Go Carbon Neutral (or Better) with Pear Energy: CEO Interview Series


download-2Businesses and families looking to cut their carbon emissions have a lot of options these days. One inexpensive and extremely effective way to cut carbon emissions and help fight climate change is to offset your company or household footprint with carbon offsets.

Pear Energy is a company we love at Ecopreneurist and we are writing this advertorial for the service they offer – provide carbon offsets for businesses and homes. For the cost of a couple of cups of coffee a week, most businesses can go carbon neutral with Pear Energy and help the company drive investment on a large scale into new renewable energy projects.

I had the opportunity to interview the company’s CEO, Bob Pollin, a professor of Economics and a regular writer for The Nation Magazine, to find out more about carbon offsets and about the investments Pear is making to help create a cleaner world.

Scott Cooney: There’s a lot of interest these days in renewables and other clean technologies, but climate change legislation seems like it may not happen anytime soon. What do you think are the critical steps we must take, as business leaders and citizens, to start making change and improving our carbon footprint?

Bob Pollin: The basics could not be more simple. First, we need to dramatically raise our level of energy efficiency. Second, we need to equally dramatically expand our usage of clean renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, geothermal, clean biofuels such as waste grease biodiesel, and small scale hydro. And third, we’ve got to dramatically cut our consumption of all fossil fuels–coal, oil, and natural gas. It is, by the way, a myth that natural gas is a “clean fuel”.

SC: That is a common misperception, isn’t it? The natural gas industry has done a good job convincing people that it’s “clean”, when, at best, it’s “cleaner”, maybe, right? 

BP: That’s right. It is only clean relative to burning coal, but that is an extremely low bar.

SC: Many people describe natural gas as a bridge fuel, while others believe it’s a true path to carbon emission reduction.

BP: Well, let’s say we maintained our current level of total energy consumption, but that we relied on natural gas as our sold energy source. According to almost all serious climate science research, we would never come close to hitting our necessary targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in this scenario–not even close.

SC: As a Professor of Economics, surely you think about job creation quite a bit. Do you think there’s anything out there that has more potential than clean, domestic energy, in terms of creating jobs in this new economy?

BP: There are other excellent sources of new job creation. The education sector is one of them, maybe actually the best. But investing in the green economy has the unique combination of being a powerful engine of job creations while also being absolutely imperative for controlling climate change.

SC: Last year, Harvard Medical School published a study about the externalized costs of coal, citing that if the coal industry had to pay the costs of the public health hazards it creates, coal energy would cost 3x what wind energy does. But yet the dirty energy industries have large PR budgets that they use to sway public opinion, so many people think we can’t afford greener alternatives. What do you tell people who think that clean energy, or for that matter, any aspect of the green economy, is just too expensive?

BP: It actually isn’t expensive, even if you don’t take account of the external costs of coal, fracking, importing and burning oil, and operating unsafe nuclear power plants. As one example, the U.S. Department of Energy itself estimates that the costs of producing electricity with wind and hydro power will be equal to coal and cheaper than nuclear power within four years. Natural gas is “cheaper” but that is just because of fracking.

SC: So Pear Energy provides people with an option to cut their carbon footprint from the electricity used in their homes. Can you walk us through how that works?

BP: We take the exact amount of electricity you consume every month, and purchase that amount of wind energy from small scale and community owned wind farms. So the amount of electricity you consume is being matched exactly by an equal supply of wind power going onto the electrical grid. We will soon be doing this also with small-scale solar operations.

SC: So by shifting our utilities bills to Pear Energy, we’re really helping support the creation of more clean energy. What projects is Pear looking to help support and get off the ground?

BP: Pear is in negotiations to build a solar farm ourselves on the site of a hotel near Palm Springs, CA. If the project works, we can supply power to the hotel itself but also the community at large. We will move out from there if things go well.

SC: What are your long term goals with Pear Energy?

BP: I started Pear after I worked as a consultant for the US Department of ENergy on the green parts of the Obama stimulus program. It became clear that we need very strong and effective connections between business, the public sector, and the environmental movements. I though I could possible help here with Pear. My long term goal with Pear is therefore simple: to play a role in the project of building a green economy as quickly and decisively as possible.

For more information, please check out your options to offset your carbon emissions with Pear Energy.

About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on
  • Uncle B

    Have suffered through the extreme and forceful suppression by oligarch, plutocrat multinational corpocracy suppression’s of: electric bullet trains in America, trains, trams, street cars, public transportation systems, healthy diets, sustainable housing, efficient personal transportation systems, diesel powered, CNG powered, or otherwise, Slow Poke reactors CANDU reactors, Thorium energy technologies, Avro Arrow aircraft, EV-1 cars, their NiMh miracle batteries, their three moving part power trains, hemp vehicle bodies by University of Alberta, (Hemp lotus) Blimps for road free, all season, heavy transport over tundras, in Canadian North and Siberian North, deserts of the world, the now “disappeared” super-insulation’s that made ‘moon walks’ possible, – imagine the benefit to mankind of a wall paper that would yield even “R” 20 – 40 gains, savings in heating/cooling expenses?) – and much much more. I expect for U.S. citizens at least, to see the nano carbon super capacitors with Power Density approaching, even exceeding gasoline – to be “disappeared”?( but not in China?) The Chreos car claims, justified, even verified by D.C. pulsed computer controlled charge/discharge and even inductive power returns for these miracle storage units – ‘disappeared’? By Oil Barons? Other “interests”?
    In Asia at least, nano carbon super capacitors, or better, will provide energy storage for vehicles of all sizes, and ballast for Solar, Wind, Wave, Hydro, Tidal, Geothermal, Thorium, electric sources, absorbing peak outputs, absorbing low demand time reactor, hydro, coal fired, outputs and furnishing electric power as needed by humanity. Unlike Chemical battery systems, there are no internal resistance losses, no chemical degradation over lifetimes, no exotic or expensive materials, and higher voltages are a likely possibility making for lighter wiring, lighter motors, faster charging/discharging cycles and larger inductive returns.
    The Thorium revolution in China debuts 2017 according to the u-tube videos, and will eliminate the need for enriched uranium schemes the world over, eliminate the dangerous wastes problems and eliminate humanocidal plutonium production. Anticipated to “Alter Global Energy Maps Forever” and move humanity from fossil fuels to a new electric reality in only decades, we see a future without the nasty benzene carcinogenic, without massive CO2 emissions, and in China, according to the u-tube videos, the energy from Thorium able to sequester CO2 in a liquid fuel if they so wish.
    Humanity on the cusp of a new 21st century reality, and faced with an insane cult in a small corner of Israel hell bent on a nuclear holocaust and the consequential spread of the humanocidal plutonium, for ideological differences with a similar small cult of Iranians? Mind blowing contrasts for intelligentsia: of power brokers in this world? Mind blowing.

    Economics? China owns a balance of power over the U.S. Dollar, China is building Military proportionate to their population and territories, China makes money, has a positive cash flow, supported by the whole of the Pan Eurasian Alliances for marketplace, resources, has an intelligentsia in control, a massive, highly educated, multi discipline, Think Tank that appoints the Communist politburo of 7, also very much intelligentsia, while the U.S. Congress, old men, ignorant men, men of an age long passed, men with poor education, old education, and illusions of grandeur and personal opulence, and personal stakes in 19th and early 20th century industries, now constipate advances in America, keep the Cadillacs on the roads, even seek straight Eight Oldsmobiles, and hardly realize the ruins in Detroit City. We witness here the rot from within of a formerly very rich nation, and stagnation of thought, mind, and deed. That is the economics of this failed and falling superpower.

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