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Convenient Fantasies About Climate Change

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Get the slides, meet the speakers, stay in touch, and what’s up with the kayak stickers?

Hey everyone! Welcome to our session, Convenient Fantasies About Climate Change. If you’re interested in learning more about the backstory of our session, please check out this announcement post. Here we’d like to share some additional resources with you, and make it easy to connect with our speakers and stay in touch. Don’t forget to use and explore #climatefantasies on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter to add to the conversation we’re starting here today.

Miss it Live at SXSW 2022? Here’s a Replay

This post is a welcome to SXSW 2022 attendees who caught our session called Convenient Fantasies About Climate Change. If you weren’t able to make it to the event, below is a replay an encore performance with two of the speakers.

For SXSW 2022 Attendees:

Why We’re Here

At CarbonBetter we believe that small steps by many add up to a big impact, and that we won’t effectively solve global problems at scale unless we all take some kind of action. That means we have to start somewhere, and for many the ‘starting’ begins with something as simple as a conversation – that’s why we’re here speaking at SXSW 2022.

What is CarbonBetter?

CarbonBetter is a privately held firm specializing in energy logistics, sustainability & decarbonization services, and clean energy and carbon offset project consulting. We’re a creative and diverse team tackling the complex climate challenges that are changing our world by helping organizations transition to a net-zero future—accelerating the societal shifts that will save our planet. Austin Business Journal recently named CarbonBetter as the 10th largest privately-owned business headquartered in Austin, and we’re proud to be a certified minority-owned business. We’re hiring! Check out open roles here. Get in touch with CarbonBetter.

What is Ara Partners?

Ara Partners is a global private equity firm specializing in industrial decarbonization. They target sectors of the economy that are overlooked by the majority of investors but hold promise for reducing carbon emissions by increasing energy, resource, and process efficiency. Ara believes that the private sector will play a major role in building the carbon-neutral economy necessary to avert the most serious impacts of the climate crisis. Get in touch with Ara Partners.

What’s a Convenient Fantasy?

The theme of our session is “convenient fantasies,” which comes from a three-part expose written by Tariq Fancy, the ex-CIO of sustainable investing at BlackRock. It’s long, but worth it if you want to really understand what “sustainable investing” is really doing for the climate crisis.

We define a convenient fantasy as something we believe that suits our purpose or needs, but isn’t necessarily fully accurate or true. (As you’ll see below, protesting fossil fuels in a kayak is one of them.)

We all have convenient fantasies in our lives, and it helps to name them so we can focus on uncovering the ‘inconvenient truths’ beneath them. For example, it’s a convenient fantasy to think you’ll reach your health goals through Netflix binge marathons. It’s also a convenient fantasy to think that we’ll solve climate change by handing it off to others as a problem to solve.

Why No Kayaks?
Text: "Say NO to kayaks"

No, we’re not anti-kayak, but we do think kayaks can help us create a conversation around practical climate change solutions.

We’ll share an iconic image in our presentation that shows activists in kayaks holding signs protesting an off-shore rig. The irony of this image is that many people don’t realize those plastic kayaks – and many of the items in our homes, hospitals, schools, and businesses – are made with materials derived from fossil fuels. Boycotting fossil fuels while sitting in a kayak is like protesting the use of animal products in clothing while wearing a fur coat. To boycott fossil fuels would be to boycott many of the items we all use in our daily lives. It’s a convenient fantasy to think that the solution is to villanize one type of fuel, assuming there are no unintended consequences.

Climate change is a super wicked problem. With so much complexity and the reality that the scope of the problems grow with each passing day, nothing is as simple as a boycott. We think the no kayaks sticker creates the opportunity for conversation about that, which will help us move faster towards necessary incremental solutions.

Connect With the Speakers
Tri Vo, Founder and President of CarbonBetter
Founder & President, CarbonBetter


Tri’s career in energy spans over 10 years, where he worked his way up from entry-level analyst to later founding CarbonBetter. He has repeatedly witnessed the devastating effects of climate change as he guided his energy business through the complicated logistics created by climate aberrations like polar vortexes and record-setting warm winters. These experiences have fueled his passion for helping companies navigate their own transition to net-zero before it’s too late. Read Tri’s full bio and stories.

Nicole Sullivan, Climate Services Manager at CarbonBetter.
Climate Services Manager, CarbonBetter


Nicole has twelve years of environmental and sustainability experience as an Environmental Engineer. She has an extensive background in environmental and sustainability consulting, and voluntary and mandatory air quality and greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting. Over the last ten years, she has provided strategic consulting services within a range of industry sectors, including petrochemical, oil and gas, railroad, and manufacturing. Read Nicole’s full bio and stories.

James Wang, Managing Director at Ara Partners.
MANAGing Director, ara Partners


James is focused on global decarbonization efforts. He invests in near-term and long-term improvements in the carbon intensity of key sectors, including industrial & manufacturing, chemicals & materials, food & agriculture, and energy efficiency & green fuels. Read James’s full bio.

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