The Interview: https://www.labxchange.org/library/pathway/lx-pathway:825945a0-367c-45dc-82b7-3d160c6e6f7a/items/lx-pb:825945a0-367c-45dc-82b7-3d160c6e6f7a:lx_simulation:fa741ca2?source=%2Flibrary%2Fclusters%2Flx-cluster%3AModernPrediction
The most interesting thing I learned from the interview with Dan Kammen was the use and impact of performance contracts to combat climate change. As someone who has worked as a realtor and is interested in developing sustainable real estate in the future, this incentive was of great interest to me. The idea is that if you’re trying to build something or renovate a part of your house, you can put out a performance contract to a set of contractors/builders. For example if you enter a performance contract with a builder for $10,000 to remodel a kitchen, if the kitchen over-performs (meaning it’s energy consumption and water consumption is sustainable and lower than the average consumption), then the builder gets a cut of the savings from that consumption. On the other hand, if the kitchen underperforms (meaning it consumes more water and electricity than necessary), then the contractor gets less than the $10,000 in the contract. In cities where this was implemented, such as Montreal and Zurich, studies showed that develops actually put a lot of though into how the products and materials they use impact the environment. Developers became a lot more sustainable when performance contracts were in use, and as someone who wants to build sustainably, I hope that this gets implemented in the US soon.
If I had conducted this interview, I think I would have asked more about how to combat climate change deniers. While I think that Kammen brought up good points regarding sharing the universally-factual inputs that go into climate change, such as the North pole ice caps melting 50% over the past 50 years, and also the comparison of preventative climate change measures to flu vaccines. However, I’m curious as to what is the best method of psychological way to show everyone just how serious climate change is. As someone born and raised in Miami, a fastly-sinking city in America, I have seen first-hand how climate change is rapidly affecting our world. Yet, so many people and politicians still deny climate change. How does one convince others that action needs to be taken? And furthermore, how do we agree on a truly impactful solution?
I also found Professor Dan Kammen's point that performance contracts incentivize greener building very promising. Like you, I would love to see such measures implemented in more cities in the US. It seems that many American governmental officials have passed very expensive and potentially inefficient laws in order to create greener cities, but performance contracts are a great way to internalize externalities and make contractors accountable. I also really enjoyed reading your second paragraph and agree that climate change deniers pose a threat to many potentially beneficial measures such as those you covered in your first paragraph.