Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Amory Lovins: Favoring Bold Emissions Reductions Should Not Depend on Your Views on Climate Change

Amory Lovins has a new outstanding piece out that does a superb job articulating a point that I repeat on this blog time and again: you don't need to accept the science of climate change to be in favor of the solutions to climate change.  Says Lovins:

your opinions about climate science shouldn’t change what you should do about energy. Whether you care most about national security, or jobs and prosperity, or climate and environment, exactly the same energy actions make sense and make money regardless.

Thus, if we focus on outcomes, not motives, we can build a wide and rapid consensus on what to do, even if we differ about why to do it.

Exactly.  And if you're against bold investments in clean energy and efficiency, then what are you FOR?

Do you have an alternative set of energy solutions that will actually work to reduce our dependence on oil and other expensively polluting fossil fuels, which cost the U.S. economy an estimated $160 billion per year in health costs alone?  (Lovins didn't mention "health" benefits in the above quote, so I wanted to be sure to add it, given the presence of health insurance reform on America's agenda this week)

Anybody who opposes bold climate change and clean energy legislation should be asked to propose an alternative that will actually work.

"Drill Baby Drill!", you say?!  Sorry, our own Department of Energy says drilling in Alaska and offshore will reduce gas prices by maybe 2 cents by 2030.  Not even close.

Not to mention that global oil supplies are a sinking ship and staying on board will lead only to more economic, security, health and environmental instability and, likely, disaster.  Clean energy and transport is the rescue ship -- the one to jump on to if you want to join us on our ride to the next great industrial revolution.

Thanks to LauraLu for passing the Lovins piece along...

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Soccer and Energy Policy: We Need to Approach Energy Like a Well-Coached Team, Not Little Leaguers

Our current lack of a coherent strategic energy policy looks pathetically akin to the chaos of a pee-wee league soccer game, says Chris Nelder over at GetRealList.

What we really need is to approach energy more like the way a winning professional sports team approaches a playoff game:

A Playbook for Team America

It’s time for us to grow up and learn to play this game for real.

We need to gather in the locker room to watch some films of older, more mature players and try to copy their moves.

We’d take note of China’s long-term rail construction plan, instead of arguing that an abortion like Amtrak doesn’t pay for itself right this minute.

We’d plan to manage our resources for the long term health of our society, like Norway and Saudi Arabia do.

We might form an Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security like the UK has, to advise and prepare industry and policymakers for the decline of oil, instead of writing sunny official reports that completely fail to recognize reality.

We’d copy the proven successes of long-lived, stable feed-in tariffs in Germany and Japan instead of inventing complex, corruptible mechanisms like cap and trade.

We’d formulate and then execute 20- and 30-year plans to reduce our need for fossil fuels, instead of watching incentives come and go with every turnover of a Congressional seat.

Our playbook would begin with some rough milestones:
  • Oil has peaked. Supply will be flattish for the next 2-4 years, then begin a long decline.
  • We will lose 25% of our oil supply in 25 years, 50% in 50 years, and 100% in 100 years.
  • To compensate for the decline of oil with renewables, the world would need to build the equivalent of all the world’s existing renewable energy capacity, every year.
  • Since that is impossible, efficiency and energy transition must make up the shortfall.
  • We will also see the peaks of natural gas and coal in the next 20 years. Hydropower and nuclear will do little more than hold their current market share.
  • The days of economic growth may be gone forever for import-dependent developed countries like the U.S.
  • The least painful path is to downsize, economize, and relocalize.
  • By the end of the century, nearly everything will have to be powered by renewably-generated electricity, not liquids or gases.
Then we might draw up some plays, and practice them.

Well done -- a fun, yet jarringly effective analogy.  Getting our acts together on climate and energy policy is the most important bold step that America can take right now to address so many of our other societal problems -- from the economy to health care to terrorism and global warming.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Study: Clean Vehicles Will Slash Health Care Costs

I've heard some in the media say that Congress can't take on solving the problem of our skyrocketing health care/insurance costs at the same time as it takes on the urgent need to transition America to clean energy and solve climate change.

It's lazy thinking, considering how climate change and clean energy solutions will also help to slash our nation's health care costs.

Take for example this new study that found that vehicle pollution can cause heart disease and strokes:

Los Angeles residents living near freeways experience a hardening of the arteries that leads to heart disease and strokes at twice the rate of those who live farther away, a study has found.

The paper is the first to link automobile and truck exhaust to the progression of atherosclerosis -- the thickening of artery walls -- in humans. The study was conducted by researchers from USC and UC Berkeley, along with colleagues in Spain and Switzerland, and published this week in the journal PloS ONE.

How is it that elected officials in Congress can't make these connections and see how climate change and clean energy solutions will actually help drive down health care costs, and thus health insurance costs?  After all, our own National Academy of Sciences found that dirty energy inflicts $120 billion per year in health costs on our economy.  Opponents of Health Insurance Reform in Congress are blinded by the need for money to fuel their re-election bids, I assume...

Again, this is why real campaign finance reform -- getting money out of politics and giving each candidate an equal public budget to run a campaign -- is crucial for making our system effective at devising policy solutions that improve lives and businesses.  Let merit and ideas decide who wins elections, not (what's essentially and sure looks like) bribery.

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New Report: Biofuels Harming Food Production in Developing Countries


A new report provides further evidence of the urgent need to rethink our approach to biofuel choices and production systems:

EU companies have taken millions of acres of land out of food production in Africa, central America and Asia to grow biofuels for transport, according to development campaigners. The consequences of European biofuel targets, said the report by ActionAid, could be up to 100 million more hungry people, increased food prices and landlessness.

The report says the 2008 decision by EU countries to obtain 10% of all transport fuels from biofuels by 2020 is proving disastrous for poor countries. Developing countries are expected to grow nearly two-thirds of the jatropha, sugar cane and palm oil crops that are mostly used for biofuels.

"To meet the EU 10% target, the total land area directly required to grow industrial biofuels in developing countries could reach 17.5m hectares, over half the size of Italy. Additional land will also be required in developed nations, displacing food and animal feed crops onto land in new areas, often in developing countries," says the report.

Biofuels are estimated by the IMF to have been responsible for 20-30% of the global food price spike in 2008 when 125m tonnes of cereals were diverted into biofuel production. The amount of biofuels in Europe's car fuels is expected to quadruple in the next decade.

This article doesn't even get into the pollution impacts of biofuel production beyond greenhouse gas emissions (where forests are cleared to grow biofuels, leading to a spike in emissions).  How about the ecological and human impacts of excessive fertilizer and pesticides use, both of which pollute soils, fresh water sources and people alike..?  In the U.S., for example, excessive fertilizer use creates a huge dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the region's fishing industry (among other problems it causes).

Ultimately, there will be a place for sustainable biofuels, and a right way, place and set of crops for getting the job done.  I love systems that turn waste into fuel, be it via cellulosic ethanol or algae systems that use CO2 from power plants to grow algae.  Even for these systems, however, it's critical to make sure the species being used to create the fuel aren't potential invasive species catastrophes in the making...

The bottom line is that we've really got to do a better job of thinking these things through, and then actually responding when we see the problems they cause.  The fact that the U.S. is still stuck on corn ethanol after the food supply problems (and tortilla rebellion) it caused in the summer of 2008 makes us look pretty silly, if you ask me.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Bill Gates Predicts Zero Emissions

I'm getting caught up on email and news after a couple of days of skiing with family at Alpine Meadows.  Little 5.5 month-old Sonora is really coming to life as a conscious being -- gleefully holding my menu in the restaurant last night as I ordered.  It's truly amazing raising a baby -- they seem to discover and do something new and unexpected almost every day, and each time, it brings no less of a smile to Suzanne and I's faces. 

Having conquered the President's Day traffic on the ride home (which at times left me yearning for the days when I lived in Portland and Boulder), I grew wide-eyed to read about Bill Gates' TED talk, in which he called for Zero Emissions.  As reported from WorldChanging:

On Friday, the world's most successful businessperson and most powerful philanthropist did something outstandingly bold, that went almost unremarked: Bill Gates announced that his top priority is getting the world to zero climate emissions.

Now, I'm not a member of the Cult of Bill myself (I'm typing this on a MacBook), but you don't have to believe that Gates has superhuman powers of prediction to know that his predictions have enormous power. People who will never listen to Al Gore, much to less someone like me, hang on Gates' every utterance.

And Friday, Gates predicted extraordinary climate action: zero. Not small steps, not incremental progress, not doing less bad: zero. In fact, he stood in front of a slide with nothing but the planet Earth and the number zero. That moment was the most important thing that has happened at TED.

What, exactly, did he say, and why is it so important?

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Check out Joe Romm's rebuttal -- arguing that it isn't R & D energy technology miracles that we need (as Gates says), but mass deployment of existing technologies.

My take is 'why not both?' -- energy is a very different animal than getting computers, and then better computers, into every office and home.  But there's certainly a model in the proliferation of computers that can be tweeked to apply to the proliferation of clean energy technologies. What do you think?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Survey: Leveraging Sustainability to Boost Employee Engagement Also Boosts Profits

One of the key perks from corporate sustainability initiatives comes when the initiative is well-carried out in a way that improves employee engagement in company success.  So reports The Triple Pundit, digging into a new Brighter Planet study:

Brighter Planet just released a study on its findings from an internet survey it conducted, to which 1055 people responded. Big businesses can use it. Small businesses can use it. Employees are happier and more productive when they do.  The report is brilliantly written, so I’ll let it do the talking for a bit here:

A Gallup study estimates that more than $300 billion in productivity is squandered within the U.S. workforce due to disengaged employees. Furthermore, the same Gallup study indicates that organizations with an engaged workforce have 2.6 times the earnings per share growth rate compared to organizations in the same industry with a less-engaged workforce.

Makes sense to me...

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Monday, February 08, 2010

The Jobs are in The Trees

I just finished reading an interesting piece about how investments in green job creation -- in fields such as conservation and restoration, efficiency retrofits, clean energy and mass transit construction -- provide far greater employment returns than investing in dirty energy or nuclear jobs:

With Congress and the White House considering spending scarce dollars to jump-start employment, they’ll need to get the biggest jobs bang for the buck to give Americans confidence that they’re spending our money wisely. Probably the biggest jobs generator of all, and one of the least recognized, is investing in forest and land restoration and sustainable management, with conservation, watershed projects, and park investment coming close behind.

Heidi Garrett-Peltier and Robert Pollin at The Political Economy and Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts report the following numbers for jobs created per dollar of investment.

To summarize, reforestation and restoration outperforms even the second-most jobs-intense activity analyzed by 74 percent, and conservation exceeds other major jobs alternatives, including especially new highway construction, Wall Street, and conventional energy sources like oil and nuclear.

This is further justification for the bold investments needed to transition America to a clean energy economy, which will also solve climate change. 

Recently, I co-authored a policy brief on green job creation to combat the spread of invasive species -- a key area of conservation that will also save agencies and landowners on control costs while benefiting the health of ecosystems and their native species diversity.  Efforts to stem the spread of invasive weeds and other costly pest species are currently plagued by a lack of personnel and resources.  Job creation in this area will both put people to work and help solve a major threat to the health of both ecosystems and human well-being.

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Biodiversity Loss Threatens Our Health and Safety and Communication is Crucial

Scientists and the media need to step up efforts to communicate the importance of solving the biodiversity crisis, says this article in SciDev.net:

Both (climate change and biodiversity loss) face formidable challenges in persuading political leaders and the public of the urgent need to take action. The reasons are complex. But at root is the conflict between the need to radically change our use of natural resources and the desire to maintain current forms of economic growth in both developed and developing countries.

The solutions are equally complicated. Part of the answer, in each case, lies in enhancing the media's ability to communicate messages emerging from the underlying science, so that these accurately reflect both the urgency of the situation, and how ordinary people's lives may be affected.
Getting these messages across is no easy task. And so far, in the case of biodiversity, efforts have largely failed.

As delegates to the London conference and other meetings held to launch the Year of Biodiversity have freely admitted, this failure to act partly results from shortcomings in communication. The scientific community has not been able to effectively communicate its concerns to decision-makers — at least not in a way that sufficiently prioritises biodiversity conservation within a political agenda predominantly concerned with employment and economic growth.

(N)ew (conservation) targets must not only be more realistic and concrete, but must also be accompanied by a more sophisticated communications strategy.

This is where I've always thought the ecosystem services paradigm has potential to make a difference in improving the public's understanding of the importance of biodiversity and health ecosystems.  Except we need to rename these critical benefits that ecosystems provide to society something other than "ecosystem services."

Any ideas?

Even the word "biodiversity" is ineffective for helping the public get the problem, says the article:

Even the term 'biodiversity' suffers from this weakness, lacking the concreteness of concepts such as sea level rise. Some media advisers even suggest avoiding the term wherever possible for that very reason — not very promising to those trying to create a global campaign around the same word.

Too much media coverage of biodiversity fails to connect with the issues directly affecting people's lives. Even concepts such as 'the web of life', used to emphasise the interrelatedness of living systems, does not immediately explain why we should be worried about the declining number of insects or plants in distant locations.

So how do we motivate the public and decisionmakers to support conservation of "biodiversity"?  What do you think is a good term that reflects its value to human well being and can be as catchy, concrete and emotive as "ancient forests"?

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Is There Enough Food Out There for 9 Billion People

The New Republic reports on a paper last week from the esteemed journal, Science, proposing how humanity can feed 9 billion people in 2050:

A new paper published this week in Science, written by Britain's chief scientific adviser John Beddington along with nine other experts, outlines a way this could actually be done. The catch? Doing so would require "radical" changes to the current global food system. The paper's a great synthesis of a wide range of different food issues, and I'll just pull out the main ideas:

Boosting crop yields: If the supply of farmland is ultimately finite, then boosting yields is the only way we'll get more food.

Stop tossing out so much food: The study estimates that 30 percent to 40 percent of the world's food is thrown out each year. 

Fewer hamburgers: Can't imagine this one will go over well, but the authors do suggest that people will probably have to reduce their meat consumption slightly to feed nine billion people. This doesn't mean going vegetarian.

A slew of green technical stuff: Of course, all those other measures will only go so far. There are also some serious threats to the long-term sustainability of agriculture lurking out there. Global warming's a big one. But then also water shortages due to over-extraction. Soil degradation due to poor farming techniques. Loss of biodiversity due poor management. The fact that fisheries are being ravaged (so something like a cap-and-trade system for fish could help here). A lot of the fixes here are dry and technical, and they tend to get discussed as wonky enviro ideas that might be nice to do but aren't essential. Except that, as the Science study makes clear, they really are crucial—at least if all those nine billion people want enough to eat.

Not Food Crops and Farmland to Fuel Vehicles: It's probably going to be hard to find enough food for nine billion people if we're still diverting vast swaths of farmland for crop-based ethanol. (Though maybe by then we'll have moved on to algae fuels or electric cars or some other fancy technology.)

It's a fascinating, crucial topic -- one with that tie directly into humanity's other top crises: climate, biodiversity, fresh water.  We sure live in interesting times...

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Americans Support Strong Climate Change and Clean Energy Policies

Here's more evidence that even while Americans' concern about climate change may be declining, they remain overwhelmingly in favor of solutions like a transition to a clean energy economy.  The latest from Yale:

Despite a sharp drop in public concern over global warming, Americans—regardless of political affiliation—support the passage of federal climate and energy policies, according to the results of a national survey released today by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities.

The survey found support for:
  • Funding more research on renewable energy, such as solar and wind power (85 percent)
  • Tax rebates for people buying fuel-efficient vehicles or solar panels (82 percent)
  • Establishing programs to teach Americans how to save energy (72 percent)
  • Regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant (71 percent)
  • School curricula to teach children about the causes, consequences and potential solutions to global warming (70 percent)
  • Signing an international treaty that requires the United States to cut emissions of carbon dioxide 90 percent by the year 2050 (61 percent)
  • Establishing programs to teach Americans about global warming (60 percent)
Here's a mindblowing part:

Sixty percent of Americans, however, said they have heard “nothing at all” about the cap-and-trade legislation currently being considered by Congress. Only 12 percent had heard “a lot.”

When cap and trade is explained, 58 percent support the policy, but this support drops to approximately 40 percent if household energy costs increase by $15 a month, or 50 cents a day. Sixty-six percent support cap and trade, however, if every household were to receive a yearly bonus of $180 to offset higher energy costs. In addition, 59 percent of Americans said they would likely spend the bonus on home energy efficiency improvements. This increases to 71 percent if the government offered to double the bonus if it was spent on energy efficiency improvements.

What's also interesting is that these results come from the same respondents who said they weren't nearly as concerned about global warming as they were a few years ago.  Says the study's lead author:

It may at first glance seem strange that public support for many of these policies remains high, despite the drops in public belief and concern about global warming we reported last week. These results are from the same survey respondents, however, and it is important to remember that different people support these policies for different reasons. For example, some do so because they want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, others because they want to strengthen national security, or make the US less dependent on foreign sources of energy. 

Exactly.  It's getting the solutions in place that matters -- not how we get them in place.  Whatever it takes to build the broad public support needed to make it happen...

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Friday, February 05, 2010

Pentagon: Climate Change, Energy Security and Economic Stability Are Inextricably Linked

The military and intelligence communities are getting serious about climate change -- preparing for the problem and advancing the solutions. 

The QDR notes that climate change affects the Department of Defense “in two broad ways:” first, global warming impacts and disasters will “act as an accelerant of instability or conflict,” and second, military installations and forces around the globe will have to adapt to rising seas, increased extreme weather, and other effects of global warming:

Assessments conducted by the intelligence community indicate that climate change could have significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to poverty, environmental degradation, and the further weakening of fragile governments. Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration. While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.

The military is working on not just responding to the impacts of global warming, but also mitigating the threat by reducing global warming emissions. Increased use of renewable energy and energy efficiency not only lessens the military’s enormous carbon footprint, but also delivers immediate security benefits:

Energy efficiency can serve as a force multiplier, because it increases the range and endurance of forces in the field and can reduce the number of combat forces diverted to protect energy supply lines, which are vulnerable to both asymmetric and conventional attacks and disruptions.

It's very very good news to see the military and intelligence communities getting behind efforts to deal with climate change and advance green economy solutions.  There's a ton of power there, and this should really help move things forward.  As well as provide the types of evidence that denialists need to see to realize that we've got a very real problem to solve here...

That said, it also makes the opponents of climate change and clean energy solutions look that much more like Ostriches -- with small brains and their heads in the ground. 

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Green Practices Helping Businesses Survive Lean Times

This year's State of Green Business report is out, and it bears some good news:

The report, launched today as a precursor to two State of Green Business Forums -- one happening in San Francisco on Thursday, Feb. 4, and one happening in Chicago on Tuesday, Feb. 9 -- shows that environmental improvements and innovations became a means of surviving lean times, and being more competitive once things rebound.

"The green economy is alive and well, even during tough times," said (report lead author and GreenBiz founder, Joel) Makower, who has been covering green business since the 1980s. "There are encouraging signs that innovation and clean technologies, as well as more efficient business operations, can help the U.S. emerge more competitive as the economy recovers."

I'm looking forward to digging into the report -- not only from a people perspective, but from an ecological perspective: what its findings mean for emissions, climate change and the health of ecosystem services and biodiversity. 

It's great to see efficiencies increasing across the board -- the more we can get out of the resources we've already extracted, the less pollution, habitat destruction and other ills humanity will cause.

Obviously, we still have a long way to go.  But just to have a report like this coming out to huge fanfare every year is leaps and bounds ahead of where we were a decade ago.

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Download the report>>

Wetlands: Good for the Planet and Your Health

Honoring World Wetlands Day (which was on Tuesday), here's some info on why we care -- from Planet Green:

Wetlands are the "kidneys" of the landscape. They have the ability to remove excess nutrients, toxic substances, and sediment from water that flows through them, helping to maintain and improve downstream water quality. Studies show that pollutant removal rates for natural and restored wetlands indicate that, wetlands can retain significant percentages of nitrates, ammonium, phosphorus, and sediment loads. Natural wetlands have also been effective in removing contaminants such as pesticides, landfill, dissolved chlorinated compounds, metals, and stormwater runoff.

Wetland.org explains why we need to be concerned about wetlands:
"There is a connection between a healthy wetland eco-system and human health. In the developing world, 1 in 5 people do not have access to clean drinking water. Poor management strategies that support the health of wetland eco-systems can affect the health of humans, with wetland-related diseases claiming the lives of 3 million people each year and bring suffering to many more. It is estimated that 1.4 billion people live in water basins where water uses exceed sustainable levels."

Of course, they're also some of the most species-rich systems on the planet, and some of my favorite places to birdwatch.   I remember back in my undergraduate days at Cornell, we'd head up to Montezuma National Wildlife refuge and check out birds from bald eagles to herons.

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Monday, February 01, 2010

What Next After Copenhagen -- Messaging Higher Up on Maslow's Pyramid


Here's an outstanding set of comments from a behavior change expert about what comes next following Copenhagen:

What to do after Copenhagen?

Radically reframe, that's what. Change the messaging and focus on the HUMAN condition we are in -- not the condition of the climate.

Two reasons: Cognitive brain science and the history of social movements.

Cognitive Brain Science (generally speaking) says that the brain needs (first) messaging that is not only human centered, but individual centered, to turn concern about an issue into action on it. We can and are concerned about climate change; but for us to turn that concern into action, we need the issue framed as a HUMAN SITUATION.

The human condition we are in is not 'climate change' or 'global warming' or even '350.' That is the science, but it is not our story.

Further, the brain underestimates tragedy, especially of the distant future kind, and "future tragedy to humanity" simply does not register in the brain. We have a blind spot when it comes to accepting how tragic something will be.

BUT, cognitive brain science tells us that we OVERESTIMATE how wonderful things will be in the future.

Second reason we need radically new frame/messaging:
According to eminent sociologist, Robert Brulle, 40 years of social movement research shows that people act when messages are framed as "nightmare" versus "dream." We - rather, our brains -- need the "nightmare" driven home hard and to be as immediate and personal as we can (to get past the blind spot). But give us a dream of how wonderful the future will be, and our brains will jump on the bandwagon with glee.

As the same Alex Steffen (rightly) says, "Any vision of sustainability that does not include a vision of human happiness is bound to fail." better put, perhaps, a vision of sustainability that does include a dream of human happiness is bound to succeed. The brain can't help it.

So, given our brains and our history, unless and until the "environmental" movement finds the human story in climate change, our brains won't get the tragic human condition we are in.

Here is the messaging that I think will work - especially if it is unified across all the major environmental groups:

HUMAN NIGHTMARE: Climate change is the human condition of mutually assured destruction of people and planet.

HUMAN DREAM: MUTUALLY ASSURED VITALITY of persons and places, humans and habitats, all over a planet cared for by all.

Fold the science, the numbers, the carbon, and all the rest of our environmental condition into these two human nightmare/dream human conditions, and our brains will finally GET IT.

This is a fantastic set of comments, and apparently MimiK (the commenter) is writing a book on the subject.

I disagree on what the dream and nightmare are, mainly in that I think we can make it even more concrete:

HUMAN NIGHTMARE (appealing high up on Maslow -- to our basic food need): Climate change, by destabilizing the conditions required to grow our crops and maintain safe drinking and agricultural water supplies, threatens humanity with the prospect of unprecedented global food, fresh water and starvation crises.

HUMAN DREAM (appealing to health, safety, economic security, biophilia): You don't even need to accept the science of climate change to be in favor of clean energy economy solutions, which are getting cheaper and will power the 21st century economy. These 21st century clean energy sources will reduce pollution and protect public health by cleaning the air that we breath and water that we drink.  They will improve our economic and national security by freeing our economy from its unstable, unpredictable, and increasingly risky reliance on global oil markets.  They will create millions of jobs -- not only to build and deploy the technologies, but to do the sales and administration, marketing, PR, etc.  They will also create jobs indirectly -- more fuel efficient cars and energy efficient homes means we will have lower energy costs.  Thus, we will have more money to spend on electronics, travel, home improvements, and all sorts of other goods and services, which will spur broad economic growth and job creation.

If you are against these solutions, than what are you for -- continued reliance on dirty oil and other fossil fuels? Those are the energy sources of the 20th century -- their prices are rising, supplies are increasingly uncertain, and the pollution they cause is costing our economy over $120 billion per year in health care costs alone, contributing to our skyrocketing health insurance costs and further slowing the economy.

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NOTE: I'm thrilled to report that Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) clearly gets it, and nails the PATRIOTIC + economic appeal.  As climate and energy policy expert, Joe Romm reports: 

"Six months ago my biggest worry was that an emissions deal would make American business less competitive compared to China,” said Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who has been deeply involved in climate change issues in Congress. “Now my concern is that every day that we delay trying to find a price for carbon is a day that China uses to dominate the green economy.”

If you are against the bold policy solutions needed for our Clean Energy Economy to really take off, you are unpatriotically helping China whoop America in the race for the millions of jobs it will create!