We know greenhouse gasses are a problem. We know we need to make some drastic changes, and soon, to stave off an inexorable slide into planetary dysfunction. What we don’t know is how to make sure those changes happen. How do we identify the good policies, based on sound science? This week’s guests on Sea Change Radio are each advancing sustainable public policy in their own ways. First, host Alex Wise speaks with Indiana University biology professor, Richard Phillips, who’s just published an important study on how much trees actually do (or don’t) mitigate carbon emissions. His findings will help ensure more accurate calculations for CO2 emissions from countries like the United States that rely on forests to offset their high rates of pollution. Next, we hear from Seth Berry, an Assemblyman from the State of Maine, who gives us an insider’s perspective on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, also known as ReGGIe, a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions from power plants with 9 participating US states and some parts of eastern Canada.
“All hell is breaking loose.” That’s what Sea Change Climate Correspondent Cimbria Badenhausen skype texted to Executive Producer/Host Bill Baue from Copenhagen at 3:27 pm there on Wednesday December 9, the third day of the UN Climate Conference, or COP15. At that point, protest erupted in support of an “ambitious legal treaty now,” as requested by the so-called Tuvalu Proposal. The tiny island nation is calling for an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol to create a complimentary treaty that would limits global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celcius above preindustrial levels, and reduce carbon concentrations in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million.
This week’s Sea Change Radio News Analysis comes from Tania Haldar Hart:
The conference to negotiate a new climate treaty is rapidly approaching — early December, in Copenhagen — and the Sea Change Correspondent will be there to cover it. The goal is to to come out of Copenhagen with a workable Climate treaty. But what this will look like is still up in the air. There’s debate over two possible treaties.
Energy efficiency and retrofits are in the news. This week, the Obama Administration released it Recovery through Retrofits report. National Resources Defense Council Building Energy Policy Manager Lane Burt applauded the report’s findings that “retrofitting homes and developing a residential energy efficiency industry can save money, slash carbon emissions, and create jobs right now.” Here in the Pioneer Valley where we produce Sea Change Radio, the Western Mass Green Consortium is sponsoring Project Retrofit to promote deep energy retrofits. And Sea Change Co-Host Bill Baue was busy these past few weeks editing a report due out soon from Ceres on how investors can support energy efficiency in their real estate portfolios.
This week, we dig into the Sea Change archives for a show featuring an interview Baue conducted with Adin Maynard, Director of Operations at Cozy Home Performance, about the company’s participation in the Weatherization Assistance Program for low-income homeowners and its move into deep energy retrofits for mid- and upper-income homeowners.