Why did news source Aljeerza bother to give Richard Lindzen a platform – someone whose viewpoint has been voted off the world market influence island several years ago except by the fossil fuel industry? Richard Lindzen lives in his own little MIT climate that never changes — a testament to what happens after tenure.
What was missing from the Head to Head debate was business. Richard talked about the insignificance of the “little things” that people do will not make a difference in climate change – like changing a lightbulb. Those little changes are market turning points. In 2006, this happened…
Wal-Mart wants to sell every one of its regular customers–100 million in all–one swirl bulb. In the process, Wal-Mart wants to change energy consumption in the United States, and energy consciousness, too. It also aims to change its own reputation, to use swirls to make clear how seriously Wal-Mart takes its new positioning as an environmental activist. FastCompany 2006
[About 70% of the U.S. Gross National Product is made up of consumer goods of which over 80% of those goods are selected by women. Changing a light bulb becomes an entry drug to other greener and greener consumer actions which have changed the business climate's direction. ]
Shortly after 2006, WalMart and other big box stores plus their key suppliers began the SustainabilityConsortium.org. It’s a group formed to define the eco- and socially- responsible rules of play for mutually shared suppliers. At first the Consortium focused on the low hanging profits of conservation within their own organizations, today with agreed upon policies they are extending the risk mitigation throughout their supply chains.
Want more? Go here and here and here and here and here and here for daily evidence of regulations and actions — proof that the market is not on Richard’s side – the market train is turning green as fast as it can.
While Richard pontificates on waiting 50 years, see what happens (and then take action…) the Sustainability Consortium saw the market risk of toxic products that pollute the air, earth, water, and chewed up energy and moved to work together to save the profit in their portfolios first and then save the planet. Consumers don’t like to buy from bad guys if they have a choice. Thanks to business moving quickly to fix the problem, 50 years from now we could have a better world filled with people who have nothing but sustainable products to choose from. At the same time the sustainable practices will bring down the carbon in the air. It’s a win win whether you believe it or not.
Trillions in investment is no small change. Last year, CERES.org with president, Mindy Luber held an investor’s summit on Climate Risk & Energy Solutions at the United Nations.
On January 12, 2012, nearly 500 of the world’s investors and most powerful financial players gathered at the United Nations to showcase their actions and discuss promising trends to catalyze the large-scale investment needed to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate potentially catastrophic climate impacts.
Mark Vachon, VP of GE ecomagination who leads GE business strategy said, “Companies that don’t get this really risk becoming irrelevant to the marketplace… how’s that working for us? In the first 5 years we have $85 billion in revenue, the exciting thing is, that revenue is growing more than 2X the rest of the portfolio. The signal from the marketplace – we like this.”
You can deny Climate Change all you want, but you can’t deny that the market has changed. Sorry Richard, but public opinion means much more in the market than your opinion that fossil fuel companies pay you to spout. Public opinion makes stock markets go up and down. Your opinion doesn’t.
To Aljazeera, I love the Head-to-Head format and Mehdi Hasan’s interviewing style, it’s a safe way to view both sides of an issue from the back seats, but let’s use this valuable airtime to debate things that haven’t already been decided. Besides, clearly people like Richard need to see the planet’s stigmata before they’ll come around, so why waste time on him or the topic?
The markets have voted and now it’s a race to see how fast we can change to a safer and more sustainable economy with limited risk. Let Richard keep his money and time in fossil fuels, I’m in clean energy and seeing the 2X benefits of higher performance or in . Instead of going Head-to-Head on Climate Change or Not, why not go Head-to-Head on wind vs. solar? Fossil fuels that support talking heads like Richard, are moot.