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Brass Tacks: The Age of Sustainability - Issue #8

Brass Tacks: The Age of Sustainability - Issue #8
By Denis Pombriant • Issue #8 • View online
Earth Day has come and gone with many of the same old bromides expressed and too little in the way of engagement for the world’s population. The climate situation isn’t going to get better unless we all make contributions of effort, not necessarily money, but the emphasis right now is on government doing something, anything, to change our trajectory. This is and always was a grass roots endeavor.
It’s not enough to say we need to keep global warming to less than 2 degrees Centigrade to avoid lasting harm. We’re not even there yet and the changes we’ve seen are enough to make a sane person say whoa, horsey!
Before you can manage, you have to measure and even before that you need to understand the scope of the problem. One reason climate is such a difficult problem is that it hasn’t been systematized yet. Systematizing or more colloquially, putting a frame around the problem is the first step in developing any complex solution to a previously unsolved problem.
I take the Wright Brothers invention of the flying machine as a key jumping off point. Earlier endeavors simply tried to emulate birds. The Wrights stood the paradigm on its head. They observed birds for sure, but they also built one of the first wind tunnels to observe airflow over a wing surface so that they could understand lift.
Early on they understood they needed to be able to control their machine in 3 dimensions corresponding to up, down, left, right, and rolling side to side. It almost sounds like they discovered Quarks and it led to development of the rudder and flaps. They based some of this on the research that the Bernoulli Brothers did on fluid dynamics and they did all it with high school educations, their own savings, and precious little else at the very start of the 20th century. They were successful because they understood systems.
The climate challenge is like that and today’s newsletter is about identifying the problems that need solutions in a systematic way and some early attempts by tech giant Salesforce to help business begin to quantify the problem. First up, a two minute video we put together to begin the systematization process.

Most people not wedded to Qanon understand that fixing climate involves cessation of carbon pollution. What’s more obscure is that we need to remove some of the carbon we’ve been accumulating since the dawn of Capitalism and the Industrial Revolution.
Even fewer people are aware that fossil fuels by definition are based on once living things. That’s a large but finite quantity and most experts agree that there is about a 50-year supply left in the ground.
Fifty years is important because it will take most of the time to wind down the fossil fuel paradigm and convert to renewable electricity. At the same time, we need to conserve as much of that fossil fuel as possible for the things that carbon is the go-to element. This includes making things like steel, plastics, pharmaceuticals, rubber for tires and a heck of a lot more.
We cover all this in just two minutes.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure–that’s gospel in the annals of business. So how big is your carbon footprint? If you want to manage it (good for you!) what’s your starting point? What about the carbon inputs of your supply chain? If your suppliers don’t cut their footprints your job is hard, harder, hardest. Salesforce has been working on a solution under the umbrella of its Sustainability Cloud.
At some point in the Paris climate regime, we’re all going to need those answers and dow the road answering those and similar questions will seem like picking low hanging fruit.
Salesforce Announces Sustainability Cloud Scope 3 Hub and New Climate Commitments to Create a More Sustainable Future - Salesforce News
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Denis Pombriant

Starting with root causes a full discussion of what's ailing climate and what we can and are doing to fix it. There is so much news about solutions every day that this will give hope to even the most cynical.

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