Last week featured some remarkable developments relating to climate policy.
Some events last week sent a strong signal that the tide is turning against fossil fuels. Each of the events standing alone would have been noteworthy. The clustering of these events dramatizes an important shift. To paraphrase Churchill, this may not be beginning of the end for fossil fuels, but at least it is the …CONTINUE READING
How can we make climate pledges something more than cheap talk?
Companies across many different economic sectors have announced ambitious goals like being climate neutral by 2050. Commitments on ESG – Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance — are a growing corporate emphasis. Talk is cheap, however. How can we know they’re serious? How can we even be sure that the information they release about their environmental …CONTINUE READING
How is one of the world’s largest industries responding to climate change?
As of 2018, the U.S. financial industry contributed $1.5 trillion to GDP. How is the financial sector responding to climate change? The short answer is “slowly so far, but there are signs of progress.” For instance, just last Friday, the NY Times reported that European Central Bank began a strategy review with climate change on …CONTINUE READING
His recent executive order tries to “protect” oil companiy management from smart climate planning.
Exxon management was not pleased when shareholders forced them to produce a report on how climate change would impact their business. In May, Exxon is facing another shareholder vote on whether to form a climate change committee on the Board of Directors and whether to disclose how sea level rise will impact its investments on the …CONTINUE READING
Environmental NGOs sometimes partner with business, sometimes administer “tough love.”
Much of what environmental groups do involves the government: lobbying Congress, participating in rulemakings, and suing when all else fails. But there is also an interesting story to be told of how these groups relate to the corporate world. Sometimes they play the good cop, forming partnership with companies; sometimes the bad cop, trashing the …CONTINUE READING
There are several strategies for insulating climate policy from leaders like Trump.
Trump’s election was a surprise. What should not be a surprise is the inevitability of political setbacks for climate policy. We saw that in the U.S. with the shift from Clinton to Bush and then from Obama to Trump. We also saw that in Australia where it meant the repeal of a promising emissions trading …CONTINUE READING
A new book argues that businesses and individuals can take the lead in reducing emissions.
Beyond Politics: The Private Governance Response to Climate Change, by Michael Vandenbergh and Jonathan Gilligan, is an ambitious effort to demonstrate the promise of non-governmental efforts to reduce emissions. They argue it is a mistake to pin all our hopes to one climate strategy like a national cap-and-trade system. For this reason, they argue that …CONTINUE READING
With the U.S. faltering, it’s time for corporations to begin a collaborative effort to cut emissions.
Many major corporations bemoaned Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and pledged to continue their own environmental efforts. Why stop with acting solo? Why not band together? There’s power in joint action. Here are four options, from simplest to most ambitious. Taking the Paris Agreement Private. Under the Paris Agreement, nations agree to engage in …CONTINUE READING
Coal is slowly fading from the power mix, even in Mitch McConnell country,
A sign of the times: Fox News has reported, without comment, that the Kentucky Coal Museum is installing solar panels to save money. This is part of a larger trend. On Saturday, the NY Times reported on shifts in power production in states like West Virginia and Kentucky. For instance, Appalachian Power has “closed three …CONTINUE READING
The corporate world hasn’t been blind to the dangers of climate change — not even the oil industry.
With the White House and Congress MIA in the war against climate change, we need to look for other options. States like California are one answer, and I recently posted about the role cities could play. But these do not exhaust the options. Major corporations are taking climate change seriously and beginning to address the issues. In …CONTINUE READING