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, especially one that also 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 technology
NGO’s can offer the pledge to their own membership.
An individual can first sign up by asserting their consumer power to do business with companies that commit to eliminate their carbon emissions by 2030.
An entity, such as a corporation, can sign the Pledge and then go on to sign the commitment with individual customers who connect with them by signing as a witness to their pledge.
Individuals can also sign the Pledge to eliminate their own carbon emissions by 2030.
Each individual can choose to communicate with any of the entities that have signed, including businesses, NGO's, and governments using any JLINC-enabled app or website hosted by any participating entity. That infrastructure also provides European grade individual control over personal data privacy. This creates a new trust-based communications channel on the Internet for all of the corporations, NGO's and individuals who sign the Pledge.CarbonPath.org
is raising non-profit contributions to launch the initial carbon pledge infrastructure and for founding partner stakeholder outreach and engagement.
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.
JLINC 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.
Energy is largely made up of the direct energy inputs, with a small contribution from manufactured infrastructure for energy delivery. However, as we rapidly move toward renewables, the carbon emissions from their manufacture also has to be included.
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. On the other-hand, enlightened agricultural and livestock practices and reforestation can actually remove and store net carbon. So, an interoperable audited carbon supply-chain for land-use is crucial.
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. New breakthroughs in materials can actually make construction a way to remove and sequester net carbon as well.
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 cheaper than coal and rapidly out-competing natural gas. Solar has been growing at 33% a year over the past 7 years and now exceeds 2% of global electricity production. If it continues to grow at that rate solar will exceed global electricity production in 2032, and all of projected global energy consumption in 2038! This is at odds with all official projections, but so was actual cell phone adoption. It is not impossible, and some argue inevitable within maybe more like two decades.
And none of that includes wind, lighting or efficiency, which are also growing exponentially. Lithium-ion battery storage is also following a rapid growth curve and low-cost electric vehicles will drastically reduce the demand for gasoline within a few years, while electric heat pumps will out-compete heating oil and soon even natural gas.
Whatever the exact timing, it does not require much demand destruction to seriously depress oil prices. As fossil prices continue to fall, making tar sands and then 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.
Once one understands that renewable energy is going to make it not only possible, but inevitable, for some sectors to end their carbon emissions long before 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, have already committed to 100% renewable energy.
Many people feel helpless, disempowered and increasingly frightened by climate chaos. Signing petitions often only seems to lead to more spam asking for donations. National politics leaves those in many states with little opportunity for a voice. And yet, much of our behavior is driven by our social context. People save water by letting their lawns go brown when their neighbors do the same. And they do it faster when they are celebrated for it. Social signals are often more powerful than economic interest, and we respond to feedback. We get better at what we pay attention to.
Consumers can share their commit to do business with companies that sign the pledge. Companies in high tech and consumer products that already know that they can do it will be the first to make the commitment. This creates an opt-in marketing vehicle, first for leading brands and then for companies in other sectors, such as manufacturing, agriculture and forestry 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, and increases consumer loyalty. Investment managers can offer retail 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.