Category Archives: Carbon Pollution

CRCS and Possible Planet

CRCS (our full legal name is Center for Regenerative Community Solutions, a NJ Nonprofit Corporation) is now also Possible Planet, and the larger part of our work is maintained and updated at www.PossiblePlanet.org. Apologies to several who have left feedback here but have not received an answer. (I have just discovered these entries, and plan to respond to them.)

Much of what is retained here is of archival interest only. But everything we’re now working on has grown out of the thinking and action, reflected here, about the development of solutions that help to strengthen the regenerative capacity of communities. We have principally focused on innovative financing methods for the transition to a clean economy, an economy that is sustainable over the long term, restores rather than damages the Earth, and provides a better living environment for everyone. This led us to initially concentrate on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), and create New Jersey PACE as an alternate identity, and subsequently on the development of “PACE Alternatives” that don’t require state legislation or municipal approval but can be done within existing contract law.

Along the way, we acquired three other projects as a “fiscal sponsor,” projects that represent further approaches to creating a more livable, healthful, and self-sustaining future. Two are related to the development of cohousing and ecovillage neighborhoods, Ecovillage New Jersey, and the Ecovillagers Alliance. The third is a global monetary policy proposal, to address the risk of a catastrophic shock to financial and economic systems (and the concurrent damage to the planet’s life support systems), called Global 4C (which stands for “complementary currencies for climate change”). The basic proposal is to issue a monetary reward for carbon sequestered or abated anywhere in the world, to anyone able to demonstrate that they are reducing emissions or withdrawing carbon from the atmosphere. Issuing such a reward requires only a very modest expansion of the money supply, accompanied by the creation of a greatly expanded economic sector devoted to cleaning up the mess we’ve already created. Currently we’re working on a case study to demonstrate how this can be done in the field of regenerative agriculture, working with various combinations of rock dust, biochar, and compost, to develop the most effective ways of sequestering CO2 in the soil where it supports the natural growth of the crops and livestock we need to survive.

What this leads to more broadly is an examination of what’s needed, ecologically, and how to invest what we need to get there. Financing ecosystem restoration, clean energy, and sustainable human habitation are all aspects of this that offer almost unlimited opportunity for a new generation of businesses, cooperatives, and community financial institutions to create sustainable growth, i.e., economic growth that restores, strengthens, and maintains natural systems instead of trashing them. So follow us, and join us, at PossiblePlanet.org.

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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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.”

NJ PACE 2015 Summit to Focus on What’s Possible for New Jersey

The theme of this year’s New Jersey PACE Summit is “PACE: what’s possible for New Jersey?” The subtitle gives part of the answer: “Resiliency • Clean Energy • Jobs”— these are the major elements of the story, that will be explored at the conference. And there’s more to it as well — PACE can provide regenerative community benefits, support new technologies, and foster new approaches to the global challenges of our times.

PACE, which stands for “Property Assessed Clean Energy,” is redefined in NJ’s new amending legislation to include “the purchase, lease, or installation, or any combination thereof, of renewable energy systems or the energy produced by such systems, energy efficiency improvements, water conservation projects, flood resistant construction projects, hurricane resistant construction projects, storm shelter projects, or safe room projects, undertaken by property owners on properties within a municipality.”

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Proposal for a World Currency for Strong Climate Mitigation, Global4C, Goes Live

Hosted by CRCS, Dr. Delton Chen has unveiled a new web site — www.Global4C.org — explaining his proposal to use a new global complementary currency to reward carbon mitigation and sequestration. The proposal was recognized in last year’s MIT Climate Colab contest, and is explained in detail on the web site. Some notes on the project:

  • The idea for the Global 4C Mitigation proposal was initiated by Dr. Delton Chen in June 2013 at Al Gore’s Climate Reality workshop in Istanbul, Turkey, and was conceived on the intuition that a new currency should be developed to globally finance greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation. Dr. Chen devised the theoretical framework while traveling in Eastern Europe and Central America in 2013.

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Global Climate Deal and the Missing Link

The climate deal fleshed out in Lima, Peru, is that all countries can set their own climate goals [1,2,3]. But will this be effective in preventing dangerous greenhouse gas emissions? Very unlikely, writes Delton Chen (Geo-Hydrologist, Civil Engineer):

delton

During the past 250 years of industrial and technological revolution, the primary catalyst for innovation and the fundamental driver of economic growth has been the availability of fossil fuels (i.e. coal, oil and gas). To avoid extremely dangerous climate change, the global economic system must be re-organised at a fundamental level, and the new order must include a social transformation that grows exponentially; otherwise the required mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will be too slow to avoid a climate catastrophe.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was put into effect in 1994, and civilisation officially acknowledged that it was ‘addicted’ to fossil fuels. The ultimate aim of the UNFCCC is to prevent “…dangerous human interference with the climate system”[4]. The recent UNFCCC’s meeting in Lima, Peru, provides the latest update on civilisation’s de-carbonisation program, but the results of the Lima meeting signify global action will be further delayed given that nations are only obliged to make voluntary commitments. 

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