UN #CoolingForAll Report: Chilling Prospects

Cooling is one of the wonders of the modern age. However, for hundreds of millions of people living in the hottest climates, the impact of not having access to modern cooling services is profound. Every year, millions of people die due to the absence of cooling that could help address hunger and malnutrition, preserve the efficacy of vaccines, and alleviate the worst of deadly heat waves. Cooling access can also help increase farmer incomes and lift people out of poverty by increasing the sales value of their produce when it meets the market.

Chilling Prospects: Providing Cooling for All shows there are over 1.1 billion people globally who face immediate risks from lack of access to cooling. Cooling underpins the ability of millions to escape poverty, to keep our children healthy, vaccines stable, food nutritious, and our economies productive. Access to cooling is now a fundamental issue of equity, and as temperatures hit record levels, this could also mean the difference between life or death for some.

These risks are both a development and climate change issue, as they pose challenges for the health, safety, and productivity of populations across the world – especially countries in Asia and Africa where access gaps are the largest. Yet this challenge also offers business and entrepreneurs the opportunity of major new consumer markets which want super-efficient, affordable technologies to meet their cooling needs.

Chilling Prospects also draws attention to the direct intersection between three internationally agreed goals: the Paris Climate Agreement; the Sustainable Development Goals; and the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment. One of the key goals of the Kigali Amendment is to limit consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a potent greenhouse gas used widely in air conditioners and refrigerators.

The report was written by Sustainable Energy for All, produced in partnership and supported by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP), as part of the Cooling for All initiative, which developed the report along with contributions from the Global Panel on Access to Cooling.

Full UN Report available here.


Summer Writing Projects

In a month, the flurry of the new semester begins with orientation and the hustle and bustle of fall classes. This summer I completed two law review articles, which will be published in a couple months or so.

Energy for Metropolis looks at municipal initiatives for advanced biofuels and will be published in the University of Miami Law Review (forthcoming 2018).

The role of municipal governments in climate change adaptation measures, natural resource conservation, and clean energy initiatives has increased dramatically in the past decade. Through energy efficiency measures and renewable energy mandates, cities are poised to have significant impacts in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the mitigation of climate risks in the clean energy transition. This article addresses municipal regulation of advanced biofuels as an integral part of the clean energy transition. Existing laws and policies have critical design flaws. Specifically, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has proven to be burdensome and complex, producing more unintended consequences than desired outcomes. Problems in the implementation of the RFS indicate that Congress overestimated the capacity of the biofuel industry to produce energy and the ability of the retail gasoline market to accommodate ethanol. Consumer resistance to ethanol use and market pressures create problems for biofuel use. This research will analyze the loopholes in current regulatory systems for biofuels nationally and locally and consider how to overcome these social, economic, and environmental hurdles to harness the full potential of biofuels in urban systems.

“Mask Off” – The Coloniality of Environmental Justice, is a symposium piece, which will be appearing in Widener Law Review (forthcoming 2018).

This Article suggests a paradigmatic reversal in the sociolegal conceptualization of environmental justice and seeks to expand the notion of environmental justice to a disaster risk reduction modality. This legal narrative chronicles how those with power and wealth govern the lives, fortunes, and health of those on the bottom rungs through discriminatory environmental policies. I explore case studies of sudden onset water hazard events, energy access, and the use of advanced biofuels in the localities of Puerto Rico, Pakistan, and the Philippines to show the problematic configurations of environmental justice. These examples elucidate how environmental justice is perceived and how the legal framework for environmental justice is marginalized. In turn, I recommend reframing environmental justice through the lens of the Anibal Quijano’s “coloniality of power” and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction by the United Nations. This Article is a fourth in a series on advanced biofuels and environmental justice. Previously, I examined international dimensions in Blood Biofuels (Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum), federal efforts in Resiliency and Responsive Regulation for Advanced Biofuels (Virginia Environmental Law Journal), and municipal initiatives in Energy for Metropolis (University of Miami Law Review).

I also have to place the finishing touches on my chapter, Faith-Based Approaches to Environmental Protection, in Locating Nature: The Making and Unmaking of International Law (eds. Usha Natarajan and Julia Dehm) (Cambridge) (forthcoming 2019).

Baahubali Business Lessons

Image result for bahubali

Legal Scholar Osama Siddique, who is an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS), in Lahore, Pakistan tweets of last summer’s Baahubali blockbuster:

I agree about this assessment except the film would more likely be funded by the Asian Development Bank or financiers in the Middle East. If the World Bank had funded the project, it would have cast from Hollywood, not unknowns. That was one of the keys to success for the film was the use of local talent. Brazil has requirements for local content and local workers in its development projects.

NDTV shares five business/financial tips from the film :

Playing The Waiting Game
Baahubali forfeits his right to the throne but never loses sight of the kingdom. It took two generations to finally gain the kingdom. Similarly in the field of investing, the waiting game eventually pays off, Angel Broking said.

Spend Big To Earn Big
Baahubali pays a huge price throughout his life. He forfeits the throne. He also gives up a life of luxury to live among the commoners. Eventually, he also gives up his own life. While investing the same principles hold true as Most of us tend to trade and invest without understanding the actual costs and the opportunity costs. We hold on to our investments for a long time and get out at the wrong time.

Greed At The Wrong Time Can Be Your Undoing
Baahubali’s brother succumbs to greed and that eventually proves to be his undoing. Baahubali, on the other hand, was greedy at the right time. Similarly, in the investment arena you need to know when to be greedy and when to be fearful. Greed at the bottom of the investing cycle and fear at the top is positive. The reverse can be disastrous for you.

You Don’t Need Superstars
Baahubali proved that you do not need big stars to create a blockbuster movie. That is true of your portfolio too. You need star potential; not just superstars in your investment portfolio.

Never Let Emotions Cloud Your Judgement
This was the underlying theme of Baahubali; the character. Whether he was confronted by his affection towards his mother or his commitment towards his wife, Baahubali never allowed emotion to get the better of his judgement. Emotions are your biggest enemy while investing, says Angel Broking. You normally tend to follow the herd mentality and you tend to get swept away by emotions. Like Baahubali, your investment decisions must be driven by cold logic and incisive analysis.

The Sci-Tech Personality

I’m going through the 50+ notes I have saved on my phone. I found this one about the sci-tech personality from The Abolish Work blog:

During the Cold War, defense companies like Lockheed in the Santa Clara Valley drew scores of ambitious scientists; these workers seemed to share certain personality traits, including social awkwardness, emotional detachment, and, namely, a single-mindedness about their work to the point at which “they devoted every waking hour to it, usually to the exclusion of nonwork relationships, exercise, sleep, food, and even personal care.” In the late ’50s, Lockheed’s own company psychologists created a label for this particular bundle of traits: “the sci-tech personality.”

As a law professor, who writes about sci-tech issues, I can get into the sci-tech personality zone during the writing season. But the power went out due to the rain, so here I am blogging.

Harvard study estimates thousands died in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria

At least 4,645 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria and its devastation across Puerto Rico last year, according to a new Harvard study released Tuesday, an estimate that far exceeds the official government death toll, which stands at 64.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that health-care disruption for the elderly and the loss of basic utility services for the chronically ill had significant impacts across the U.S. territory, which was thrown into chaos after the September hurricane wiped out the electrical grid and had widespread impacts on infrastructure. Some communities were entirely cut off for weeks amid road closures and communications failures.

Researchers in the United States and Puerto Rico, led by scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, calculated the number of deaths by surveying nearly 3,300 randomly chosen households across the island and comparing the estimated post-hurricane death rate to the mortality rate for the year before. Their surveys indicated that the mortality rate was 14.3 deaths per 1,000 residents from Sept. 20 through Dec. 31, 2017, a 62 percent increase in the mortality rate compared to 2016, or 4,645 “excess deaths.”

From Washington Post.

Commencement at U.S. Naval Academy

“Together there is nothing Americans can’t do, absolutely nothing,” Trump told 2018 graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy.

“In recent years, and even decades, too many people have forgotten that truth. They’ve forgotten that our ancestors trounced an empire, tamed a continent, and triumphed over the worst evils in history.”

He added: “America is the greatest fighting force for peace, justice and freedom in the history of the world. We have become a lot stronger lately. We are not going to apologize for America. We are going to stand up for America.”

Newsweek reports.