The Art of the Global Climate Deal: Review- An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power


Originally Posted on Salay Consulting & Social Media Services

Synopsis: Al Gore returns with an update to  2006’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth (AIT). An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power provides solid climate science, and a unique backstage pass of how global climate change political deals are done.

**** out of 5 stars

Its been eleven years since Al Gore’s ground breaking documentary on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth. It was released to critical acclaim and won Best Documentary at the 2006 Academy Awards and was a box office success, as Al Gore brought the issue of global warming to the public forefront.

Fast Forward to 2017, and we get An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power (AIS:TTP) Call it AIT 2.0. The movie provides a good mix of climate science, economics, and global politics, all wrapped in one basket. The documentary gives a backstage pass of high stakes climate policy poker at the maximum level, which provides extra documentary value for the viewer.

This is what sells AIS:TTP as a compelling well thought out documentary. AIS:TTP has a balanced mix of showing the science of climate change, and its effects and tying it into the recent clean technology trends.

The opening section has Gore taking a jaw dropping trip to Greenland to see the effects of climate change there, melting area ice glaciers. In one scene, you can see the glaciers, crumble faster than an imploded house, which you could have taken out of a 1980’s science fiction movie. However, this is happening now and not in some science fiction flick.

If that does not make you think something is wrong, the Gore’s slides showing the effects of climate change from extreme weather events will get you pondering why we are seeing more of these violent weather phenomena (ranging from dramatic floods in Louisiana to wildfires in Alberta). Gore gives you a “walk through the book of Revelations” as he genuinely puts it into perspective for the public to understand how we see climate change risks in 2017.

While AIS:TTP does show the severe risks society is facing with climate change, it also showcases the rapid rise of cleantech since the original film. I was pleased how there was a good discussion of how the economics of wind energy, electric vehicles, and especially solar power worked out since AIT. Gore hits the point home of how much the price of renewables has fallen, especially solar today (which has dropped from $77.00/watt forty years ago to around $0.55/watt)

This also plays a critical aspect behind the second point of why this documentary works: AIS:TTP gives you a front-row access to the challenges, and deals behind the Paris climate agreement and how renewable energy policy plays a significant role in this deal. I appreciated how the films show you, as a viewer, of not only how the dynamics of global politics play out in the 21st century, but also how technology is attempting to bridge the gap for infrastructure for developing countries, including India. Consider India ranked fourth in global carbon emissions in the world, and is a rapidly growing player in the global economy. This leads to the film dynamic of India arguing they need to advance their economy to improve their citizen’s lives. Even if it means using fossil fuels, as Gore works feverishly in the lead up and during the COP21 in Paris to find a way to get India on side in signing onto the Paris agreement. Directors Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk do an excellent job of not letting any stone unturned in the behind the scenes political dealings, and the aftermath of the Paris climate agreement. It gives viewers in understanding the scope and scale of how political deals not only work, but the importance in an era of Trump and anti global sentiment, of why building global political capital is critical, especially in the 21st Century.

While AIS:TTP is very strong, the only down point of this film was at times it felt like an update, rather than something new. AIS:TTP does a good job on updating info about the science, risks related to climate change, and the economic benefits of falling cleantech prices. That is what any good updates should do, is provide the public with the most up to date information for them to make educated decisions on the main issues which will affect their livelihoods.

That is what you I guess you should expect from sequels to documentaries: Good solid updated information, but nothing earth shattering. This is why its hard for sequels to documentaries to be wildly successful. That lies part of the challenge why AIS:TTP has not done so well, compared to the original, where AIT made $50 USD million. This film will not even come close to making what the original did.

Another reason why AIS:TTP has been lackluster at the box office has been Paramount Pictures having it in limited release for opening weekend, then only adding a few theatres the week after. In Winnipeg, it did not open up on August 4th, but rather the next week August 11th. There has been disappointment amongst environmentalists on the lackadaisical promotional strategy by Paramount Pictures.

Third, and the primary reason why AIS:TTP has not done as well is that there are much more options in distributing and seeing films. Although in 2006, when AIT came out the Internet was around, there were not as many streaming options as there is in 2017. Today, in an age of Netflix, there are so many ways to distribute a film, including digital download, Blu-Ray, DVD, and streaming services. Factor in going to see a movie cost around $10.00 and you wonder if it’s not just  AIS:TTP, but documentaries in general, which could be more suited for these different distribution platforms, and achieve a high reach of engaged viewers. Look for example the critically acclaimed documentary, Sons of Ben, which focuses on the rise the soccer supporters group, which played a critical role in landing the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer. It gained critical acclaim while reaching a wide audience amongst both the soccer community and public.

Despite these challenges, AIS:TTP is a definite must-see in a year of weak movies (Besides Dunkirk). A likely Best Documentary contender at Academy Awards time. Go see This film. Not only to be inspired by the rise of the sustainability revolution through the sharp price drops in renewable energy, not only for the updates on the increased risks of climate change towards society, but go see it for the most important part: Go to it for The Art of The Global Climate Deal. This will be the invaluable lesson you will get, and ensure we strive to limit the worst impacts of climate change, while we help developing nations leap-frog past their dirty fossil fuel infrastructure.

 

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Energy As A Service Market to Reach $221.1 US Billion by 2026: Report


An original post from Salay Consulting & Social Media Services

Although a relatively new business model, commercial & industrial (CI) Energy as a Service (EaaS) is expected to dramatically grow within the next decade, based on a new report.

According to cleantech research firm Navigant Research, the CI EaaS market by 2026 will reach $221.1 US billion.

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Image Credit via Pixabay by bykst. Under Public Domain via Creative Commons

Changes in the delivery of energy are the driving factor behind the rise of EaaS companies. In the old days, consumers would (and still do on many levels) get their energy from a central source (your local utility), be charged and billed a monthly rate. Some months your energy bill would be higher (winter and summer months especially) than others.

However, today we are seeing a shift being played out on the energy market stage. Navigant Research notes energy companies and sustainability managers are taking advantage of new business models and digitized technologies, which are helping to decentralize the energy markets.

“Navigant Research anticipates that these evolving grid and customer factors will converge to give rise to demand for vendor-based business model disruptors that can provide turnkey energy as a service solutions (EaaS),” said Navigant’s website.

Eaas has lots of potential in making the customer energy experience as un-limitless as possible. EaaS providers can manage many aspects of a consumer’s energy needs. Examples include energy supply, energy use, asset & program management, and strategy, according to Navigant.

EaaS companies can use innovative services, financial solutions & technological tools to ensure clients are happy with their energy system.

Players within the EaaS ecosystem include standard utilities, third-party vendors, and start-up companies, who are providing disruptive solutions within the technical, financing and procurement within the energy market, according to Navigant Research.

As EaaS establish themselves; energy portfolios will be outsourced to fully equipped companies “with a comprehensive set of technical financing and deployment options.” According to Navigant.

This report is in line with an overall shift in societal attitudes on energy. Concerns over a warming planet due to climate change, falling renewable energy costs, and Millennials wanting more choice in energy options will only help to fuel EaaS platforms heading into the third decade of the new millennium. Add other underlying factors including sharp price drop on lithium-ion batteries needed to make battery storage units, plus 34 billion connected devices within the Internet of Things eco system by 2020 will ensure EaaS companies are going to have very profitable opportunities soon.

As Warren Buffet said, “energy deregulation will be the largest transfer of wealth in history.” EaaS will play a part in this. Shortly, consumers may have options besides a local energy utility thanks to possible EaaS platforms.

What do you think of EaaS? Will they become a serious option for consumers within the energy market over the next decade? What has to happen for EaaS to grow not only in the US but Canada/Manitoba? Feel free to email at adamjwpg@mymts.net, or follow on Twitter at @adamjohnstonwpg.

Electric Vehicles Are Reaching Their “iPhone” Moment in 2017


Originally from Salay Consulting & Social Media Services

When the history books come to pass on 2017, one will look on this year as to where electric vehicles (EV’s) had its “iPhone moment.”

A decade ago, Apple released its revolutionary product. Although smartphones were around before, the iPhone helped change a lot of things. It helped changed how smartphones, and eventually the public warmed to mobile computing. It helped create new spillover industries while flipping old ones upside down.

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Image Credit via Pixabay. Under Public Domain via Creative Commons.

Three factors are contributing this year to why EV’s are reaching that watershed or “iPhone” moment.

EV’s are becoming More Affordable as Battery Prices Plummet: The first shipments of Tesla’s Model 3 have now begun to hit the streets. Initially showcased last year, Elon Musk’s company took 373,000 in reservations as of March 2017. What is so special about this car? It’s Tesla’s first EV into the affordable mass consumer market at $35,000 USD a piece. One of the criticisms with EV’s was the initial excessive costs for consumers.

However, declining lithium-ion battery prices are now making it more affordable to mass produce EV’s, along with Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada.

With batteries coming less costly, EV’s are nearing a tipping point where they are near cost competitive with combustible engine vehicles. A recent report underlines this. By 2025, all new vehicles will be electric. It’s especially important to know given the Paris climate agreement requires all participants keep CO2 levels well below 2C while aiming for 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.  Transportation alone creates 23% of all carbon emissions, according to the World Bank. Thus, creating affordable, clean tech transportation options at the mass consumer level is essential in cutting carbon emissions out from transportation.

While other companies, including Nissan, Chevy already produce EV’s. Tesla has had critical acclaim with its prior other models, including the Model S. Just like how the iPhone 10 years ago was synonymous with smartphones.

Companies are Going All In on EV’s: 2017 is also the breaking point where companies are making plans to slam the brakes on fossil fuel based vehicles.

Volvo recently announced by 2019 they will cease to make combustion engine vehicles, and manufacture only EV’s or hybrids. This is the silver bullet car manufacturers need to go all-electric. In 2007, Apple entering the smartphone market with the iPhone helped lure other companies, including Samsung, LG, Sony, Nokia, and Chinese tech companies to get into the smartphone game, providing more consumer choice. Smartphone costs also came crashing down to insanely low levels. It’s now possible to get a smartphone for $32 (compared to $499 or $599 US in 2007 for an iPhone). While it’s highly unlikely anyone will see an EV for $32 in their lifetime, it’s entirely possible as more entrants flood the market, prices will drop to make EV’s even more affordable for Main Street.

 

Global Policy: You can also thank public policy makers around the world around the globe for helping contribute to EV’s watershed moment happening now.

While Trump dumped the Paris accord, other countries are strengthening their ties by supporting cleantech. France recently announced earlier this week by 2040. They will be eliminating the sale of all petrol fuelled based vehicles. Last year, Germany vowed to do the same by 2030. Policy makers are helping to shift towards cleaner vehicles, which adds another layer towards EV’s becoming a real force.

Thomas Friedman’s 2016 book Thank You For Being Late discussed how in 2007 was the watershed moment for many key technologies, ranging from cloud computing storage, solar energy, and smartphones.  Ten years later, thanks to declining lithium-ion battery prices, companies moving towards just electric cars, and supporting legislation, are helping EV’s have their “iPhone moment.”

So what you think? Has electric vehicles reached their watershed moment this year? You can reach me on Twitter at @adamjohnstonwpg, or by email at adamjwpg@mymts.net.

iPhone At Ten Years Old


Original Post from Salay Consulting & Social Media Services

June 29th, 2007 was a big day as Apple’s iPhone (otherwise known as the “Jesus Phone”) sold for the first time. After that, the rest was history. Nothing has been the same since.  With its touch screen capabilities, allowing consumers to type at ease, without punching the daylights out of a BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard (or until you find you’ve been auto-corrected). Apple has gone on to sell 1.1 billion iPhones in ten years.

The iPhone has caused change, flipping things upside down.

Here is how the iPhone has (in)directly made an impact.

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Image Credit: iPhone by JESHOOTS via Pixabay. Under Public Domain via the Creative Commons

Opening up Smartphone Choice and Leapfrogging Past Old Infrastructure: After iPhone’s launch, we saw an explosion of companies get into the game. Google released its Android mobile operating system to counteract Apple’s operating system iOS. Then manufacturers Samsung, Sony, LG, wanted a piece of the action. Apple and Samsung today are constantly jockeying for the top position in the smartphone universe. Even an Indian manufacturer was able to produce a smartphone at a cost of $32.00. This is critical, considering there will be 4.1 billion users globally in 2020. Many of these new users will come from developing nations, who initially had limited to no Internet infrastructure.

There’s an App for That: Before the iPhone, it was more common for people to refer to apps regarding filling out job or credit card applications. Now you can not go without a day using mobile apps on your smartphone. Mobile apps took off when Apple launched its iPhone App Store in July 2008. It created new markets for IT developers who were looking to expand entrepreneurial opportunities outside of standard computing software. After Apple’s App store, came Google Play, which serves as  Android mobile app store. The app economy is only expected to grow. Analysts predict by 2020, the mobile app economy to reach $101 billion. According to c/net there are over 2 million apps now in the App store and “have spawned industries that couldn’t exist without smartphones,” naming car-sharing services Uber and Lyft.

Social Media Becomes More Social: While social media was here before the iPhone with MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, iPhone’s launch helped create a breeding ground for how we know social media now. Facebook posts, tweets are now instantaneous, thanks to the iPhone. Mobile social media helped cover major events this decade faster than major news networks, including the Haiti Earthquake, Arab Spring, And the 2013 Alberta Floods.

However, with all good things, there has been some negative consequences with increased mobile social media use. It’s raised red flags amongst cyber security experts. Future Crimes author Marc Goodman suggests consumers are increasing their vulnerability, thanks to data given away freely on social media sites, and mobile apps.

 Mobile Apps lead the Path to a Smart and Connected World: As c/net pointed out, without the App’s store, these industries may not exist. The iPhone indirectly made mobile computing accessible to the common folk. Smartphone apps now make it easier for homes to become “smart.” From smart thermostats, including Google’s Nest, to Phillips Hue, a wireless controlled LED light bulb flows in between ubiquitous Internet connection, thanks to Wi-Fi and cell towers. It’s now possible, in 2017 to monitor your house’s heat, lighting, and find how much solar energy you are producing and consuming– all on your smartphone! This is big for consumers who are all in on the energy efficiency train.

Smart homes are only expected to increase in stature as more web-based devices increase with the advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT). Projections by 2020 have a total between 30.750 billion connected device on the Internet, while IoT market value is expected to reach $267 billion globally.

It’s hard to believe the iPhone has been around for a decade. No one should ever give Apple credit for creating smartphones, social media, or smart devices.

However, by tweaking and improving the smartphone with the iPhone, its help to entice competitors into smartphone markets, and give more choices to consumers; penetrate the mobile app market; make social media what it is today, and pave a path for Internet-connected devices which make our homes smart. The spillover benefits from the iPhone were the legacy of Steve Jobs iconic contribution to mobile phones.

Happy 10th birthday, iPhone. The world will never be the same again.

MASL: The Fastest Game on Carpet


Don’t Blink. Don’t think. Because if you do, you will miss the ball whip by you.

I am talking about The Fastest Game on Carpet. I am referring to the top professional indoor soccer league in North America, Major Arena Soccer League (MASL).

The MASL formed in 2014 after the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) and the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) decided to merge and become the premier indoor professional soccer league in North America.

 

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.Image credit: San Diego Sockers Vs. Dallas Sidekicks. By Dravecky via Wikicommons Some Rights Reserved under the Creative Commons.

 

With 17 active teams across the United States, and in Mexico, MASL is slowing gaining a following. Teams include Atletico Baja in Tijuana, Mexico (A roof covered outdoor venue with 200 seats, resembling the FIFA Street video game series), plus the Turlock Express (their arena looks like something out of an Area 51 hanger). However, most teams play in a traditional hockey arena, with carpet over a hockey rink. The MASL is slowly finding its niche within the North American sporting market.

Played in four 15 minute quarters, indoor soccer is fast. Each team has six a side, (five players, one goalkeeper). The goalkeeper can be a part of the attacking play if their team is down and needs an extra attacker. Indoor soccer allows for unlimited substitutions. Instead of yellow cards given for two-foot challenges, spitting, and other nasty minor occurrences, players are given a blue card and sent for a two-minute penalty.

Unlike outdoor soccer, which many say is dull and boring, indoor soccer is played at a rapid pace. It’s not uncommon to see games with 18-15, 10-9 score lines weekly. Players can bounce the ball off the boards, creating a whole new dynamic not seen in traditional soccer. Goalkeepers literally cannot blink. When players are shooting the ball at 80 miles per hour, goalkeepers must have laser focus, and strong hands to keep the ball out of the net. It’s what makes indoor soccer a refreshing alternative to outdoor soccer. It takes the best of both traditional footie, along with the fast-paced excitement of ice hockey.

While the MASL does not have the huge financial capabilities of other major North American sports leagues, its players give it a league with character.

Kraig Chiles is one of the MASL’s star players for the San Diego Sockers. Chiles had originally played five games for one season as part of Major League Soccer’s Chivas USA in 2008. He was released in 2009, and dabbled with the USL Premier Development’s Los Angeles Legends. However, it was in 2010 when his soccer career began to click. Chiles has won several league awards with the Sockers. He also recently scored his 300th goal for the club and became the club’s all-time leading scorer.

The Turlock Express Ivan Campos is one of their top players and provides a significant presence (literally) on the team. Campos came back to the Express this season after playing in Las Vegas and Detroit for four seasons. A knack for hitting the net, and sound indoor soccer abilities, Campos is beast on a team which has a small but loyal following of 700 fans every game at the Turlock Soccer Center.

While the MASL may not be the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, or MLS, it’s got something to offer a diverse sporting fan base as The Fastest Game on Carpet.

If you don’t believe me that the MASL is The Fastest Game on Carpet, then check out some of the best games which showcase this league so far this season.

Have you seen an indoor soccer game? What do you like about indoor soccer compared to traditional soccer? What do you like about the MASL? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.

 

 

 

Twenty-Five Years Later: Are We Better off with The World Wide Web?


In case you have been under a rock, this week was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first ever World Wide Web (WWW) page on August 23, 1991.

Celebrating the silver anniversary of the first WWW page is a milestone which brings reflection now in 2016.

Many things have happened since that fateful day in 1991. Computers have become cheaper (and smaller) thanks to the invention of smartphones and tablets. The days of hearing that annoying dial-up sound, confirming you have connected to the Internet, have gone with Wi-Fi and 4G mobile networks. Adios Yahoo! Chat. Hello Facebook, and other social media networks for interacting with others.

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Monitor via Pixybay Under Public Domain by the Creative Commons 

 

Meanwhile, the Internet of Things is in line to become what some dub it as “social media for machines.” As author Jeremy Rifkin calls it the convergence of communications, energy, and a logistics Internet. The WWW helped guide this.

Now for the one billion dollar question: Is the world better off with the WWW/Internet or not in 2016?

It’s not an easy answer. Both the Yes and no sides have excellent arguments which would make you think.

Many benefits of having the WWW has been promoting another global brand into another area of the world. Consider in the early 1990’s, most people in North America would not have heard of world-class soccer competitions, including the UEFA Champions League, or Copa Libertadores. The WWW has allowed international organizations like both UEFA, and CONEBOL to promote their brands at a global reach. Places like Canada could see top-notch club soccer more often. Now in 2016, the UEFA Champions League is frequently seen on multiple channels of TSN, or beIN Sports. Perhaps even, more important is this has spilled over into North America’s top-tier soccer league, Major League Soccer (MLS). MLS now is considered a top choice sport among millennials.

Another significant advantage of the WWW has been able to cut transaction costs. A 2012 Mashable article noted without the Internet, paying for stamps to send a letter, instead of emails would cost $6.3 US trillion. That’s a lot of money saved by businesses, and individuals that could have gone to the US Postal Service (Or Canada Post in the Great White North).

Lowering transaction costs from the WWW has allowed for more opportunities for collaboration, globally. Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams highlighted this in their 2010 book Macrowikinomics. They argued:

In this new age of networked intelligence, businesses and communities are bypassing crumbling institutions. We are altering the way our financial institutions and governments operate; how we educate our children; and how the healthcare, newspaper, and energy industries serve their customers.

A good example of mass collaboration is CleanTechnica.com, which is a blog focusing reporting about the new post-industrial renewable energy we are heading. This site provides analysis and news which mainstream media fails to pick up on clean technology.

Yet, the WWW has provided major societal headaches.

Privacy and security the one issue to me, which can drop an atomic bomb on any good the WWW has done for society.

With social media tools, it’s possible for someone to stalk someone on a daily basis. In 2012, The Guardian reported social networks and the advancement of smartphones was making easier for stalkers to target people.

Meanwhile, in 2016, cyber hackers have a never-ending list of destructive tools at their destruction ranging from viruses, malware, and ransomware. Who can forget the Heartbleed bug, which knocked down CRA, and extended the tax deadline in 2014 by five days? (I know because that was my first year of running my tax business and drove me bonkers). Or consider the “Dragonfly Incident” of 2013, in which hackers targeted a French website of a renewable energy company, implanted a virus, which infected customer computers.

Are we better off now than in 1991? Yes, and no. Yes, we have more information, yes we can collaborate more with people from other parts of the world. No, we are more at both an increased personal security and privacy risk. It’s not as simple as playing your Playstation 4 on your 50-inch Samsung smart tv against someone from China, or Pokemon Go on your smart phone. There are real issues which everyone needs to grasp. It’s gut check time for government, policy makers, and Silicon Valley.

The WWW/Internet will bring more positives, and just as many challenges in the future.

Perhaps, here are two videos from two people who represent the pros and cons of the WWW/Internet. Don Tapscott, and Andrew Keen.

What do you think? Has the WWW/Internet been a good or bad influence? Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, or by email at adamjwpg@mymts.net.

 

 

Thank You Tragically Hip, Thank You


This Saturday will be a historic night for Canadians, as one of Canada’s greatest rock bands in our generation will play for the last time.

The Tragically Hip will take center stage at the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Windsor, Ontario, and in front of a national audience on CBC.

Last May, lead singer Gord Downie announced he had terminal brain cancer, which shocked Canadians. As a tribute, the Tragically Hip announced they would do a Canadian-only tour during this summer to support their newest album, Man Machine Poem.

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The Tragically Hip Performs at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver in 2006 by Radiobread via Flickr. Some Rights Reserved

 

For thirty-two years, The Hip have enthralled Canadian music fans for over a generation. I remember listening to some of their songs, back in high school at Miles Mac, to counteract for all the pop songs at the time. They offered something unique. I could not pinpoint it at the time (but later I would understand what it was they offered).  I had the opportunity to see them back at the 2000 War Child concert at the Forks here in Winnipeg (along with Chantal Kreviazuk). They performed some of their world-class hits including Ahead By a Century. They put on a sublime show that day. It was that day, I figured out how good they were, and perhaps one of Canada’s best-kept musical secrets. The Hip were rock enough to deliver a knockout punch, yet had lyrics to their songs that would make you think about life.

But perhaps the best thing outside of their music was the Hip represented Canada very well. Gord was a big fan of hockey. The Hip also rattled the chains of social justice, when needed. By writing about the injustice of David Milgaard in Wheat Kings, to advocating on environmental issues.

Take it all in this Saturday. Whether you are at home, watching on a big screen at a local event, or listening on your smartphone. You won’t see the Tragically Hip ever again. Then again in today’s age, you will never see a band like The Hip, period. With rap, pop, and even country dominating our music scene, good current rock in 2016 is virtually gone. Factor in globalization where anyone can tap into other genres of music from other parts of the world and it’s nearly impossible a band (Outside of Rush) like The Tragically Hip will ever grace Canadian music as they have.

A piece of music dies on August 20th. A part of Canada dies on August 20th. A piece of generational art dies August 20th.  Let’s celebrate what The Hip has done for Canada. Let’s not treat this as a funeral but as a celebration. A celebration of one of Canada’s best rock bands ever (besides Rush, and Matthew Good Band in the 1990’s). Soak it in. Laugh, cry. There will not be one dry eye from coast to coast Saturday, August 20th.

Thank you Tragically Hip, Thank You for the memories.