March 5, 2021

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David Espinoza and Jeremy Morris Coauthored Time is not Money, Risk is! for The Solutions Journal

David Espinoza, Ph.D., P.E., and Jeremy Morris, Ph.D., P.E., (Maryland) coauthored an article entitled "Time is not Money, Risk is!" for publication in The Solutions Journal on December 1, 2020.

David and Jeremy's coauthor was Alice Hill, Council on Foreign Relations.

David Espinoza is a Senior Principal Geoenvironmental Engineer based in Maryland focused on foundation design over soft soils, design of containment facilities (e.g., municipal solid waste, mining tailings, coal-combustion residuals), closure of containment facilities (e.g., tailing storage facilities) and more recently, financial evaluation of infrastructure investments taking into consideration physical risks such as climate change.

Jeremy Morris is Principal Engineer based in Maryland with more than 20 years of professional experience focused on solid waste management with an emphasis on closure and post-closure performance of waste containment facilities.

The Solutions Journal is a non-profit online publication devoted to showcasing bold and innovative ideas for solving the world's integrated ecological, social, and economic problems. The journal's mission is to provide a forum for developing and discussing seriously creative ideas to solve society's most pressing problems in an integrated way.


Despite our technological achievements, decisions that affect future generations are still based on arcane financial models that artificially downplay future global risks such as climate change and pandemics and fail to appropriately value collective actions that we could take today to alleviate such risks. The current COVID-19 pandemic provides grim evidence of this. By grossly underestimating future global risks, such financial models understate the long-term effects of today's actions, effectively imposing a cost on future generations that the current one has little incentive to fix. Although history shows there is no limit to human ingenuity for technological innovation; sadly, it will not be technical limitations that inhibits society's response to the great challenges posed by global risks, but rather flaws in the financial models used to make long-term consequential decisions. These models, developed in a different time under a different set of circumstances, have promoted the old-adage that "time is money," which captures both western civilization's fascination with material wealth and its current short-term decision-making mindset. Continued reliance on these outdated models hampers our ability to fund projects with long-term benefits that reduce the risk of impacts. We need to start acknowledging that time is not money, risk is! A practical financial model that captures precisely that is described herein: the decoupled net present value (DNPV).

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