First published in April 2017, the book “Climate of Hope” carries insights by the former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, and the former executive director of American environmental organization Sierra Club, Carl Pope. The book turns out to be a bag full of experiences of transforming cities with a sustainable model. It talks about the role of cities in climate change and also considers them as a solution to tackle forthcoming situations. Touching upon the scale of affected factors in cities by climate change, this book gives an essence of what would it take for the transition of cities. Moreover, it takes through a journey of some of the climate initiatives and its outcomes in the city of New York, the most populous city of United States. Towards the end the book completes a circle, wherein it sets an objective for individuals, mayors of cities and all governments that rather holding on climate skepticism, voicing climate success stories to as many people possible is the best way to move ahead.
Here are some of the interesting insights mentioned from the book:
- Climate change campaigners often speak in incomprehensible technical terms, rattling off numbers – tons of carbon, parts per million – that are completely meaningless to most people. Using “The power plant in America kills 278 people a year and causes 445 heart attacks” will surely make an impact.
- Living in cities, one can have lesser carbon footprint by having small houses and close walking distances
- Carney, chairing International network of central banks, in 2015 in London, instead of talking about marginal changes, he spoke about a new financial threat: climate change
- Solar power is for about twenty years and one has to pay that upfront in the beginning, unlike coal plants wherein one can change the commodity expense linking to the demand
- Utilities are willingly to co-ordinate for renewable energy integration but when it comes to decentralized, they look at them as competitors
- Uniquely, the world does not need new solutions in the field of shipping goods as the two oldest modes of transporting goods ships and trains are by far the least polluting, its need to strengthen them.
- Governments should also focus on helping those who lose jobs in the transition to renewable energy and sustainable economy
- The next revolution is nothing but a green revolution 2.0, for growing food for 7-8 billion of people under unstable climatic conditions
- More than a national law or policy, devolving power to cities is the single best step that nations can take to improve their ability to fight climate change
- The way we have our farm policy is also important – Nitrogen needs potassium and phosphate. In India only nitrogen is subsided, hence nitrogen ends up being in excess, turning it into air/water pollution.
- Erecting a trade barrier for national interest will only prolong the transition to a low carbon economy
- With the VW case in 2015, the fraud led to regulators scrutinizing other manufacturers. GMs European division found to have cheat devices, Mercedes Benz turned off their NOx pollution control systems, Fiat turned off emissions control after 20 mins of driving, Mitsubishi misrepresented the fuel economy of its fleet. By mid-2016 it was clear that almost all the worlds diesel passenger fleet were violating pollution control limits under actual highway conditions
- Even if climate change doesn’t happen, which is unlikely, the investments will make cities more resilient and also increase jobs and increase economic growth
- When raw materials are priced below their real cost, we waste them. When they are properly priced because they are produced responsibly, we can make each tree do a lot more work.
- Job of the government is not to prevent natural disasters but to make cities/towns stronger to the evolving challenges
Being in the third year of COVID-19 pandemic and as the vaccines are out now, the development of the vaccine within a year has been an enormous achievement considering the past. Although a similar intensive but sustained action would be required to move forward to tackle climate change. As we recover from the pandemic, countries in the near future are expected to focus on healthcare and economic revival. This would bring uncertainty in the willingness of countries to take actions to tackle climate actions. But with the examples mentioned by Pope and Bloomberg, this book puts forth a powerful argument about cities playing prime role in fighting the effects of a warming planet. The book has laid out a landscape of health and economic factors connecting businesses and individuals to support climate change actions.
All measures are important and none is enough.