Two out of three respondents in a new University of Texas poll said energy issues are important to them. But the harsh rhetoric of campaign season makes it seem like politicians can never agree on important policies needed to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy while also protecting the environment.
Well they can, and they did. Right now in Washington, D.C., we have a bipartisan bill that would reduce carbon emissions and develop domestic energy resources.
At a time when the climate issue is being overshadowed in capitals around the world by economic concerns, some may be surprised that interest in climate change in both the investor and corporate communities remains strong. In a recent survey of the world’s 500 largest companies, 96 percent of the 379 responding said that climate change is dealt with at the senior executive or board level, while 78 percent have integrated climate change into their business strategies. In the same survey, 37 percent say the impacts of climate change are already affecting their operations, up sharply from just 10 percent two years ago.
To understand why, just look at the numbers.
A report released this week by two senior members of Congress notes that the unusual number of extreme weather events in 2012 has cost the country billions of dollars and that the unusual frequency of these events is consistent with what scientists have predicted from climate change.
The staff report, “Going to Extremes: Climate Change and the Increasing Risk of Weather Disasters” is from the offices of Reps. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA), the prime movers behind the last attempt at significant climate legislation. It cites information from a variety of sources, including NOAA, the news media and the private sector to show how rising weather risk costs real money.
Their report comes a week after Congress headed home for the elections having accomplished very little to address climate change. Nearly half the bills introduced by the current Congress would block or hinder climate action, though none of these have been enacted into law.
As the nation’s largest landlord, fleet operator, and purchaser of goods and services, the federal government has both the opportunity and the responsibility to lead by example in moving the United States in a more sustainable direction.
Across the federal government, agencies are facing two imperatives: tighter budgets requiring them to find ways to cut costs and increasingly stringent sustainability mandates requiring them to seek out new ways to reduce their energy use and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
A C2ES report released today highlights exciting initiatives across the federal government where agencies are using information and communications technologies to meet these dual challenges.