Sunday, October 7, 2007

Meet my hero...

Speaking of the Big Picture... its great timing that my hero happened to give a speech at Scottsdale's 10th annual Green Building Expo.



Ed Mazria - my hero... I won't be surprised if Ed is honored by a Nobel Peace Prize in about a few years when more climate change initiatives around the globe occur ... he has made that big of an impact - an architect who has spent his entire life and still working hard to make his dream of a better, safer and environmentaly sound world - a reality!!

Here is a link to his latest study and this presentation topic - Nation Under Siege

I took the liberty to voice record his speech digitally and I will be more than happy to share it with anybody interested - just send me an email. This is a 1hr 40 min audio clip of his entire speech on October 5th, 2007 at Scottsdale, AZ. This presentation includes, introductory speech from the Mayor of Scottsdale, followed by Mayor of Tempe and finally a few Q&A after Ed's speech.

I don't think Ed will sue me for copyright distribution of this speech... because spreading the word is the most sustainable thing anybody could do - bringing awareness...

Here are some highlights:
(Disclaimer - the following includes excerpts from Ed's speech and some of my own thoughts to augument his notions...)

- Currently CO2 levels are at 385 parts per million
- Projected to reach 450 ppm by 2035
- By then it might be too late to reverse the effects - a point of no-return might happen
- Ok.. seriously what the heck will happen if the globe's CO2 level reaches 450 ppm?
- Predictions are based on historical data dating back centuries...
- The earth had such levels reached some 125,000 years ago... ya! thats right... so long long ago...
- Based on carbon dating and other known methods and measures to mankind... when such levels reached, half the species in the world vanished due to rising sea levels and change in eco systems etc...

- So you might ask... how does that affect me and my house in Phoenix, AZ
- Go to the internet and search for New Orleans Diaspora - displacement of 200 to 300 thousand people due to hurricane Katrina... this is just because one part of ocean near New Orleans got upset with climate change and blew the fuse...

- Such a discplacement causes several problems to the un-prepared country (even the mighty US) from rescuing the survived... to providing them safe and secure place temporarily and eventually permenantly... to building a new safe and secure place for them to return... to creating safe and secure lives for the ones that doesnt want to return... the list goes on...

- Imagine such a displacement of lives, economy, culture... and then multiply this effect by several cities around the globe and now add the fact that not all countries have the means and resources like the US... HAVOC RIGHT??? that's what might happen if we let the CO2 levels rise to 450 ppm...

- Again... this is science based on data and conventional prediction / projection methods accepted as reasonable world wide from not so biased institutions like NASA, NOAA and so... the left and right in any country can blow this situation upto what ever scale they like for their political advantages...

- So weaving through the plethora of biased and non-biased information is completely upto you readers!!

- I strongly believe in this and also believe that I could do something to help the situation... as explained at the later part of this highlight!!

- Ok now.. what is causing all these!!



- Burning of Fossil fuels contribute to these Green house gas emmissions and in-turn causing global warming - climate change
- Oil and Gas have reached their peak in terms of resource availability and usage thus far
- Oil and gas are likely to be used less in the forth coming years since they are depleting and would cost more
- So oil and gas together cannot push the world over 450 ppm within 2035 - The culprit is COAL
- Coal reserves are plenty enough for another 200 or so years based on the rate of current usage
- Every nation from US to Canada to China to India is dying to add more conventioanal coal plants within the next two decades
- Conventional coal plants are the worst when it comes to green house gas emissions
- So is there a silver bullet for this problem?
- Yes, says Ed - NO MORE CONVENTIONAL COAL
- Then what about CLEAN Coal technology - asked the audience
- Carbon Sequestration is the clean coal technology - which is essentially capturing CO2 from the coal during power generation process and dumping it else where - either under the ocean, under the earth very deep... or do something else with it...
- Ed and many scientists believe that this is still a pre-mature technology and to fully figure this out and make it commerical it might take a decade... by then if there is no law in place, any country with money will start mushrooming Coal power plants the conventional way
- The projection is, even when Clean coal technology materializes, it might not comapre in cost with conventional coal power... so what would all the coal lobbyist with trillions of dollars in their pocket would do???? hmmm never go clean coal!! - Ed didn't say that... this is me :-)

- OK.. so we take measures to stop the supply side of this big chain reaction by stopping the mushrooming of conventional coal plants... is that enough?? asks Ed...
- No... We should control the demand side...
- Of all the major sectors in the US... the building sector is the worst..
- 76% of the electricity produced in the country goes to operate buildings...

- hence... reducing the need or demand for energy from the building sector could drastically reduce the need or supply of coal power plants...

- as an architect... I feel I can do my part to help this movement!!
- But can we do that - reduce demands from the building sector?
- Is this rocket science??
- NOOOOO! Says Ed... he and several others have done it during the oil crisis in the 70's... why can't we do it now????

- With more technology than the 70's we should be able to do it... all we need is the commitment... from all the players in this game....

- many feel like unless the codes change and require a minimum reduction in energy consumption for all new and renovated buildings... nothing can change the culture and approach of design and related services...

- I agree with that!!

- Leaders like Ed are rightly doing so - making the feds to adopt such a code and then allow the states and counties to catchup in 1.5 yrs or so...

- so the urge here is to take action now... we may not have enough time as we thought we had - 10 yreas... no we might have only a few years say 6 or 7 before reach a point of no-return...

- I will keep you posted on what else I learn and how could I be a change!!

Enjoy!

1 comment:

Gopinath Sundharam said...

Nice one Prem. Send me the recorded speech. Would love to hear it.