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Terry Gips of Alliance for Sustainability in Minneapolis offers this heads up:

Al Gore will be discussing Inconvenient Truth and Global Warming on Larry King Live tomorrow night (Tuesday) at 8 pm.

(And Ann Coulter tonight, if you can possibly stand it!)

If you haven’t seen it (Inconvenient Truth, not Coulter), see it now. It’s important. College Republican shenanigans notwithstanding.

Lots of new releases geospatial releases from Google today:

. Satellite imagery update:
. New version of Google Earth:
. Google SketchUp with textured buildings:
. Updates to Google Maps and the Google Maps API, including
. Google Maps API, and KML for Google Maps
. Google Maps for Enterprise

Google Earth is available at http://earth.google.com/. The Google Maps API
is available at http://www.google.com/apis/maps/.

Coming to you today from Google’s GeoDeveloper Day — the pre-event to the Where 2.0 conference tomorrow and Wednesday. Stay tuned for details — unless I get so engroessed I forget to blog — and most likely for a longer piece soon on WorldChanging.

The Google and event focus: looking at the intersection of “search, maps and geolocation.”

My focus: the intersection of that with sustainability — and sustainable business — opportunities. And in particular, the intersection of place information and flow information and both businesses and communities.

Larry: “Since you can’t be in more than one place at a time, these tecchnologies enable you to act as if you are.”

Stats:
GoogleEarth developers: 30,000
GoogleEarth downloads: 100,000,000 unique individuals

News: GoogleEarth 4 released today (Beta), simultaneously Windows/Mac/Linux

On to the “mashup and KML showcase”!

Al Gore’s climate crisis film, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, opens in the Bay Ares this week. Maybe we’ll see you at the afterparty.
Meanwhile, truth is apparently inconvenient for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Remember their ‘carbon is life’ ad campaign that I wrote about a few days ago? Well, FactCheck.org tells us that

The ads drew a protest from a University of Missouri professor who says they are ‘a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public about the global warming debate.’ He said one of them misuses a study he published in Science magazine last year on the Antarctic ice sheet. An editor of Science also said the ads misrepresent the findings of that study as well as a second study on Greenland’s glaciers.

Lots of detail here, folks about gross and subtle media manipulation, and distortion of science.
That said, I must say that I don’t share the upset of folks about CEI’s corporate funders. Lots of companies fund lots of think tanks that fund lots of things. What I find striking here is this:

Just over 9 per cent [of CEI’s funding] came from donations from ExxonMobil… which said two-thirds of their donation was earmarked for ‘Global Climate Change and Global Climate Change Outreach.’

Like Ben Bradleee said…

[Bollix! I goobered up the html on this. Fixing it now…]
SustainLane released their second ‘sustainable cities’ rating this week, with plenty of media and some show and tell as the US Conference of Mayors conference in Las Vegas (which for some reason ranks #27 on the list).
The top 10: Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago, Oakland (yay!), New York, Boston, Denver and Minneapolis.
Big difference: Last year they selected the 25 best cities; this year they ranked the 25 largest, so it’s difficult to compare progres year to year.
Big downside: by focusing on the biggest cities, plenty of leaders and innovators were left out — including long-time Natural Logic client Berkeley CA (rated #3 last overall year).
So it’s important to be clear exactly what’s being companred, and what’s not.
Treehuger had some questions in that regard:
Once we got past the top three, we began to do a little head-scratching. Top 10 cities Philadelphia and New York made another top 10 list this year: the top 10 most polluted cities as ranked by the American Lung Association. In the next tier, we found that Albuquerque, Tuscon, Phoenix and Los Angeles all made the top 25, and Las Vegas was close behind at #27. Given all of these cities’ reputations for massive amounts of sprawl and water consumption, their placement seemed… well… interesting. Looking at SustainLane’s very thorough overview of its methodology gave us a better sense of how and why some cities fared as well as they did.

And they had some useful critique of the SustainLane methodology:

[O]ne of the survey’s primary methodological criterion was ‘Data or information sets that would be of relatively equal importance to cities across the United States. For example, water conservation programs were not included because they would be much more important for a desert city in the Southwest than for a city with a plentiful water supply.’ While this makes for a much cleaner comparison between urban centers, it also ignores one of the fundamental tenets of sustainable development: adapting to the natural environment as it is.

OTOH, I think the folks at Treehugger missed an important point with this observation:

Perhaps it’s not even necessary to rank cities, but to simply recognize those taking genuinely sustainable steps forward.

Of course it’s not necessary, but it sure can be useful. Rankings like this fuel the competitive spirit of mayors and other elected officials, who then start asking their staffs ‘Why aren’t we doing better?’ and potentially kick more into action. That’s been our experience (with cities like Berkeley, Albuquerque — a recent client, ranked #17 this year — and others). And that’s why we’ve formed a strategic alliance with SustainLane: they’ll focus on ranking cities, and we’ll work with cities to help improve and deepen their sustainability initiatives, reduce their footprints, and raise their rankings. Give me a holler if you’d like more details.
(BTW,

Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz musing at AlwaysOn about ‘Java, and Survival of the Most Adaptable’ (which has to do with much more than software).

I’m still amazed when I hear folks wondering how Sun monetizes Java. So at the risk of repetition, I’d like to share a few thoughts.

When Thomas Edison first introduced the lightbulb, he held patents he
tried to wield against potential competitors – he wanted to own the
client (the bulb) and the server (the dynamo). He failed. Standards
emerged around voltage and plugs, and GE Energy
(formerly, Edison General Electric), to this day, remains one of the
most profitable and interesting businesses around. How big would the
power business be today if you could only buy bulbs and appliances from
one company? A far sight smaller, I’d imagine. Standards grew markets
and value.

And they still can. (As long as they’re designed so they don’t stiffle innovation.)

We’ve seen the power of standards — even voluntary ones — in the impact that the LEED™ rating system has had on the growth of ‘green building’ — and in the impact we hope to have with the development of the S-BAR ‘sustainable business rating system.’ (Not exactly the same sort of standards that Schwartz is discussing, but in the lineage.)

Building Green quotes my Sustainability — At the Tipping Point? article in their recent posting on Passive Survivability: A New Design Criterion for Buildings. (Another aspect of future-proofing; more to come on that soon.)

Here’s an excerpt:

In some ways, the failure of conventional buildings to maintain
survivable conditions can be thought of as a failure of design. ‘If
they lose only electricity,’ notes building researcher Terry Brennan,
of Camroden Associates, Inc., in West-moreland, New York, ‘few
buildings in the U.S. can provide as much comfort as my backpacking
tent; if the gas lines and water lines go, the situation is even
worse.’

Some strategies for passive survivability can be found by
looking back at our building heritage — vernacular designs that were in
place before electricity and readily transportable fuels became
available. The wide-open and well-ventilated ‘dog-trot’ homes of the
Deep South are examples, as are the high-mass adobe buildings of the
American Southwest.

The house designs of some animals display even better examples of passive survivability….

Thanks to Arthur Young of iGreenBuild for the tip!

Oops, I forgot the link to that NDRC climate change slide slide. And can’t find it now. But there’s a wealth of information at NDRC’s ‘global warming’ FAQ page.

Al Gore’s much touted movie, The Inconvenient Truth opens nationwide today, and goes wider next week. (You can see the trailer here or here.)

I haven’t seen the film yet yet, but I did see Gore’s live multi-media version (on which the film is based) at Stanford late last year. Besides being a tour de force of presentation skills (I left the theater thinking – like many others I spoke to – “Where was this guy when we needed him on the campaign trail in 2000?”), it was a chilling glimpse into our all too likely future. (My posse tells me the movie is a bit long, and a bit too [candidate?] Gore-focused, but still well worth seeing. See it sooner rather than later, since the early returns will guide how widely Paramount rolls it out.)

Investment executive Tom Van Dyck says:

I’ve seen Gore give this presentation 6 times and it is hands down one of the best I’ve seen on any topic, but especially Global Warming. Armed with eloquence, scientific data and humor, Gore decisively settles the ‘debate’ on global warming and connects all the challenges presented by the imminent climate crisis: rising sea levels, displaced populations, extreme weather, disease, biodiversity, agriculture, air quality, peace and security. In the end, it is a compelling call to action and you will not leave unmoved….

It is essential that as many people see it as possible-this film awakens all, regardless of political affiliation, who see it to what is really at stake…. take your skeptical family and friends with you who have bought into the rhetoric that Global Warming is a ‘theory’.

As we enter a carbon constrained economy those management teams that are more aware of this reality will be better situated to take advantage of opportunities in their businesses and deliver more value to their shareholders than management teams blinded to the reality of global warming. The most obvious example is Toyota vs GM and Ford. Many other examples will develop over the next decade that will reward those who have a vision of environmental responsibility and best business practices.

As if that wasn’t enough, we saw NRDC’s global warming opus (a mere PowerPoint deck) at Googleplex a few months ago. It was that very much of the content surprised me — it didn’t — but seeing the whole case carefully assembled and hammered home shook even my sometimes jaded self to the core.

Two immediate impacts for me: 1) looking more deeply at my family’s personal choices and carbon footprint (all too easily overlooked as I spend my days giving advice to others); 2) talking more with our clients, their CxOs, and their boards about the risks — and fiduciary duty implications — of willful neglect of these trends, and the opportunities — and future-proofing potential — of engaging them responsibly, aggressively — and right now.

In related news, our friends at Worldchanging have declared — in response to climate-skeptic comment postings — that the debate is over. (Hey, even George Bush agrees… sorta.)

Indeed, it is precisely because the climate
crisis is so profound that we need to encourage the American debate on
the subject to move on, finally and for good, and start to focusing on
how to build a bright green future as quickly as possible. The
science, after all, is pretty unequivocal at this point
.
Indeed, essentially the last remaining credible skeptic, Scientific
American columnist Michael
Shermer
announced this month that, despite his dislike for
environmental groups,

[D]ata trump politics, and a convergence of
evidence from numerous sources has led me to make a cognitive switch on
the subject of anthropogenic climate change. … Because of the
complexity of the problem, environmental skepticism was once tenable.
No longer. It is time to flip from skepticism to
activism.

In other words, the debate is over. It’s just over. Climate
change is here, it’s scarier than we thought, we’re causing it, and
(especially in combination with other large-scale environmental and
social problems) it’s going to demand radical innovation and major
reforms.

But how do we get the word out to a wider audience?

And bless their creative little worldchanging hearts, they’re working on just that:

As we work to prepare a first draft of the “Universal Climate Skeptic Response Post” — a single-page resource explaining why the debate on the need for action in response to climate change is over — we are also looking create some compelling visuals bearing the same message. Indeed, this is our first design competition.

(In lighter climate news, Ideal Bite‘s excited about Hollywood’s embrace of the climate change issue (and the industry’s abilty to move a message can help move minds). OTOH, others wonder about the net carbon impact of stars showing up for the Oscars in electric cars but still flying between megahomes in private jets….)

Here’s an amazing example of what the mind of a skilled propagandist can produce:
Two 60-second television spots from the Competitive Enterprise Institute ‘focusing on the alleged global warming crisis and the calls by some environmental groups and politicians for reduced energy use.’

Carbon Dioxide: It’s what we breathe out, and what plants breathe in. They call it pollution. We call it life.

True enough, but put true statements in distorting contexts, and what do you get? Highly polished sleeze.
I’m wondering who, at what agency, did the creative on these, and how well they’re sleeping at night, and how well they’ll sleep with seawater lapping at their feet. ‘Got milk’ has got nothing on these guys.
Brought to you by the Let’s Go To Hell In A Faster Handbasket Marketing Board.