The Great Sustainability Compromise

Climate-Change-and-Viruses_resized

The Great Sustainability Compromise… thinking… “Out of the Planet”

“There is a Win-Win available to reduce carbon emissions while prospering financially for the medium and long-term."

Henry W Clearsky
sustainabilityforlife.com

Note: Communicating this information as news to others is free of charge.1

Follow this link for a printable .PDF version of this information

Introduction

  • The last 25 years in America have been full of disagreement between environmental champions and the fossil-fuel industry stockholders, employees and supporters.
  • There is a positive path forward to convert fossil-fuel stockholders, employees and supporters into avid environmental champions and rapidly reduce carbon emissions.
  • Two words: “Understanding” … and… “Cooperation”
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Topics

  1. The American Fossil Fuel Industry
  2. A Sustainable Economy
  3. Conflicts
  4. The Great Sustainability Compromise
  5. What will happen if we do not choose this plan ?
  6. Summary
  7. Citations
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A1. The American Fossil-Fuel Industry

  • The Industrial (Fossil-Fuel-based) Economy has been in place 100+ years.
  • America has benefited and grown economically.
  • The Fossil-Fuel Economy contains:
    • Oil and Gas refining and industrial facilities
    • Manufacture of vehicles that run on fossil fuel
    • Electricity generation from coal & natural gas
    • Buildings and equipment that operate on fossil fuel
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A2. The American Fossil Fuel Industry - Background

  • In 2019, 3.3+ million Americans were employed in the production, refining, power generation and transmission-distribution sectors of the fossil-fuel industry (another 12 million in direct jobs are also dependent on the industry).
  • In addition, 2.5+ million Americans (and 10 million in-direct jobs) are employed in the fossil-fuel motor vehicle industry.
  • The total corporate debt for fossil-fuel related companies is over 1.3 trillion dollars.
  • Total stock capitalization of fossil-fuel related companies is over 2.5 trillion dollars.
  • America is heavily invested in fossil-fuel.
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A3. The American Fossil Fuel Industry – Current Status

  • For 20+ years, multiple credible reports have described that carbon emissions from fossil fuel are greatly harming the planet’s atmosphere, creating global warming, and globally threatening the lives of millions of people (including children).
  • Also, recent sustainable technology advancements in electric vehicles and electricity generation from large solar farms has the fossil fuel industry in a very difficult situation financially. Their industry is shrinking.
  • Example: In 2020. Exxon-Mobil lost 40+% of it’s value, was removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and stockholders started a revolt to force the Board of Diectors in a new and more positive direction.
  • Sustainable technology is clearly taking the lead.
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A4. Fossil Fuel – Financial Impact

  • Belief: Fossil-fuel products are always cheaper than sustainable products… THIS IS A MYTH
  • Unchecked global climate change from carbon emissions is predicted to largely ruin the human race’s ability to survive on the Planet Earth. (1)
  • Experts estimate future generations will suffer trillions of dollars in extra costs due to pollution and impact on the climate (2)
  • Is there is a better way… ?
  • We must stop trying to save polluting Industrial facilities.
  • That money will have a negative return long-term
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A5. Fossil Fuel Leaders and Employees – The Positive

  • Given the multi-decade economic success of the fossil-fuel related industry, it is fair to say the 6+ million direct employees and 22+ million indirect employees are among America’s best and brightest.
  • They worked hard for their education and skill development, worked hard in their jobs, and have achieved significant success. It is no small issue that 28 million families have prospered also.
  • These employees are also resilient and adaptable, given the right circumstances.
  • Given a fair chance, every one of them could willingly become an environmental champion within a short period of time (actively working to reduce carbon emissions and prospering economically). Yes, it is possible.
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B1. A Sustainable Economy - Attributes

  • A Sustainable Economy is associated with:
    • Manufacture of vehicles that run on electricity
    • Electricity Generation from solar and wind
    • Buildings and equipment that operate on renewable energy.
  • A Sustainable Economy can go on for centuries with low harm to Earth’s eco-systems.
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B2. Sustainable Technology – The Facts

  • Electric vehicles contain far fewer parts and require much lower on-going maintenance, compared to a fossil-fuel vehicle (3)
  • Due to lower manufacturing costs, lower operating costs, and a higher % resale value after 100,000 miles, the overall cost of ownership of an electric vehicle across a 5-6 year period of time can be equal or lower than an equivalent fossil fuel vehicle (4)
  • Most Americans are not aware of this important reality.
  • The cost of solar-generated electricity is now on par with natural gas, and recent advances are clearly taking the solar cost lower. (5)
  • Sustainable solutions have now achieved a cost advantage over fossil-fuel options.
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B3. Sustainable Technology - The Realities

  • Hundreds of credible experts have described that we (as a planet) must significantly reduce carbon-to-atmosphere emissions in the next 10-12 years.
  • If we do not…. global temperatures will rise to dangerous-deadly levels for our children and grand-children.
  • There is such a massive number of these credible calls for positive action, this dire need is no longer subject to debate.
  • The remaining debate is how in the world to accomplish this transition in America?
  • 3.8 trillion dollars in fossil fuel corporate debt & stock capitalization and 28 million jobs at stake are huge challenges for any transition.
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B4. Sustainable Technology – Before This Decade is Over

  • Many Americans will walk into traditional vehicle dealerships, and find most new vehicles for sale are battery-electric powered.
  • American utility companies will largely be transitioned to solar, wind and renewable technology (while maintaining hydroelectric and some nuclear).
  • Many, many buildings will be operating on renewable energy.
  • The storage and use of energy for electricity will be light-years more advanced than it is today. Energy storage does not have to be in batteries
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C1. The Conflicts - Business

  • Industrial (fossil-fuel based) economy business leaders are struggling.
  • They protect product sales, but are losing the battle (6)
  • Industrial economy employees are likewise uncertain about their jobs. (7)
  • They are concerned about how to continue to support their families.
  • They can get defensive when sustainable products replace their company’s products.
  • Are Sustainable companies truly considering the impact of their new products on their fellow Americans in the Industrial economy?
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C2. Conflicts – Employment

  • Blue-collar and white-collar workers have been treated like the fly-wheel of the American economy
  • If the economy goes south, workers are treated like cannon fodder and are laid off by the millions while executives get golden parachutes (8)
  • The politicians keep earning their same salaries and instead they should be held accountable for their contribution to the problems.
  • Laid off workers and their families suffer, and live off unemployment, which is only paid for a few months. (9)
  • American workers justifiably do not trust business and government leaders.
  • What to do ?
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C3. Conflicts - Political

  • Since the early 90’s, the landscape is characterized by criticizing, condemning and complaining about the political opponent
  • Example: Republican attacks on President Clinton in the 90’s.
  • Many Americans feel more time is spent on the attacks than on moving the nation forward positively.
  • This is very wasteful and Americans are fed up.
  • What to do ?
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C4. Conflicts - American Bickering and Fighting

  • For 20+ years, “liberals” and environmental champions have been severely criticizing the fossil fuel industry, and calling for massive change to renewable power and sustainable transportation (interestingly, many of these people purchase and use buildings and vehicles that burn fossil fuel).
  • There is virtually no effort to offer assistance to the fossil fuel industry in any transition, just vocal complaints and negative labels.
  • “Liberal” politicians hammer the message home and point out the insensitivity of the fossil fuel industry in harming the planet and our future.
  • Meanwhile, “conservatives” and supporters of the huge fossil-fuel industry accuse the other side of advocating financial ruin and destroying millions of ,jobs with the new renewable energy agenda.
  • Many fossil fuel leaders, employees and their political allies advocate a plan to take 30+ years to transition to renewable energy. However, this is surely a path to death and destruction.
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C5. Conflicts - The United States Federal Government

  • Fully supports our first responders and military personnel
  • Re-negotiates trade agreements
  • Supports and protects American jobs
  • This includes millions of jobs in the old Industrial economy
  • By definition, protecting non-sustainable industrial jobs cannot be in the best interest of America.
  • Yet, America has trillions invested in the polluting, totally non-sustainable Industrial economy.
  • What to do?
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D. The Great Sustainability Compromise

  • First, realize we ALL have some accountability… as a nation, we have allowed massive pollution while growing economically.
  • Second, we cannot continue to pollute the planet and ruin the chances for future generations to have a happy life.
  • Therefore..
  • The U.S. Federal Government can adopt a new goal:
  • We must support and protect jobs by providing assistance to the fossil-fuel industry in transitioning rapidly and wisely to American sustainable jobs
  • Sustainable jobs can go on for decades and centuries
  • This is the goal that will bring prosperity to all Americans
  • Note: “rapidly” means 80-90% transition within 10-12 years.
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D. The Great Sustainability Compromise – Steps

  1. Display Understanding and Caring for Each Other
  2. Environmental Champions (and all Americans) Offer Meaningful Assistance
  3. The Fossil-Fuel Industry agrees to a Rapid and Wise Transition to
    Renewable Energy.
  4. Human Beings Are Treated with Dignity and Respect.
  5. America Commits Billions to the Transition
  6. Renewable Energy Systems are Constructed Rapidly and Wisely
  7. Everyone Sacrifices and Contributes
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D1. Display Understanding and Caring for Each Other

  • No significant problem was ever solved by bickering, fighting, personal attacks and on-going efforts to discredit the other side.
  • Both sides of this issue should put down their “swords” and come to the table of positive compromise.
  • Both sides should consider the needs of the other in order to solve this enormous and complex problem.
  • Seeking a Win-Win can achieve success.
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D2. Environmental Champions (and all Americans) Offer Meaningful Assistance

  • First, the fear in fossil-fuel business leaders and employees must be addressed.
  • Liberals, their political allies, government leaders, environmental champions and renewable-sustainable industry business leaders must offer assistance to the fossil-fuel industry.
  • A national transition leadership team must be formed, composed of people from all sides of the issue. This includes employee, business, technical & legal experts.
  • The assistance must include cooperation AND financial funding for the transition.
  • The assistance agreement would be for a ten-year+ period, with re-assessment and progress checks every two years.
  • These agreements would be at a national level, with laws enacted to ensure compliance.
  • These offers for assistance (more detail in a later slide) are an olive branch and an invitation to the fossil-fuel industry to make important commitments.

D3. The Fossil-Fuel Industry agrees to a Rapid and Wise Transition to Renewable Energy

With assistance offered, the fossil-fuel industry could agree to the following:

  • A rapid accounting of all American fossil-fuel industry companies and facilities, including the number, capabilities and location of all employees.
  • Cooperation to develop a 10-year retro-fit or shutdown plan for most all fossil-fuel facilities (yes, this may take 12-14 years). This probably includes the prioritized showdown (and clean-up) of the oldest facilities first. Executive salaries will be capped.
  • All sectors of fossil fuel: production, refining, power generation, transmissiondistribution, and vehicle transportation would have a retro-fit or shutdown schedule identified that is in-sync with the rapid deployment of new, renewable energy facilities. This timing match is important and must be planned.
  • Fossil-fuel employees will be offered a choice:
  • Stay for several years to operate the old facilities to shutdown, then go through retraining and job placement (or retire). Bonus incentives to stay may be needed.
  • Or.. go through immediate re-training / job placement in the renewable energy field.

D4. Human Beings Are Treated with Dignity and Respect

  • The phrase “re-training and job placement” has developed a very negative reputation for several decades.
  • Millions of American employees have endured massive lay-offs, waiting months or years before they could find another job, and unemployment benefits that were a few hundred dollars per week and ended after six months.
  • There was no committed plan to help them in the transition. Their families suffered.
  • This Renewable Energy Transition will be different.
  • The fossil fuel employees themselves will help create the transition plan. There will be a national-level organization to find a job for each person. People will be paid a living wage during re-training and job transition, then they have a regular salary. This system will continue for 10+ years.
  • There must be high commitment and high credibility in this national-level plan

D5a. America Commits Billions to the Transition - Cash

  • The term “bail-out” will not be used.
  • Financial support will be called “transition funding assistance”.
  • The 100 largest American Technology Companies should be operating all their buildings and vehicles with renewable energy within 5-6 years.
  • The 100 largest Technology Companies could dedicate a percentage of their huge gross revenue to help pay-off a large portion of fossil-fuel corporate debt.
  • All American people and organizations (including fossil-fuel employees) could dedicate 1% of gross earnings to a fund to help employee transitions and construction of new, sustainable facilities. This is called the “One Percent Plan”.
  • Government grants, tax credits, and direct assistance could also provide financing.
  • The top 0.5% wealthy individuals in America could be required (by law) to contribute significant funds to this effort (to be negotiated).
  • This entire financial effort could be coordinated by a leadership team with representatives from all impacted groups.

D5b. America Commits Billions to the Transition - Stock

  • The total stock capitalization of American fossil-fuel company stock is over 2.5 trillion dollars.
  • Some creative stock swap system must be guaranteed by law.
  • One example: Each share of stock in a fossil-fuel company would ultimately be swapped for an equivalent-cost share (see note below) of a designated exchange-traded-fund (ETF) which holds stock in the top one hundred technology companies in America.
  • Another example: Ultimately, each share of stock in a fossil-fuel company would receive equivalent value (see note below) in ownership of new solar / wind farms.
  • Under the circumstances, by law and agreement, the former names of all fossil fuel companies should not be allowed to continue. The names should sunset with the industry.
  • Note: there will be chaos unless there is an agreement. The stockholders could be guaranteed at least what the fossil fuel stock was worth on a designated day.

D5c. America Commits Billions to the Transition – Endowments, Foundations and Non-Profits

  • Endowments , Foundations and Non-Profits can contribute their 1% of total income and apply the funds to transitioning their buildings and vehicles to renewable energy.
  • Consideration should also be given to allocating some portion of the principle of their endowments to the transition.
  • This is a national crisis, this is force majeure, this is imminent domain. Note: to accomplish the transition, endowments and foundations may become owners of large solar or wind farms.
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D6a. Renewable Energy Systems are Constructed Rapidly and Wisely

  • Using the financial resources provided in the previous step, renewable energy facilities could be constructed using a previously determined transition plan.
  • Millions of new jobs could be created with this effort !! (see next page)
  • These new facilities will replace the more flammable and hazardous oil, gas and coal production, refining, power generation, and transmissiondistribution systems
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D6b. Renewable Energy Systems - A Partial List

  • Mining of rare metals for renewable energy technology must be performed responsibly and in an eco-friendly manner (jobs).
  • Massive numbers of utility-scale Solar and Wind Farms are constructed (jobs).
  • Wind-towers must be built of materials that can be recycled (jobs).
  • An upgraded national electric grid is constructed (many jobs).
  • Vehicle battery and charging systems must be standardized (jobs).
  • Electric vehicle charging stations are installed nation-wide; operating with renewable electricity (jobs).
  • Electric Vehicle manufacturing facilities are built - for all types of vehicles (jobs).
  • New standards are created for solar or all-electric homes & all-electic commercial buildings, plus other environmental-related building standards (jobs).
  • New recycle systems are created for all the above, to process and re-use all material when each reaches the end of it’s useful life (jobs).

D7. Everyone Sacrifices and Contributes

  • Environmental Champions, the Technology Companies and the rest of America can provide significant financial resources and cooperation.
  • The fossil fuel companies and their investors have to be prepared to only receive 80-90 cents on the dollar for their corporate debt. This is better than the 20-30 cents on the dollar that may happen when the efficient and low-cost renewable energy companies implement better alternatives for the American people.
  • The reality is: after 2010, it was just not wise to continue investing in harmful fossil fuels.
  • Fossil fuel employees have to realize that renewable energy jobs may pay 10% less that their former fossil-fuel jobs.
  • America never taxed fossil-fuels adequately for the environmental damage and clean-up…. and honestly, higher-paying fossil-fuel jobs were an illusion.
  • So, everyone is sacrificing and contributing in some way.

E. What will happen if we do not choose this plan ?

  • Unchecked, in about 30 years, the destruction of the planet’s eco-systems will be largely complete. (10)
  • Extreme heat around the world, greatly increasing disease (11)
  • Droughts, Inability to grow crops and food (12)
  • Huge increase in mega-storms and resultant destruction (13)
  • Spread of dangerous viruses due to climate change and air pollution (14) (15)
  • Extreme misery and millions of avoidable deaths (16)
  • We are already too late to prevent some of the misery for future generations.
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F1. Summary - Special Considerations

  • Planning will be so effective, that across the nation, workers will be interviewed and asked:
    • Would you rather stay in your current industrial job, and help in the transition over the next several years ?… or…
    • Would you rather go to a new job or re-training program ?
    • Their answers will be taken into consideration
  • The Workers must support the ultimate reality…
    • Their individual education, skills, experience and proven performance record is fair input for this system
    • There are no guarantees on geography or a perfect job
    • Flexibility is important by management, and by employees.
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F2. Summary - For Unions and Blue-Collar Workers

  • Sustainable jobs can go on successfully for generations.
  • Virtually all Sustainable companies do not need bail-outs in order to
    pay salaries.
  • Sustainable jobs will minimize harm to the environment and help
    families stay happy and healthy.
  • Workers should consider these facts before deciding whether to
    support or not support these ideas.
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F3. Summary - The Great Sustainability Compromise

  • Achieve Sustainability, help save the Planet Earth
  • Help our children, help future generations
  • Support and protect American Sustainable Jobs
  • Realize: This is only the first large step… more later
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G1. Citations

  1. Time Magazine special edition , September 12, 2019
  2. National Geographic, Sept. 27, 2017, Hidden Costs of Climate Change Running Hundreds of Billions per year
  3. NBCNews, October 3, 2019, Electric vehicles pose 'real risk' for autoworkers, with fewer parts — and jobs — required
  4. Personal experience of H.W. Clearsky with a Tesla Model 3
  5. Forbes, May 29, 2019, Renewable Energy Costs Take Another Tumble, Making Fossil Fuels Look More Expensive Than Ever
  6. Time, January 16, 2020, The Reason Fossil Fuel Companies Are Finally Reckoning With Climate Change
  7. Automotive News, September 27, 2019, Auto workers fear EVs will be job killers
  8. CBS News, September 1, 2010, Mass Layoffs Plump CEO Pockets
  9. Savingtoinvest.com, 2020 Maximum Weekly Unemployment Benefits By State

G2. Citations, continued

10. Time Magazine special edition , September 12, 2019
11. Fox News, November 13, 2019, The Climate Crisis will profoundly affect the health of every child alive today
12. New York Times, August 8, 2019, Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, UN Warns
13. Forbes, September 1, 2019, Climate Change Causes More Intense Hurricanes
14. Medical News Today, April 3, 2020, How Might Climate Change Affect the Spread of Viruses?
15. USA Today, April 27, 2020, How far does Coronavirus travel in the air? Preliminary study finds virus on tiny particles of air pollution
16. UN World Health Organization, February 1, 2018, Climate Change and Health
Henry W. Clearsky, born in America, and resides in Texas