Middlebury

Peter Barnes, author of "Who Owns the Sky?," to speak Oct. 2 and 3

September 19, 2007

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? On Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m., Peter Barnes, author and entrepreneur, will give a public talk at Middlebury College on his proposed Sky Trust model for reducing carbon emissions. The talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place in Room 220 at McCardell Bicentennial Hall, located on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125).

On Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 12:20 p.m., Barnes will lead a panel discussion on the economic and political opportunities for implementing The Sky Trust in the current legislative session in the United States Congress. The panel will also include James Boyce, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Peter Dorman, professor of economics at Evergreen State College; Middlebury College senior Bonnie Hemphill; and Middlebury College Luce Professor of International Environmental Economics Jonathan Isham. The panel discussion, also open to the public, includes lunch and will take place in Room 103 of the Hillcrest Environmental Center, located on Hillcrest Road off College Street.

Barnes is author of "Who Owns the Sky?" and the more recent "Capitalism 3.0," in which he makes the case that society needs a radically new way of looking at natural resource management - one that does not view natural resources as free and unlimited. He champions a cap and trade system for carbon emissions that would emulate successful initiatives already used to reduce sulfur, lead and other environmental pollutants.

The Sky Trust model is based on the Alaska Permanent Fund, which pays equal dividends to all Alaskans from state oil income. Sky Trust would reduce carbon emissions by selling a declining number of carbon emission permits to energy companies and dividing the income equally among all Americans, including children. This process is designed to achieve ambitious national climate goals including an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Barnes grew up in New York City. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from Harvard and a master's in government from Georgetown. He began his career as a reporter at The Lowell Sun (Massachusetts), and was subsequently a Washington correspondent for Newsweek and West Coast correspondent for The New Republic. In 1976 he co-founded a worker-owned solar energy company in San Francisco, and in 1983 he co-founded Working Assets Money Fund and subsequently served as president of Working Assets Long Distance. In 1995 Ernst & Young named him Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year for Northern California. He is currently a senior fellow at the Tomales Bay Institute in Point Reyes Station, Calif.

Barnes' appearance at Middlebury College is jointly sponsored by the Christian A. Johnson Fund, The Luce Foundation, and the Middlebury College Environmental Affairs Office and Environmental Studies Program. For more information or to RSVP for the panel discussion lunch, contact Janine Podraza at jpodraza@middlebury.edu or 802-443-3198. There is no charge for the lunch.