In August of 2018, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote about “The Four Zeros” – the four big policies that we need to enact to address the climate crisis. Or at least take a big bite out of the problem. The Four Zeros weren’t Friedman’s idea, they were the result of years of work by Hal Harvey, one of the world’s leading energy and climate experts. I’d heard of Hal – he’s well known in the climate world – but I didn’t know about his Four Zeros. Each “zero” is grand in scale: a zero-carbon grid, zero emission vehicles, zero net energy buildings and zero-waste manufacturing. Accomplishing any of these four zeros would be daunting. But I liked that Hal Harvey had distilled our climate problem into something imaginable. Here was a roadmap laying out what we needed to do, charted out by one of the world’s brightest minds.
I wrote Friedman and told him that we were inspired by his piece and suggested that YEARS produce a video campaign to promote The Four Zeros. Tom thought that was a great idea. And as fortune would have it, a month later David Gelber and I were meeting with Julia Jackson at the Global Climate Action Summit in California. Julia is a climate activist and climate leader, and she told us she wanted to see a series of videos laying out the big solutions to the climate crisis.
We told her about The Four Zeros. She loved it and said she would help us.
Soon after we found ourselves in a studio in San Francisco filming with the man himself, Hal Harvey. Hal did a great job communicating big, abstract policy notions by way of simple, relatable anecdotes and stories. ‘Here’s how it’s worked before.’ ‘These people have done it.’ ‘The goals can be achieved because they’ve already have been achieved here, here and here.’ Inspiring stuff. For example, in the zero-carbon transportation video, Hal showed how President Ford laid the groundwork for a carbon-free transportation sector but then made one mistake, which is why we aren’t all driving electric vehicles today.
I hope you’ll watch all six videos featuring Hal Harvey. The first four are already out, and we’ll be releasing more in the coming weeks. He provides one new prospective after another, and they give me the feeling that just maybe this climate nightmare can be fixed.
Or at least a big part of it.