Just two years ago Sir Richard Branson announced plans to form a Carbon War Room to tackle what is widely held by both political and business leaders as the single, greatest threat to human civilization -- climate change.
Last week, the first Carbon War Room summit was held in partnership with the City of Vancouver which hosted the event at the Pan Pacific Hotel overlooking the neon olympic rings on the Vancouver waterfront. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the event thanks to Citizen Global (which captured video of the event) and MNN.
At the opening night reception Jose Maria Figueres, former president of Costa Rica and Carbon War Room board member, unveiled a bold, almost audacious plan to remove 5 billion tons of CO2 per year by 2020, in essence reducing the total global carbon footprint by 10%.
Such a reduction presents a challenge of epic proportions, but Branson and his team have a plan. They are mounting a full-on attack aimed neither at the perpetually inept federal governments of the industrialized world, nor at the climate change denialists. They are doing what any well-organized military operation would do -- aim low.
By tackling the lowest hanging fruit -- inefficient buildings -- the Carbon War Room folks are certain they can achieve the 5 billion goal. It will take capital, lots of it (by some estimates about $130 billion per year for building retrofits and $50 billion for renewable energy over the next 10 years) but it is important to note that a huge percentage of that money will come from the private sector and will flow directly into job creation, bolstering local economies.
And that's just the beginning. The Carbon War Room has created a Battle Plan with 7 theaters -- Built Environment, Electricity, Transport, Industry, Land Use, Carbon Management (including Biochar which you will hear more about later) and last but definitely not least, Emerging Economies.
The Green Capital - Global Challenge is the first campaign and it will aim to dramatically reduce the carbon emissions of 10 target cities, creating a model for cities around the world to follow.
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