Posts from climate crisis

Video Of The Week: The Game Changers

Our daughter suggested that The Gotham Gal and I watch this documentary on Netflix. We did that this week.

My New Year’s Resolution this time last year was to reduce the number of meals where I ate meat to less than half. It turns out that was not a particularly hard resolution to meet as I quickly realized I was already mostly there. But I did reduce my meat consumption in 2019.

After watching this film, I am going to keep on that trajectory. Hard lines don’t work well for me so I am not adopting a vegan, vegetarian, or any other diet. But I believe that I can reduce my meat consumption significantly without impacting my quality of life and I am on my way to doing so.

There are plenty of good reasons to reduce my consumption of meat but for me the environmental footprint of the meat production industry is the one that really moves to me to make this change.

#climate crisis#Food and Drink

Video Of The Week: Mike Bloomberg Talks Climate Crisis At MIT

This spring, Mike Bloomberg gave the commencement speech at my alma mater MIT. He talks about moonshots, engineers, and the looming climate crisis. It is a great talk and one that shows what kind of leader I would like to see in this country.

I start the video below at 3:24 in so you don’t have to watch the traditional commencement platitudes. If you want to watch the entire thing you can do that here. The video below is about 18mins in total and I strongly recommend everyone find the time to watch it this weekend.

#climate crisis

Carbon Offsets

Business and personal travel, which we’ve been doing a lot of the last two weeks, is a big producer of carbon in the atmosphere. I’m actually writing this on a cross Atlantic flight.

But you can offset those carbon emissions fairly inexpensively

There are a number of services on the Internet that will help you do it.

Over the last four years the Gotham Gal and I have racked up about 570 tons of carbon via air travel.

Depending on how much we spend per ton to offset it, the coast could be as low as $10,000 or as high as $60,000.

At $10,000, that is about a 3% increase to our air travel costs. At $60,000, that is about a 20% increase to our air travel costs.

There are a lot of debates about how much it should cost to offset a ton of carbon. Right now it is inexpensive because the supply of offset projects is higher than the demand for them.

But at market equilibrium, the price should be a lot higher and many people offset at the theoretical market equilibrium price not the current market price.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this question about how much per ton you should pay for offsets. It depends on how you think about it.

Our flight today could cost as little as $100 to offset for both of us. Or as much as $600.

Either way, we are paying to reduce our carbon footprint and that is a good thing in our view.

If everyone started doing this, it would transform the carbon offset markets and lead to a lot of great projects, like reforestation and other approaches that would have a meaningful contribution to reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

#climate crisis

Cross Laminated Timber

Cross Laminated Timber (or CLT for short) is a structural building material that can replace concrete and steel in new building construction.

I wrote about CLT back in April and mentioned that the Gotham Gal and I are in the process of making two CLT buildings right now.

The paper version of the New York Times has an excellent op-ed today that explains why making buildings out of wood is much better for our climate than making them out of concrete and steel. What CLT does is make it possible to make tall and strong buildings out of wood.

This explanation from that NYT op-ed is particularly good:

Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their wood. … This will allow us to pump carbon from the atmosphere and store it both in forests and in cities.

There are challenges to making buildings out of CLT. For example, CLT is not yet an approved building material in the five boroughs of NYC. That is changing however. It looks like the city will add CLT to the NYC building code soon.

I strongly encourage the NYC City Council to act quickly and approve the addition of CLT to the NYC building code.

#climate crisis#NYC#policy

Smart Home Data Aggregator?

The devices in our homes are getting smart. That is awesome. We can manage our energy consumption and much more with a lot more precision and intelligence now.

But I find myself logging into one app to get data on my thermostats, another to get data on my security system, another to get data on my solar panels, and another to get data on my electric vehicles. And then there is all of the billing data from the various utilities and other providers we have.

It’s a bit of a production each month when I want to see how we are doing. And I use a spreadsheet to collect and analyze all of this data.

It makes me wonder if there is a Yodlee or Plaid for smart home data and if there is a Mint-like application that pulls it all together for you.

Of course I could go do the homework to figure that on my own, but I assume I’m not the only person in the AVC community who has this need. So it’s better for me to blog this question here and we can all find the answer in the comments.

And if there is no good answer, well then that is a good startup opportunity.

#climate crisis#hacking energy

Video Of The Week: Overcoming Sprawl

I have been fortunate to work for the last 25 years in the Flatiron District of NYC, which is a mixed-use neighborhood (office, retail, residential) that has excellent mass transit options (three major subway lines converge at Union Square), great biking and walking streets, and a feeling of vitality that is infectious.

So this video I watched this morning rings very true to me. I think cities around the world (both new cities being built in Asia and existing cities looking to transform themselves like Los Angeles) can and will adopt policies that limit sprawl and get us back to living with other people in mixed-use environments that make us happier, more productive, and more sustainable.

#climate crisis#Current Affairs#NYC