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Pictured John Hritcko, Shell- John Cusak, Speaker, Jim Baum
July 23, 2005 @ 12:00 am EDT
Members and friends,
This week’s program featured John Cusack, President of the board of the New York State Environmental Business Association. He titled his presentation, “Global Warming, Fact or Fiction.” Mr.Cusck’s message was two pronged. First he made a case that global warming was documentable and real by all measures. Then he went on to proclaim that solving the problem, presented economic opportunities that were available to those who took global warming serious.
We have been told by the administration in Washington that global warming remedies would cripple our economy. Cusack’s presentation debunked that notion by using some current examples. For example, a few years ago when the Durst Corporation built 4 Times Square in NYC, they built in solar lighting efficiency, Solar photovoltaic panels, fuel cells, and superior insulation. They were ridiculed in some circles. These steps added 3% to the cost of the building, but if oil remained at $10/barrel, the cost would be paid for in three years. Of course the cost of oil is now approaching $60/ barrel, so who got the last laugh here?
He cited a French company that had no interest in the environmental aspects of global warming, but undertook modification in there operations on advice from consultants because the modifications would cost $120 million, and the savings were $240 million each year. Here the message was clearly economy and new technology can make you look like a “tree hugger”and at the same time save you a ton of money.
There are also difficult to measure, other problems associated with the burning of fossil fuels. Asthma, and lung disorders have a cost. How much could they be reduced? We may not know exactly, but we do know that solving these related issues will make healthier environments, and lower demands on health care.
Fortunately, there are profits to be made in reducing green house gases and other more lethal pollutants. I say fortunately because that means it will be done. Our leaders have demonstrated the imagination of gnat and have failed us on this issue, but everything that I have been reading lately from the business world makes me confident that solutions are at hand. A good reference source is Amory Lovin’s book “Winning The Oil Endgame”
General Electric has embarked on a major campaign to create better more efficient products. This is a good business decision to remain relevant, and make money, not a feel good campaign.
Realistically, John did not proclaim that we could abandon fossil fuels overnight, but higher efficiencies and alternatives to oil have their place, and can be exploited at once.
It was, by all comments from the audience, an interesting and encouraging discussion. Our many thanks to Mr. Cusack for an enlightening presentation. According to one of our regular attendees, Irv Hansen, he regrets that we aren’t sharing these meetings with more people. I agree, these recaps don’t begin to capture the dynamics of these meeting, so come on out whenever you can.
Next week our speaker will be Gerry Bogacz from “Sustainable East End Development” his topic will be transportation issues. More on that in next week’s announcement, meanwhile have great weekend Ernie Fazio.