Category: Climate

Prof. Shi Qi Qing: In Memory of a Green Chinese Heroine

©2013AnnGoodman

As the time fast approaches for women in the US and China to meet on green consumption in Washington, D.C. (see previous post), I fondly remember my dear colleague Prof. Shi Qi Qing, who skillfully formed international alliances in this field–notably with me while I led WNSF–during her inspirational tenure as Secretary General of CAWE, the China Association of Women Entrepreneurs.

She will be missed–for her wide knowledge, calm and warm personality, sound judgment and her passion for a sustainable world that women could help lead.

At Hong Kong’s World Green Forum in summer 2011, she said with usual aplomb that “the shift in the focus of a global economy toward investments in clean technologies and natural infrastructures like forest and soil is an optimal choice for economic growth in a real sense, a combat against climate change and [an aid to] adequate employment in the 21st century.”

Prof. Shi was truly an inspiring global green partner–across continents, languages and cultures.

Professor Shi QI Qing, 6th from right, in red jacket

“Sustainaibility-Social Netorking Nexus”: Goodman & Colleagues on the Ever-More Urgent Link (see Sustainability: The Journal of Record)

Posted: February 12, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Posts | Modify: Edit this |Leave a comment »

 

Sustainability: The Journal of Record publishes :

Goodman & Colleagues on:

The Sustainability-Social Networking Nexus:

“We believe that with a conscious focus on the goals of sustainability and resilience, social networking can facilitate a more adaptive response to stresses that are likely to arise from climate change and resource depletion…

“and are researching how social media might help with resilience in disaster cases, particularly as connected with climate change.”

Growing weather-related disasters around the world are a vivid example (see current and upcoming pieces on anngoodman.com and R2sustainability.com).

From Sustainability: The Journal of Record:

“On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy rolled over the most populated metropolis in the United States, killing more than a hundred people, cutting power to millions of homes and businesses, devastating coastal communities, and causing upward of $70 billion in damages…”

“While there are many approaches to integrating such principles, we believe that one of the most potentially beneficial opportunities lies in the still-emerging social networking, media, and data revolution, mainly because of its promise of new ways to
communicate, collaborate, cooperate, share, and distribute things like work, power, ideas, goods, and services within and across communitiesRead more at:

http://online.liebertpub.com/toc/sus/6/1 (complete article and interview free to our readers from February 18)

Improving Communications in Environmental Disasters: A conversation with the UN’s Margareta Wahlstrom

margareta_wahlstrom© 2013 Ann Goodman

At the National Council for Science and the Environment’s timely conference on Disasters and Environment, focusing on science, preparedness and resilience, in Washington, D.C. in mid-January, one of the most seasoned and sensible, yet cautionary voices was keynote speaker Margareta Wahlstrom, of the UN Office of Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva.

One warning: Functional communications will be key to resilience in disasters, likely to accelerate in the future.

With the population growing two to three times more in most vulnerable areas of the world, largely coastal, we should now know, with the wealth of scientific and other data available, how to plan for the future, she said.

In planning for future resilience, she named three challenges:

1.Planning and developing resilience, especially for agricultural and urban issues.

2. Governance

3.Communications. “Research is rich, and the volume of information enormous–so it’s not as accessible to decision makers as it should be.”

After her keynote, Ms. Wahlstrom sat down with me to elaborate on her ideas, based on wide experience, on improving communications during environmental disasters, especially in an age of amplifying communications through electronic and wide-spreading social networking tools… Continue reading “Improving Communications in Environmental Disasters: A conversation with the UN’s Margareta Wahlstrom”

Calculating the cost of disaster vs. the price of resilience

 © 2012 Ann GoodmanJohnMutter

By June 2012, many had forgotten the devastation Hurricane Katrina wrought on New Orleans some seven years earlier. Few had the foresight to predict Sandy and the crises it would cause New York City and environs.

In the super-storm’s aftermath, most have been concerned with “getting back to normal.” A few are calling for resilient new ways to handle what’s now being dubbed the “new normal” weather pattern.

And a very few are trying to calculate the real costs of the disaster.

One of those is Prof. John Mutter, the Columbia University scientist and economist, who shared his prescient insights with me on the price of climate related disaster last spring. In the wake of Sandy, which occurred right in Mutter’s backyard (full disclosure: mine, too), he with me shared some more recent lessons learned and potential ways forward.

What is striking about Mutter’s viewpoint is his focus on the longer-term economic and business costs of such climate-related disasters—versus an immediate fix—and his suggestions of opportunities to be reaped. Instead of reconstructing what was lost, he advocates taking a longer view to understand what the often lagging and lasting costs of such disasters are.

That approach often means looking not at current losses and rebuilding what was destroyed, but rather at the costs—over time—to business and society, in the long aftermath of the event, including productivity gains that might have occurred without a disaster.

It also means looking at any current destruction less as loss but rather as opportunity to create something completely different, perhaps elsewhere, with more wisdom, foresight, practical insight and technological know-how.

In short, Mutter’s approach suggests a new and different way of calculating the costs of disaster, pointing out that the biggest loss to the economy—the chain of production, consumption and everything that goes into it—doesn’t happen in the moment of crisis but actually begins afterwards “with losses that go beyond the value of the built structures trashed at the time, beyond the capital asset loss, to a deeper economic loss that happens over time.”

He adds that a climate-related—or other—disaster is a process with three key parts: build-up, event and recovery. The recovery period is where the risk of cost builds most—and where the opportunity for genuine correction also occurs, including boosting economic growth after the initial trauma.

The post-disaster period is when we start to understand the “true impacts,” he says, adding that they will be “highly variable, and the length of time it takes to get back to where you were is uneven” for different businesses. Continue reading “Calculating the cost of disaster vs. the price of resilience”

Can sustainability help JPMorgan Chase bounce back?

 © 2012 Ann Goodman

Even as JPMorgan Chase has incurred billions in losses from botched trading, acknowledged by its CEO Jamie Dimon as an “egregious mistake,” the stalwart bank has been enthusiastically supporting a new environmental strategy that spans all of its businesses.

In a particularly creative move, the bank recently announced it is financing an initiative in New York City to help building owners cover upfront costs of converting old boilers to natural gas. It is also encouraging home owners to make their homes more energy efficient through improvements that may be eligible for tax benefits.

Matthew Arnold, the Head of the Office of Environmental Affairs, sees the move as the sort of innovation he hopes the bank can achieve across businesses to help solve real-world environmental problems.

Appointing Arnold — former leader of PwC’s Sustainable Business Solutions, co-founder of Sustainable Finance Ltd., and COO of World Resources Institute — to the top environmental position a year ago was something of a coup for the bank. In Arnold, JPMorgan Chase has lured not just a daring environmental thought leader, but also a well-known implementer of sustainability projects. Continue reading “Can sustainability help JPMorgan Chase bounce back?”

Ann and Lakis to Speak at Commitforum! in NYC, Oct. 2-3

Commitforum!, October 2-3, NYC

Join Ann Goodman and colleague Lakis Polycarpou at their session “Sustainable Supply Chains in the Age of Natural Disasters”

For 30% discount on entire conference, register at http://www.commitforum.com/ using ID Code GOODMAN30.

In the summer and fall of 2011 a torrent of rain and subsequent flooding washed over Thailand, a major supplier and key link in global supply chains, causing billions in damage and production shutdowns, with global automotive and computer companies among the hardest hit. While the scale of damage was unprecedented, it was only the latest Continue reading “Ann and Lakis to Speak at Commitforum! in NYC, Oct. 2-3”

Environment & Leadership: Tips from a Pro at NAEM Women’s Roundtable

© 2012 Ann Goodman

One of the outstanding presenters at NAEM’s recent roundtable onwomen’s leadership and environment was Susan Eisenhower, president of the Eisenhower Group Inc. and appointed member of the DEC’s commission
on America’s Nuclear Future (tasked with safely developing long-term solutions for the nuclear fuel cycle), and granddaughter of President “Ike” Eisenhower.
Her career has been one marked by progressive inquiry, critical thought and independent judgment.
She had some particularly wise words to impart to on leadership and environment to an audience of women environmental professionals in the corporate, policy and nonprofit sectors. Here are a few of her tips:

On Leadership: Continue reading “Environment & Leadership: Tips from a Pro at NAEM Women’s Roundtable”

The cost of disaster: Putting a price tag on climate change

©2012 Ann Goodman

Professor John Mutter

In this era of apparently mounting natural disasters worldwide—many, such as floods from hurricanes, likely related to changing weather patterns linked to climate change—one might ask: How much do such disasters cost? How are the costs calculated?
In fact, someone has asked—analyzing not just the cost of the event itself, but the larger economic costs linked to build-up and often long recovery.

“The public focus [of a disaster] is on the moment, the trauma of the extreme event,” says John Mutter, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, as well as International Public Affairs, at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. “The economic loss focuses on that moment, too—what was actually lost at the time.”

However, that loss to the economy—the chain of production, consumption and everything that goes into it—doesn’t happen in a moment, but actually begins after, he says, “with losses that go beyond the value of the built structures trashed at the time, beyond the capital asset loss, to a deeper economic loss that happens over time.”

Three-pronged process

The theory of calculating disaster costs is just developing, as natural disasters become more prevalent; business can incorporate principles from a three-pronged process into new strategic thinking on what disaster is and how it might affect particular sectors or individual companies. Continue reading “The cost of disaster: Putting a price tag on climate change”

Upcoming Clean Tech event:

Looking forward to attend on Tuesday:

Energizing Our Cities: Battery and Energy Storage Technologies for Urban Settings

NY-BEST/NYIT Conference

“Energy storage technologies are at the forefront of the next wave of the cleantech revolution, with new products and applications for clean transport, energy efficient buildings and the smart grid.  Strategic investments are needed to accelerate the development and full commercialization of these technologies. What is the current state of these technology advancements, what products are being introduced into the marketplace, what are the real world experiences with these products to date and how will their applications shape urban life in the future?”