Five Moments of Climate Progress Since An Inconvenient Truth

Read the full story from The Climate Reality Project.

Ten years ago, An Inconvenient Truth brought the issue of climate change out into the open and into mainstream culture like never before. People began asking tough questions about our climate and wanted to know what they could do to make our planet a safer, healthier place for us all. And 10 years later, we can see the results.

Last week, we shared in this blog post what’s changed for our climate, for better or for worse, over the past decade. But with so many climate successes to choose from, we felt they deserved their own story. So today on the 10th anniversary of An Inconvenient Truth, here are five of our favorite moments of progress the world has made in solving climate change.

The Road to Zero: DOE’s Next-Generation Heating and Cooling R&D Strategy

Read the full story from DOE.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) is supporting the Administration’s efforts to phase down the use and emissions of highly potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). BTO has created a multi-pronged strategy, outlined below, to develop, demonstrate, and deploy low- to zero- global warming potential (GWP) HVAC, water heating, and refrigeration technologies. This strategy supports the United States’ amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs globally. BTO’s vision is that non-vapor compression systems—a revolutionary new class of technologies that don’t use refrigerants and can approach zero-GWP—become dominant in some end uses.

Portland schools tried to change how they teach climate change — and ignited a firestorm

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

This winter, a small group of advocates, teachers, parents and students began meeting each week at a church in Portland, Ore., to figure out how their schools could do a better job of preparing the next generation to fight climate change.

Together, they wrote a resolution that, with some changes, was unanimously adopted by the Portland Public School Board on May 17. The district, the board resolved, “will abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities.”

But a few days after the vote, the story took on a life of its own, mostly outside Portland: Some websites called the move a “ban” on specific books, while another claimed that the district would scan its libraries and remove all books that weren’t up to snuff. One of the advocates fielded emails calling him an “idiot” and a “d-bag.”

New report shows importance of Clean Power Plan

Read the full story in The Hill.

Power plant emissions of carbon dioxide have been falling for a decade, even without national regulations. However, further progress could cease in the absence of the Clean Power Plan, whose fate awaits hearings by the Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals.

That’s the conclusion of scenarios modeled by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in the “early release” issued last week of its “Annual Energy Outlook 2016.” The scenarios predict that power plant carbon dioxide emissions would be 20 percent lower with the Clean Power Plan than without it.

How ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ influenced a generation of professionals

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the release of the Academy Award-winning film “An Inconvenient Truth.” To commemorate this anniversary, Paramount Pictures and Participant Media have launched the “Share Your Truth” campaign, a series of videos from environmental leaders, business owners and government officials around the world telling personal stories of the impact the film had on them.

That inspired us to do our own version.

As I look back 10 years from today, my first viewing of the film doesn’t elicit a “where-were-you-when” moment. I was preparing to launch a new green service for AMR Research (since acquired by Gartner Group) and was familiar with much of the science. The a-ha moment for me really came that fall with the release of the DVD. Visiting family in rural upstate New York, I stopped in the local Walmart and found the film packaged with a Philips CFL light bulb. I was impressed with Walmart’s attempt to combine climate change education with a “free-prize-inside” to increase consumer’s energy efficiency. Ten years later the retailer continues to push green alternatives even if the consumer education has become less overt.

I now lead the GreenBiz Executive Network, our member-based, peer-to-peer learning forum for sustainability professionals. In the run-up to the film’s anniversary, I reached out to some of our members to get a sense of what the movie meant to them. I’m sure Al Gore and everyone involved in the production would be pleased to learn of the impact his film had on these careers.

The Road from Paris Leads to Science-based Targets

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

The Paris agreement is a clear signal of international will to tackle climate change and governments around the world are under pressure to ramp up efforts to cut carbon emissions. Trucost analysis shows that achieving the 2°C target means that the retail sector would have to reduce its carbon emissions by an average of 76% by 2050, while the telecommunications sector would have to achieve an 89% cut by the same year.

To manage their exposure, companies need to set science-based targets that reflect the specific carbon reduction plans for countries in which they operate. This will involve reviewing existing carbon targets – especially targets based on existing available technology – to see if they are still fit for purpose. The Science Based Targets Initiative also requires that most companies quantify their Scope 3 value chain emissions, and where appropriate consider those in the target setting. While this may sound daunting, there are time saving modelling tools and techniques that are sufficiently robust for external disclosure and target setting.

Why even the people who worry the most about climate change often take little action

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

When it comes to encouraging action against climate change, getting the public to care about the issue — or just believe it exists — is a primary preoccupation for scientists and activists. But it turns out that even people who are the most worried about the problem are often not taking much public action about it.

And that includes mega-climate-worriers in Vermont, the home state of both Bernie Sanders and climate campaigner Bill McKibben.

A new study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that even members of the public who are “alarmed” about a warming planet show relatively low levels of public-sphere action, such as volunteering or protesting. The paper then sought to get to the bottom of why that is, investigating “what drives public actions of the certain segment of the population that’s already really concerned about climate change,” said Kathryn Doherty, a research associate at the Social and Environmental Research Institute (SERI) in Massachusetts and lead author of the paper.