Author Archives: Jonathan Cloud

This Saturday at Cooper Union: Voices of the Millennial Generation on Climate Change


This Saturday, February 24, 2018 we’re participating in a panel discussion on Mitigation and emerging solutions for addressing the climate change issue, along with a number of other speakers.

The event is from 1 to 6 p.m. in the Great Hall at Cooper Union (30 Cooper Sq, New York, NY 10003), with limited seating, so please RSVP or sign up for the live stream link at MillennialsWorld.org.

Here’s the current program  and list of speakers for the event:

Voices of a Generation – February 24, Event Speakers

Welcome: Joyce Freeling, President Millennials World

Keynote Panel: The World Millennials, Their Children, & Grandchildren Could Live In

  • Sophie Kivlehan, Granddaughter, Dr. James Hansen, Climate Scientist
  • James Hansen (Video) on the Science of Warming
  • Nicole Crescimanno, Columbia University, Rising Sea Level
  • Andrew Herrera, Ramapo College, Harsher Weather
  • Annaisabele DeJesus, Heat Waves & Health
  • Ariana Freitag, The Cooper Union, Deforestation, Species Extinctions, Ocean Acidification
  • Sophie Schneider, The Cooper Union, Food Insecurity
  • Anastasia Caulfield, Ramapo College, Climate Refugees

Actions: Fee & Dividend (Citizens’ Climate Lobby) – Children’s Trust Federal Law Suit
(Polling) 

Mitigation & Solutions Underway – Developed World/Developing World

  • Miriam Horn, Environmental Defense Fund, Author & Film Maker
  • Jonathan Cloud, Director, NJPACE, Financing Renewable Energy for Communities
  • Toby Cumberbatch, Founder, Center for Sustainable Engineering, Art and Architecture – Materials, Manufacturing and Minimalism (SEA2M3)

(Polling)

Pathways to Sustainability – Promise for the Future – The World Millennials Can Change

Students from Columbia University, Earth Institute:

  • Sarah Ann Burns, Harnessing Natural Sources of Energy
  • Megan Ross, Urban Sustainability
  • Andrea Christina Ruiz, Regenerating Forests, Sustainable Food Production
  • Miriam Nielsen, Communicating the Value of Sustainability to Society
  • Jesse Thorson, The Need for New Narratives

(Polling)

A New Social Compact – Shift to Long-Term Thinking & Responsibility to Successor Generations

  • Joyce Freeling

Art & Design Charrette – Transforming Statements in Graphics (Millennial Visions)

  • Mike Ryan
  • Patrick Schlitzer
  • Danny Castillo

Announcement of Step-into-the-Future Social Media Competition

 

February 28 Event at Rutgers: Transitioning NJ to 100% Renewables

Our friends at Food and Water Watch write:

With every year of delayed action, we move closer to runaway climate catastrophe. Pollution from our current energy system is already taking a massive toll on our public health and safety, with disproportionate impacts on low income and communities of color. And nearly a dozen new fossil fuel expansion projects are currently proposed in New Jersey, including several dirty, dangerous oil and gas pipelines through our irreplaceable water sources.

Join us for an important event on climate change and dirty energy development in New Jersey, and learn how we can transition the state to 100% renewables!

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Restarting the Clean Energy Revolution in New Jersey


New Jersey is about to experience a surge of new clean energy projects, unleashing a considerable amount of additional private financing for energy efficiency and renewables.

Amendments to NJ’s existing PACE law are being passed in the NJ Legislature this month. Governor Christie has the opportunity to sign this legislation before he leaves office. Given that the new bill includes amendments based on his 2015 conditional veto, Governor Christie could (and we think, should) sign Commercial-only PACE legislation as part of his economic legacy.

PACE — Property Assessed Clean Energy — is a new source of financing for commercial projects. More than a dozen states have PACE programs which have collectively financed almost half a billion dollars worth of projects across the US and created almost 7,500 jobs. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of new construction and retrofit projects that are eligible for this new form of financing

For a general description of PACE see What is PACE?

The key benefits of Commercial PACE are that it:

  • Saves property owners money on energy
  • Creates local jobs and economic development
  • Helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions

The most appealing features of Commercial PACE for energy efficiency, renewable energy and resiliency financing are that it:

  • Covers 100% up front financing, including project development costs, and can be off-balance sheet
  • Allows terms of up to 30 years, allowing projects to be cash-flow positive from the start
  • Remains with the building upon sale
  • Allows payments to be passed along to tenants, resolving the split incentive issue
  • Increases the value and competitiveness of the building

Property owners can receive subsidies and incentives from the NJ Clean Energy Program, and use PACE financing to finance 100% of the remaining hard and soft costs.

Other potential sources of energy-improvement financing include state programs such as the proposed Public Bank, a possible Green Bank, and the New Jersey Resilience Bank (which has already committed all of its available funds). But each of these is likely to take longer to implement than PACE, requiring additional legislative approvals.

The distinguishing feature of PACE is that it does not involve any public funds, is wholly decentralized through the municipalities and the private sector, and is not managed by the state. It can get off the ground immediately, and make a substantial impact on creating jobs and reducing emissions.

 

Ramping up both public and private funding

Our preliminary estimates suggest that the potential for clean energy improvements of commercial properties in New Jersey may be more than $75 billion, including renewables and efficiency improvements, even a fraction of which is capable of creating an enormous boost in jobs and economic development.

What this means is that PACE could rapidly exceed the current level of public clean energy financing in the state, potentially more than doubling the extent of market transformation. Commercial PACE can provide 100%, non-recourse, and off-balance-sheet financing for a wide range of projects; or simply bridge the gap between what the Clean Energy Program provides and the total cost of the project. In addition, there are other innovative financing structures that have been devised specifically to take the place of PACE where PACE is not yet available. So the private market is going to drive the transition further and faster than ever.

 

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A Possible Planet?

We’re in the processing of “re-branding” ourselves as Possible Planet (www.possibleplanet.org, of course). So what does this re-branding mean, and why are we doing it?

By “we” we mean here the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions, our 501(c)(3) umbrella entity under which we house a number of our own and others’ projects. These include not only global and local projects, but pretty much also every level in between. So not only are we concerned with what’s needed for “A Possible Planet” (the title of our forthcoming book), but we’re also working on Possible New Jersey (www.possiblenj.org) and Possible Bound Brook (www.possibleboundbrook.org) as examples of the application of what is really the paradigm-shifting model behind Possible Planet.

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Beyond Reconciliation — RVCC Conference April 21, 2017

On April 21, Professor Dan Aronson at Raritan Valley Community College is hosting a conference on the potential for common ground between environmentalists and labor. Entitled “Beyond Reconciliation,” the keynote speaker is University of Iowa Prof. Benjamin Hunnicutt, who discovered articles from labor activists in the 1830s recommending that workers reduce spending/consumption in order to protect time for education and other worthwhile pursuits. 

Hunnicutt is the premier historian on US work hours. He has written for The Wall Street Journal and Politico. His books include Kellogg’s Six-Hour Day, and Free Time: the Forgotten American Dream. He has worked as a consultant to unions and businesses interested in shorter hours and the potential of leisure to improve the community and workplace. He is currently working on a book titled, The Age of Experiences: The Promise of Liberation Capitalism.

Professor Aronson writes, “In our own time, reductions in consumption can be associated with an increase in material well-being. For example, there is a strong and growing market for real estate near transit and energy-efficient buildings. Meeting this demand would reduce spending on automobiles and energy, but the strong demand for walkable neighborhoods/efficient buildings indicates that such amenities are valued.”

To register visit: www.raritanval.edu/conference_register

For more information, download the conference brochure here: P2356_Beyond Reconciliation.

New Directions for 2017

CRCS will be moving in several new directions this year, which we think will be of interest to a wider audience than just those of us interested in financing clean energy. We’ve been focusing more on communities in the past year, and on the values and vision that led to our mission, to assist local communities and neighborhoods to become more resilient in the face of the widening impacts of a changing climate.

We are proposing to work with one or two towns in New Jersey on their revitalization and self-renewal. Culture actually holds the key to greater local resilience, alongside the physical transformation of communities into eco-communities. And organization is what’s needed to transform culture. We are planning to create “civic cooperatives” that will lead these communities into a positive self-generating future. Many communities are today experiencing decline, or struggling to ignite a self-renewal, within the broader context of the need for a world for a world that shifts carbon from the atmosphere back into the soil. The cooperative model has proven itself to be more enduring, more beneficial, and often more valuable to communities than the conventional marketplace business model.

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An Opportunity to Invest in a New Economy

We make a difference in the world, by how we choose to invest our philanthropic dollars and/or investment funds.

We know that you know that we face planetary catastrophe if we don’t change the way our economy works today — we need to divest from those activities that are causing harm to the earth, and invest in ones that are restorative and regenerative. Whether you’re talking about large amounts, such as endowment funds of Ivy League universities, or the charitable donations you make at the end of the year, you know that moving from unsustainable practices to restorative and regenerative ones is what’s needed to reduce carbon in the atmosphere and put it back into the soil where it literally sustains life.

Our nonprofit, the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions (CRCS), is at the forefront of the effort to transform our economy into one that creates sustainable prosperity for everyone. Buckminster Fuller was amongst the first to recognize that we are technologically capable of producing a world that sustains everyone, and that gives us the opportunity to heal our planet, our psyche, and our civilization.

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Our Work and Its Value to You and Your Community


How would you like the members of your community to work together as part of a thriving and resilient ecosystem, providing for the basic needs of all citizens?

With your financial support, we intend to pilot a scalable, self-financing business model for communities to fulfill on their potential, with the capacity to regenerate themselves, indefinitely.

Starting with the formation of a “Civic Cooperative,” our approach includes award-winning regenerative processes from the Story of Place Institute and REconomy as well as other successful local, national and global methodologies.

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NJPACE Launching a Coalition for PACE in New Jersey

C4Plogo2In the wake of Governor Christie’s conditional veto of A2579/S1510, New Jersey PACE is initiating a coalition of key players to:

(a) resolve any issues standing in the way of a new, comprehensive, and workable bill — acceptable to all constituencies, insofar as possible — that initiates the development of a robust and secure PACE industry, and

(b) develop an industry alliance that helps expand the program to all sectors and all corners of the state.

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Global4C Paper Featured at 2015 Earth Systems Governance Conference in Canberra

A paper entitled “Global 4C: World Monetary Union for Climate Change Mitigation,” by Delton B. Chen, Jonathan Cloud, Joel van der Beek, has been posted to the site of the 2015 Earth Systems Governance in Canberra, Australia, December 14-16. Focusing on the potential for using an innovative method of financing carbon mitigation and sequestration, the paper examines the basis for addressing economically the multiple challenges facing the planet, and the underlying causes of the failure of markets to incorporate the “externalities” that are now beginning to harm all of us.

As the paper notes at the outset,

“The future viability of our civilization is in serious doubt because of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) [3][5][6], chronic degradation of ecosystems [9][30][45], and risk of nuclear war [64]. These harms and risks are related to unchecked economic growth, fossil fuel usage, resource consumption, and militarization. Civilization is evidently in need of systemic change to avoid collapse and to build restorative networks [50][52].”

The paper offers a more complete economic framework for environmental management, and a new public policy for climate mitigation that has not yet been considered under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and was not discussed at COP21 in Paris. The paper offers a roadmap to strong decarbonization of the global economy, even when orthodox policies are unable to deliver due to political delay.

The ESG conference, subtitled ‘Democracy and Resilience in the Anthropocene,’ is the 6th in a series of conferences on Earth Systems Governance, aimed at fostering “a better understanding of the vital questions of legitimacy, accountability, transparency, and democracy” in finding a way to be responsible for the vitality of a living planet. Previous conferences have been held in Amsterdam (2009), Fort Collins (2011), Lund (2012), Tokyo (2013) and Norwich (2014).

You can download the conference program here: ESG_Canberra_Program_Final_Web.

The Global4C proposal, for which CRCS serves as policy host, will be featured as part of a panel on “Green Economies, Consumption & Growth.”