On the Number of
Creatures on the Planet:
There are 195 tons of carbon are on the planet in the form
of animals that wear their skeletons on the inside of their bodies. mammals, humans, fish, reptiles, etc.
40 million tons are attributable to humans
100 million tons are attributable to
domesticated and bred animals
50 million tons are attributable to water
Only 5 million tons are now
attributable to wild animals on land
animals are disappearing rapidly.
On Over Population:
Human population is currently 6.25-6.5 billion people on the
planet. The generally agreed upon peak
for human population is 9 billion. The
rapid increase in both human population and industrial age technology strains
earth’s resources and is likely to be catastrophic without changes.
There are some that would say that the population is only a
problem in as far as it correlates to the consumption of natural
resources. The argument against this
thinking is that all human’s want to live better, and until the satiety level
of all society is met there will be an ever increasing depletion of resources
per capita. Since the generally agreed
upon level of satiety in terms of dollars is roughly $75k per household and the
median income for American households currently is only $50k, the reality of
reaching a satiety level throughout the entire world, where many countries are
far below America’s current standards is almost entirely impossible, therefore
resource consumption will continue to rise exponentially as more people
populate the planet, never reaching the leveling off period.
The only feasible way we may be able to get to the desired
satiety level would be for catastrophic die-off. Disease, famine, natural disaster, WAR. War has often been waged because of resources
and that is what we are going to be looking at in the future.
On Government Systems
Tackling Climate Change:
Different economic & social systems are tackling climate
US: Venture Capital and Angel Investors are driving innovation
and new technology adoption. The US’s
emphasis on individual rights brought on in the industrial era have made
unilateral action by the government almost impossible.
- Incidentally Maria
Cantwell has a bill with one supporter, Patricia Snow, that would actually
promote a carbon tax system in the US.
An Upstream CAP with 100% of credits auctioned and no fossil fuels
able to be imported without a permit received at auction. The taxes are then collected and
redistributed on a prorate basis to the public. Likelihood is that it will never pass.
China: The Chinese Government is able to act unilaterally and
does not get push back from its people, so it can decide what is best for its
citizens and act accordingly. There
society values the good of the mother country and the people as a whole over
individual rights, which makes it easier for their government to set goals and
achieve them without popular opinion and individual rights getting in the way.
environmental externalities are getting to be so prevalent and detrimental that
it appears that capitalism and individual freedoms in regard to the environment
may not get us where we need to go.
On What is Currently
Happening and What is Really Important
- Almost 100% of Scientific
Organizations across the world believe that Climate Change is really
- There are currently no
Republican Candidates seeking election that believe Climate Change is
- Denis believes that in the
future 90% of our energy will be derived from Solar Technology because it
is the cleanest, most abundant, and least harmful source of energy with
the most evenly distribution throughout the planet.
Flywheels, storage technologies are all important research and development
- Nanotechnology is highly
affecting all levels of clean tech
- Material Sciences are
increasingly important in clean tech
- Technology we once thought
was really clean and brilliant is now known to be some of the most
detrimental, ie Chlorofluorocarbons, so we have to be diligent and
continue to question and think about the things we produce.
- The US used to be Green
Technology and particularly solar technology leaders in the world in the
70’s. Reagan took office and ripped
off the solar panels that Carter had put on the white house and the entire
plan for energy reform in the US was trashed. Subsequently leadership has changed
hands from Japan to German and other countries that are now in many ways
on par with the US in Green Tech because of our stalled ambitions in the
- There is a good chance
that we have already passed Peak Oil Production. OPEC works like a cartel and is able to
set the production and price of oil as they see fit. Oil is volatile and if the very few oil
producing countries get disrupted in any significant way much of the
infrastructure of the world is in jeopardy, including the United
States. The only real viable
solutions for replacement of Fossil Fuel in conventional engines is Algae
Based BioFuels which isn’t really viable on a large scale because of the space
and time it takes to develop.
- Water & food shortages
are going to be large problems in the not too distant future.
- Building Materials and
green building is another major area for innovation
- The Bullitt Foundation is
going to be building a new headquarters building in Seattle and is aiming
for the lowest EUI in the World, 16.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory just opened its new
building in Colorado with a very low EUI of ~30. The Average Building EUI is around 93
with Seattle’s average EUI at ~78.
- The Bullitt Foundations
Living Building will be carbon neutral, will have solar arrays, rain
catchments, geothermal technology, composting toilets, and other
existing technology, packaged together in new ways
- Building Occupant
re-education is going to be a large piece of the puzzle as well as
building flow design to subtly get people to do what you would like them
to, like use the stairs instead of the elevator, turn off the lights,
- Financing for Green
Buildings can be exceedingly difficult as our financial system is not
currently set up to value future cash flows that are significantly far
removed from present day.
Discounted cash-flows to present day value on payments 50 years
from now are virtually worthless and there is no mechanism for including
any calculations regarding the benefits of green buildings. Our current accounting practices
“militate” the vast bulk of our financial system against financing green