In the words of John Lennon, “What kind of bear is best?”
In one of my favorite scenes from NBC’s American version of The Office (S3 E21), Jim Halpert imitates his colleague, Dwight Schrute, asking him the ridiculous question, “What kind of bear is best?” a question to which there is obviously no single correct answer. What ensues is a stand-off between the real and counterfeit Dwights, or what I like to call the “Dwight-off.”
The climate action arena has its very own Dwight-off going on and its own ridiculous question: Which climate solution is best? Certain participants insist that there is only one right answer (their answer) to the climate crisis. Anyone who disagrees is branded not only as wrong, but simultaneously “bad” for advocating for environmental policies, approaches or philosophies that the accuser deems flawed. Not only is this counterproductive, but it’s a call to inaction at a time when action is more important than ever.
Our view is that climate change is an extraordinarily complex problem, and to solve it, the global community should be throwing everything possible at it. That means taking out every tool in the toolbox, trying it, and designing new tools along the way. When it comes to the tools at our disposal, we believe those that achieve scalable, low-cost solutions are important because the more countries, economies, governments, companies and citizens that join the fight, the better. This is why you’ll hear us promote the use of market-based mechanisms and carbon offsets. Why market-based approaches? Because we believe they’re efficient. Why offsets in particular? Imagine tapping ALL sources of potential reductions for the lowest cost solutions to society vs. only a few. That’s what offsets do: they look for the most efficient reduction regardless of where it occurs, and they accomplish a whole lot more along the way.
But wait, do we think the world also needs high carbon pricing signals? Yes, we do, as high prices can drive new technologies, helping to reduce their costs over time. What about carbon taxes? Also, yes. Direct regulation? Still yes. Renewables, biofuels, voluntary commitments, government subsidies, the list goes on. We genuinely do not think there is one best bear.
Now of course, John Lennon never asked, “What kind of bear is best,” (to my knowledge anyway), but he did encourage us to “Come Together,” and that is what we need to do in the fight against climate change. We need to stop criticizing specific approaches and the people who advocate for them. Despite Bluesource having its own view of which tools are most effective, you won’t find us berating other approaches or the people that promote them. Rather, we will applaud the efforts of the many who take up this fight despite the cultural and financial barriers to doing so. Let’s come together.
And to all of our British colleagues out there, I’m throwing down the gauntlet: Steve Carrell beats Ricky Gervais any day of the week. He is the better bear. You’ll always have The Beatles though.