Climate Adaptation


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Chevrolet contacted me to review their climate-video series about planting trees. Their spokesperson is really nice, and I’ve had a few good conversations with him. But I feel bad for the guy because I hammered Chevy’s project and he has to give feedback his auto-overlords. Regardless, here’s some of the feedback I gave them about these videos:

1) I made it clear that if they’re going to get bloggers to shill, they’d better know who they’re talking to first. I’m an environmental policy and an infrastructure guy. I deal with floods, fire, and food, and sometimes habitat. I don’t do carbon, GHG, energy stuff, or anything like that. If it’s an interesting infrastructure project then OK, let’s talk, I’m interested. But, carbon projects? I’m just not into it and it would be kind of Chevy to do their research before outreach.

2) That said, I still took a look at the videos and frankly I don’t understand them. They start with physicist Michio Kaku talking about climate change and carbon while walking around a weird white studio-set made of painted plywood and sheet rock. Shouldn’t he be sitting on a log, and not an artificial environment that probably got thrown in a dumpster?

Irony aside, I’ve watched three videos so far and I just can’t wrap my brain around why a huge car company is planting trees. And, what does it say about Kaku that he’s for hire by car companies??

3) Again, why is Chevy planting trees? It is a tacit admission of guilt? Is it cover for manufacturing a cradle-to-grave carbon producing products? There is a difference between a company changing its values and one that throws money at a project - it’s called green washing, and the public is aware that it’s a bunch of marketing bullshit that companies do to suck cash out of people’s wallets.

4) They pledged to reduce 8 million metric tons of co2. I have no idea what that means, do you? Does the target audience know? What will reducing that much carbon reeealllyyy do? Why does that number matter? How did they come up with it?

I was nice about it, but I told them that no one knows what a metric ton of co2 is. For example, is it the amount from burning charcoal at a backyard bbq?? Or is it the amount that comes out of a power plant burning coal 24/7/365?

5) Let’s assume that everyone knows what is a metric ton of co2. What difference will it make? Says who? Show the evidence.

6) Chevy’s goal is to double the amount of vehicles sold over the next few cycles. So, again, this is just moving pieces around the chessboard.

7) Show me the stats, research, and facts that back up the claims made in the videos. 

I agree, restoring forests is a good thing. It cleans water, stabilizes land, revitalizes species habitat, reestablishes native populations, increases property value, cleans air, etc. But connecting these things to one of the largest continuously operating polluters on planet earth is just frankly bizarre.

What do you think?