A large majority now understands that climate change is real.
A growing minority understand that it is THE existential threat to the future, and feel despair at the failure of government, media and society to adequately address it.
There are three ways that even a small minority can get leverage in a capitalist system:
- Consumer behavior / public opinion
- Business / corporate response
- Investor direction
Even where senior corporate managers and investors understand the need for action, demand from consumers is also required to allow them to act.
A small base of consumers that includes highly-educated and high income members of society can change the behavior of major corporations.
However, to be effective, an objective mechanism that prevents green-washing and forces commitment to real action and quantitative measures of actual performance is required.
Carbon Path is a way for those who do understand how urgent the climate situation is to do something effective to take the lead, change the market and ultimately change the way society responds.
We can create facts on the ground, push leading corporations to take a meaningful stand, and then bring investors and investment managers on-board to help change the landscape for screened portfolios of publicly traded companies.
National governments may follow, but they are clearly not going to take the lead.
Many local and regional governments are stepping up, but do not have the leverage needed by themselves.
Carbon Path links an aspirational commitment to a binding pledge to quantitative measurement of performance. It links marketing to measurement.
The carbon pledge itself is a short, simple, sentence posted at carbonpledge.net
The pledge can be digitally signed by all parties using JLINC
NGO’s can offer the pledge to their own membership.
An individual can first pledge to patronize businesses that commit to eliminate their carbon emissions by 2030.
An entity, such as a corporation, can sign the commitment with society and with their individual customers.
Individuals can also pledge to eliminate their own carbon emissions by 2030.
Each individual can see, and choose to communicate with any of the entities that have signed, including businesses and NGO's, all under their own control using any JLINC-enabled app or site from any participating entity.
This effectively creates a new trust-based communications channel on the Internet for all of the corporations, NGO's and individuals who independently sign the pledge.CarbonPath.org
is raising non-profit contributions to launch the distributed carbon pledge infrastructure.
Each party that signs the pledge can also choose to adopt carbon supply-chain tools. These allow each party to quantitatively view their own carbon supply-chain footprint at no cost.
Each entity can also implement carbon supply-chain reporting that can provide audited carbon reports to businesses and consumers who purchase from that entity. Enterprises pay for reporting provided to their customers.
Investors can obtain summary audits of participating businesses that choose to make them available to investors.
data exchange technology makes it possible for all entities to automate permissioned data exchange between databases with audit trail that can be recorded to multiple locations including any database, log, ledger or blockchain.
JLINC is neither a blockchain, nor an ICO, and is not selling a token or attempting to create a carbon credit market.
Carbon data exchange will provide auditable quantitative reporting for climate in parallel with financial reporting. A public benefit corporation will own and operate the carbon supply-chain reporting service.
Each party's carbon footprint can be thought of in 3 broad categories:
- Energy for transportation, heating, cooling and electrical consumption
- Agricultural consumption – food, fiber and forestry
- Manufactured product consumption
If one looks upstream in each of these categories, one finds a branching tree, where each branch is itself composed of some combination of each of these 3 inputs, which together make up all the components of its supply-chain.
Manufactured products, including everything from cell phones to buildings, generally include some mixture of all three components and represent the sum of them as the embodied carbon in each product.
Energy is largely made up of the energy inputs, with only a small contribution from manufactured infrastructure for energy delivery. However, as we rapidly move to renewables, particularly solar and storage, the contribution of their manufacture also has to be included.
Energy is already undergoing a rapid transformation where solar and batteries are following a price reduction path similar to computer chips. Solar PV with batteries are becoming cheaper than coal and natural gas – this year. Solar currently exceeds 2% of global electricity production, and growing 33% per year globally. If PV continues to grow at that rate it will exceed global electricity production in 2032, and all of global energy consumption in 2038!
If solar follows Moores Law and doubles every 2 years (41% annual growth), solar output will exceed global electrical consumption by 2030. At 50% growth, still well below the 85% growth seen in the US in 2016, we could reach 100% global solar electricity by 2028 and zero global carbon emissions from energy in 2031. This is at odds with all official projections, but not impossible, and some argue inevitable within maybe more like two decades.
Lithium-ion battery storage is also following an even faster growth trend and low-cost electric vehicles will drastically reduce the demand for gasoline within a few years, while electric heat pumps will also rapidly out-compete heating oil and even natural gas. And none of this includes wind, which is also still growing exponentially.
Whatever the exact timing, it does not require much demand destruction to seriously depress oil prices. As fossil prices and revenues continue to fall, making coal, as well as tar sands and all unconventional oil, worthless stranded assets, the fossil interests that have been funding political disinformation will finally collapse and the growing cost of catastrophic disasters, hurricanes, droughts, fires, floods, and freak storms will increasingly be reported in a climate context.
Agriculture and land use may remain the most challenging area for change. The CO2 (equivalent) climate contribution from industrial agriculture is on a par with energy use for many households. Both CO2 from nitrate production and NOx emissions from fertilizer use, as well as methane from cattle, plus the release of carbon due to tilling soils all add up to a huge problem. In the extreme case, destruction of tropical forests for cattle production or palm oil, are even more destructive to the climate. So, an interoperable audited carbon supply-chain for land-use may be the most crucial.
Once one understands that renewable energy and storage is going to make it not only possible, but inevitable, for the most proactive companies in manufacturing and consumer products to end their carbon emissions by 2030 – because it is more profitable. It becomes easier to see how the pledge can work. For example, in April 2018, Apple announced that it, and 23 of its largest suppliers, are already committed to 100% renewable energy.
Consumers commit to do business with companies that sign the pledge. Those companies that already know that they can do it are the first to make the commitment. This creates an opt-in marketing vehicle for leading companies in other sectors, such as agriculture, forestry and energy to distinguish themselves from their backward competitors.
Investors see improved financial performance from companies that rapidly decarbonize, as efficiency replaces on-going expenses for fossil inputs. Investment managers can offer individual investors meaningful screened portfolio products composed of public companies that have made the commitment and demonstrated performance on carbon. Pension funds and BlackRock follow. The rest is history.