The Climate Crisis and What We’re Doing About It
Financing the Transition to a Regenerative Economy
With the Aim of Restoring the Climate and the Earth
Download PDF version of our year-end letter here
Executive Director’s Year-End Letter 2019
“Being alive right now means rethinking boundaries, pushing on the walls of your imagination. It means feeling around in this world for another one.” (Dan Zak, “Everything is Not Going to Be Okay: How to Live with Constant Reminders that the Earth Is in Trouble,” Washington Post)
Dear Friends and Supporters,
2019 has been a pretty tumultuous year for us, including both substantial achievements and disappointing setbacks. The good news is that Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation is on its way in New Jersey, with both the Legislature and the Governor endorsing some version of this long-awaited financing tool. We expect PACE to be operational in 2020, and it could be as early as first quarter.
The first version of PACE legislation was introduced and passed into law in 2011; unfortunately it was flawed, and the Christie Administration took advantage of these flaws to block any meaningful action. Our organization, operating as New Jersey PACE, has been seeking to amend this law for more than seven years, during which time we co-authored at least three prior versions that were rejected. While in retrospect it seems unreal, there were good reasons to believe that PACE could be implemented in each of these years, despite the resistance of the banking industry and of the Governor’s staff at the time.
Evolving and Expanding the PACE Model
But since PACE is still not available in New Jersey (and many other jurisdictions), we continue to seek demonstration projects for the two alternative clean energy financing approaches that we have developed in partnership with structured finance experts, including a major NJ social impact investment fund. Once successfully piloted, these “PACE/Alternatives,”* as we’ve called them, including our New InterCreditor Clean Energy (NICCE, pronounced “nice”) and Deed-registered Renewables & Energy Efficiency Measures (DREEM), will provide commercial property owners anywhere in the US with access to PACE-like financing, regardless of whether PACE is allowed in their jurisdiction.
Posted in Climate Change, Cohousing, Community, Contribute, CRCS, Energy, G4CM, Global Issues, New Jersey, News, NJPACE, Nonprofit Activities, Regenerative Development, Sustainability, Transformation
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
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)
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
A New Social Compact – Shift to Long-Term Thinking & Responsibility to Successor Generations
Art & Design Charrette – Transforming Statements in Graphics (Millennial Visions)
- Mike Ryan
- Patrick Schlitzer
- Danny Castillo
Announcement of Step-into-the-Future Social Media Competition
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.
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.
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) , chronic degradation of ecosystems , and risk of nuclear war . 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 .”
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.”
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.”
Posted in Carbon Pollution, Climate Change, CO2 Mitigation, Community, CRCS, Energy, Events, Global Issues, New Jersey, News, NJPACE, Sustainability
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.
What we’re doing fits within the framework of “whole systems development.” It is made possible by the new levels of human coordination and communication in the digital age — what some people have called the emergence of “the global brain” — and by the possibility of pragmatic and sustainable solutions to human problems.
We are, in our own way, an expression of the most significant event so far in the course of human history, where we graduate to a new level of integrity, responsibility, and interrelationship with ourselves, with other species, and with the universe as a whole. If we’re aware of it, if it’s happening here, it’s likely also happening in many other places and contexts on the Earth. But it’s significant either way: whether we’re leading or joining the parade does not matter as much as the fact of our participation and our stand.
We have a number of ideas that we want to contribute to society, and we want that contribution to be recognized and rewarded in a way that’s proportionate to the value that’s created, so we’ve come up with the idea of a Contribution Economy. This economy would be fueled by an alternative global currency, Commons Credits (CC), awarded according to rules established and continuously updated by a collaborative of the best minds of our era.
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):
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”. 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.