S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Corporate activism warming

(photo credit: Ernest vonRosen,
Living green is not every corporate executive's cup of tea. But the ranks of business leaders willing to be active on behalf of working to curb greenhouse gas emissions are growing. A story from earlier this year in US News and World Report (1/30/07) is headlined, "CEOs, Retired Generals Push to Curb Oil Reliance."
Council members include Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean International; FedEx Chairman Frederick Smith, who co-chairs the Energy Security Leadership Council, along with former Marine Commandant P.X. Kelley; Robert Hormats, a Goldman Sachs vice president; and Herb Kelleher, the founder and executive chairman of Southwest Airlines. To quote from the story,
An influential private group of corporate chief executives and retired generals is telling lawmakers on Capitol Hill to "think big" on energy.
Democrats are having think tank tea parties to celebrate the increased influence of the green movement on politics. The story is headlined, "In the Tanks for the Democrats - Back from the political wilderness, left-leaning thinkers are having their day," by Silla Brush, of U.S. News and World Report, posted 4/1/07. To quote,
Economic populists, as the progressives are known, argue for tougher labor and environmental standards on trade agreements and for more investment in technologies that generate domestic manufacturing jobs. Rubin and others have set up the Hamilton Project, which argues for sustaining free trade but is also discussing programs like wage insurance and additional training for workers who lose their jobs.
The glass is half-full - Geothermal power has "green" possibilities. U.S. News and World Report carried a story with the headline, "U.S. urged to ramp up geothermal power." The advantage of this energy source is that it is clean, according to the Geothermal Energy Association, based in Washington. Lobbying is not always a bad thing, if it helps to alleviate our dependence on fossil fuels.
Will the earth take a bad spill? Dan Vergano and Patrick O'Driscoll, writing for USA Today penned an excellent and current summary of the current state of the debate on climate change. It was headlined, "Is earth near its 'tipping points' from global warming?" To quote,
Earth is spinning toward many points of no return from the damage of global warming, after which disease, desolation and famine are inevitable, say scientists involved in an international report due Friday on the effects of climate change.
Opinions vary about how long it will take to reach those "tipping points" and whether attempts to cut planet-warming gases churned out by power plants, vehicles and other human industry can slow, halt or reverse the harmful effects in coming decades. Some suggest it might be cheaper for society to adapt to the changing climate than to roll back the pace of warming.
. . . The biggest tipping point already may have happened, says John Drexhage of Canada's International Institute for Sustainable Development: Talk of global warming has become routine and accepted for all politicians, not just Al Gore.
Fortunately corporations have a warm relationship with the current U.S. administration. They will have a great deal of influence as their numbers grow. Other nations are far ahead of the U.S. government. In a previous S/SW post at the beginning of the year, "European Union Ahead of the U.S. on Climate Change Issue," I discussed the situation. To quote,
U.S. business is also ahead of the U.S. government - In an amazing turn of events, our own business leaders are beginning to think green. An earlier story by Reuters on (1/22/07) published this "good news" headline: "Business smells whiff of money in climate change." Quoting from the story,
"spate of corporations flaunting their environmental credentials, and especially their concern about climate change, says as much or more about a shifting commercial landscape as the planet's future.
The so-called U.S. Climate Action Partnership called on Monday for a federal plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a day before President George W. Bush is expected to avoid proposing just that in his State of the Union speech."
Activism can make a big splash and be relatively easy to do. The LA Times carried this great story about what Australia has done to save energy. It is headlined, "Darkness in Sydney may help spread light on global warming." To quote,
Mayor Clover Moore, whose officials shut down all nonessential lights on city-owned buildings, said Sydney, which has a population of 4 million, was "asking people to think about what action they can take to fight global warming."
. . . Organizers hope the event, which 2,000 businesses and more than 60,000 individuals signed up for, will prompt people to think about regularly switching off nonessential lights, powering down computers and other simple measures they say could cut Sydney's greenhouse gas emissions by 5% this year.
It is not easy to see clearly into the future of Planet Earth. But there is a convergence of scientific understanding of global warming, a burgeoning sense of energy responsibility among some corporations, increased influence of the "green" lobby, and the good examples of other countries. These things taken together should give us a cautious sense of optimisim about the future of our common home,"the blue marble."
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