Green Science: U.S. #1 for Co2 Cuts, But Mum’s the Word

David Roberts has some great news.

Via Grist.org:

We [the U.S.] have cut our carbon emissions more than any other country in the world in recent years — 7.7 percent since 2006. U.S. emissions fell 1.9 percent last year and are projected to fall 1.9 percent again this year, which will put us back at 1996 levels. It will not be easy to achieve the reductions Obama promised in Copenhagen — 17 percent (from 2005 levels) by 2020 — but that goal no longer looks out of reach, even in the absence of comprehensive legislation.

And a ponder. If we are doing so well, why aren’t we talking about it?

The answer, according to Roberts, lies in the political landscape that will shape conversations now until November.

President Obama has some wins to claim, but not all of them lead to good places.

Say, for instance, that electricity use has fallen.That’s all well and good, except for that this dip was caused by the Great Recession whalloping production and consumption.

See the tarnished lining inside this silver news?

This good news-bad news is nothing new to anyone who has spend time in a public affairs, investor relations or marketing communications position. Don’t say things that lead to questions you don’t want to answer.

As a Sustainability writer and practitioner, I’m fascinated by what I can learn from these real-world conversations. I’m interested in talking more persuasively, honestly and accurately about how climate change and environmental issues impact our businesses and communities.

Read the full article.

Green Shift: Reaching People on Climate Change

Put the green stick down.

Green-storyteller Simran Sethi has some ideas on how to change peoples’ mind about climate change.

From Treehugger.com’s coverage of the June 2, 2012 TEDx event in Cibeles, Madrid, Spain:

How Not to Convince People to Go Green: Throw More Facts At Them (Video)

The way to make information relevant is not to ask people to think about or worry about something new—especially not something that’s far away in time or space. The stories have to be close to us, emotionally or physically. Or, we have to displace what’s already in someone’s pool or worry.

In order to change the world, we need to change how we engage with each other.

Get out of your head.

Make it personal.

Make it meaningful.

Connect based on shared experiences and values.

Green Politics: U.S. Navy Steams Ahead on Biofuels

Why on God’s green earth would you want to block the U.S. Navy’s progress towards clean, secure, renewable energy?

Not to mention saving American taxpayers’ money?

Via SustainableBusiness.com:

Navy Proceeds With Biofuels Plans, Despite Attempts to Block It In Congress

The U.S. Navy is moving ahead with its goals of slashing its energy consumption and powering its fleets with biofuels, even though Republicans are trying to block their efforts.

That caused an uproar in the House, bringing the Department of Defense’s newfound commitment to renewable energy to a head. The House and the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to block the Navy from buying biofuels if it costs more than petroleum in the 2013 Defense Department spending bill.

From my perspective, while I don’t agree with all the actions taken by the U.S. military, I believe that the very-smart-people in our military do know how to innovate and implement.

Like say, the Internet.

This Reuters.com story provides a little more back story on opposition to the plan:

Navy moves ahead on biofuels despite congressional ire

Near as I can tell, does Congressional opposition boil down to the idea that, by advancing biofuel technology, the U.S. Government is stealing R&D opportunity from the public sector?

Or diverts money from oil-aligned interests?

Either way, I’m proud of the U.S. military’s commitment to moving ahead with clean, renewable energy innovation.

Green Government: Make Pollution Expensive

If you can’t beat ’em, well, beat them.

With a green stick.

British Columbia has gone farther than any other government entity to make polluting the environment unpleasantly expensive.

Via NYTimes.com: 

The Most Sensible Tax of All

British Columbia’s carbon tax – a tax on the carbon content of all fossil fuels burned in the province – increased from $25 to $30 per metric ton of carbon dioxide, making it more expensive to pollute.

This was good news not only for the environment but for nearly everyone who pays taxes in British Columbia, because the carbon tax is used to reduce taxes for individuals and businesses. Thanks to this tax swap, British Columbia has lowered its corporate income tax rate to 10 percent from 12 percent, a rate that is among the lowest in the Group of 8 wealthy nations. Personal income taxes for people earning less than $119,000 per year are now the lowest in Canada, and there are targeted rebates for low-income and rural households.

Could it work in the United States?

It’s an idea worth considering.