This week in Poznan, Poland, the UN Climate Change Conference was kind of a disaster for EU. Unable to find a common agreement on the war against Global Warming but one: continue to do business as usual. That's frightening: either we "Green-focused" citizen are dumb, either our governments are just... you name it.
By chance, Mr. Former Next President Al Gore went on stage today, to once again share his fear, anger, and vision with the developed countries.
Says Mr. Gore : "The political systems of the developed world have become sclerotic. We have to overcome the paralysis that has prevented us from acting and focus clearly and unblinkingly on this crisis rather than spending so much time on OJ Simpson, Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith."
Among several statements, there's one made by the Nobel Prize winner that is a true warning to us European, and especially us French :
That's the message, EU folks: once again during a crisis, America will stand up firm and lead the World. We kind of missed the opportunity. "Grenelle de l'Environnement", anyone ?... Think about the leadership on technologies, the potential for new jobs creations, etc. Now, instead of developing new concepts, new technologies, new products, we are set to become simple "consumers", as usual.
Anyway, the World needs a true leader, and the United States of America have proven to be the one. Today is a day where I really would love sporting a US passport. Listen to Al Gore, and get inspiration.
ps: you can sign up at OneClimate.net here.
Yesterday, I've spent 3 hours only at the Paris Auto Show. My focus : the "green" cars. No deception : Hybrids, electric, and hydrogen prototypes, pre-production units, and production cars were all over the place. See my Flickr set for a brief overview.
Among several really interesting machines and concept cars, the Solo 2008 imagined by the Hungarian Antro Group is the one which kept my attention. Not only because of its exterior and interior designs, which both are eye-catching: the overall concept of the project seems to be drafted from scratch, as true breakthrough innovations always are.
Read the short story here.
That's from Hungary, folks. Not Silicon Valley or France (I have quite some doubts such an initiative would be possible here, for French generally dislike open non-profit ideas).
Of course, I discussed a while with the booth attendants. A young and shy Hungarian guy, who doesn't speak french at all (I imagine his nightmare on the week-ends at the show, when Mr. & Ms. Dupond of Aubervilliers - or any other place in France, no offense folks - stop by his booth), and a pretty nice Hungarian woman, speaking english and french like me. Both smiling and engaging, which is rare in such crazy environment such a crowdy day.
For sure, I didn't get her business card, but Antro' s managing director' s : Zsolt Magyar. Google this name, and you'll find this Zsolt Magyar. Can a "Hungarian born, Los Angeles based Production Sound Mixer with more than 7 years of experience" (imdb.com dixit) be also the lead economist at a green tech startup based in his mother country ? Why not. I'll find out this soon, as I'll get in touch with Antro for some sort of new venture I have in mind for the Pau Broadband Country.
Anyway, the actual team is impressive, although I'm definitely not familiar with Hungary and its ecosystem. At first sight, it proves the project to be really serious.
Now, why this free ad for an unknown startup in an unknown country ? Because of the Antro' s booth at the Paris Auto Show is made of... carton. Carton, wood, rope, linen fabric. Amazing. They've pushed the concept of sustainable development to the overall product marketing process. That's the clever thing. I never saw a exhibit in carton before. That's why I think those guys got it right. They understand the true meaning of being green. For them, "Green" is not just a marketing gimmik to gain customers 's attention. It's their philosophy.
See it by yourselves :
the door of the cabinet
Now you get it too, right ? So, next time you do think about being green, think Solo 2008.
Since beginning of this year I owe have sent approximately 5 tons of CO2 to into the precious air of Mother Earth to date.
I'd better define my compensation plan quickly, shall I want to stick with the Sustainable Development concept...
Yesterday morning on my way to the FTTH Forum organized by the French Fiber-Lobbying association CREDO at the Telecom & Management Institute of Evry, 30-km south of Paris, I've lost almost 60 minutes.
The reason ? Watch the photo, and you'll understand : the A104 "La Francilienne" highway is one of the most crowded in the country, thanks to those awful convoys of trucks.
Why that ? Because : a) in this part of the Greater Paris area, the A104 makes the connection between the A4 highway which goes eastbound, and the A6 which goes southbound; b) this very piece of land is occupied by a handful of super-malls and... giant logistics/warehouse/whatsoever-big-chunk-not-producing-any-good hubs; c) just a few miles away, there is a huge road construction on the bridge over the Seine river, which forces drivers to slow down their already slow speed.
That's France, Ladies & Gents. An economy based on Consumerism. No more industries, as per the German terminology. We are a country made of shopping malls and logistics hubs. Commuters do waste hours in traffic jams each day because of some truck on a road somewhere has got a problem. Road constructions takes ages because of nobody cares of the end-user - read : the driver. We all together do send tons of CO2 in the air because of those stupidities. A vicious circle, like this road on the photo.
The irony : I've lost my time on the road to a conference aimed at Fiber-To-The-Home, which, among endless other things, allows teleworking.
Earlier today, Al Gore addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia. You will find lots of reports and comments on his speech over the days to come, starting here, thanks to Associated Press and Yahoo.
I won't comment Mr. Gore's sentence : " I am going to speak an inconvenient truth: My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali."
The story is, since a couple of weeks I was looking for a nice photo to illustrate an old saying from my first General Manager at the Optical Communications Measurements Division of Agilent Technologies. Coming directly from India to Germany, he often used sayings to push his ideas.
This photo of Al Gore, Nobel Prize, former US Vice-President and former future President, is the perfect illustration of an indian saying on finger pointing.
What is it ? When you point your finger on someone, or vice-versa, when someone points his finger on you to blame you of something, here's the reality : since human beings got 5 fingers at birth, the one you point on the person in front of you tells that this guy is accountable for 20% of the problem; your thumb points either to the ground or the sky : that's Mother Earth, or God (or The Force, you name it), for 20%. Your last three fingers, gently folded on your palm ? they're pointing on you, Buddy. YOU are responsible for 60% of the problem.
Next time you do finger-pointing against someone, better think twice.
post-scriptum : in the case of Mr. Gore, he already apologized for not being able to fight Global Warming when he was at the White House.
Photo Credit : AP Photo/Dita Alangkara.
Madame Christine Lagarde, French Minister for the Economy, Finance, and Employment (that's a title as big as the Ministry itself...) recently asked the French citizen to use bicycles instead of cars, in order to not spend their money on gasoline (and diesel).
Nice try, but she better had read this survey from Virgin Vacations before going with such a stupid statement. The survey is about : The eleven most bicycle friendly cities in the World.
Here's the list :
1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
2. Portland, Oregon
3. Copenhagen, Denmark
4. Boulder, Colorado
5. Davis, California
6. Sandnes, Norway
7. Tronheim, Norway
8. San Francisco, California
9. Berlin, Germany
10. Barcelona, Spain
11. Basel, Switzerland
That's seven cities in Northern/Central/Eastern Europe and four in the US. Paris, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, France ? Nowhere to see. I've been in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Boulder, San Francisco, Barcelona, Basel : I'd love to ride my bicycle there. I live nearby Paris : I would never ever jump on a Velib. Life is way too much important to me.
Full survey and more here.
Bicycle Friendly Community here.
Photo credit : George Bosela
First of a new series about people who are taking initiatives to change the World, say hello to Foko.
Formed by four Malagasy bloggers, Foko is set to fight the current devastation of the beautiful ancestral Madagascar island by farmers :
Fires set for land-clearing and pasture land spread into adjacent wildlands causing damage to the island’s unique ecosystems. FOKO is taking actions, coming up with sustainable and science-based solutions that bring the world’s attention to the Malagasy people. When often biodiversity and lemurs are in the spotlight, FOKO wants to concentrate on the Malagasy people and make them a crucial factor in their unique and threatened environment.
" For the hundreds of climate-change activists who have camped out near Heathrow Airport for the past week, there is only one way to reduce the carbon footprint of aircraft: Stop flying so much. "
Must we quit flying to save the planet? the article published yesterday on the Seattle Time, by Mark Rice-Oxley is a must-read for all of us, especially those whose wallet sports one or more Gold/Platinum/Whatever-metal frequent flyer card.
Here's the conclusion :
[He noted that] 45 percent of all flights in Europe are less than 310 miles. "The French and Germans are showing that if you invest in good railways, you can persuade people to travel by rail and not by air."
But it's not only about leisure travel. Business travel makes up, by some estimates, 40 to 50 percent of all air travel. One element of the British OMEGA project is a study that looks at how business can reduce its aviation carbon footprint.
Keith Mason, who is leading the study, said it involves persuading businesses to measure the carbon they consume, choose flights that are not just the cheapest but are least environmentally damaging, use rail when possible and make greater use of videoconferencing and Internet solutions.
"We are aiming to come up with a range of practical tools that will help companies start managing their carbon consumption," Mason said. He noted that one company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, has introduced an internal "carbon budget" whereby its 1,000 top travelers must reduce their CO2 footprint by 20 percent.
Some experts think similar personal carbon budgets — rationing — may be the solution.
"It's too late for voluntary mechanisms," Anderson said. "Carbon allowances are the only fair way to deal with this."
I wonder if I would still be able to collect 150 boarding passes in a year, as I did back in 2000.
On the other hand, flying every two days or so is exhausting - ask your captain the next time you get in an airplane. And opportunities to create new businesses out of this new situation (i.e. Global Warming) are tremendous...
The wind power industry made big strides last year, reports Jennifer Guevin for C|Net
15,200 megawatts of new wind turbines were installed around the world last year, representing a 26 percent jump in global wind power capacity, according to the Worldwatch Institute' study released yesterday.
By year's end, total wind power capacity exceeded 74,200 megawatts, enough to offset 43 million tons of carbon dioxide, the institute said.
Germany, Spain and the United States are currently the world's top wind power producers, putting out 60 percent of the global total, but the report says the alternative energy winds are shifting eastward. India and China were No. 3 and No. 5, respectively, in a list of countries installing new wind turbines. Senior Researcher Janet Sawin predicts the U.S. and China will compete for the top spot in window power output in the coming years.
More details from the report at the Worldwatch Institute's Web site here
The Venturi Eclectic has been introduced last year by the Monaco-based luxury car maker . The very first autonomous energy vehicle gets its power from a wind generator and from solar cells atop its roof. 3-seats, 50-km autonomy, the Eclectic is the ideal car for city transportation, and short drives in the countryside, like to pick up the kids at school.
First series of 200 units to be sold next month, at the quite high price tag of 24k euros. The next generation, using a new type of batteries, is scheduled for release in 2009, at 15k euros.
Press release here - pump up the volume, and click on the green arrow ;-)
I took this photo ten years ago or so, somewhere on Stevens Creek Boulevard, in between Santa Clara and Cupertino.
I wonder how it will look like in ten years from now, with the Automotive industry being forced to run on green energies.
Live Earth just revealed the US and UK concerts. Here is the press release, with details on ticketing and programs of the New York and London events *.
All information at http://www.liveearth.msn.com/gettix070707
* The Police and Genesis reborn, for Earth Rebirth...
USA LIVE EARTH REVEALED
Tickets for the 7/7/07 Concert to Combat Global Warming Go On Sale 4/16
NEW YORK — Organizers today announced eighteen of the headliners who will perform at the U.S. leg of the 7-continent, 24-hour Live Earth concerts on 7/7/07. The concert will be held at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, Live Earth Founder and Executive Producer Kevin Wall said.
Tickets for the show go on sale Monday, April 16 at 10 a.m. EDT.
“Capping Live Earth with a blockbuster show like this will ensure we meet our challenge of building a mass audience to combat global warming,” Wall said. “Live Earth will be a monumental event both in terms of entertainment and in turning the tide against global warming.”
The global concert on 7/7/07 will begin in Sydney and continue across all 7 continents, concluding with the U.S. show.
“We hope the energy created by Live Earth will jump start a massive public education effort,” Live Earth Co-Chair Vice President Al Gore said. “Live Earth will help us reach a tipping point that’s needed to move corporations and governments to take decisive action to solve the climate crisis.”
The U.S. show will feature live on stage:
DAVE MATTHEWS BAND
FALL OUT BOY
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. EDT on Monday, April 16 and will be available at livenation.com/liveearth or by calling Ticketmaster at (212) 307-7171. All ticket information is available at LiveEarth.MSN.com. All proceeds will benefit the Alliance for Climate Protection and other international NGOs.
Live Earth is a monumental music event that will bring together more than 2 billion people to combat the climate crisis. Live Earth’s 24 hours of music across 7 continents will deliver a call to action and the solutions needed to answer the call. Live Earth marks the beginning of a multi-year campaign led by The Alliance for Climate Protection to move individuals, corporations and governments to take action.
Earlier today, Wall announced that the following artists will perform at the London leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium:
BLACK EYED PEAS
CORINNE BAILEY RAE
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
Exclusive online media partner MSN is helping Live Earth reach people in every corner of the globe. The concerts will be streamed live on 7/7/07 at LiveEarth.MSN.com. MSN’s 39 localized web portals worldwide attract 465 million monthly users. The concerts will be broadcast on the NBC in the U.S. and on more than 120 networks around the world.
Wall also announced that smart car, Stonyfield Farm and Pepsi have joined Live Earth as corporate partners. In addition to working with Live Earth to create corporate efforts to combat global warming, this growing list of partners will help ensure a mass audience for Live Earth is reached. These efforts will be detailed at a later date.
Wall also announced today that Live Earth will stage concerts at Sydney’s Aussie Stadium; Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach; Johannesburg’s Cradle of Human Kind; Tokyo’s Tokyo Stadium and in Shanghai, TBD.
Live Earth is produced by Control Room, of which Kevin Wall is the CEO. Control Room has produced and distributed more than 60 concerts since its founding in 2005 featuring Beyonce, Madonna, Green Day and the Rolling Stones, among others.
I just discovered the American Museum of Natural History website. The Science Bulletins section features amazing animations and videos on the Universe, Space, and Earth. It's worth bookmarking, sharing, and, of course, watching here.
In the Earth section, the following three presentations are mandatory : Dead Zones on the Rise, Melting Glaciers: Clues to Climate Change, Arctic Sea Ice 1997-2006
Maybe those of you who are still skeptics about global warming will change their mind. Hopefully ;-)
Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio tell Hollywood how the Academy goes green. (photo : Reuters).
"An Inconvenient Truth", the documentary from used-to-be-the-next-president-of-the-United States of America Al Gore and director Davis Guggenheim on global warming has won an Oscar last night in Los Angeles, CA.
In my humble opinion, the Academy' award is another strong sign that the combat against global warming is going mainstream in the US. An excellent news, that is a tremendous step forward to a complete overhaul of our way of life.
As I wrote some weeks ago : for the first time in the History of Humanity, we of the Western World (aka " Occident ") can reshape Mother Earth for the sake of our children' children. And still make money out of it. Going Green (Tech) means make Green (Money - US dollars, get it ?)
post-scriptum : the original article by Associated Press claims"An Inconvenient Truth" to be a power-point presentation. Well, the author doesn't probably subscribe to "PresentationZen", otherwise she would have known that it was designed and created using Apple' Keynote presentation app !
Nevertheless, I understand the confusion : "An Inconvenient Truth" was not filmed at a conference' keynote speech ;-)
Al Gore talks about what the Live Earth campaign is all about and why it is important, and how the global concerts on 07.07.07 will play a role in that campaign. Watch the video here (WindowsMedia Player required).
Former Ex-Future US President Al Gore has launched a new initiative to help saving the planet, together with a group of environmental activists : LiveEarth is a worldwide event consisting of live concerts in cities on seven continents, broadcasted on television, radio, online and cell phones, to mobilize global action to face the climate crisis.
The international SOS Morse code : 3 dots, followed by 3 dashes, followed by 3 dots is used here as the acronym for "Save Our Selves". Says Al Gore, "The climate crisis will only be stopped by an unprecedented and sustained global movement".
More about LiveEarth on Bruno Giussiani' s blog Lunch Over IP
LiveEarth website : http://liveearth.org
LiveEarth Green Event Standard - a must read for all conferences' speakers and attendees - here
List of resources to take action - to bookmark, read, and/or apply right now - here
post-scriptum : this is the very first time in my whole life that I might thank Mr. Bill Gates. The LiveEarth initiative is sponsored by MSN ;-)
When I discuss with friends, neighbors or colleagues, about Global Warming and the necessary changes in our way of living, I often hear the same reactions : it will cost us more money, it will force us to shut down hundreds of industries, it will create legions of jobless people, etc. I keep answering : "no". For me, the question is pretty simple : either we continue as in the past and we go right into the wall, either we all stand up together for a dramatic paradigm shift and we save the Planet, thanks to... Technology. New technologies coming out of R&D labs, old technologies used a different way, etc. : those will lead us to innovate and... create new tasks, new functions, new jobs.
Al Gore, speaking at the Silicon Valley Joint Venture event in San Jose, Calif., said there's still time to combat the expected effects of climate change. He said the investment and innovation that built the high-tech and biotech industries is now needed for green tech. Watch the video posted on C|NET here.
The Toronto-based online newspaper globeandmail.com has issued a Special report: The new climate. It is an interesting complement of Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth, for you can save the html files for education purposes.
See the thrilling video here, about the World's most polluted city - Linfen, China. See some dramatic effects of Global Warming in the diaporama here. See also the beautiful illustrations describing how the planet is warming up, why Greenland will turn green land again soon, and how we can all make our house green.