“The stupidest thing I could possibly imagine.”

Elon Musk on unsustainable energy and climate change:

[W]e are going to run out of [fossil fuel] and we have to find an alternative. So why are we running this massive chemical experiement on our oceans and atmosphere when we know we have to find an alternative anyway …it’s the stupidest thing I could possibly imagine.

The video is a few years old, from 2012, and hints to Tesla’s later work in energy storage. Covers a wide range of topics from taxation to the solarization incentive for Walmart.

Definitely a compelling (and short) talk. 


Losing money on purpose

Rex Tillerson and ExxonMobil just don’t get it.

The CEO of one of the world’s largest oil companies downplayed the effects of climate change at his company’s annual meeting Wednesday, telling shareholders his firm hadn’t invested in renewable energy because “We choose not to lose money on purpose.”

Global governments subsidize the fossil fuel industry more than $5 trillion per year. The damages of extracting, moving, and burning fossil fuels are almost entirely unpriced. Yet, captains like Tillerson still have the gall to mock renewable energy businesses as money losers.


Disastrous flooding follows years of extreme drought in south-central US:

Three people have been confirmed dead after record rainfall across the south-central United States led to flash flooding over the weekend across Texas and Oklahoma.

In Claremore, Oklahoma, a firefighter was killed early Sunday after he was swept away during a water rescue.

Another eight people, including three children, are missing after the Wimberley, Texas vacation house they were staying in was swept away during the flash floods. Three people are also missing in San Marcos, Texas[…]

Texas and Oklahoma both face intensifying drought and flooding, although politicians in both states have denied climate change. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Texas “has yet to formally address climate change preparedness” — one of only 12 states to not have taken any steps toward addressing the impacts of climate change on water resources.


Interview with two Divest Harvard faculty. Full link at The Nation.

Science historian Naomi Oreskes on precedents for fossil fuel divestment:

No historical analogy is ever perfect, but there are aspects of history that can be informative. Apartheid is relevant, because many institutions did divest in those cases, which belies the argument that divestment is inappropriate because it “politicizes” the university. Tobacco is relevant for the same reason—and Harvard divested from tobacco—and also because in many respects the fossil fuel industry has followed the tobacco industry playbook. Slavery is relevant because it addresses the “but we all use fossil fuels argument.” Of course we do, and people in the North wore clothes made of cotton picked by slaves. But that did not make them hypocrites when they joined the abolition movement. It just that they were also part of the slave economy, and they knew it. That is why they acted to change the system, not just their clothes.

Atmospheric chemist James Anderson on the Harvard Corporation:

The most effective thing for [Harvard President] Drew Faust to do would be to come out with an op-ed in The New York Times saying, “I was wrong, this is absolutely the crucial thing. This is what universities are for, this is their purpose. They’re for leadership. They’re the only entity with real power in this country that cannot be destroyed by the fossil-fuel industry, and I’m sorry that I didn’t see the importance of the climate connection to the moral imperative to the university’s responsibility. But today I do, and we are divesting.”

We’re not going to get riled up about this. We’re just going to win.

Unions, Pensions and the Low Carbon Economy

The Shareholder Association for Research and Education is hosting a public event on climate change and how cities, trade unions and pension funds can help the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Speakers include:

  • Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
  • Pat Hibbitts, Vice President of Finance and Administration at Simon Fraser University
  • Andrea Reimer, Deputy Mayor of the City of Vancouver
  • Sagarika Chatterjee, Associate Director of Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)

From the organizers:

“[The speakers] will all share their perspectives on the challenge of climate change and the role trade unions, pension plans, city government, business and multilateral institutions can play in building and sustaining a green economy.”

February 26, 2015
SFU Beedie School of Business, Vancouver
Register here.

Cities and Climate Migration: Feb 17

Koko Warner is giving a talk at SFU Vancouver called “Making Space for the Unexpected Guests of Climate Change“.

Pertinent subject for the City of Vancouver, with the region being a likely climate refuge in the centuries ahead.

Climate change will influence where people can live in the future. Cities—as spaces of opportunity for jobs, connection, education and culture—will draw many who are searching for shelter from sea level rise, permafrost melt, severe and unpredictable weather, water shortage and subsequent impacts that accompany these climate stressors like food and livelihood insecurity. The talk will explore current findings about climate change and human migration and displacement, look at lessons learned from rural-urban migration, and explore directions for the future in policy and practice.

It will explore who is on the move related to climate change, where are they coming from and where are they headed, how are cities affected, what challenges and opportunities lie ahead? The talk will conclude with reflections on maintaining a safe operating space for humanity—in cities and landscapes interconnected with urban spaces.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
SFU Vancouver, Harbour Centre 7PM
Register to attend.