Energy, materials, labor, creativity, and other “factors of production” often can be easily substituted for one another. Insulation can be substituted for natural gas. Sophisticated daylighting can be substituted for electric lights. Electrified transit can be substituted for gasoline. Such choices, when aggregated over time, create the difference between prosperous communities that run on clean energy instead of bleak, inefficient wastelands burdened by toxic pollution.
With more of the world’s population concentrating in dense urban environments, the Energy, Climate & Materials program promotes livable cities conducive to human well-being. A fundamental goal of the Energy, Climate & Materials program is to eliminate the externalized costs that dirty energy and toxic chemicals impose on the natural environment and human health. By reducing the use of fossil fuels it will reduce emissions that cause climate change. By transitioning from toxic materials to inherently safe ones, it will encourage economic growth through technological advancements in materials & chemistry based on sound ecological values.
While many of the technologies essential for creating 21st Century urban sustainability already exist, the catalytic policies, incentives, and mindsets sufficient to ensure that transformation are still nascent. The Emerald Corridor will serve as a laboratory to experiment with bold new approaches. Toward this end, the Energy, Climate & Materials program will:
Energy and Climate
- Promote visionary policies to dramatically increase the efficiency with which energy is used in buildings, transportation, and industry.
- Replace all dirty energy (including gasoline and diesel fuels) as swiftly as possible with clean, distributed, renewable sources of energy.
- Eliminate all existing obstacles to investments in distributed solar energy and energy storage.
- Reform electric utilities in light of the opportunities and constraints of the 21st Century.
- Assure that all energy and climate policies are just and equitable in their social and financial impacts.
Green Chemistry, Toxics, and Sustainable Materials
- Eliminate toxic chemicals in all consumer, commercial, agricultural, and industrial products.
- Promote policies that require the use of inherently non-toxic
chemicals and products.
- Support research, collaboration, and market incentives that lead to the commercialization and manufacture of products with strong environmental benefits.
- Convene, encourage, and provide technical assistance to companies within the Emerald Corridor that create game-changing products and services that align with the program’s goals.
- Encourage policies that favor materials that are local, abundant, healthy, and durable.
- Assure that pollution and toxic burdens are not placed on populations that lack the financial, legal, and political clout to defend themselves.