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The Art of the Global Climate Deal: Review- An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power

Synopsis: Al Gore returns with an update to  2006’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth (AIT). An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power provides solid climate science, and a unique backstage pass of how global climate change political deals are done.

**** out of 5 stars

Its been eleven years since Al Gore’s ground breaking documentary on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth. It was released to critical acclaim and won Best Documentary at the 2006 Academy Awards and was a box office success, as Al Gore brought the issue of global warming to the public forefront.

Fast Forward to 2017, and we get An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power (AIS:TTP) Call it AIT 2.0. The movie provides a good mix of climate science, economics, and global politics, all wrapped in one basket. The documentary gives a backstage pass of high stakes climate policy poker at the maximum level, which provides extra documentary value for the viewer.

This is what sells AIS:TTP as a compelling well thought out documentary. AIS:TTP has a balanced mix of showing the science of climate change, and its effects and tying it into the recent clean technology trends.

The opening section has Gore taking a jaw dropping trip to Greenland to see the effects of climate change there, melting area ice glaciers. In one scene, you can see the glaciers, crumble faster than an imploded house, which you could have taken out of a 1980’s science fiction movie. However, this is happening now and not in some science fiction flick.

If that does not make you think something is wrong, the Gore’s slides showing the effects of climate change from extreme weather events will get you pondering why we are seeing more of these violent weather phenomena (ranging from dramatic floods in Louisiana to wildfires in Alberta). Gore gives you a “walk through the book of Revelations” as he genuinely puts it into perspective for the public to understand how we see climate change risks in 2017.

While AIS:TTP does show the severe risks society is facing with climate change, it also showcases the rapid rise of cleantech since the original film. I was pleased how there was a good discussion of how the economics of wind energy, electric vehicles, and especially solar power worked out since AIT. Gore hits the point home of how much the price of renewables has fallen, especially solar today (which has dropped from $77.00/watt forty years ago to around $0.55/watt)

This also plays a critical aspect behind the second point of why this documentary works: AIS:TTP gives you a front-row access to the challenges, and deals behind the Paris climate agreement and how renewable energy policy plays a significant role in this deal. I appreciated how the films show you, as a viewer, of not only how the dynamics of global politics play out in the 21st century, but also how technology is attempting to bridge the gap for infrastructure for developing countries, including India. Consider India ranked fourth in global carbon emissions in the world, and is a rapidly growing player in the global economy. This leads to the film dynamic of India arguing they need to advance their economy to improve their citizen’s lives. Even if it means using fossil fuels, as Gore works feverishly in the lead up and during the COP21 in Paris to find a way to get India on side in signing onto the Paris agreement. Directors Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk do an excellent job of not letting any stone unturned in the behind the scenes political dealings, and the aftermath of the Paris climate agreement. It gives viewers in understanding the scope and scale of how political deals not only work, but the importance in an era of Trump and anti global sentiment, of why building global political capital is critical, especially in the 21st Century.

While AIS:TTP is very strong, the only down point of this film was at times it felt like an update, rather than something new. AIS:TTP does a good job on updating info about the science, risks related to climate change, and the economic benefits of falling cleantech prices. That is what any good updates should do, is provide the public with the most up to date information for them to make educated decisions on the main issues which will affect their livelihoods.

That is what you I guess you should expect from sequels to documentaries: Good solid updated information, but nothing earth shattering. This is why its hard for sequels to documentaries to be wildly successful. That lies part of the challenge why AIS:TTP has not done so well, compared to the original, where AIT made $50 USD million. This film will not even come close to making what the original did.

Another reason why AIS:TTP has been lackluster at the box office has been Paramount Pictures having it in limited release for opening weekend, then only adding a few selected theatres the week after. In Winnipeg, it did not open up on August 4th, but rather the next week August 11th. There has been disappointment amongst environmentalists on the lackadaisical promotional strategy by Paramount Pictures.

Third, and the primary reason why AIS:TTP has not done as well is that there are much more options in distributing and seeing films. Although in 2006, when AIT came out the Internet was around, there were not as many streaming options as there is in 2017. Today, in an age of Netflix, there are so many ways to distribute a film, including digital download, Blu-Ray, DVD, and streaming services. Factor in going to see a movie cost around $10.00 and you wonder if it’s not just  AIS:TTP, but documentaries in general, which could be more suited for these different distribution platforms, and achieve a high reach of engaged viewers. Look for example the critically acclaimed documentary, Sons of Ben, which focuses on the rise the soccer supporters group, which played a critical role in landing the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer. It gained critical acclaim while reaching a wide audience amongst both the soccer community and public.

Despite these challenges, AIS:TTP is a definite must-see in a year of weak movies (Besides Dunkirk). A likely Best Documentary contender at Academy Awards time. Go see This film. Not only to be inspired by the rise of the sustainability revolution through the sharp price drops in renewable energy, not only for the updates on the increased risks of climate change towards society, but go see it for the most important part: Go to it for The Art of The Global Climate Deal. This will be the invaluable lesson you will get, and ensure we strive to limit the worst impacts of climate change, while we help developing nations leap-frog past their dirty fossil fuel infrastructure.

 

This week In #CleanTech August 6, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of August 6, 2017.

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Image Credit via Pixabay by Clker-Free-Vector-Images. Under Public Domain via Creative Commons.

California is one step of reaching its state being powered on 100% by renewable energy by 2045. According to Salon.com, the California passed a bill this week which was introduced by Democrat Kevin de Leon, would allow the state to receive all of its power within twenty-eight years from various sources of renewable energy, including the wind, solar, and biofuels. Currently, the Golden State has plans on having half of its power from renewables by 2030. The bill is expected to reach Governor Jerry Brown’s desk soon and be in law. California is at the forefront of the US’s renewable energy backbone, including leading in total solar capacity in 2016. Jerry Brown has battled US president Donald Trump for backing away from the Paris climate agreement. A move to going 100% by 2045 would only cement California’s leadership role in the battle on climate change while sending a message towards Trump on this issue being of key importance moving forward.

Meanwhile, in Manitoba Canada, a new coalition was formed this week into pressuring Premier Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservative government to support a carbon pricing plan. According to CBC.ca, The Manitoba Carbon Pricing Coalition announced during a press conference at the Manitoba Legislature this past Thursday, that having a price on carbon is essential to reduce carbon emissions, as Manitoba needs to do its part in battling climate change. Currently, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are the only two provinces not opting in yet on the federal government’s emission pricing proposal. Under this idea, each province must have either a cap-and trade (Ontario), carbon tax (Alberta) or both. Federal Environmental Minister Catherine McKenna said in June both Manitoba and Saskatchewan would lose out on financing to reduce carbon emissions, if neither has a plan in place. Manitoba’s government has stated that they are working on a “made in province” solution towards a plan, yet have been slow in providing details. Currently, the Pallister government has asked University of Manitoba law expert, Bryan Schwartz, to see if it’s constitutional for the federal government to have the authority to put carbon pricing requests on Manitoba.

Is there enough will power to support a carbon price in Manitoba? Or does the idea of carbon pricing need further education? Or perhaps now this is the best time to talk about a complete revamp of the current income tax system in Manitoba/Canada to make it more inclusive for carbon pricing without hurting the most vulnerable? What do you think? Drop a line at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

This week In #CleanTech July 16, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of July 16, 2017.

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Image Credit via Pixabay via Real-Napster. Under Public Domain.

Apple announced this week they are building a second data centre in Denmark, which will run on 100% renewable energy. According to Fortune, the southern Denmark city of Aabenraa will house the centre. The centre, will house power for the App Store, iTunes, iMessage, Siri, and Maps for Europe. Apple Nordic Manager Erik Stannow said to Fortune they are excited to increase their data facilities while supporting clean power in Denmark. Apple has ramped up renewable energy projects recently. This includes building a data centre in China, which will also run on renewable energy. Apple has been supportive of the move to clean power, going against US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw out of the Paris climate accord. This makes sense considering the information technology, and cleantech sectors are closely connected with each other, as our energy system is becoming more digitized,  like the Internet.

California is one step closer to running on 100% renewable power. According to Climate Progress, a bill sponsored by Senate President Kevin de León (D), passed through a legislative committee this week. The proposed bill, if it becomes law, would require the state’s electricity to come from 100% renewable sources (wind, solar, hydroelectricity) by 2045, while bumping up the 50% requirement from 2030 to 2026. Hawaii is also targeting 100% renewables, while other states, including Massachusetts, are contemplating similar policies as states attempt to modernize their energy systems.

And lastly, a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) suggests climate change will have severe repercussions on Asia. If emissions are not cut, the ADB warns, temperatures could rise 6C by the end of the century, setting the stage for many shocks. This includes a 3C increase seeing grain production decrease by 10%; More health risks from waterborne diseases; further migrations into already sprawling populations, which would add further strain on dwindling resources.

What do you think of Apple’s push to on going towards 100% renewable energy for its data centers? Or is 100% renewable electricity possible for California in our lifetime? Drop a line at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

Analysis: REthinking 2017 Accelerating the Global Energy Transformation

Reports are key indicators of where modern trends are going. That’s especially true with developing industries like renewable energy. Report after report have only confirmed renewable energy is shaking up traditional energy markets.

The International Renewable Energy Association’s (IRENA) REthinking Energy: Accelerating the Global Energy Transformation confirms these trends. IRENA recently released their findings in energy and policy development.

According to the report, global solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity reached 219 gigawatts (GW) in 2015, more than five times the capacity in 2010 (40 GW). This trend is expected to continue with new global PV capacity in 2017 supposed to reach 79 GW, according to an IHS technology report. By 2030, solar PV capacity could account for 7% of total global power generation.

What’s been helpful for solar energies rise to the top has been sharp declines in prices. In many countries, solar prices have reached new lows, according to IRENA. Solar energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels in many nations. Solar PV prices have fallen by 80% since 2009, said IRENA.

Wind power is also strong. Currently according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), global capacity reached 432.33 GW in 2015, 63.48 GW more than from in 2014.

IRENA said wind turbines prices have fallen by one-third since 2009. Even without government support, onshore wind farms are cost competitive or less than gas-fired power plants, oil, or coal, according to IRENA.

Falling prices in both wind and solar have not only increased capacity but investment, as these two technologies captured a whopping 90% of 2015 global renewable energy investments.

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Photo Credit via Pixabay by Steppinstars. Under Public Domain by the Creative Commons.

While the wind and solar power’s growing energy prowess is necessary, battery storage units, which can store both these technologies when needed during non-peak periods will play a critical role going forward. By 2020, IRENA expects this growing market to reach USD $14 billion, up from USD $2.2 billion in 2015. Falling lithium-ion battery costs, along with Tesla’s Powerwall are giving glimpses of its potential. By 2030, IRENA projects battery storage for electricity could reach 250 GW, nearly 250 times more than currently.

Policy-wise, the move towards cleaner sources of energy is helping move nations in the right direction. Currently, 170 countries have created renewable energy targets, while 150 have a policy in place to boost renewable energy investments, IRENA said.

This strong support by countries overwhelmingly to transition to renewable energy has seen strong global investments this century. In 2004, this figure was USD $50 billion. In 2015, renewable energy investment reached a record USD $348 billion.

Emerging market countries including China and India have been serious players. China recently has said they are committed to spending USD $361 billion through 2020 on renewables. Meanwhile, accounting firm Ernst & Young’s 2016 report pointed to developing nations including Egypt, Mexico, and Chile are becoming hotspots for renewable energy investors compared to European markets.

There will be challenges, including the new US administration lead by Donald Trump who has vowed cut backs in renewable energy investments and may pull out of the Paris climate accord.

However, countries, including China are promising to pick up the slack and pull away in the cleantech race.

IRENA’s analysis of the cleantech market proves renewable energy on the global level, will only become more competitive and transform energy markets.

To read IRENA’s full report, view here.

 

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