Discussion: View Thread

Subject: Broad Set of Principles...

1.  Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 19 days ago
COTE's recent "What We Believe" letter says that certain rights are included in the broad set of principles under which we work.  These rights are cultural rights, social rights, religious rights, and environmental rights.

Our legal rights are enumerated in the Bill of Rights.  They're very specific and easy to understand.

It would be helpful to know what some of the rights mentioned in the COTE letter actually are.  What are the specific cultural rights, social rights, religious rights, and environmental rights?   I'd like to explain them to our interns.  What are they?

For now, let's just focus on environmental rights... What are some of the environmental rights?


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Dennis Wells AIA
VP-Studio Director
Miles Associates Incorporated
Oklahoma City OK
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2.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 18 days ago
I know others have actually come up with environmental manifestos and pledges. This is what I have off the top of my head, without getting too poetic
  • the right to clean air to breathe, which does not adversely affect our health
  • the right to food grown in clean and nutrient-rich soil 
  • the right to clean water to drink, which does not adversely affect our health
  • the right to publicly accessible, natural open space
  • the right to undeveloped public land that extends to the horizon
These are the ones I find most basic that I think could be agreed upon by the majority of humans. The exception may be the last one, but it may be the most important long-term.

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Carolyn Day AIA
Associate| Sustainability Coordinator
Ellenzweig
Boston MA
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3.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 17 days ago

Thanks Carolyn,

This subject is very interesting, and I appreciate your response.  It caused me to Google "Environmental Rights," which of course brought up too much to digest... but the definitions seemed pretty common:  "Environmental rights mean access to the unspoiled natural resources that enable survival, including land, shelter, food, water and air. They also include more purely ecological rights, including the right for a certain beetle to survive or the right for an individual to enjoy an unspoiled landscape."

This pretty much matches your bullets, and seems to be a reasonable underpinning of our broad set of principles, although I don't thoroughly understand how architecture could diminish any of those rights.  I've practiced architecture for 41 years, and even considering the buildings I designed prior to the era of environmental enlightenment, I don't think any of them violated those rights.

I don't mean to be pedantic, but I don't understand how these rights relate to architecture... Which brings us to the other rights included in our broad set of principles: cultural, social, and religious.

I'm sorry, but I just don't get it.  If I can't get it, how can I mentor our aspiring architects?




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Dennis Wells AIA
VP-Studio Director
Miles Associates Incorporated
Oklahoma City OK
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4.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 15 days ago
The letter referred to was issued in late 2016/early 2017 as COTE felt we needed to take a stronger stance on the role architects play in creating environments that are healthy, inspiring, and ethically-designed. The principles (while paraphrased in the letter) can be found in more detail in a few locations:
COTE focuses most specifically on the sustainability and environmental values and principles that are held in these varied documents. The word "rights" isn't literally in each of these documents, but the bigger message is about the need for a more sustainable and equitable future, and the role architects can play in that.

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Jonathan Penndorf FAIA
2016-2018 COTE Advisory Group

Project Manager/Sustainability Leader
Perkins + Will
Washington DC
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5.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 13 days ago
Thanks for your reply Jonathan.  I read all the documents you linked, and agree with the majority of the positions and values.

You mention that COTE felt a stronger stance was needed on the role architects play in creating environments that are healthy, inspiring, and ethically-designed.  As I noted in my response to Carolyn, I've designed buildings for 41 years, and I can't think of one that wasn't healthy, and ethically-designed. "Inspiring" is subjective.  (It's probable that my projects have inspired someone.)  But I can't think of any examples of unhealthy, or unethically-designed architecture.

Why was this stronger stance required?  Can you provide some examples of recent unhealthy or unethically-designed architecture?




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Dennis Wells AIA
VP-Studio Director
Miles Associates Incorporated
Oklahoma City OK
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6.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 12 days ago
Dennis,
You and I, like all architects, have designed buildings that contained some toxicity like from materials with formaldehyde and other VOCs; buildings that used energy from coal power plants that contributed greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide, arsenic, lead, etc. to, in my case, the Great Lakes and local watersheds; and so on. It's possible now to design buildings that don't do these things. In your 41 design years, were all your projects Living Buildings? If not, you could do better. So could I. I applaud COTE and all architects who lead toward a zero-carbon, non-toxic built environment. A stronger stance is needed because we're the ones who can best demonstrate how it can be done, and I for one want to look back and know I did everything I could to make a better environment.

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Thomas Bassett-Dilley AIA
Principal
Tom Bassett-Dilley Architect, Ltd.
Oak Park IL
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7.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 11 days ago

Thomas,

It's been many years since toxic and VOC emitting products have been available to the construction industry.  Long before COTE's call for a stronger stance.  (I'm glad car designers haven't been subjected to similar pressures… We'd miss that new-car-smell!)  But you're right… they've appeared in my older projects. 

I agree with your admonition that we can all do better.  However, in a profession where details and accuracy count, I take issue with misrepresenting carbon dioxide as "carbon."  They're two different things. (It's the specifier in me talking.)

A 100% non-toxic built environment will be a wonderful thing.  We'll probably get there someday.  However, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, and "zero-carbon" is the angel of a false religion.  It's a laudable goal to steer architecture toward minimal environmental impact, and I practice doing so.  I just prefer to do it in a more intellectually honest way.

You must admit you miss that new-building-smell!  (Sorry for not drinking the cool aide.)



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Dennis Wells AIA
VP-Studio Director
Miles Associates Incorporated
Oklahoma City OK
------------------------------



8.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 11 days ago
​I've been following this dialogue as an observer, but perhaps it's time to participate.
National Geographic puts the CO2 as pollutant position succinctly: "Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is the main pollutant that is warming Earth. Though living things emit carbon dioxide when they breathe, carbon dioxide is widely considered to be a pollutant when associated with cars, planes, power plants, and other human activities that involve the burning of fossil fuels such as gasoline and natural gas. In the past 150 years, such activities have pumped enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to raise its levels higher than they have been for hundreds of thousands of years."
Carbon may be shorthand for carbon dioxide, but "carbon neutral" has been recognized in the OED at least since it was "Word of the Year" in 2006 (arguably phrase of the year, I admit). You don't have to use the term, but it has definitely escaped into the wild as common usage.
Dennis, we have learned a lot in the past decade! The most important thing we have learned is just how much we don't know about what we are doing. We are, as a human society and more specifically as a profession, still in a primitive stage of development.
When we have learned enough that we know exactly what is in each product we specify and that it is non-toxic, biodegradable and only used in quantities supported by the natural systems within which we operate, when we are able to thrive using only current resources that are replenished at the same rate at which we are using them, when everything we inhabit contributes at least as much as we have consumed to the health and wellbeing of our surrounding ecosystem its other species, when we have fully re-integrated natural systems and nature itself into our built environment for our collective wellbeing, THEN we can rest comfortable that we're doing the best we can. Until then, we have an exciting and important challenge ahead of us.
And sorry, I don't miss the new building smell. Recent research shows us that it lowers our ability to respond to crisis, use information and think strategically. I personally need all the help I can get!



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Margaret Montgomery FAIA
Principal
NBBJ Seattle Office
Seattle WA
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9.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 10 days ago

Margaret,

 

I accept that "pollutant" has a broad definition.  (National Geographic has also probably said that water is the main pollutant to a drowning person.)  

You're right to say there's much we still don't know.  One of the many things we still don't know is, what portion of total planetary CO2 production is anthropomorphic?  Ned Cramer recently said: "Even if humanity was to immediately stop releasing CO2, the climate would continue to change because the greenhouse gases that we have already dumped into the atmosphere could take millennia to dissipate."  ARCHITECT  OCT. 2017

I'm proud that the architecture community is finally beginning to shift its focus from prevention to preparation ("resiliency").  Why waste valuable resources to prevent the unpreventable?  Yes, it still makes sense to reduce toxicity, increase sustainability, and strive toward architectural utopia.  But those things won't affect climate change.  Net-Zero is a laudable concept that's good for the environment, but ineffective in preventing climate change. It's much smarter to prepare for the impending changes. Let's be honest with ourselves.

I agree with you that our profession is still in a primitive stage of development.  A hundred years from now they'll be saying: "…it's amazing they wasted so much time and effort trying to stop climate change!"



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Dennis Wells AIA
VP-Studio Director
Miles Associates Incorporated
Oklahoma City OK
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10.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 7 days ago
I disagree with Dennis Wells and so do 98% (or thousands) of climate scientists.   The oil industry is like the tobacco industry was decades ago.   As long as a little doubt could be kept alive about the health dangers of tobacco, the industry could flourish a little longer.  As long as a little doubt is cast that climate change can be reduced by human activities, the fossil fuel industry can flourish a little longer.

I have children and hope to have grand children one day.   When we talk about climate change and they ask me "What did you do once you knew?",   I'll be able to say I spoke up and acted.

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Russ Ver Ploeg, AIA, LEED AP
Ver Ploeg Architecture
Des Moines IA
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11.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 5 days ago
WOW! I had no idea that COTE had a contingent of climate change deniers. I do not know Dennis Wells, and he is likely a nice guy, but you do not know squat about climate science and the impacts of human-cause release of carbon into the atmosphere and other sources of greenhouse gases. I strongly suggest that you read up on the science of climate change and pray to God that humankind can change their habits and behavior and the built-environment before the planet is irreparably damaged, and can no longer support human life.

Climate change is the single greatest challenge facing humanity. Period! And if you are not part of the solution -- aka net zero-energy and carbon buildings, transition to a total reliance on renewable sources of energy, finding a way to feed 8 to 9 billion people on a reduced carbon-based agriculture system, etc...-- then you are part of the problem.

--
Michael J. Holtz, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP
Founder and CEO
LightLouver LLC

Phone:     303 834 0414
E-mail:     mholtz@lightlouver.com
Web site: www.lightlouver.com





12.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 4 days ago
Greetings All, 

The Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume 1 - The Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) was cleared through the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and released by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) on Friday November 3, 2017. 

Volume 2 is forthcoming in 2018 and will contain many chapters directly relevant and related to the architectural and engineering practice. 


Go to Chapter 2 Physical Drivers of Climate Change. 
Go to Key Finding 1 
Scroll down to Figure 2.6 Time Evolution of Forcings see graph of natural and anthropogenic contributions. 
Scroll to Figure 2.7 Sources and Sinks 

Read the other 2 key findings of this chapter as well if you feel led and visit the traceable accounts in the supporting evidence. 

Adapting together, 

A.R. Ann Kosmal FAIA






13.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 4 days ago
"..... the single greatest single challenge facing humanity. Period"

Hmmm ..... for me, nuclear proliferation "trumps" climate change. Climate change may take a while, but a nuclear weapon is instantaneous.

I yeild to Dennis.

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James Kirkpatrick FAIA
President
Kirkpatrick Architecture Studio
Denton TX
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14.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 3 days ago

Mr. Holtz with due respect to the great work you've done over the decades in our field, you aren't really any more qualified to be so reflexively opposed to any skeptical scientific inquiry either.

I see no critique or even argument against the notion of "climate change", here or anywhere. Nobody denies the climate changes. Some are skeptical that there is ample evidence to conclude the earth is experiencing a significant warming shift. Some who aren't are skeptical that it is CO2 driven. And some of those are skeptical that it is anthropomorphically driven. There is a continuum of scientific skepticism on the subject. Denying *that* is the overtly unscientific act.

"Belief" and "denial" are not words of science, but of faith. The whole "debate" about "climate change" becomes a purely political if not religious one whenever the charge of "denier" is made.

To do so is a direct violation of the fourth of Merton's norms of science, namely of "organized skepticism." Merton was very clear that the most common failure in science on this fourth norm is "whenever other institutions extend their control over science. In modern totalitarian society, anti-rationalism and the centralization of institutional control both serve to limit the scope provided for scientific activity."

Think: Al Gore, Tom Steyer, and the UN.

Architecture is first rational, then emotional. Let's not lose touch with our rational side lest we thoroughly relegate our profession to history's dustbin. And let's not succumb to the overtly political balkanization of society by turning on each other or turning each other against each other over what ought to truthfully be a debate of a variety of differing opinions and theories on a subject.



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Michael Poloukhine AIA
Owner
ReSquare Architecture + Construction
Los Angeles CA
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15.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 7 days ago
Dennis,
Thank you for you commentary.  It has reminded us that we still have a long way to go as a profession and that there is still a contingent within the profession that intellectually justifies that what they're doing is good enough in terms of sustainability.

These particular statements are worrisome:
"Why waste valuable resources to prevent the unpreventable?  Yes, it still makes sense to reduce toxicity, increase sustainability, and strive toward architectural utopia.  But those things won't affect climate change.  Net-Zero is a laudable concept that's good for the environment, but ineffective in preventing climate change. It's much smarter to prepare for the impending changes. Let's be honest with ourselves"

When we consider the service life of our buildings they most certainly can help prevent future and continued climate change.  Isn't a net-zero building going to have less of an impact?  Won't it affect the scale of climate change?  And aren't net-zero buildings inherently more resilient?  Why can't we prepare for the changes and prevent them at the same time?  Being honest with ourselves involves a deeper understanding of how our buildings either degrade or regenerate our own life support systems.  We are not wasting time and effort trying to stop climate change and Ned Cramer's comments do not excuse us from designing buildings that degrade our environment.  We are problem solvers that now understand we can't wait for someone else to start changing the course of climate change.


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Brian Alessi Assoc. AIA
Sustainability Project Manager
The Sheward Partnership
Philadelphia PA
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16.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 6 days ago

Excuse me for being rational…  If a hurricane destroys your house, is it smarter to build a hurricane resistant house, or attempt to prevent hurricanes?  It's settled science: If 100% of man-caused CO2 were eliminated, climate change would still occur.  If humanity were terminated, climate change would still happen.

Sorry to challenge the gospel, but our net-zero efforts will not prevent climate change.  We're chipping away fractional amounts of CO2 when elimination of the WHOLE amount wouldn't do the trick.  Our ignorance is almost funny.  Blind faith.

Instead of feeling good about reestablishing destroyed neighborhoods below-sea-level in New Orleans, wouldn't it be smarter to relocate to higher ground?  Let's use our brains.    If your roof is leaking, do you repair the leak, or prevent rain? (Where is Sam Kinison when you need him?)

But net-zero is valuable.  It has many positive environmental results… slowing climate change just isn't one of them.  Preparation, "resilience," is infinitely smarter than prevention.  I'm glad that the AIA is addressing it.  If we know all this nasty stuff is going to result from climate change, aren't we be remiss to ignore it?

I do have grandchildren.  When they ask me what to do about climate change, I say "adapt."

(If my comments are worrisome, maybe I should be sent to a re-education camp!)



------------------------------
Dennis Wells AIA
VP-Studio Director
Miles Associates Incorporated
Oklahoma City OK
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17.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 6 days ago
  |   view attached
Dennis,
Can you please site a source(s) for your statement:

One of the many things we still don't know is, what portion of total planetary CO2 production is anthropomorphic? 

Also the degree of climate change, from manageable to catastrophic, and whether we can bring the planet back to pre-industrial levels, will very much depend on what we (the architecture and building community) do today (see attachments). I'd change your final statement to read:

A hundred years from now they'll be saying: "…it's amazing they wasted so much time and effort trying to stop had the wisdom, foresight and courage to address climate change!"

Ed
Architecture 2030

------------------------------
Edward Mazria FAIA
Founder And Executive Director
Architecture 2030
Santa Fe NM
------------------------------

Attachment(s)



18.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 6 days ago
Also,
The fossil fuel playbook on climate change was to first deny that climate change existed (sow confusion and ask for equal time in the media)... 
It's not happening.

And, after an El Nino year, 1998, when the planet's temperature broke all records (cherry pick that year), and claim from 2000 to 2005 that...
the planet's cooling (sow more confusion – the planet surpassed the 1998 temperature in 2005).

Then when the science was overwhelming and the global average temperature record was set again...
deny it's us (the climate is always changing, Inhofe (R-OK) brings a snowball to the Senate).

Then it was...
yes the climate is changing, we have a role, but were not sure how much. 

And, now that global average temperature records have been set in 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016, and there has been record flooding, heat waves, drought, coral bleaching, air pollution, sea level rise, etc., it's...
the warming is locked in, there is not much we can do about it, so we must focus on adaptation and resilience.

All of this so we keep burning fossil fuels. Of course we know that there is still time to address climate change if we peak global CO2 emissions by 2020 and phase out all fossil fuels by 2050 (see graphs in the previous post).

Your statements on this thread seem to be right out of the fossil fuel playbook on climate change:
"I do have grandchildren.  When they ask me what to do about climate change, I say "adapt."
"Preparation, "resilience," is infinitely smarter than prevention."
"It's settled science: If 100% of man-caused CO2 were eliminated, climate change would still occur.  If humanity were terminated, climate change would still happen."
"One of the many things we still don't know is, what portion of total planetary CO2 production is anthropomorphic?"






------------------------------
Edward Mazria FAIA
Founder And Executive Director
Architecture 2030
Santa Fe NM
------------------------------



19.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 6 days ago

Ed,

Thanks for your message.  (And let me say I'm one of your earliest fans.  It must have been in 1979 when I devoured your Passive Solar Energy Book.  It was a game-changer.  I still have the marked-up and tattered remains, along with the clear plastic inserts. Thank you for your excellent work!)

My statement didn't have a source.  I thought we didn't know the answer, though I did assume that humankind's CO2 contribution didn't outweigh nature's contribution.  After a bit of research, I found the answer: We only contribute a small percentage of total atmospheric CO2 (see attached graphic).

Human Contribution

It seems that even if we eliminate 100% of the little red chip (looks black on the attached graphic), it wouldn't change the big picture, so why spin our wheels? 

Frankly, I think the IPPC's goal is to bring America back to pre-industrial conditions and let China and India run wild (which are predominately pre-industrial).  I've heard that their projected increases in CO2 emissions are larger than even the most optimistic possible decreases in the US and Europe.  Seems like an uphill battle.  That's why I think we should promote preparation, resiliency, and adaptation in architecture… not prevention.  If the ship is sinking, fix the ship, not the ocean! 

However, I'm guessing your RCP Graphs prove differently.  Let's assume it's possible to reach RCP6.0 or 4.5 via a concerted, global effort.  I would then agree that Net Zero architecture could contribute to that effort.  But global warming will still progress.  Resilient planning and architecture will be more valuable to us in the long run.

Ed, I'm just an architect... I'm not a minion of the fossil fuel meanies.  I'm asking genuine questions and using my own logic and reason.  As stated above, I'm open to learning.  Your accusations make me sound like a mind-numbed-robot, and make you sound like a group-think alarmist.  If the COTE can't accommodate thought diversity, I'll be happy to leave...



------------------------------
Dennis Wells AIA
VP-Studio Director
Miles Associates Incorporated
Oklahoma City OK
------------------------------



20.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 5 days ago

Dennis,

Thanks for your reply.

First, as far as I'm concerned, an honest dialog on this subject is healthy.

Regarding your comments. I'd consider myself a realist; "alarmist" is a loaded word. I don't think I made any accusations in my last post (sorry you took it that way). What I did write was that:

"Your statements on this thread seem to be right out of the fossil fuel playbook on climate change."

I used the qualifier seem, because it did seem that way to me.

FYI, the graphic you posted as a justification for

"even if we eliminate 100% of the little red chip (looks black on the attached graphic), it wouldn't change the big picture, so why spin our wheels?" 

was created by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) and published by the Heritage Foundation (in the Daily Signal). The NCPA, was (now defunct) a climate denial organization, and the Heritage Foundation is a conservative think-tank notorious for undermining the science behind climate change. I find the graphic misleading. Why?

CO2 fossil fuel emissions are indeed just over 3% of the total CO2 emissions by all sources annually (the little red chip you refer to) – there are about 26 GtCO2 of emissions from burning fossil fuels, and 770 GtCO2 of natural emissions from land and sea (plus very small amounts from land use and volcanoes).

However, what the graph intentionally leaves out is that natural emissions are balanced by natural absorption annually. So, what happens when more CO2 is emitted from fossil fuels outside of the natural emissions cycle? While the 26 GtCO2 is tiny compared to the 770 GtCO2 emitted naturally each year, it adds up, because about 15 GtCO2 remains in the atmosphere (not absorbed), and as a consequence, atmospheric CO2 has increased 45%, or130ppm, since the Industrial Revolution, and is now at 410ppm, something not seen in 15 to 20 million years.

We have upset the natural balance of the carbon cycle. Man-made CO2 emissions has created an artificial forcing raising global average temperature and with it an increase in flooding, heat waves, drought, coral bleaching, air pollution, sea level rise, etc. As I said in my last post,

       there is still time to address climate change if we peak global CO2 emissions by 2020 and phase out all fossil fuels by 2050.

I believe these are more accurate graphics:

 




------------------------------
Edward Mazria FAIA
Founder And Executive Director
Architecture 2030
Santa Fe NM
------------------------------



21.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 4 days ago

Ed,

Peaking the global CO2 emissions by 2020 seems achievable.  According to this graph, it has already peaked in several countries.  China appears to be the problem child.  The US is already on the downhill side.  The declining use of coal and increasing use of natural gas is having a positive effect!  Shouldn't we be promoting nuclear energy with the same fervor as wind and solar?  Why is the sky still falling?

Graph

If CO2 is on the decline, why must all fossil fuels be phased out by 2050?  Why 100%, and why 2050?  That's unrealistic isn't it?  (75% by 2048 has a better ring to it.)  Either one seems to be a good motivation to substantially expand nuclear energy.  Are we against nuclear energy?  Honest questions.

Thanks to your explanations, I now understand that we have upset the natural balance of the CO2 cycle.  I get it. (Though I wish everyone would stop calling it "carbon.")  But the good news is it appears to be headed in the right direction.  Let's hope we don't have a flurry of large volcanic eruptions or increased sun activity!

Now for a hard question.  It's not a trick question:  What are some of the positive aspects of global warming?  You've listed a lot of negative things that could happen, but none of the positive.  I'm not suggesting that the positive outweighs the negative… I'd just like to exercise your intellectual honesty.  

You're a real sport for putting up with me.  All this back & forth has been very valuable.  It's caused me to do a lot of reading and study that I otherwise wouldn't have done.  I like your concept of "2030 Districts," and plan to explore it in more depth!

Thanks for your indulgence.



------------------------------
Dennis Wells AIA
VP-Studio Director
Miles Associates Incorporated
Oklahoma City OK
------------------------------



22.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 4 days ago
Edited by Matthew Green 4 days ago
Dennis, I notice your casual attempt to 'slip' a heritage.org sourced CO2 chart past us... No thanks!! They are not a reputable source for anthropomorphic climate change given their overt political agenda. Why don't we try a chart from NASA / NOAA instead?

Carbon dioxide concentration | NASA Global Climate Change
Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet remove preview
Carbon dioxide concentration | NASA Global Climate Change
Carbon dioxide (CO 2) is an important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gas, which is released through human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels, as well as natural processes such as respiration and volcanic eruptions. The first graph shows atmospheric CO 2 levels measured at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii, in recent years, with average seasonal cycle removed.
View this on Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet >



thumbnail image


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Matthew Green AIA
Principal
Urban Bobcat Architects, PC
Fort Worth TX
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23.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 4 days ago
Matthew,

I wasn't "slipping" anything by anyone.  And I still haven't seen a better graphic that answers my question (Ed Mazria didn't challenge the accuracy of the graph, just the source).

Your impeccable graphs still don't answer my simple question... What percentage of total atmospheric CO2 is contributed by human activity?

------------------------------
Dennis Wells AIA
VP-Studio Director
Miles Associates Incorporated
Oklahoma City OK
------------------------------



24.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 4 days ago
As I stated, the graph you posted cherry-picked a very small part of a complex process in order to mislead the public.
The simple answer to you question is the contribution of natural sources of CO2 is zero since natural emissions and absorption cancel each other out annually. Approximately 50% of emissions from human activity remains in the atmosphere annually or 15 GtCO2. Human activity is responsible for raising atmospheric CO2 from 280ppm to 410ppm today for an increase of 130ppm CO2. Each one CO2 ppm increase equals about 7.805 GtCO2, you can do the math.

The answer to your other question about why the 2020 peak and 2050 date for fossil fuel CO2 emissions phase-out? Because it is the only scientifically plausible scenario that will prevent catastrophic climate change.

To answer your question  "It's not a trick question:  What are some of the positive aspects of global warming?"
The answer is (and I'm being a bit sarcastic here because I do not see much of an upside):
Given your location in Oklahoma City here are the projections for HOT DAYS if we continue to burn fossil fuels (business as usual):
 As a U.S. citizen you can probably move north or high up in the rockies to escape the heat and drought in OKC, unless of course the states begin to limit the number of people trying to relocate. Many people in poorer countries may not have that luxury.


The answer to your nuclear question is:
Nuclear has a number of issues, the big one is cost; it can't compete economically with renewables – wind and solar – and the cost of wind and solar keep dropping every year. See: http://blog.ucsusa.org/mike-jacobs/solar-vs-nuclear

I agree with Martha Norbeck, we've beat this issue to death, this will be my last post on the subject.
Ed

------------------------------
Edward Mazria FAIA
Founder And Executive Director
Architecture 2030
Santa Fe NM
------------------------------



25.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 4 days ago

Here's a good place to walk through the CO2 natural vs human influence. https://www.skepticalscience.com/human-co2-smaller-than-natural-emissions.htm

 

 

Margaret Montgomery, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP Principal
NBBJ 223 Yale Avenue North SEATTLE WA 98109
Direct: 206.223.5230 Mobile: 206.200.4526
www.nbbj.com / @nbbjdesign / http://meanstheworld.co

 






26.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 4 days ago
Dennis, I know you responded to Mr. Mazria but I couldn't help but notice that you're citing data from the Heritage Foundation. So you've got a serious credibility issue here. Are you suggesting that the IPCC has an agenda but the Heritage Foundation is an impartial source for scientific data?

You also undermine your own argument by stating that you're "just an architect." If that's the case, then why are you applying your "own logic and reason" to a situation that clearly calls for scientific experts. I'm also an architect but I don't try to pretend that I'm a climate scientist - I trust the OVERWHELMING scientific community which acknowledges that humans are significantly contributing to climate change.

Despite what the white house and your fellow Oklahoman Mr. Pruitt believe, there are such things as objective facts in the physical world. And to modify your analogy, the ship is not sinking... the ocean is literally rising around us! Feel free to keep sharing your "thought diversity" - you can call it what you want but to me it sounds more like you have a personal opinion, based on sketchy research, about a scientific fact. Good luck with that, but as for me I'll stand with Mr. Mazria.

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Craig Graber, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, CPHD
Brooklyn NY
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27.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 4 days ago
Mr Wells,

I appreciate you taking on the issue from a different perspective. I too believe that we have a responsibility to promote the resiliency of our buildings rather than expect all of our work to be reducing greenhouse gas emissions somehow.

What I have leaned suggests that your chart is roughly an accurate representation of the amount of greenhouse gasses, but it is not a stand-in for the effects of our human activities. The CO2 balance is extremely fragile, and very small changes have exponential effects, probably in ways we seldom see. Different gasses behave in novel ways, sometimes interacting with each other. Every little bit is dangerous, cumulative, and very difficult to reverse. The measurements of "human activity" seems dubious. A wild fire is human, as is a war or an open mine that alters the environment. Is the data complete or simply a gross attempt at persuasion?

The chart you attached comes from The Heritage Foundation, an organization with an openly skewed and deeply partisan mission of persuading an audience. Charts look like things in text books, so I too am easily convinced by a good graphic. As my skills for architectural rendering improve though, I am becoming more sensitive to graphic persuasion. A more neutral chart might explain the amounts of various gasses required to affect the global air temperatures. Does CO2 and methane over the oceans and poles have a different effect than we see in populated areas? Methane and NOx are also ignored in the chart, as are our activities that have changed how much water evaporates and remains in the air to capture more heat.

Your assertion that China and India are predominately pre-industrial and left to run wild ignores their world-leading progress and the opportunities they are seizing extensively to use modern tech to grow economies. Perhaps your data is a few years out of date? Western folks like my ancestors used older dirtier methods to get going, and we also have our share of less industrialized places that are that way by choice, as many traditional communities choose a simpler and softer life.

I'm sure you are familiar with the story of the ozone layer and its effects. It's another invisible gas that affects the climate of certain areas. Just because it is a small effect or invisible doesn't mean its effects won't be greatly altered by our choices.

I hope you and everyone we work with can continue to promote good design solutions. To use your analogy, when choosing materials and methods that are more resilient you are also helping to fix the ocean by making better ships. If the boat can keep the water around it clean, you don't have a slick of oil left behind the boat and choking the fish and what-have-you. I feel intense guilt whenever I am tasked with a project that will require flights to meetings. Hopefully the pollution I am contributing is outweighed; if I can help make a great and lasting place, perhaps people can use the architecture in ways that reduce waste and improve health without causing further damage.

Getting better will take all kinds of actions and solutions. All positive efforts are helping to shift the average toward a sustainable future. Carbon is only a fraction of the picture, and it is somewhat comical how the Heritage Foundation's chart even colored their herring of a chart with a tiny red detail.

It is clearly a discussion that won't bear out all the answers in a forum like this or emails. From where I site, I see we have economies and systems in place that must be our starting points. You are correct that much of what we must do has to work within the system. Net Zero won't be for everyone or available to everyone. It also isn't the only answer, only part of the many answers we must all come up with to make the space around us more sustainable. Maybe in the future once all of the spaces are better the tide will turn back to a system that is self-sustaining and balanced for a healthier planet for us all to share.

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Jonathan Fisher
Associate
Torti Gallas and Partners
Silver Spring, MD
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28.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 3 days ago
It's great to see an open and honest dialog among AIA members on important topics (yes, this forum is a benefit of membership but so is the opportunity to have a dialog with other AIA members - I never hesitate to renew).

My perspective has shifted from worrying about the details of measuring pollutants to recognizing that, as architects, we are licensed and obligated to protect the health, safety, and welfare of people. We choose, by virtue of our designs and related work, whether each building we touch will contribute to the problems of pollution or help reduce it. Since we have the means (starting with Ed's book) to design building envelopes that reduce energy demand, to specify building systems that are more efficient in the energy they consume, and to incorporate sources of energy that do not pollute, then it is irresponsible and frankly unethical for us not to incorporate these things into our work. We only have credibility in protecting the public if we actually do it. Cities around the world are seeing the health, safety and welfare problems of air pollution that comes from fossil fuels. Since architects are good problem solvers, let's solve this one - on every project and everything we do. The sooner the better for everyone.

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Peter Arsenault FAIA
Principal
Peter J. Arsenault, Architect
Greensboro NC
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29.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 3 days ago
I recommend learning how to google images. Here is a discussion from https://maps.wunderground.com/blog/RickyRood/comment.html?entrynum=115&page=2.  

"This is a science blog and you post BS from the Heritage Foundation and NCPA. Both known right-wing policy centers... 
From the source for the graphic: 3.4% is the annual increase. Which over the course of decades has resulted in an increase from a preindustrial level of 280ppm CO2 to a current level of 387 ppm. A little bit adds up over time. It's gone up by almost a 1/3."

"You'll find the link to this little piece of propaganda here: http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/GlobalWarmingPrimer.pdf"





30.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 3 days ago
Dennis,

You are misreading the chart. This chart does not suggest that humans are only contributing a small fraction of climate changing gasses.  It does not even show at all what % humans are contributing. It shows the relative % of CO2 in relation to all greenhouse gases.  ALL greenhouse gasses contribute to global warming. (And for the sake of convenient illustration we often convert other ghg emissions into CO2 equivalent - but that is NOT what the chart is doing here.)

Global warming and the planetary wide changes in the climate that man-made greenhouse gases are causing now are already catastrophic. People are dying and the damages caused are skyrocketing.  The people in low lying coastal areas (example Bangladesh, India, New Orleans, New York, Houston, and many Island nations) and others in higher areas (Puerto Rico - which is a large island with affected low and high ground) know about the death.  The insurance companies know about the financial costs. How about those earthquakes in Oklahoma caused by fracking - do you not think that our hunger for natural gas - a critical ghg emitting fossil fuel - is related? In that case human caused geologic change and global warming are bedfellows.

This is a HUGE issue and one we architects are obligated as humans and professionals to do all we can to reverse. Unless you plan on moving to Mars soon, this is the only home we have and the only home we are likely to have in hundreds of years.  We have made a mess of it.  I for one (and many others - but not yet nearly enough) am trying to un-mess it with something called regenerative design.  Try it, you might like it.

Cheers,

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Ralph Bicknese AIA, LEED AP BD+C, LEED Fellow
Principal
Hellmuth + Bicknese Architects
St. Louis, MO
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31.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 3 days ago
Sourcewatch.org identifies the NCPA as "a free market think tank primarily funded by private foundations established by wealthy conservative business families and billionaires including Charles and David Koch".  The NCPA is the source of the graphic used by Dennis Wells to support his position on global warming.  Need one say more?


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Martin Harms FAIA
Sarasota FL
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32.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 11 days ago
Mr. Wells,
A few examples of what I would consider to be unethical, or at least morally challenged, projects.
1) A 70% glass building in Iowa. The energy model clearly showed that the extent of glass would lead to a failure to meet the energy code. Rather than change the WWR, they plowed another $1M into upgrading the mechanical system. While the designer may argue this is what the client chose, I must ask, did the client choose it because they'd already been sold on the design? Is the client really making an informed choice when the architect makes the 1st order mistake of proposing an irresponsible solution? Not under any circumstances would I ever sketch or propose a 70% WWR office building.
2) The 90% WWR building where I observe occupants in various stages of manipulating their immediate surroundings to cope with the glare. It is irresponsible to design a space where occupants waste minutes to hours each day fighting glare. This project won a design award.
3) The pre-school classrooms with an exposed metal deck and ductwork, vinyl floors and CMU walls. No surprise that the teachers complain of the children having trouble paying attention.
4) The project that added 10% WWR to an already 35% WWR design solely because they thought it would increase their chances at a design award. True story.
Four examples where the designers could have, and should have, foreseen the outcome in occupant experience and energy use. It is our responsibility as professionals to read between the lines and propose solutions that give occupants what they need to function effectively and operate efficiently. Our work directly affects climate change. Design choices which flagrantly squander energy is unethical.

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Martha Norbeck AIA, LEED AP BD+C
C-Wise Design and Consulting LLC
Iowa City IA
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33.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 11 days ago
Martha,
Very good examples.  Thank you.

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Dennis Wells AIA
VP-Studio Director
Miles Associates Incorporated
Oklahoma City OK
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34.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 5 days ago

Dennis,

Hat's off for trying. And for taking a rational approach to a rational subject. Who'd think that would be considered so radical?

For what it's worth, unanswered questions like the one you pose driving at the unspoken purpose the AIA seems to have set for itself outside of the field of the actual practice of architecture are why my AIA renewal still sits on my desk today. As it does every year.





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Michael Poloukhine AIA
Owner
ReSquare Architecture + Construction
Los Angeles CA
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35.  RE: Broad Set of Principles...

Posted 4 days ago
Michael,

Thanks for your comment.  (I'm glad you're out there!)

Yeah, I miss the old AIA too and stare at my renewal form for quite some time...

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Dennis Wells AIA
VP-Studio Director
Miles Associates Incorporated
Oklahoma City OK
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