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Len Rosen's picture
Principal Author and Editor, 21st Century Tech Blog

Futurist, Writer and Researcher, now retired, former freelance writer for new technology ventures. Former President & CEO of Len Rosen Marketing Inc., a marketing consulting firm focused on...

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  • Mar 7, 2022
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Cities are being challenged to tackle climate change through net-zero strategies that include passive homes, geothermal heating, and more. New York City is the latest to jump on this bandwagon with a more than $1 billion investment in new housing and commercial development on the Rockaway Peninsula in the Borough of Queens.

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Mar 8, 2022

Len, I assume "net-zero" refers to a community that saves as many CO2 emissions as it creates - one that generates its own clean electricity, and then some, to offset any natural gas, coal, or gasoline it might use; one that is capable of providing its residents abundant electricity with "four nines" supply reliability (99.99% uptime).

I've been hearing about these "net-zero strategies that include passive homes, geothermal heating, and more" for at least a decade, and am yet unable to find one that has succeeded. It would be a simple matter to meter any energy inputs to, and outputs from, the community so that emissions from energy input to the community never exceed those from its output, over a given time frame.

But I don't believe one exists.

So here's my challenge: find me a single example of a community, a neighborhood, or a home where its total energy consumption never emits a net-positive quantity of CO2 - you pick the time frame. Otherwise, I think it's reasonable to assume "net-zero"  is just another trendy, faux-green fraud, a plastic trophy awarded for fake environmentalism.

Is that unreasonable?

Len Rosen's picture
Len Rosen on Mar 8, 2022

Note that it is the pursuit of net-zero. It will take a lot more personal commitment from the people living in this new community to come close. 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Mar 9, 2022

Why not the pursuit of zero carbon emissions, then? The desire to come close to something that's close sounds dangerously close to an excuse. 

Allowing more wiggle room in achieving such an important goal is a recipe for failure.

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Thank Len for the Post!
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