Aside from the glory, sustainability and satisfaction that it brings, what is a suitable prize for a state crossing the net zero line?  Join the prize committee and pull together the ultimate prize.

chat Posted Sep 24, 2014 by Rezwan | Category : Prizes
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Intrinsic Rewards

Achieving a net zero carbon economy with a great quality of life is its own reward. Can you imagine it? The best quality and most sustainable of worlds!  Prosperity + sustainability for all. Now we can get on to living ever more extraordinary lives. It’s Year Zero

Bragging Rights

Yes, every state is going to have to get to zero carbon ASAP - but one state will get there FIRST. And to that state go the bragging rights!

When, in record time, your State, the boldest of these United States of America, achieves net zero, it will send a resounding message of hope to the rest of the world. It will be proof that the needs of ten billion people can be met with zero carbon and high standards. And it will give you and your fellow citizens epic bragging rights. Hah! Let’s laugh at the other loser States!

But be careful you don’t lose your edge. You may slack off and your emissions rise the next year. Your competitors could come in with a lower net carbon number the next year (pump up the afforestation!) and unseat you. Or they could match your numbers, but have demonstrably better quality of life.

There goes your title!

Instrinsic, Shmintrinsic. I want a trophy! And stuff!

We all know about the intrinsic rewards of achieving net zero carbon, and yet we’ve been slacking. Perhaps we need something a little shinier and simpler to focus on. Something concrete to complement the elusive state of “sustainability.” A trophy. And stuff. Now we have something more specific to work with! But who will design/procure said trophy and stuff?

Prize Committee

The job of the prize committee is to determine and procure the Mega State Scale prizes for the race to net zero carbon. If you have a suggestion for a prize, let us know in the comments below.  If you want to offer or sponsor a prize, or join the prize committee, please contact us.  There can be as many prizes as there are donors. Thank you for your part in this!

Caveat:  The prizes must be donated by the private sector. No taxpayer dollars can be harmed in the issuance of prizes.

Now, let the discussion & procurement of prizes begin.  Here are a few ideas to open the conversation:

The Ultimate Prize

A massive prize for the first state to win the race to net zero carbon! 

Satisfaction and sustainability are nice, but the winners need a physical manifestation of victory to hold it over everyone else. For starters, we’ll need a trophy.  Beyond that, something mega, state sized.  And then perhaps something tangible at the individual scale for each citizen of the winning state.

The Trophy, aka “The Carbon Cup”

Once the first State crosses the net zero line, the Carbon Cup will be in play. Each year, when we reassess the numbers, it may change hands.

Trophy design ideas welcome.  The trophy could be studded with diamonds from all the states.  Why diamonds?  Sequestered carbon.  Where would we get the diamonds from? Each state can contribute a diamond.  Well, not each state, per se - rather, a citizen from each state on its behalf.  I has to be a private citizen from each state, because, of course, no taxpayer dollars can be harmed in putting together these prizes. Donate a diamond today! 

The State Scale Prize

This will be the biggest prize.  It can be some state-scale object for the state itself.  It can be utilitarian, like a bridge or other public project. It can be symbolic, like a massive monument in the state itself, in DC on the mall, or a state selfie added to Mt. Rushmore. 

Citizen Scale Prizes

Prizes can be awarded to each citizen of the winning state. A basket of goods donated by sponsors could be assembled.  Vouchers could be distributed. The prize could be cash for each member of the state, from a pool of funds raised by folks from every state, and distributed to the winning state via some sort of carbon race lottery. 

Population Weights

The prize committee will have to consider the population question.  The race is measured by per capita carbon emissions so a large population wouldn’t necessarily be a disadvantage.  Indeed, two of the most populous states are in the lead right now (CA & NY).  However, when the race catches on, a low population state could conceivably win with a few minor investments.  We may thus want to run the race with population divisions/classes.  Lightweight, welterweight and heavyweight states. Comment below.

Interim Prizes

It may take a few years for some state to win the ultimate net zero prize (Note: need to set up a futures market to bet on this). In the interim, prizes can be awarded each year for best state, greatest progress, most innovative and so on. As noted, we can have as many prizes as we have sponsors. 

The prizes can also be given in different categories related to the demand side of energy.  Best progress in electrification of the state’s car fleet, best progress in leed certification of public buildings, and so forth, professional sector by professional sector.

Inverse Prizes

But why just reward the winners? Why not mock the losers?  Consider the fun we could have with inverse prizes. Losers could walk a giant “Easter Island” style statue that weighs as much as their carbon emissions across the country.  Hours of stone age fun!  Great motivator!

Dark Prize

We have been asked, “What if no one wins? What if one state wins, but everyone else keeps emitting greenhouse gases and the climate tips into catastrophe anyway?”

We have an answer for that, dark and satirical. If you really want to know, click here.

For now, banish that negative self-talk. It won’t come to that. Get your head, heart and soul in the game. We’re all going to get to zero. One state will get there there FIRST. Will it be yours?

This game is now in play.

Notes & Related:

The trophy will be studded with diamonds, because a diamond is solid carbon.

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