“An age-old myth that should be shut down is that all regulation is bad for the economy and only environmentalists care about climate change,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, the sustainable investing advocacy group that coordinated the letters…

“We really see economic opportunity in addressing climate change, and it’s important to change the narrative that’s been out there for a long time that says addressing climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy all mean economic harm,”

It has baffled, frustrated, and disappointed me for decades that businesses and the public alike bought the propaganda that doing what is right for the environment is bad for business and the economy.   I have NEVER read or heard of one peer reviewed or credible study that has shown this.  Quite the opposite.  EVERY bit of information and anecdotal piece of evidence has proven that when we do what is right for the environment it has been profitable and good for business and society.  I challenge you to produce a credible study otherwise. 

Therefore, I constantly wonder why so many people are opposed to protecting our fragile planet?  Yes, there are certain industries that will suffer from change.  And we are all predisposed to maintaining the status quo.  But with the status quo being so dire and the results of change so fabulous, altering our direction and economy, especially the energy industry, will be fabulously profitable and create a healthier and more equitable future.

And now, finally, finally, finally, the business community is getting behind the change in a big way.  As I’ve said all along, once this happens change will happen fast and furious.  This is what it takes to create the change we need.  Why?  Because the politicians that need the business community support will drop their resistance to creating the political and regulatory “environment” (excuse the pun) that is required to incentivize the transition and quit subsidizing harmful behavior.  

Following are two articles that reflect what is happening.  Take a look.


Corporations join in White House warming push ahead of Paris

Jean Chemnick and Lisa Friedman, E&E reporters

 Monday, July 27, 2015

Companies as diverse as Coca-Cola and Bank of America will visit the White House today to announce voluntary emissions-reduction pledges to support President Obama’s quest for a global agreement on climate change at the end of this year.
The White House announcement will involve more than a dozen companies from a variety of sectors, including many that have previously taken steps to reduce their impact on warming either on their own or as part of other collaborations with the Obama administration.
Secretary of State John Kerry will give remarks at the White House roundtable event in the absence of President Obama, who is traveling in Kenya. White House climate adviser Brian Deese and Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern also will attend.

The 13 participating companies will pledge to spend a collective $140 billion to combat warming and will endorse “a strong outcome in the Paris climate negotiations,” according to the White House.

The other participants in the American Businesses Act on Climate Pledge are Alcoa Inc., Apple Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill Inc., General Motors Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., PepsiCo Inc., United Parcel Service Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Many of the same companies have been involved in the numerous previous announcements the White House has rolled out over the last few years on climate change adaptation or mitigation. Coca-Cola and UPS already belong to a public-private initiative called the National Clean Fleets Partnership, for example, which seeks to improve the fuel efficiency of companies that operate large vehicle fleets. Google provided cloud storage space to house data for the administration’s Climate Data Initiative, which was launched last year to help the public and local governments gain access to federally collected information about the effects of warming. The company played a similar role in last month’s Climate Services for Resilient Development partnership, which aims to help local communities adapt.

In a statement this morning, the White House said the pledges show the private sector “is committed to stepping up and doing its part” to combat warming.

“While the United States is leading on the international stage and the federal government is doing its part to combat climate change, hundreds of private companies, local governments, and foundations have stepped up to increase energy efficiency, boost low-carbon investing, and make solar energy more accessible to low-income Americans,” the statement said.
Climate advocates said that today’s effort has been several months in the making and is part of a global climate change agreement in which cities, states, businesses and others are being mobilized to announce emissions cuts as well as national governments.
“Combating climate change cannot be tackled by governments alone,” said Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. She praised the White House’s effort to bring in businesses, arguing that private industry is where investment and innovation starts.
Meanwhile, she said, businesses need to challenge the notion that only a handful of them are reducing their carbon footprint or building sustainability into their supply chains.

“I think people think it’s just a small group of companies that have a green outlook. That is not the case,” Jacobson said. “This is a mainstream corporate activity.”

The announcement comes a week before U.S. EPA is widely expected to release its final Clean Power Plan together with rules for new and modified power plant carbon dioxide. Former EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, who is now president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, said in a statement that the pledges are an affirmative step toward an agreement in Paris.
“And the business community will be essential to mobilizing the technology, investment and innovation needed to transition to a low-carbon economy,” Perciasepe said. While governments in the developed and developing world have made strides recently toward a meaningful agreement, “the strong support of business leaders for climate action, like that exhibited today, can only help to strengthen that will,” he said.
Commitments vary by company. Alcoa, for example, has already pledged to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of its operations by 30 percent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels. It adds a promise to cut absolute greenhouse gas output by half in 2025.
Bank of America has previously pledged $50 billion for low-carbon financing and will now increase that to $125 billion by 2025 through lending, investing, capital raising and other services. GM committed to reduce carbon intensity from facilities 20 percent by 2020 over a 2010 baseline and promote renewable energy use and reduce waste.
The White House plans to play host to a second set of climate commitments this fall, and Kerry, who has made combating warming a priority of his State Department tenure, will convene a forum on climate finance ahead of the Paris negotiations.
The accord, expected to be signed in Paris in December, will include a component for local governments and the private sector, dubbed “non-state actors.” That work is critical, activists said, because the emissions cuts that countries alone have pledged for Paris are so far not enough to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Twitter: @chemnipot
Email: jchemnick@eenews.net

Big group of companies tells governors they want ‘timely’ approval of Obama’s climate plan

Lisa Friedman, E&E reporter

Friday, July 31, 2015

More than 300 companies today came out in favor of proposed Obama administration regulations to tackle climate change.

In letters to 29 governors, brand-name corporations from chocolate giant Nestlé to office supplier Staples told state leaders that they want to see a “timely finalization” of plans to meet new standards regulating coal-fired power plants.

“An age-old myth that should be shut down is that all regulation is bad for the economy and only environmentalists care about climate change,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, the sustainable investing advocacy group that coordinated the letters.

The 365 companies coming out in favor of emissions curbs, she said, “are not liberal or conservative, they’re not East Coast or West Coast. They’re businesses who are concerned with making money and building a future economy, and they’re standing up and saying that they can be profitable and do better if these regulations are in place.”

The letter comes as the Obama administration prepares to release the final version of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The controversial proposal to cut emissions from new coal plants 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 faces tests in the courts and battles in some states. While states are being asked to submit plans for complying with the rule or have EPA come up with one for them, several governors — including those from Louisiana, Indiana and West Virginia — have suggested they will not enforce the rule.
Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs for Staples, said the letter focuses on governors because that’s where the decisionmaking is happening.
“This was an opportunity for us to really make our voices heard in states where we have a significant presence,” Buckley said. “The way the Clean Power Plan is structured, it provides certainly flexibility for states to comply.”
He said the rule is consistent with the businesses’ own approach to sustainability, and noted Staples signed a solar power purchase agreement and joined the Green Power Market Development Group, a coalition of 15 companies devoted to purchasing and developing new sources of renewable energy.

“It’s time for the utility infrastructure to modernize with an eye to cleaner and more reliable and more renewable power,” Buckley said.

Voices from the home front

The Ceres letters will go to governors of states where various companies are based, including North Carolina, Colorado, Arizona and Indiana.
Stu Dalheim, vice president of shareholder advocacy at Calvert Investments and one of the signatories, called the EPA proposal “critical” as countries are working to develop a global climate agreement to be signed in Paris in December.

“We really see economic opportunity in addressing climate change, and it’s important to change the narrative that’s been out there for a long time that says addressing climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy all mean economic harm,” he said. “I think there is a growing sense that addressing climate change is important to reduce the downside risks.”

Both Dalheim and Lubber said they believe they are starting to see a shift in the business world when it comes to putting themselves on the line for climate action. Slowly, both said, companies that in years past would not have been willing to actively lobby Republican climate opponents whom they might need on other issues are starting to find a voice.
“The problem is getting more serious, and the economics are getting more clear,” Lubber said. “There are some companies that feel if they say to Congress, ‘We want you to act on climate,’ somebody will take away some trade preference. … I’d like to think that’s not the case.”

‘You do have skin in the game’

Dalheim said industries not directly affected by climate regulations have been reluctant to come forward out of fear of stepping on the toes of utility companies. “I know from talking to companies that in some sense they feel electricity is not their primary business. … One argument has been, ‘An auto manufacturer wouldn’t want an electric utility to counter on [corporate average fuel economy] standards,'” Dalheim said.
But, he added, Calvert and others have been arguing to the food industry and others, “You do have skin in the game. … You are huge users of electricity.”

And, he said, the argument is working. “A growing number of investors recognize the real risk of climate change and see the opportunity.”

Of course, a number of other businesses remain deeply concerned about how the Clean Power Plan could affect their companies.
Ross Eisenberg, vice president of energy and resources policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, said his association wants to address climate change. But, he said, “we want it to be done in a reasonable, cost-effective fashion. This regulation doesn’t do that.”
Eisenberg said he’s not surprised that advocates for the administration’s policy have been able to bring together so many business supporters.
“This is a regulation that by its design will create winners and losers within the business community, so it’s not at all unexpected that there will be some who are for it and some who will be against it,” he said.

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