Saturday, May 24, 2014

Opening Salvo: Why "Zero Carbon Chicago"?

In the last 18 months, I've joined many other people in becoming aware that we're not just talking about "global warming" -- there is a full-flown climate crisis, and we need to do something about it.

As a result, I've done what comes naturally: working with other activists on events (see the February 2013 Climate Crisis Chicago conference) and writing and agitating (see Scarry Thoughts: climate).

Along the way, I've been stunned to hear experts say that it's not enough to just cut our carbon output by 15% or something like that. We need to realize that we need to target zero carbon.

(The reason for this is simple when you realize that half the problem is the carbon that "we" -- i.e. the United States -- actually put out. The other half (or more) of the problem is the standard we set for the rest of the world.)

I've also been stunned to hear scientists say, "We can do it!"

(For more on both points, watch this 10-minute video by Dr. Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER): Carbon-Free Nuclear-Free )

The good news? I think the community I live in can do it.

This is the place where I will right about how . . . 

DIVVY: Ride a bike, save the environment

Zero-carbon Chicago: why not . . .?

Some questions for a zero-carbon Chicago

* Are cities inherently better?

* Does Chicago have a "natural" headstart?

* "It's the suburbs, stupid!" (Do cities just set up a spiral of irreversible consumption driven by sprawl?)

* Can buildings be passive?

* How can we push back against "nuclear power revivalism"?

* Can we leave the region's coal in the ground? (Won't it be worth more there?)

* What type of "green business" might Chicago excel at?

* Is carbon trading the answer?  (Anyone? CME? Buehler? Anyone?)

* Wouldn't we obtain phenomenal leverage from a truly regional rail system?

* Can we exchange "green" for "military"?

* What is the significance of Lake Michigan?

* What if metering got really smart?

* Does Chicago have a sun deficit?

To be continued . . . .

9 More Ideas You Won't Hear

at Chicago Ideas Week . . .