reacting to it.
6:28The second question is,what is the diversity measureof your personal and professional stakeholder network?You know, we hear often about good ol' boy networksand they're certainly alive and well in many institutions.But to some extent, we all have a networkof people that we're comfortable with.So this question is about your capacityto develop relationships with peoplethat are very different than you.And those differences can be biological,physical, functional, political, cultural, socioeconomic.And yet, despite all these differences,they connect with youand they trust you enoughto cooperate with youin achieving a shared goal.Great leaders understandthat having a more diverse networkis a source of pattern identificationat greater levels and also of solutions,because you have people that are thinkingdifferently than you are.
7:29Third question: are you courageous enoughto abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past?There's an expression: Go along to get along.But if you follow this advice,chances are as a leader,you're going to keep doing what's familiar and comfortable.Great leaders dare to be different.They don't just talk about risk-taking,they actually do it.And one of the leaders shared with me the fact thatthe most impactful development comeswhen you are able to build the emotional staminato withstand people telling you that your new ideais naïve or reckless or just plain stupid.Now interestingly, the people who will join youare not your usual suspects in your network.They're often people that think differentlyand therefore are willing to join youin taking a courageous leap.And it's a leap, not a step.More than traditional leadership programs,answering these three questionswill determine your effectivenessas a 21st-century leader.
8:45So what makes a great leader in the 21st century?I've met many, and they stand out.They are women and menwho are preparing themselvesnot for the comfortable predictability of yesterdaybut also for the realities of todayand all of those unknown possibilities of tomorrow. More
Economic globalization has led to a massive expansion in the scale and power of big business and banking. It has also worsened nearly every problem we face: fundamentalism and ethnic conflict; climate chaos and species extinction; financial instability and unemployment.
There are personal costs too. For the majority of people on the planet life is becoming increasingly stressful. We have less time for friends and family and we face mounting pressures at work.
The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, government and big business continue to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, all around the world people are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance—and, far from the old institutions of power, they're starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm — an economics of localization.
We hear from a chorus of voices from six continents including Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, David Korten, Michael Shuman, Juliet Schor, Zac Goldsmith and Samdhong Rinpoche – the Prime Minister of Tibet's government in exile. They tell us that climate change and peak oil give us little choice: we need to localize, to bring the economy home. The good news is that as we move in this direction we will begin not only to heal the earth but also to restore our own sense of well-being. The Economics of Happiness restores our faith in humanity and challenges us to believe that it is possible to build a better world.
The Caribbean appears to be the ideal location for renewable energy development. Petroleum resources are scarce and renewable resources such as solar, wind and geothermal are plentiful. Energy prices are high as there is no opportunity for economy of scale benefits that large land masses enjoy. Added to that, climate change impacts pose a major threat to the region’s small-island economies that are largely dependent on tourism and agriculture.
Despite this, most Caribbean nations still use imported diesel or oil to generate 90-100% of their energy. So what has been the barrier to using renewables? Many people have pointed to the cost factor. Small economies mean that in most cases countries have difficulty in financing renewable energy projects that require high upfront capital. Also, regulations have been slow in setting clear rules for grid interconnection. These factors have led some international investors and developers to be cautious about entering the Caribbean market. http://bit.ly/1NeB0fj
The rules are the final, tougher versions of proposed regulations that the Environmental Protection Agency announced in 2012 and 2014. If they withstand the expected legal challenges, the regulations will set in motion sweeping policy changes that could shut down hundreds of coal-fired power plants, freeze construction of new coal plants and create a boom in the production of wind and solar power and other renewable energy sources.
As the president came to see the fight against climate change as central to his legacy, as important as the Affordable Care Act, he moved to strengthen the energy proposals, advisers said. The health law became the dominant political issue of the 2010 congressional elections and faced dozens of legislative assaults before surviving two Supreme Court challenges largely intact.
“Climate change is not a problem for another generation, not anymore,” Mr. Obama said in a video posted on Facebook at midnight Saturday. He called the new rules “the biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change.”
The most aggressive of the regulations requires the nation’s existing power plants to cut emissions 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, an increase from the 30 percent target proposed in the draft regulation.
That new rule also demands that power plants use more renewable sources of energy like wind and solar power. While the proposed rule would have allowed states to lower emissions by transitioning from plants fired by coal to plants fired by natural gas, which produces about half the carbon pollution of coal, the final rule is intended to push electric utilities to invest more quickly in renewable sources, raising to 28 percent from 22 percent the share of generating capacity that would come from such sources.
In its final version, the rule retains the same basic structure as the draft proposal: It assigns each state a target for reducing its carbon pollution from power plants, but allows states to create their own custom plans for doing so. States have to submit an initial version of their plans by 2016 and final versions by 2018.
But over all, the final rule is even stronger than earlier drafts and can be seen as an effort by Mr. Obama to stake out an uncompromising position on the issue during his final months in office.
The anticipated final climate change regulations have already set off what is expected to be broad legal, legislative and political backlash as dozens of states, major corporations and industry groups prepare to file lawsuits challenging them.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, has started an unusual pre-emptive campaign against the rules, asking governors to refuse to comply. Attorneys general from more than a dozen states are preparing legal challenges against the plan. Experts estimate that as many as 25 states will join in a suit against the rules and that the disputes will end up before the Supreme Court.
Leading the legal charge are states like Wyoming and West Virginia with economies that depend heavily on coal mining or cheap coal-fired electricity. Emissions from coal-fired power plants are the nation’s single largest source of carbon pollution, and lawmakers who oppose the rules have denounced them as a “war on coal.”
“Once the E.P.A. finalizes this regulation, West Virginia will go to court, and we will challenge it,” Patrick Morrisey, the attorney general of West Virginia, said in an interview with a radio station in the state on Friday. “We think this regulation is terrible for the consumers of the state of West Virginia. It’s going to lead to reduced jobs, higher electricity rates, and really will put stress on the reliability of the power grid. The worst part of this proposal is that it’s flatly illegal under the Clean Air Act and the Constitution, and we intend to challenge it vigorously.”
Although Obama administration officials have repeatedly said states will have flexibility to design their own plans, the final rules are explicitly meant to encourage the use of interstate cap-and-trade systems, in which states place a cap on carbon pollution and then create a market for buying permits or credits to pollute. The idea is that forcing companies to pay to pollute will drive them to cleaner sources of energy.
That new rule also demands that power plants use more renewable sources of energy like wind and solar power
Mr. Obama tried but failed to push through a cap-and-trade bill in his first term, and since then, the term has become politically toxic: Republicans have attacked the idea as “cap and tax.”
But if the climate change regulations withstand legal challenges, many states could still end up putting cap-and-trade systems into effect. Officials familiar with the final rules said that in many cases, the easiest and cheapest way for states to comply would be by adopting cap-and-trade systems.
The rules take into account the fact that some states may refuse to submit plans, and on Monday, the administration will also unveil a template for a plan to be imposed on such states. That plan will include the option of allowing a state to join an interstate cap-and-trade system.
The rules will also offer financial benefits for states that choose to take part in cap-and-trade systems. The final rules will extend until 2022 the timeline for states and electric utilities to comply, two years later than originally proposed. But states that begin to take actions to cut carbon pollution as early as 2020 will be rewarded with carbon reduction credits — essentially, pollution permits that can be sold for cash in a cap-and-trade market.
Climate scientists warn that rising greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly moving the planet toward a global atmospheric temperature increase of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the point past which the world will be locked into a future of rising sea levels, more devastating storms and droughts, and shortages of food and water. Mr. Obama’s new rules alone will not be enough to stave off that future. But experts say that if the rules are combined with similar action from the world’s other major economies, as well as additional action by the next American president, emissions could level off enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change.
Mr. Obama intends to use the new rules to push other countries to commit to deep reductions in their own carbon emissions before a United Nations summit meeting in Paris in December, when a global accord to fight climate change is expected to be signed.
Mr. Obama’s pledge that the United States would enact the climate change rules was at the heart of a pact that he made last year with President Xi Jinping of China, committing their nations, the world’s two largest carbon polluters, to substantially cut emissions.
“It’s the linchpin of the administration’s domestic effort and international effort on climate change,” said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, a research organization. “It raises the diplomatic stakes in the run-up to Paris. He can take it on the road and use it as leverage with other big economies — China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia.”
While opponents of the rules have estimated that compliance will cost billions of dollars, raise residential electricity rates and slow the American economy, the administration argues that the rules will save the average American family $85 annually in electricity costs and bring additional health benefits by reducing emissions of pollutants that cause asthma and lung disease.
The rules will be announced at a White House ceremony on Monday and signed by Gina McCarthy, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator. While the ceremony is scheduled to take place on the White House’s South Lawn, officials said it might be moved indoors to the East Room after forecasters predicted that the weather would be too hot.
By 2040, the world's power-generating capacity mix will have transformed: from today's system composed of two-thirds fossil fuels to one with 56% from zero-emission energy sources. Renewables will command just under 60% of the 9,786GW of new generating capacity installed over the next 25 years, and two-thirds of the $12.2 trillion of investment. • Economics – rather than policy – will increasingly drive the uptake of renewable technologies. All-in project costs for wind will come down by an average of 32% and solar 48% by 2040 due to steep experience curves and improved financing. Wind is already the cheapest form of new power generation capacity in Europe, Australia and Brazil and by 2026 it will be the least-cost option almost universally, with utility-scale PV likely to take that mantle by 2030.
• Over 54% of power capacity in OECD countries will be renewable energy capacity in 2040 – from a third in 2014. Developed countries are rapidly shifting from traditional centralised systems to more flexible and decentralised ones that are significantly less carbon-intensive. With about 882GW added over the next 25 years, small-scale PV will dominate both additions and installed capacity in the OECD, shifting the focus of the value chain to consumers and offering new opportunities for market share.
• In contrast, developing non-OECD countries will build 287GW a year to satisfy demand spurred by economic growth and rising electrification. This will require around $370bn of investment a year, or 80% of investment in power capacity worldwide. In total, developing countries will build nearly three times as much new capacity as developed nations, at 7,460GW – of which around half will be renewables. Coal and utility-scale PV will be neck and neck for additions as power-hungry countries use their low-cost domestic fossil-fuel reserves in the absence of strict pollution regulations.
• Solar will boom worldwide, accounting for 35% (3,429GW) of capacity additions and nearly a third ($3.7 trillion) of global investment, split evenly between small- and utility-scale installations: large-scale plants will increasingly out-compete wind, gas and coal in sunny locations, with a sustained boom post 2020 in developing countries, making it the number one sector in terms of capacity additions over the next 25 years.
• The real solar revolution will be on rooftops, driven by high residential and commercial power prices, and the availability of residential storage in some countries. Small-scale rooftop installations will reach socket parity in all major economies and provide a cheap substitute for diesel generation for those living outside the existing grid network in developing countries. By 2040, just under 13% of global generating capacity will be small-scale PV, though in some countries this share will be significantly higher.
• In industrialised economies, the link between economic growth and electricity consumption appears to be weakening. Power use fell with the financial crisis but has not bounced back strongly in the OECD as a whole, even as economic growth returned. This trend reflects an ongoing shift to services, consumers responding to high energy prices and improvements in energy efficiency. In OECD countries, power demand will be lower in 2040 than in 2014.
• The penetration of renewables will double to 46% of world electricity output by 2040 with variable renewable technologies such as wind and solar accounting for 30% of generation – up from 5% in 2014. As this penetration rises, countries will need to add flexible capacity that can help meet peak demand, as well as ramp up when solar comes off-line in the evening. More
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) received the 2015 Energy Globe Award for its renewable energy and potable water work in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Cayman Islands should be emulating this initiative and moving towards potable water production for Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Editor
Energy Globe, an internationally recognized trademark for sustainability, is one of the most important environmental prizes today with 177 participating countries. The award, which is made from a cross-section of over 1, 500 entries annually, is given in recognition of outstanding performance in terms of energy efficiency, renewable energy and resource conservation.
The CCCCC won the 2015 Energy Globe National Award for the project “Special Programme for Adaptation to Climate Change”. The project was executed on the island of Bequia in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and focuses on the production and provision of clean drinking water for more than 1,000 people. This is being done through the acquisition and installation of a reverse osmosis desalination plant. The project is deemed highly sustainable as the water input is inexhaustible sea water and the energy used is solar, a renewable, carbon-free source.
The landmark project was also presented by Energy Globe as part of a global online campaign (www.energyglobe.info) on World Environment Day. The campaign ran under the patronage of UNESCO and in cooperation with UNEP and received significant recognition.
“To be honoured with this award is a great recognition of our work for a better environment and motivates us to continue our endeavours in the future,” – Henrik Personn, Renewable Energy Expert, CCCCC
Since completing this key project, we have applied the lessons learned in Belize and on the Grenadian islands of Petite Martinique and Carriacou. Review the poster above to learn more about the progress we are making in Grenada:
2 July 2015: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has released Renewables Readiness Assessments (RRAs) for three small island developing States (SIDS): Fiji, the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu. The RRAs find that the three countries could meet their energy needs, expand energy access, decrease electricity costs and strengthen energy independence through a combination of renewable energy resources.
The Assessments call for employing a combination of solar, wind, geothermal, marine, biomass and biofuel energy to lessen the islands’ dependence on imports and cushion their economies from oil price fluctuations. They find that developing domestic sources of renewable power will be a win-win for both the climate and the economy, mitigating these countries’ carbon emissions and creating local jobs.
As outlined in their RRAs, all three countries are heavily dependent on fossil fuel imports, despite abundant renewable sources: solar, geothermal, wind, biomass and biofuel in Vanuatu; solar and wind in the Marshall Islands; and hydropower, biomass, solar, geothermal and wind in Fiji.
The RRA for Vanuatu assesses progress under the National Energy Roadmap toward sourcing 63% of its energy from renewables by 2030, calling for a grid-assessment study in preparation for large-scale renewables integration. Concluding that off-grid renewables could reach 83% of rural residents without electricity, it also recommends adoption of standard designs for off-grid solar-home systems.
The RRA for the Marshall Islands reports thousands of solar installations since enactment of the National Energy Policy and the Energy Action Plan, but suggests exploring more wind opportunities, forming a national energy agency and a renewable energy coordination committee, planning for off-grid renewables and addressing fuel drum leakage.
The RRA for Fiji examines the National Energy Policy, which hopes to achieve 100% renewables by 2030, finding that the Policy requires further implementation. It calls for a national energy committee to improve coordination among ministries and donors, consideration of maritime transport fueled by renewables, and greater geothermal energy exploration.
CARICOM 5 July 2015: The 36th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) focused on energy, bolstering education systems, and Haiti's “looming humanitarian crisis,” among other issues. A high-level symposium on sustainable development convened on the sidelines of the Conference.
During the meeting, held on 2-4 July 2015, in Bridgetown, Barbados, leaders welcomed the establishment of a Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy, which will be hosted by Barbados. The Centre will act as the implementation hub for sustainable energy activities and projects within the Caribbean. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago proposed creating a Caribbean Energy Fund, which participants supported.
Discussions at the Conference also addressed: access to concessional development financing for small island developing States (SIDS), with leaders advocating for a vulnerability measurement instead of gross domestic product (GDP) to determine economic health; a climate agreement that would limit warming to below 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels; and decision-making mechanisms in the region.
The Conference resulted in a communiqué that addresses: sustainable development; resilience building and wealth creation for Caribbean development, and the role of Caribbean universities; science and technology; and the promotion of sustainable energy. Participants also adopted 'The CARICOM Declaration for Climate Action,' which outlines the Caribbean region's priorities for the 2015 climate agreement, including loss and damage, limiting warming to below 1.5°C, a compliance mechanism, and finance measures, including improved and privatized access to funds by SIDS.
Speaking during the high-level symposium on sustainable development, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that, by 2020, Barbados will be one of the world's top five solar energy users on a per capita basis, and Caribbean countries “are lighting the path to the future.” Noting that sustainable development and climate change are “two sides of the same coin,” Ban reiterated that this generation could be the first to end global poverty, and the last to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, “before it is too late.”
Ban underscored that the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must be “focused, financed and followed up,” and that partnerships must be strengthened with regard to capacity building, financing, access to technology, and improved data collection and statistics.
Ban also called on countries to: link the global agenda to regional agendas; deepen regional integration; focus on the needs and vulnerabilities of SIDS and middle-income countries (MICs), including by addressing the debt challenge; and achieve a low-carbon, climate-resilient development pathway. He said he will continue working to guarantee that SIDS and the least developed countries (LDCs) are top funding priorities of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), among other sources.
“There’s all sorts of, kind of, false beliefs about renewable energy, but things have changed. Wind is, right now, not only one of the fastest — between wind and solar — are the fastest growing new sources of electricpower in the United States, but wind is actually the cheapest form of electricity by far in the U.S. today.
Floating Offshore Wind Turbines
The unsubsidized cost without the subsidies is about 3.7 to five cents per kilowatt hour. Subsidies are another 1.5 cents to drop those costs per kilowatt hour. That compares with natural gas which is six to eight cents per kilowatt hour. So wind is one half the cost of natural gas. Utility scale solar is about the same as natural gas now; it’s also around six to eight cents per kilowatt-hour unsubsidized.”
Well, it turns out that people today can actually control their own power in their own homes. You can put solar panels — I mean wind turbines may be only in a few locations in your back yard, but you can combine solar panels on your roof top with batteries and Tesla has a new battery pack that you can put in your garage that can — where you can store electricity during the day that from the solar, and then use it — use that electricity when there are peak times of electricity because that is when the price is much higher. But people can do other things. They can weatherize their home, they can use energy efficient appliances. There are a lot of things that people can do to reduce energy use and go towards 100 percent renewable energy. Using heat pumps instead of gas heaters. Getting electric cars instead of gasoline cars. More