We can build a net zero carbon world faster
We can accelerate the development and implementation of the technologies we need to address climate change.
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What is net zero and why accelerate it?
Announcing . . . the accelerate net zero podcast
Learn more about the work being done to mature, scale and drive adoption of the technologies we need to address climate change, and how that work can be accelerated.
We will be interviewing innovators, technology leaders, policy leaders, investors and others who are working to accelerate Net Zero, sharing ways that these programs can be accelerated openly and freely.
The podcast and show notes will capture examples and stories to demonstrate how we can accelerate net zero.
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How do you convince medium sized companies to convert their fossil-fueled industrial processes to renewable energy? And how do you do that if the amount of emissions saved seems tiny compared to the overall problem of global warming? It requires listening deeply to them, and building partnerships to meet them where they are, even if that means less electricity use in the short-term. It means understanding the fundamental economics behind their decisions,and working with them to develop solutions that address their fundamental concerns. Sarah Williams of Simply Energy has taken a Design Thinking approach to help medium to large New Zealand companies have deeper conversations around how they source and use energy.
The concept of circularity is an exceptionally challenging topic for many businesses. Today, most companies push out products, and then it’s up to the consumer to figure out what happens to them at the end of their useful lives. Circularity closes the loop, to look at how waste products can become feedstocks for other processes that continue to generate value. It has the potential to completely change the role that a company plays in delivering customer value, the business model, and the product itself. How do you introduce such a difficult topic, and how do you even begin to generate the ideas you need to develop innovative products and services with circularity at their core?
In this episode, I share more about why I chose to launch this project at this time, and how it fits in with my own personal story. You’ll hear about my time at HP, how Rapid Learning Cycles developed, and a visit to the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm that proved to be transformative, showing me what work was mine to do. If you are working in this area, I encourage you to connect with me here, or on LinkedIn, to continue the conversation.
When people think about innovations around climate change, they naturally go to the big projects: solar energy farms, offshore wind, and the electrification of everything that uses fossil fuels today. But a lot of the technology we need doesn’t generate the same kinds of headlines, or attract the same level of funding and government support.
In this episode, we’re going to go into one of these small-but-important pieces: water management data collection. Droughts and floods are both effects of global warming that are already increasing in both frequency and severity. And the impact hits low-income populations hardest and soonest.
Resources and news items
What is the role of geothermal energy in a Net Zero world?
Some researchers believe it may be the key, especially in areas where there is simply not enough capacity for solar and wind to fulfill the demand for power, as everything becomes electrified.
Some tangible progress towards Net Zero: the cost of solar power is now low enough that it can change the economics of power generation. As a result, fossil fuel plants are being written off by their bankers, one sure sign that they are becoming obsolete rapidly.
This article co-authored by 41 scientists shares ten myths about the role of carbon offsets in achieving Net Zero, starting with the idea that we can compensate for fossil fuel emissions using offsets:
In the face of growing demands for action, many countries and companies are making promises and setting targets to reach “net zero” emissions or “carbon neutrality”. These often sound ambitious and may even give the impression that the world is awakening and ready to take on the climate crisis.
Most of the major climate change initiatives I’ve seen mostly target big business. On the surface this makes sense because they are the largest emitters. But when you look at the overall economic landscape, small and medium businesses contribute much more, in aggregate, and lack resources to invest in their own sustainability experts to help them develop a strategy. The SME Climate Hub is a collection of tools and resources aimed at smaller enterprises.
Hydrogen production is one key to the electrification of everything. It's a form of energy storage that could be switched on when power generation is high but demand is low, and then redirected to do the jobs that are hard to do with electricity. The technology is...
The longer we wait before acting, the more drastic the action has to be. The result of failing to act is to increase the likelihood of dangerous climate change.
— Richard C. J. Somerville, Climate Scientist, Scrippts Institute of Oceanography, UC-San Diego
What happens to a solar cell at the end of its life? Today it goes to the dump. If we want the world to run on renewable energy, we'll have to find a better way. This is just one of the problems that still remain to be solved to realize solar energy's potential. We...
The economic consequences of COVID have not yet abated. At this point in the US, 60% of small businesses have failed and evictions loom once moratoriums expire. But the severity of the crisis is partly because the underlying economy was already weak. Too many were...
It's great that they have made this decision to phase out the extraction of fossil fuels. ￼￼ but such pledges are not enough. We need to decrease the demand for fossil fuels by accelerating the adoption of renewable energy and electrification in other sectors. So...
Fossil fuels dominate the global power supply because until very recently electricity from fossil fuels was far cheaper than electricity from renewables. This has dramatically changed within the last decade. In most places in the world power from new renewables is now...
In the race to net zero carbon, every year matters.
We cannot afford to waste time, energy or resources on solutions that fail in execution or cannot scale. We need to “fail fast” with some ideas to accelerate others, and set up development programs for success in the execution phases by helping them make good decisions in the early phases.
Many innovation and product development programs encounter unexpected problems, cost overruns, and delays when things don’t work out as expected. They disappoint investors, customers and community stakeholders.
When innovation teams eliminate the root causes of these obstacles at their source, they deliver the right product to market faster.
They get from idea to launch faster, they scale faster and they start making a difference faster.
They change the world faster.
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“We were expecting to get products out faster.
It actually did a lot more than that —
it helped us get the right products out faster.”
Host, Accelerate Net Zero Podcast
I help innovators change the world — faster.
I have a long track record of accelerating the development of products like printers, washing machines, coffee makers, forklifts and mowers. I’ve helped biotech, medical device, pharma and aerospace adapt the framework to fit their industries. Today, my methods are accelerating solar, wind and nuclear energy systems development.
But that’s not why I’m here.
The truth is that I don’t know if the methods I use to accelerate the development of new products could also help accelerate the systemic change we need. But if they do, new forms of renewable energy, transportation, food production and more could make a difference years sooner than current forecasts.
Here’s what I do know: failure is not an option.
We can’t afford to waste the time, energy and resources we are investing on solutions that look great in early development but fail in execution — especially those that fail for reasons that could have been prevented with a different approach to early development.
So if it is possible to accelerate them by eliminating the root causes of the problems that plague most technology development programs, then that’s what we need to do.
areas of focus for acceleration
These are areas where our past work has given us valuable experience to build upon.
The advances required to keep people, goods and services moving in a carbon-neutral society.
The scalable solutions that will eliminate the need for fossil fuels to energize a world that is interconnected.
Technology for food production, storage and distribution to reduce emissions from farm to table to trash.
The raw materials we need to reduce emissions — perhaps eliminate them — in our everyday lives.
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The Rapid Learning Cycles Institute helps innovators get their ideas to market faster.
Many innovation teams get stuck in the late stages of development when they run into obstacles that they couldn’t see ahead of time. Many of those obstacles trace back to decisions made in early development, when the knowledge needed to make good decisions wasn’t available, or at least not visible to the team.
The Rapid Learning Cycles framework fixes this by helping teams make decisions at the right time, with the right people and the best available knowledge. When teams do this, they make decisions that don’t have to be revisited later.
RLCI offers books, training and other services in how to use the Rapid Learning Cycles framework to accelerate innovation. We offer significant discounts to universities and nonprofit organizations. Readers of this page can use the code accelerate-net-zero to receive 10% off any training or other purchase at RLCI.
Accelerate Net Zero
PO Box 859
Camas, WA 98607