Wednesday, May 18, 2011



This week I'm covering a whole different look at the climate change puzzle. We've had the anarchists saying we are doomed (and I'm not saying they are wrong). We've had socialists calling for massive change in our whole hierarchy and social order.

But for now, the reality is: capitalism, - business determines most of our working lives and perhaps our climate future.

Yet led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and funded by Big Oil, a lot of business has spurned any attempts to control carbon emissions in North America.

What if the environmental approach can't save us? What could?

In this week's speech, recorded by Alex Smith for Radio Ecoshock, we'll here a pitch from green entrepreneurs.

Forget about emissions and climate they say. Just focus on energy efficiency and making money from cutting carbon. That may work. It's a kind of radical business approach, and as you will hear, some major corporations are adopting clean energy solutions.

We may have to work with what is.

As co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Hunter Lovins envisioned green business. She called it "Natural Capitalism." In the year 2000, she was named a "Hero of the Planet" by Time magazine. Hunter Lovins has split from her also famous green tech developer, Amory Lovins. She is a force of her own, and it shows in this new book.

Now Hunter Lovins has teamed up with Professor Boyd Cohen to present a new concept called "Climate Capitalism". Is it possible for mega-corporations, and small business, to become carbon friendly?

In this speech recorded May 16th in Vancouver, Canada, Boyd Cohen says profits from energy savings, not concern for the climate, is what we should be talking about. Hold on to your sacred cows. Boyd Cohen says business can do it.

Cohen was introduced by the green Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson.

Part way through the speech, Boyd argues against some radical environmentalists - that we must start adapting to a new climate, because it is already here. He gives examples from countries hit hard just in the last year, from Russia to Pakistan to the United States.

Even in adaptation, there are business opportunities. These might include everything from software for measurements, through new types of portable dikes to contain floods (like the Mississippi and the rivers of Manitoba). Like it or not, business is the means of accomplishing some of our adaptation to climate change, and Boyd and Hunter say we must get busy on adapting, before the next climate hit. And we have to do it WHILE continuing our fight to reduce emissions. Both. At once.

You probably won't like Boyd's opinion of Boliva and Evo Morales. While the country sounds heroic in its recognition of climate change, its policy is going nowhere, says Body Cohen. And he knows something. Cohen has spent a lot of time in South America, working to green a wide range of industries, including those in Bolivia. He is fluent in Spanish as well as technology.

Even the coal mines of Columbia can be made a little safer, and more climate friendly, by upgrading the capture of methane escaping from the mines.

You'll like the story of refitting a Brazilian brick-making plant, so it burns less of the Amazon rainforest wood to keep going. And the operation can get a little extra, by selling it's new carbon credits.

Do carbon markets suck? North Americans may think so, but the rest of the world are using these markets, they are growing, and some countries are at least trying to control emissions. In British Columbia, the government is obligated to buy carbon credits - from companies in that Canadian Province. The results are local and visible. I like that.

The Boyd Cohen presentation of "Climate Capitalism" was sponsored by Discovery Parks, Vancouver Greentech Exchange and CO2 IMPACT.

It was the launch of a new book "Climate Capitalism" from New Society publishers. Cohen, an American now teaching at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, co-authored the book with Hunter Lovins, the famous founder of The Rocky Mountain Institute.

Now in the real world of business large and small, these teaching entrepreneurs promote "Climate Capitalism" to cut emissions. It's a different approach to climate change. Find out more at

Will it catch on? According to this new book, it already has. Including ... are you ready? Walmart. Details inside the book, and our Radio Ecoshock broadcast.

This recording is by Alex Smith of Radio Ecoshock.

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