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Presentation to Bloomington's Sustainability Council

Thank you to Lauren Travis and Joseph Neukam for the invitation to share at their meeting. See full outline, including linked resources, below the fold.



The City of Bloomington Commission on Sustainability

Dori Chandler works with Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light (HIPL). Her Facebook posts helped me wake up to climate. HIPL helps places of worship reduce energy use.

Earth Charter Indiana helps Indiana cities set climate resolutions.

Indiana Forest Alliance - Carbon Neutral Indiana is a project of theirs.

Social enterprise - Carbon Neutral Indiana is a non-profit, but we generate most of our own revenue in the way a business does.

Berkeley CoolClimate Carbon Calculator - We use this to measure household's carbon footprints.

Climate math: What a 1.5-degree pathway would take April 30, 2020 - Excellent report by the consulting firm McKinsey.

Bloomberg's America's Pledge was created by people form places like Rocky Mountain Institute and World Resources Institute.

Project Drawdown - climate solutions ranked by efficacy.

Carbon Pricing

California's Cap-and-Trade Program


Social cost of carbon - each ton of CO2 we emit causes $220 in damages.

Summary of social cost of carbon - "It’s the most important figure you’ve never heard of." – EPIC Director Michael Greenstone, a key architect of the concept as Chief Economist of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Citizens Climate Lobby

IU's Environmental Resilience Institute

Mitigation vs Adapation

Refrigerant management

EPA's GreenChill Program

Senator Braun's Growing Climate Solutions Act

Indiana SB 368

Christopher Hitchen's on homosexuality - audience reaction in 2000 vs 2009. Shows how quickly social norms can flip. Carbon neutrality will become a social norm.

Carbon Offsets


Securing Climate Benefit: A Guide to Using Carbon Offsets

"There are over 200 methodologies by which you can create a carbon offset... it allows innovation to bloom." Example methodologies.

VM0041 Methodology for the Reduction of Enteric Methane Emissions from Ruminants through the Use of 100% Natural Feed Supplement, v1.0

Effective altruism

Effective environmentalism

Idea for Bloomington


Donella Meadow's Leverage Points:

"In 1986 the U.S. government required that every factory releasing hazardous air pollutants report those emissions publicly. Suddenly everyone could find out precisely what was coming out of the smokestacks in town. There was no law against those emissions, no fines, no determination of 'safe' levels, just information. But by 1990 emissions dropped 40 percent. One chemical company that found itself on the Top Ten Polluters list reduced its emissions by 90 percent, just to ;get off that list.'"

What if the City of Bloomington required all contractors, that do business with the city, to measure their GHG emissions and report them publicly?

Accomplishments So Far


We publish a summary every month of accomplishments, challenges, lessons:

See also our Impact page.



Q: "Does Bloomington want to reduce our carbon offsets or attract carbon offset funding of our local projects? How do offsets reduce emissions?"

A: Bloomington could help its residents and businesses take responsibility for their carbon footprints. One way to do that is to help them measure their footprints and commit to doing no harm (i.e. become carbon neutral). See this answer for more. Paying a price on carbon changes the way we think. See page 18 of this report, Buying in: taking stock of the role of offsets in corporate carbon strategies by Ecosystem Marketplace.


Comment: "Donella Meadows was involved in The Limits to Growth... what about limits? Don't carbon offsets, and carbon neutrality, not address the core challenge of limits to growth?"

Response: See Kate Raworth's Donut Economics. Also see the least cost approach (page 8 in Second Nature's Carbon Markets & Offsets Guidance).


Q: "I understand not all climate solutions are equal. We need to focus on high impact solutions. So what should we focus on in Indiana?"

A: See McKinsey's Climate math: What a 1.5-degree pathway would take, Bloomberg's America's Pledge, and Project Drawdown.

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