Getting Ahead of the Curve: Corporate Strategies That Address Climate Change

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Getting Ahead of the Curve: Corporate Strategies That Address Climate Change

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
October 2006

Andrew J. Hoffman, The University of Michigan

This report serves as a "how to" guide for corporate decision makers as they navigate rapidly-changing global markets. The report presents an in-depth look at the development and implementation of corporate strategies that take into account climate-related risks and opportunities.

Download the Entire Report (2MB pdf)
Download the Executive Summary (pdf)
View presentations from the October 18, 2006, Corporate Strategies Workshop

The report is comprised of two main sections:

1. The Synthesis Report lays out a step-by-step approach for incorporating climate change into corporate strategies and is based on results from a 100-question survey completed by 31 companies, six in-depth case studies, outside literature on corporate strategy, and input from the Pew Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC).

Synthesis Report (1.5MB pdf)

2. The Case Studies section features an in-depth look at the strategy-making process of these six companies:

Cinergy (now Duke Energy) (pdf)
Swiss Re (pdf)
DuPont (pdf)
Alcoa (pdf)
The Shell Group (pdf)
Whirlpool Corporation (pdf)


Eileen Claussen, President, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Pew Center on Global Climate Change

There is a growing consensus among corporate leaders that taking action on climate change is a responsible business decision. From market shifts to regulatory constraints, climate change poses real risks and opportunities that companies must begin planning for today, or risk losing ground to their more forward-thinking competitors. Prudent steps taken now to address climate change can improve a company’s competitive position relative to its peers and earn it a seat at the table to influence climate policy. With more and more action at the state level and increasing scientific clarity, it is time for businesses to craft corporate strategies that address climate change.

In this Pew Center report, author Andrew Hoffman of the University of Michigan has developed a “how to” manual for companies interested in developing effective climate strategies. One of the clearest conclusions is that businesses need to engage actively with government in the development of climate policy. After years of inaction, momentum is growing at the federal level to pass mandatory climate legislation. Nearly all the companies surveyed in this report believe that federal legislation is imminent, and 84 percent of those believe federal standards will take effect before 2015. With a number of new climate bills forthcoming, it is clear that Congress has entered the design phase for legislation. Now is the ideal time for the corporate sector to engage constructively with lawmakers to ensure that sensible policy is developed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest possible cost.

And constructive engagement is tightly linked with another compelling theme of this report: the shift of companies’ focus to creating climate-related market opportunities. Companies with a strong history of reducing emissions are shifting their focus from risk management to exploring new business platforms. They understand better than their peers that new markets will be created and existing ones will change. There will be winners and losers. The shape of climate legislation will be the strongest factor in determining how the market rewards innovators of climate-friendly products and services, as well as how it punishes laggards. More than ever, integrating climate issues into corporate strategy is a necessary aspect of managing risk and seizing competitive advantage.

The Pew Center would like to thank Mike Lenox, Forest Reinhardt, and Paul Tebo for their comments on an earlier draft of the report; Alcoa, Cinergy (now Duke Energy), DuPont, the Shell Group, Swiss Re, and Whirlpool for agreeing to be profiled for the case studies in the report; all the companies that completed the Corporate Strategies Survey; and the many member companies of our Business Environmental Leadership Council that provided comments and guidance throughout the research process.


Exexutive Summary

This report compiles the experience and best practices of large corporations that have developed and implemented strategies to address climate change. Based on a 31-company survey, six in-depth case studies, a review of the literature, and experience gained by the Pew Center in working with companies in its Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC), the report describes the development and implementation of climate-related strategies. It is primarily a “how to” manual for other companies interested in developing similar strategies. But the report will also be of value to investors and analysts in evaluating the effectiveness of company strategies for managing climate risk and capturing climate-related competitive advantage. Finally, it will offer policymakers insight into corporate views on greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation, government assistance for technology advancement, and other policy issues. Although the report focuses primarily on U.S.-based multinationals, it considers the global context of climate change and related market transformation.

The report describes eight specific steps clustered into three stages that describe the various components of a climate-related strategy. Table ES1 summarizes these steps, which include assessing emissions and exposure to climate-related risks, gauging risks and opportunities, evaluating action options, setting goals and targets, developing financial mechanisms, engaging the organization, formulating policy strategy, and managing external relationships. The report is organized along the framework presented in the table, though it must be emphasized that individual companies do not necessarily follow the steps shown in a linear fashion.

Lessons learned at each step of the strategy development process are presented throughout the report. Taken together, four overarching themes emerge from the survey results and case studies. The first is the importance of strategic timing. Some companies acknowledge the dangers of starting too early on climate action, while others highlight the risks of starting too late. Despite continuing uncertainty, there is general consensus among the companies in this report that recent changes in the level of external awareness about climate risks, state government action, momentum toward stronger federal policy, and consumer demand for cleaner and more efficient products make it imperative to act now. Well-timed strategies can prepare companies for eventual regulation and create flexibility for longer-range strategic options.

A second theme is the importance of establishing an appropriate level of commitment. While the companies in this report are leaders in their industries, some caution against getting too far ahead of the competition. For many companies, uncertain demands from government, the marketplace, and the financial community—coupled with limited hard data and models to guide aggressive action—make it challenging to support extensive expenditures on GHG reductions. Therefore, many companies justify early action on other grounds: the managerial imperative to undertake low-risk initiatives that produce immediate or near-term cost benefits; their fiduciary obligation to address risks from climate change and from related regulations, particularly to the extent these could affect future asset values and market positioning; and socially and ethically responsible business values—that is “doing the right thing.”

Corporate Strategies Table Strategies Development
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A third theme for many companies is the need to influence policy development. Any policy that regulates GHG emissions will certainly constitute a major market shift, setting new “rules of the game” and changing the competitive landscape. Companies in this report feel they cannot leave the ultimate form of such regulations to chance. All policies are not equal; they will, by their nature, favor certain actions, companies, and industries. Early action is seen as a way for companies to gain credibility and leverage participation in the process of policy development, and thereby have a measure of control over their future business environment.

A fourth and final theme is the importance of creating business opportunities. Companies with a history of climate-related activity are trying to shift their strategies from a focus on risk management and bottom-line protection to instead emphasize business opportunities and top-line enhancements. Firms that incorporate climate change into their core business strategies will be in the best position to take advantage of emerging opportunities and gain competitive advantage in a changing market environment. Sustainable climate strategies cannot be an add-on to business as usual; they must be integrated with a company’s core business activities.

In the end, it is the consensus of the companies in this report that climate change is driving a major transition—one that will both alter existing markets and create new ones. As in any such transition, there are risks and opportunities, and there will be winners and losers. In this context, a growing number of companies believe that inaction is no longer a viable option. All companies will be affected to varying degrees, and all have a managerial and fiduciary obligation at least to assess their business exposure to decide whether action is prudent.

About the Author

Andrew J. Hoffman
Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise
University of Michigan

Dr. Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan; a position that holds joint appointments at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources & Environment. Within this role, Professor Hoffman also serves as Faculty Co-Director of Michigan’s dual-degree (MS/MBA) program of the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. Professor Hoffman’s research deals with the nature and dynamics of change within institutional and cultural systems. He applies that research towards understanding the cultural and managerial implications of environmental protection and sustainability for industry. He has published over fifty articles/book chapters and four books.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Michigan, Professor Hoffman was an associate professor of organizational behavior at the Boston University School of Management, a visiting professor at the Kellogg School of Management and Reykjavik University and a senior fellow with the Meridian Institute. Prior to academics, he worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 1), Metcalf & Eddy Environmental Consultants, T&T Construction & Design and the Amoco Corporation.

Andrew J. Hoffman

Press Release: Marsh, Inc. Joins Pew Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council

Press Release
July 13, 2006

Pew Center Contact: Katie Mandes, (703) 516-4146
Marsh, Inc. Contact: Al Modugno, (212) 345-2448


Leading Insurance Services Firm Raises Awareness of Global Environmental Risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Pew Center on Global Climate Change announced today that Marsh, Inc. has joined the Pew Center’s Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC) and its efforts to understand and address the impacts of global climate change.

Marsh, the world’s leading risk and insurance services firm, recognizes climate change to be one of the most significant emerging risks affecting businesses worldwide, and has urged its clients and other companies to take action to address the issue.  In April, Marsh released “Climate Change: Business Risks and Solutions,” a 32-page report that describes the potential impact of climate change on business risk, including the strong threat of increasingly volatile weather conditions; impacts on commercial insurance markets, business resources, personnel, and corporate preparedness; and increasing legal and regulatory pressures.  Additionally, in a groundbreaking February 22, 2006 conference call with its global clients, Marsh Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian Storms committed the company to be a leading source of climate risk information and solutions.

“The insurance industry is uniquely positioned to face both the risks and opportunities presented by climate change,” said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.  “Marsh recognizes the responsibility that leading companies have in developing solutions to deal with the most dangerous impacts of climate change. We look forward to working with them as they continue to engage their clients and colleagues in this critical issue.”

“Climate change is a complex global issue at the intersection of science, risk, and public policy,” said Storms.  “It is a challenge that our clients – and the world – will face for a very long time.  Our collaboration with the Pew Center, and the leading companies that work with it, is an important step in our long-term commitment to addressing this issue.”

Marsh, the world’s leading risk and insurance services firm, has nearly 30,000 employees and annual revenues approaching $5 billion. The firm provides advice and transactional capabilities to clients in over 100 countries. Marsh is a unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), a global professional services firm with more than 60,000 employees and annual revenues of approximately $12 billion. MMC also is the parent company of Guy Carpenter, Kroll, Putnam Investments, and Mercer. MMC’s stock (ticker symbol: MMC) is listed on the New York, Chicago, Pacific and London stock exchanges. MMC’s web site address is Marsh’s web site address is

The BELC was established by the Pew Center in 1998.  The group is comprised of mainly Fortune 500 companies representing a diverse group of industries including energy, automobiles, manufacturing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metals, mining, paper and forest products, consumer goods and appliances, telecommunications, and high technology. Individually and collectively, these companies are demonstrating that it is possible to take action to address climate change while maintaining competitive excellence, growth, and profitability.  The BELC is now the largest U.S. based association of corporations focused on addressing the challenges of climate change, with 41 members representing $2 trillion in market capitalization and over 3 million employees. 

The other members of the BELC are: ABB; Air Products; Alcan; Alcoa Inc.; American Electric Power; Baxter International Inc.; The Boeing Company; BP; California Portland Cement; CH2M HILL; Cummins Inc.; Deutsche Telekom; DTE Energy; Duke Energy; DuPont; Entergy; Exelon; GE; Georgia-Pacific; Hewlett-Packard Company; Holcim (US) Inc.; IBM; Intel; Interface Inc.; John Hancock Financial Services; Lockheed Martin; Novartis; Ontario Power Generation; PG&E Corporation; Rio Tinto; Rohm and Haas; Royal Dutch/Shell; SC Johnson; Sunoco; Toyota; TransAlta; United Technologies; Weyerhaeuser; Whirlpool Corporation; and Wisconsin Energy Corporation.

For more information about global climate change and the activities of the Pew Center and the BELC, visit


The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States’ largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment. The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

An Agenda for Climate Action




MARCH 30, 2006

Thank you very much.   It is great to be here at Yale.  I want to open my remarks today with some polling numbers.  And I know what some of you may be thinking.  You’re thinking this is a typical Washington thing to do: talk about polls.  And you’re thinking about how polls really don’t get at the real issues.  And you may be right, particularly in this era of television and internet insta-polls.  

I was watching BBC Television shortly after the death of Slobodan Milosevic and the announcer asked viewers to call in with their opinions on this question: “How will Milosevic’s death affect the future of peace in the Balkans?”   And I thought that’s really a fairly sophisticated question.  Sort of the kind of essay question you might have to respond to here at Yale.  And fairly typical, I imagine, of BBC’s expectations of its audience.

In contrast, if you turn on CNN or FOX or one of the other American cable networks, the questions tend to be of the quick yes or no variety.   Here is an actual CNN online poll I found on the Internet: “Would you consider having microchips implanted in your body?  Yes or no.”  I can only imagine how someone might use these results.   

But seriously, I think we can all learn something from looking at the polling on an issue such as climate change, especially when it reveals a clear divergence between public opinion and what is happening in Washington to address this issue.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a national survey showed that Americans of all political beliefs are not happy with the U.S. government’s leadership (or lack thereof) on the issues of global warming and alternative energy. More than three out of four – including two out of three conservatives – said the federal government is not doing enough on either of these issues. And nearly nine out of ten agreed with the following statement—and I quote: “U.S. leaders should take steps to reduce carbon pollution now and speed up the conversion to renewable energy and other alternatives.”

Nine out of ten people. That’s higher than the proportion of dentists who recommend sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum. Seriously, it is an overwhelming majority of Americans. And they all want to see something done to address the climate issue and to put America on a path to a low-carbon future.

Of course, President Bush and Vice President Cheney say they don’t pay attention to polls – and this is one time when I believe them. Because if they were to pay attention to polls, they would be doing something serious to solve the climate problem. In ever-increasing numbers, Americans recognize that we are facing a potential crisis here, and they are looking to their elected leaders in Washington to shape solutions.

I am here today to talk about what those solutions might entail—and I want to do that by focusing on a comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States that the Pew Center released in February. But I want to start with a brief look at the science of climate change, as well as what is happening now at both the state level and nationally.

Then I want to reserve the rest of my remarks to talk about the Pew Center’s Agenda – because what is happening right now in this country is clearly not enough.

The Science of Climate Change

So first the science. The polling data I talked about shows a pronounced shift in Americans’ views on the climate issue and what to do about it. And the main reason for this shift is not that people are beginning to notice that it’s getting warmer or that the pond over at the town park just isn’t freezing as much in the winter as it used to.

No, what’s happening is that people are beginning to pay attention to the science on this issue. And they are coming to understand that there is no longer any doubt about it: climate change is a very real and very serious problem.

Scientists now know for certain that the globe has been warming for the past century. They also know that human activities, mainly the burning of coal and oil, but also agriculture and deforestation, have dramatically increased concentrations of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere

In just the past year, the science linking observed climate change directly to human activities has become increasingly solid. And the impacts of climate change, distributed across the globe, are occurring in patterns that can only be explained by human activities and not by natural variations in regional climate. During the first half of the 20th century, natural factors may have been as important as anthropogenic factors. Unfortunately, the more dramatic warming that has occurred since then has been dominated by the human influence. The science is now clear on this point.

But what is really changing how people view this issue is that the impacts we are seeing now—today—are happening much sooner than anyone might have anticipated even a decade ago. These changes were predicted, but even the scientists who made the predictions are surprised at the rate at which they are now occurring.

What do we know about the impacts of climate change?

We know that ice cover around the world is changing at an unprecedented rate. Just last month, new satellite-based measurements of ice flow in Greenland were published in the Journal Science. And what they showed is that the second largest land-based ice sheet in the world is losing ice twice as fast as scientists had estimated before these new measurements were available. This ice sheet, if completely melted, could raise global sea level by almost 20 feet. That would permanently flood not just New Orleans, but virtually all of America’s major coastal cities.

We also know that we are experiencing a worldwide loss of mountain glaciers, a trend that is accelerating. By mid-century, most mountain glaciers may be gone.

We know that hurricanes are becoming more intense, not just in the Atlantic, which gave us Katrina and Rita, but in all oceans where hurricanes occur.

We know that ecosystems around the world are showing signs of responding to climate change. One study found that 130 species - both plants and animals - have responded to earlier spring warming over the last 30 years. These organisms have changed their timing of flowering, migration and other spring activities. More startling than this, however, climate change is also driving some species to extinction. For instance, in the past 20 years dozens of species of mountain frogs in Central America have disappeared because of a disease that formerly did not occur where they live. Early this year, a paper in the journal Nature revealed that the disease-causing organism, a fungus, has spread to higher elevations as a result of climate warming. This paper not only provides an example of climate change driving species extinct, but also strong scientific evidence that climate change is promoting the spread of diseases to new areas. In the authors' own words, "With climate change promoting infectious disease and eroding biodiversity, the urgency of reducing greenhouse-gas concentrations is now undeniable."

And these are, if I may say this, just the tip of the melting iceberg.

So the bottom line is this: The earth is warming; the impacts—once only predictions—are now upon us and are likely to worsen; and human activity is largely to blame.

U.S. Action on Climate Change

So we have all this science, and we have Americans responding to it by saying that our government needs to do more. How has our government responded? Well, at the state level at least, the response has been encouraging. For example:

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have enacted renewable energy mandates requiring utilities to generate a share of their power from renewable sources.

  • Twenty-eight state governments have adopted climate action plans; 15 have programs or policies in place to reduce, sequester or register greenhouse gases; and nine states have statewide targets for reducing their emissions.

Connecticut, I am pleased to say, has done all of these things. And more. As many of you know, Connecticut, along with six other northeastern states has signed onto a regional initiative called RGGI that is aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the Northeast. This is the first “cap and trade” program to control these emissions in the United States. It couples a mandatory cap on emissions from the electricity sector with a market-based trading program that will allow companies to achieve their reductions at the lowest possible cost.

So Connecticut is really out in front on this issue—and all of you should be proud to live in a state with leaders who understand the need for climate action.

Among the other states that are taking this issue seriously, I have to mention California.

Like Connecticut, California has established greenhouse gas emissions targets, and they are very ambitious. And that state also has taken steps to begin regulating carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks. (a policy that Connecticut will follow if it survives the automakers’ legal challenge)

And then there is New Mexico, a major coal-producing state. NM has established its own targets, and has also announced a partnership with neighboring Arizona to jointly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the impacts of climate change in the Southwest.

These are just a few examples of the kinds of things states are doing. Now, you might think one state’s actions cannot possibly affect a global problem like climate change. But consider this: California’s emissions top those of Brazil. Texas comes in ahead of Canada, the UK and Mexico. And Illinois produces more CO2 than the Netherlands. States are a significant part of the climate problem, and many of them, including Connecticut, are showing they can be a significant part of the solution as well.

So what about our national government? To what extent have our leaders in Washington embraced the need for action? Well, I have some good news and some bad news.

First the good news: During the U.S. Senate’s debate on energy legislation last year, senators approved a bipartisan measure calling for a national, mandatory, market-based program to slow, stop and, ultimately, reverse the growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation was sponsored by senators Domenici and Bingaman, the chair and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee. And although it was a nonbinding measure, it marked the first time the Senate has gone on record to support mandatory action on this issue. That is an important achievement – and now Senators Bingaman and Domenici are seeking input on how to create a mandatory climate program that gets real results.

Still in play is the cap and trade legislation proposed by Senators John McCain and Connecticut’s own Joseph Lieberman. And now Senator Dianne Feinstein has joined the issue as well, offering her own version of a cap and trade climate policy. And we are helping others in Congress develop other proposals. So clearly, we’ve seen an up-tick in Congressional interest in this issue. Granted, these proposals may not become law right away, probably not before 2008, but I believe it is only a matter of time before limits on greenhouse gas emissions are in place.

So that’s the good news: people on Capitol Hill, especially in the Senate, are looking at this issue and thinking hard about how to address it.

The bad news is that the White House and leadership of the House of Representatives are strongly opposed to addressing climate change in any significant way. As a result, I do not believe anything substantive is likely to come out of Congress on this issue for some time. I would like to be proved wrong, but it is hard for me to see any leadership on this issue coming from the White House during the remainder of its term.

Despite the President’s famous statement in his State of the Union Address that America is addicted to oil, Washington does not seem truly ready to fight the addiction. The Administration’s budget proposals don’t come anywhere close to providing the shot in the arm we need to accelerate clean energy research in this country. (Again, this is despite the American public’s clear interest in alternative energy solutions.) More importantly, even if the technology programs were properly funded, they simply are not enough.

And this is the problem with what has been happening on this issue to date, whether at the state or the federal level. In addition to being late to start, what we are talking about and doing is simply not enough. As I said, I applaud what many of the states are doing, and I am pleased to see members of Congress beginning to understand the need for action. But we need to remember what this is about.

James Hansen, the NASA scientist who is one of the world’s leading experts on climate change, says we have just 10 years to begin reducing greenhouse gases before global warming reaches what he calls a tipping point; the tipping point, as the phrase implies, is the point from which we may not be able to avert a catastrophe. To forestall a climate crisis, we must stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. And what does that mean? According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it means limiting the concentrations to about 550 parts per million –roughly double the pre-industrial level of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

To get to that level, we need to reduce global CO2 emissions by 55 to 85 percent below what is currently projected. Fifty-five to 85 percent. And we need to do this at the same time that energy demand around the world is growing at an unprecedented rate. We need to act now to come up with ways to limit emissions growth without endangering economic growth. And make no mistake: The United States, which is responsible for one-fourth of global emissions, needs to play a leadership role.

And that is going to require a fundamental shift. We need to move from an economy based on traditional burning of fossil fuels to one based on more energy efficiency; increased use of low-carbon energy sources; and the capture and storage of carbon from fossil fuels. This is not something that one piece of legislation, or even one strategy or one approach, will accomplish. We need a comprehensive approach.

An Agenda for Climate Action

In February, the Pew Center released the first comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Our Agenda outlines an ambitious yet practical approach to addressing this issue. It is based on seven years of Pew Center analysis and work with leading businesses and policymakers.

The number-one lesson we have learned from this work: There is no single technology fix, no single policy and no single sector that can solve this problem on its own. For example, addressing emissions from the utility sector is key, but doing only that leaves out about 60 percent of emissions. In the same way, if we adopt policies to limit emissions from transportation and do nothing else, we’re hitting just 30 percent of the problem—which is significant, of course, but it is not enough.

The Pew Center’s Agenda outlines 15 specific recommendations in six overarching areas where the United States must take action. These six areas are: 1) science and technology; 2) market-based programs; 3) sectoral emissions; 4) energy production and use; 5) adaptation; and 6) international engagement.

I want to provide you with a better sense of what our Agenda is about by highlighting some of the recommendations in each of these six areas.

In the area of science and technology research, we call for increased and stable funding to spur technological innovation. Because it is important to spend this money wisely, we suggest the use of a “reverse auction.” Unlike a traditional auction, where buyers bid against each other to purchase an item, a reverse auction allows providers of goods or services—in this case, new, climate-friendly technologies—to compete for a pot of money by offering emissions reductions.

Since 1998, California has used reverse auctions to promote development of renewable energy. The program collects money through a charge on electric power, and solicits bids for renewable projects, with the money going to the bidder that can provide the renewable energy at the cheapest rate. Thus far, there have been 81 successful bids to produce renewable energy through this competitive and cost-effective system.

Second, we believe it is critically important to enact a mandatory cap and trade program that applies to large stationary sources – power-plants and major manufacturing facilities. Our work over the years has shown that market mechanisms such as emissions trading allow companies to reduce emissions in the cheapest, most efficient manner possible.

What a cap and trade system does in essence is send a signal to the market. It tells the market that there is a value in reducing emissions. And it tells inventors and investors that there is profit in creating and deploying climate-friendly technologies. It creates an essential pull for new technologies to enter the market. The push for those technologies, in turn, comes from the funding of innovation, through mechanisms like the reverse auction. And we need both the push and the pull to achieve real and cost-effective results. A cap and trade system coupled with a reverse auction is a great example of a comprehensive approach.

But the fact is that a cap-and-trade system by itself, and particularly at the level that would be politically practical, is not enough. In fact, many of the current proposals for cap-and-trade programs, tend to leave out the transportation sector, which is of course a major source of emissions.

And this is why the Pew Center’s Agenda also calls for sectoral approaches such as transforming the much-maligned Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (or CAFE) program. CAFE, as you know, sets average fuel efficiency levels for carmakers across their fleets. But the standards have not changed significantly in over 20 years. And, because SUVs and light trucks now make up as much as half of the new-vehicle product mix, the average fuel economy of all the cars and light trucks sold in America—import and domestic— is no better today than it was in the early 1980s. Although NHTSA is currently considering changing the way it classifies different kinds of light trucks, it is unclear what that will translate into as far as actual emission reductions. But I am fairly sure it won’t be enough.

We recommend strengthening and converting the United States’ current fuel economy standards to a set of tradable standards based on greenhouse gas emissions. If you are looking to protect the climate, focusing on emissions rather than fuel efficiency seems more logical. By creating a market for emissions reductions through trading, and at the same time supporting the development of low-emission vehicles and fuels (the push and pull approach)—you can reduce the cost of getting the job done.

Of course, it is not only in the transportation sector where additional action is needed.

Our plan proposes tighter standards for appliance and equipment efficiency, as well as incentives for the manufacture of more climate-friendly products. Similarly, for the building sector, we call for stricter building codes to decrease energy use. We even touch on the role of the agriculture and forestry sectors in keeping carbon out of the atmosphere through climate-friendly practices. Again, all sectors of the economy have a role to play in this, and it is going to take all sectors to achieve the results we need.

But all sectors are not equal when it comes to having a hand in the climate problem and its potential solutions. One sector stands head and shoulders above the rest, and that is, you guessed it, energy. Eighty-percent of US greenhouse gas emissions come from the combustion of fossil fuels. The ways in which we generate, distribute and use energy have a profound impact on our emissions of greenhouse gases—and that is why the Pew Center’s Agenda reserves a special set of recommendations for this all-important sector. Our recommendations cover all of the major energy sources.

Let’s start with coal. And we need to be realists here. Coal is responsible for 50 percent of our nation’s electricity. It is cheap and it is plentiful and I believe (along with many others) that it will continue to play a role in meeting U.S. and global energy needs for years to come. Let’s look for a moment at our current and projected energy mix and needs. If we assume coal will continue to contribute roughly half of U.S. electricity requirements; and you look at the projected growth of energy demand in this country - by 2025 the U.S. will need to grow our coal capacity by 60% - that would mean emissions from U.S. coal burning alone in 2025 would equal 15% of our current global emissions. Globally, the numbers are even more dramatic. China is even more dependent on coal for electricity than the US. It contributes to 75% of their electricity needs, and despite efforts to ramp up generation in gas, renewables and nuclear, the overall share of coal in the mix is unlikely to change significantly. Think about this: China is building new coal power plants at a rate of one plant per week.

So we need to get serious—and I mean very serious—about reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants. First, we need to build the very best, most efficient coal burning power plants possible to reduce emissions per kWh of electricity. And then we have to prove that the carbon dioxide that still is emitted from these plants can be captured and stored (sequestered) in geological formations where it can be kept from entering the atmosphere for centuries or millennia.

We recommend an aggressive program of research, development and demonstration for these technologies. A few random demonstration projects done at a leisurely pace clearly are not enough. We need to build the most efficient plants and we need a concerted public-private effort to demonstrate that capture and sequestration can work, and then we have to insist that it be done.

But dealing with coal alone is not enough. Because capture and storage technologies are not quite ready, we need to work on expanding the role that renewables play in our energy future. We should also concentrate on expanding natural gas supplies and using natural gas more efficiently. And we will need to solve the problems associated with nuclear power. For each energy source, we propose specific measures in areas from R&D to incentives to regulation that can help expand the suite of carbon-friendly technologies that are necessary to put us on a low-carbon path.

It is of course important to understand that none of the things I have talked about can fully prevent all of the potential effects of climate change. In fact, as I mentioned at the start of my remarks, many impacts are already being seen. This is why, at the same time that we are working to reduce emissions in order to minimize the effects of climate change, we also need to develop a national strategy to adapt to those effects. Climate change is happening, and it is going to affect everything from agriculture to public safety and public health. Without a strategy, as well as a system for identifying the early warning signs of climate problems confronting our country, we are going to be caught unprepared.

Finally, the Pew Center’s Agenda, while primarily focused on domestic actions, also calls for greater U.S. participation in international negotiations on this issue. It is obvious now that there is no chance the United States will sign on to the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto, of course, is the 1997 agreement that sets country-by-country targets for reducing emissions for industrialized countries. However you feel about Kyoto, the fact remains that climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution. It also needs a longer-term solution; Kyoto includes targets only through 2012.

We need to engage every country that is a major source of these emissions, not just the United States but China and India as well. And we need to come up with ways to make the process fair and equitable for all involved.

Finding common ground on global approaches to the climate problem has been the focus of a special Pew Center initiative we launched a couple of years ago and released in Montreal in December. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it here, but we organized a dialogue-with business and political leaders from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Australia, China, India, Mexico, Brazil, and other countries. And a key take-away from the group is that we need a more flexible framework than Kyoto, something that allows different countries to take on different types of commitments, all under the umbrella of a common global framework.

Working with us on global approaches are Senators Lugar and Biden, the majority and minority leaders in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And I cannot speak highly enough of what these Senators have done. They sent senior staff to participate in our dialogue. They co-sponsored a resolution urging US leadership in the international negotiating process, and are committed to getting a majority of Senators to support it this year. And they expect to hold hearings this year on energy security and climate change.

So those are the recommendations in the Pew Center’s Agenda. Once again, they cover the areas of: 1) science and technology; 2) market-based programs; 3) sectoral emissions; 4) energy production and use; 5) adaptation; and 6) international engagement.

The Role of Business

What I want to emphasize about this agenda is that this isn’t pie-in-the-sky thinking. All of the steps we are recommending are eminently doable. We just need the political will to do them.

And, if we do these things thoughtfully, this transition can actually become a platform for new economic growth, new jobs, new manufacturing and service industries, and new roles for sectors such as agriculture and forestry in our nation’s efforts to protect the climate.

America’s business leaders appear to understand this. They know that a mandatory program to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. is inevitable, and they know it is in their best interests to see that the program is designed intelligently and fairly.

That’s why so many of them stood with us at the event in February where we unveiled our Agenda. And why so many companies responded to Senator Bingaman and Domenici’s call for proposals and suggestions to fashion legislation setting mandatory caps on U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases. And that is why last June, five Fortune 500 companies provided testimony on climate to the Science Committee of the House of Representatives. ;

There are two unifying themes in these examples of corporate and investor leadership. First, most corporate leaders know that greenhouse gas regulation is inevitable. Second, they know that properly designed mandatory climate policies are consistent with sound business planning and good corporate governance. As more companies and investors come to this realization, pressure will mount for other companies to take a more responsible stance on the climate issue. And as corporate leadership aligns with activity at the state and international level, pressure will grow for serious policy change at the federal level.

Why? Because these companies want to ensure that the burden of responding to the climate problem is evenly shared across all sectors of the economy. And they also want another thing: they want certainty. Businesses, particularly electric utilities that have to make significant up-front investments in power plants, are saying they need to be able to plan for the future-and they cannot plan effectively without knowing what kind of policies this country is going to adopt to control emissions.

I opened my remarks with some polling data that shows Americans clearly understand the need for action on this issue. And I have concluded with examples of how business leaders, too, are concerned and how they’re beginning to take action. And, when you consider what many of the states are doing to address this issue, you realize that the one place where climate change still hasn’t achieved priority status is in Washington. Yes, we have seen a fair amount of discussion of this issue. And, yes, there are policymakers who take it seriously and who want to shape solutions.

But we need solutions now. We don’t have time to wait. Climate change policy in this country is at a crossroads, and the American public, together with visionary business and state leaders, are pointing us in the direction we need to go.

The sooner we get started by reversing our current course and adopting a serious and comprehensive approach to addressing this problem, the better off and the safer we will be. And the sooner we’ll begin transforming our economy for the realities and the opportunities that lie ahead.

And so, I will leave you today with another bit of polling described by Jay Leno. "According to a survey in this week’s Time magazine, 85% of Americans think global warming is happening. The other 15%" according to Leno, "work for the White House." Thank you very much. I welcome your questions.

Press Release: Agenda for Climate Action

Press Release
February 8, 2006

Contact: Katie Mandes, (703) 516-0606


All Sectors Must Share in Solution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Pew Center on Global Climate Change released the first comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.  The Agenda for Climate Action identifies both broad and specific policies, combining recommendations on economy-wide mandatory emissions cuts, technology development, scientific research, energy supply, and adaptation with critical steps that can be taken in key sectors.  The report is the culmination of a two-year effort that articulates a pragmatic course of action across all areas of the economy.  

The report calls for a combination of technology and policy and urges action in six key areas:  (1) science and technology, (2) market-based programs, (3) sectoral emissions, (4) energy production and use, (5) adaptation, and (6) international engagement.  Within these six areas, the Agenda outlines fifteen specific recommendations that should be started now, including U.S. domestic reductions and engagement in the international negotiation process.  All the recommendations are capable of implementation in the near-term. 

The report concludes that there is no single technology fix, no single policy instrument, and no single sector that can solve this problem on its own.  Rather, a combination of technology investment and market development will provide for the most cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gases, and will create a thriving market for GHG-reducing technologies.  To address climate change without placing the burden on any one group, the report urges actions throughout the economy. 

“Some believe the answer to addressing climate change lies in technology incentives.  Others say limiting emissions is the only answer.  We need both,” said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center.

Emissions in the United States continue to rise at an alarming rate.  U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have grown by more than 18% since 1990, and the Department of Energy now projects that they will increase by another 37% by 2030. 

Joining the Pew Center at the announcement were representatives from the energy and manufacturing sectors.  Speaking at the release were:  David Hone, Group Climate Change Adviser, Shell International Limited; Melissa Lavinson, Director, Federal Environmental Affairs and Corporate Responsibility, PG&E Corporation; Bill Gerwing, Western Hemisphere Health, Safety, Security, and Environment Director, BP; John Stowell, Vice President, Environmental Strategy, Federal Affairs and Sustainability, Cinergy Corp., Ruksana Mirza, Vice President, Environmental Affairs, Holcim (US) Inc.; and Tom Catania, Vice President, Government Relations, Whirlpool Corporation.


While actions are needed across all sectors, some steps will have a more significant, far-reaching impact on emissions than others and must be undertaken as soon as possible. 

  • A program to cap emissions from large sources and allow for emissions trading will send a signal to curb releases of greenhouse gases while promoting a market for new technologies.
  • Transportation is responsible for roughly one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions, and this report addresses this sector through tradable emissions standards for vehicles.
  • Because energy is at the core of the climate change problem, the report makes several recommendations in this area: calling for increased efficiency in buildings and products, as well as in electricity generation and distribution.  Incentives and a nationwide platform to track and trade renewable energy credits are recommended to support increased renewable power.  In recognition of the key role that coal plays in U.S. energy supply, the report calls for the capture and sequestration of carbon that results from burning coal. Nuclear power currently provides a substantial amount of non-emitting electricity, and is therefore important to keep in the generation mix. The report recommends support for advanced generation of nuclear power, while noting that issues such as safety and waste disposal must also be addressed.
  • While most of the recommendations focus on mitigation efforts, the report acknowledges that some impacts are inevitable and are already being seen. As a result, it proposes development of a national adaptation strategy to plan for a climate-changing world. 
  • Finally, despite the importance of efforts by individual countries on this issue, climate change cannot be addressed without engagement of the broader international community.  The report recommends that the U.S. participate in international negotiations aimed at curbing global greenhouse gas emissions by all major emitting countries.

Other recommendations include: long-term stable research funding, incentives for low-carbon fuels and consumer products, funding for biological sequestration, expanding the natural gas supply and distribution network, and a mandatory greenhouse gas reporting program that can provide a stepping stone to economy-wide emissions trading. 

The full text of this and other Pew Center reports is available at  


The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States’ largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment.  The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change.  The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

Emissions Trading and Offsets

Emissions Trading, JI, & CDM Solutions

The following is a brief overview of emissions trading, joint implementation and CDM solutions undertaken by members of C2ES's Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC).

For more information on each of these companies efforts to address climate change, please see the Businesses Leading The Way section of this Web site.

Air Products and Chemicals

  • Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. is involved in all stages of development of EU regulations, country-based voluntary greenhouse gas reduction schemes within the EU, and energy tax incentive regulations such as the Dutch ‘convenant’ system and UK Climate Change levy.

  • Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. participates in national and international trade associations to ensure progress can be made in addressing climate change and sustaining economic growth by adopting reasonable government policies and programs that do not impede the free market’s ability to develop cost-effective solutions.

  • Air Products has actively followed various emissions trading mechanisms and recently executed its first purchase of CO2 credits for an operation in the UK.

Bank of America

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch operates an active carbon market services business that provides risk management, market access and liquidity, and strcutured finaces to a variety of corporaye clients looking to offset emissions or manage their carbon exposure. 

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch, has an option to purchase several million CERs (certified emission reductions) over a 10-year period, all of which will be generated in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to holding compliance value from their eligibility in the European Union's Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), the carbon credits are “highly charismatic” in that they are earned through the replacement of CO2 producing kerosene lamps with innovative rechargeable light emitting diode (LED) lighting technology - a clean, safe, and environmentally sound solution that is affordable to those without access to the electricity grid. 

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch facilitated a carbon credit agreement with four Chinese wind farms located in the Shandong, Hebei and the Inner Mongolia provinces of China, owned by Guohua Energy Investment Company, a subsidiary of China Shenhua Energy Company, the largest coal mining enterprise in the country. The wind farms, operational since 2009, have been registered with the United Nations and have the ability to generate more than 1.5 million carbon credits by 2012.


  • BP believes that the use of flexible market mechanisms, such as emissions trading and the CDM, provide a cost-effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  BP operated an internal emissions trading system between 1999 and 2001 that helped reduce operational GHG emissions by 10%.  The system covered all BP operations across the globe and provided a number of insights and learning.

  • BP’s UK Upstream and Petrochemicals assets are now part of the UK Government ’s emissions trading scheme (ETS). BP carried out the first trades in the UK ETS and has also helped customers trade in the market. BP is currently applying the evolving Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) rules and proced ures to a BP solar project in Brazil, with the intention of registering the project with the CDM Executive Board. BP is currently piloting CDM projects for a range of technologies.

  • BP is currently applying the evolving CDM rules and procedures to a real BP solar project in Brazil, with the intention of registering the project with the CDM Executive Board.  BP is currently piloting CDM projects for a range of technologies and believe clear accounting principles need to be created and internationally agreed, for the use of CER’s and other types of GHG emission reduction credits, to realise value from lower carbon technologies and for compliance use in meeting mandated and voluntary GHG emission caps.  

  • BP will continue to take part in wider industry and stakeholder alliances and to share our experience with flexible mechanisms since 1997 in order to aid the development of national and regional systems.

Delta Air Lines, Inc.

  • In 2012, Delta will begin participating in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). All airlines flying to, from or within the EU will pay CO2 emission allowances for their flights. Aviation will be the second-largest industry covered by these regulations. Delta is the seventh-largest airline (in terms of emissions) subject to the regulations and will be required to either reduce its CO2 emissions or purchase allowances for those emissions. Delta submitted traffic and CO2 emissions reports for 2010 and intends to fully comply with the regulation.

DTE Energy

  • DTE Energy, along with other partners, is involved in the Rio Bravo Carbon Sequestration Project to protect 65,000 acres of endangered rainforest in Belize.  The project combines land acquisition and sustainable forestry and is expected to sequester approximately 2.4 million metric tons of carbon over 40 years.


  • DuPont has been active in working with others to pilot emissions trading systems and has concluded a number of trades through the use of bi-lateral agreements and on the emerging carbon exchanges.  DuPont is a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange and the International Emissions Trading Association.  In the winter of 2002, DuPont donated 120,000 tons of CO2-equivalent emissions credits to the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee. This allowed the Winter Olympics to offset their emissions and be declared "climate neutral." 


  • Entergy and Elsam, the largest Danish electricity supplier, executed an international trade in CO2 allowances under the Danish climate change program.  Under the transaction, Entergy purchased 10,000 Danish allowances from Elsam and will remove the allowances from the market, eliminating 10,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions. 

Royal Dutch/Shell

  • Royal Dutch/Shell Group developed and used a pilot internal emissions trading system (STEPS) to gain experience and understanding in the use of and structure for emissions trading. The system, which ran from 2000 to 2002, allowed trading between a number of Group entities located in Annex 1 countries. The system covered over 33 million metric tons of CO2e from over 22 separate sites, accounting for almost two-thirds of Shell's developed country emissions or over one-third of its global emissions.

  • Shell has shifted emphasis from internal mechanisms to real external instruments and has established an Environmental Products Trading Business (EPTB). The Shell Group has entered the UK Emissions Trading System, and as a result, key Shell UK upstream production facilities now have a GHG emissions cap. Shell Trading, with Nuon, executed the first trade in EU CO2 allowances in February 2003.

  • The EPTB is also actively developing a CDM business for the Group.


  • In August of 2004, TransAlta announced the purchase of 1.75 million tonnes of GHG candidate Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from the Chilean agricultural company Agrosuper.  The purchase requires the registration of the project with the Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board.  Once completed, this agreement will represent the first Canadian purchase of CERs under the Kyoto Protocol. 

  • TransAlta develops and trades for approximately 4 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year in offset projects, with 80 million tons currently under contract.  Offset projects include gas recovery, energy efficiency, ruminant methane, landfill and coal mine gas to electricity, forestry, and soil sequestration, among others.  In a recent upgrade of its U.S. operations, TransAlta reduced its CO2 emissions by an amount equal to the annual emissions of 27,800 cars, and sold the resulting credits to a U.S. integrated oil company.

  • TransAlta contributes to the development of a greenhouse gas emissions reduction market by engaging in selling fractions of its portfolio. 

Politics and Business: Climate Change Policy Approaches a Turning Point




November 7, 2005

Thank you very much.   It is a pleasure to be here at the Woodrow Wilson School and an honor to be delivering the David Bradford Seminar this week.   I knew David when he was at the Council of Economic Advisors, and found him to be honest, thoughtful and engaged, so it is a double honor for me to be giving this seminar. 

I am here today to talk about climate change policy.  And I must admit that in the current political environment, with White House investigations and Supreme Court nominations dominating the agenda, it is a challenge to break through the noise and get people to pay attention to this issue.  But never fear.  In preparing my remarks, I had a couple of ideas for how to get action on climate change in the current political environment:

One is to start naming hurricanes after members of Congress who still say we don’t know enough about this issue to act.   Or telling   the White House that if they think they’re in hot water now, just wait.  It’s only going to get hotter. 

In all seriousness, the title of my remarks today is Politics and Business: Climate Change Policy Approaches a Turning Point.   And I want to revise that, given the attention that’s gone to the recent bestselling book by the New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell.  Rather than saying climate change policy is approaching a turning point, I want to say it is approaching a tipping point. 

Gladwell defines a tipping point as “that one dramatic moment when everything can change all at once.” Granted, we are not there yet on climate policy, but we are certainly getting close. And I think there are two reasons for that: One is that the science of climate change has reached a point where it simply cannot be ignored or pushed aside. And the second reason is the growing number of financial and business leaders that are saying it is time to take this issue seriously – indeed, many are saying that it would be irresponsible not to take it seriously. As the private sector becomes increasingly vocal and active on this issue, particularly here in the United States, there is no doubt in my mind that our nation’s elected leaders will finally reach their tipping point – and step up and act.

Why are corporate leaders putting climate change on the agenda? The answer is simple: this is an issue that poses very real risks for business – and opportunities as well. And to ignore it is like ignoring those radar pictures we became so accustomed to this fall – those images of huge storms barreling toward our coastline. You can turn off the TV if you want, but that will not change the fact that we are all in the projected storm track for climate change. A business or an investor who is not thinking long and hard about how to respond is going to be like all those wrecked homes and boats we saw in the after-storm coverage. The boats all beaten and washed up on shore, the homes a shell of their former selves.

It is a tribute to the foresight of many in the private sector that they understand this and are beginning to plan for doing business in a world where climate change is a dominant concern. And today I want to talk about what investors and companies around the world are saying and doing about this issue.

Climate Change Science: An Open-and-Shut Case

But first I want to talk very briefly about the hurricanes we have seen this fall – and I will remind you the season’s not over yet. The U.S. Gulf Coast, as all of you know, was hit hard by hurricanes this year. Katrina alone killed more than 1,200 people, and we all know about the enormous destruction it left behind – an entire city decimated; 1 million displaced from their homes in coastal areas of Louisiana and Mississippi alone.

At the Pew Center, we have been quite busy answering questions about whether Katrina and these other storms were the product of global warming. And the honest answer is we don’t know for sure – no one does. But what we do know is that hurricanes draw their strength from the heat of the surface waters in the ocean. And as those waters get warmer, they are more likely to produce stronger storms. While Katrina was moving across the Gulf, the surface waters were unusually warm, about 2 degrees above normal for that time of year. Around the world, sea surface temperatures are more than 1 degree warmer on average than they were a century ago. So, whether or not Katrina and company were directly influenced by climate change, and there is certainly a case to be made that they were, they nevertheless are a sign of things to come.

Scientists have established beyond any reasonable doubt that the climate is changing, that these changes are the result of human activities, and that these changes are likely to become more pronounced – and more dangerous – in the decades to come. Instead of detailing all the various studies, I will refer you to the Pew Center website,, for an overview of what we know.

An Economic Toll As Well

But it is not only the science of climate change that should cause us to stand up and take notice; it is also the economics of climate change. Katrina alone is projected to cost U.S. taxpayers as much as $200 billion. We saw disruption in our energy supplies, higher fuel prices, losses of farmland and crops, destruction of countless businesses large and small, effects on ports and shipping, and much more.

Consider the economic impact on the energy sector alone. Because of Katrina and Rita, 90 percent of crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was still “shut in” as of mid-October, meaning companies had made little progress in restoring output. Seventy-two percent of offshore natural gas production was still offline. And we’ve all heard what that is going to do to home heating bills this winter.

This is happening, I remind you, in an area that is responsible for 30 percent of U.S. oil production and about a quarter of our natural gas output. And that’s not even the whole story of how these storms damaged our energy infrastructure – because they also hit a region that boasts nearly half of the nation’s refining capacity. At its peak, Rita closed 16 refineries in Texas and Louisiana that together account for more than 5 percent of refining capacity. Some of these suffered significant damage and are likely to remain closed for months.

And the energy industry wasn’t alone in suffering these direct economic losses. Insurers took a big hit as well. Overall insured losses from Katrina and Rita are estimated at between fifty and seventy-five billion dollars. That’s not even counting the losses Wilma incurred in Florida, at this point estimated at between 8 and 12 Billion.

It is no wonder that the insurance industry has been out in front on the climate issue and making the case for action. Here is a statement from Munich Re Group, one of the world’s largest reinsurers. “The increasing weather extremes linked to impending climate change are already causing weather catastrophes of a new dimension.” End quote. According to another insurance giant, Allianz, climate change is increasing the potential for property damage at a rate of between 2 and 4 percent every year.

Allianz and Munich Re are not the only insurance companies that believe climate change is a risk. In the United States, AIG had this to say: “On the risk side, especially in the longer term of several decades and more, the potential impacts of climate change such as temperature rise, increased weather disturbance activity and sea level rise pose risks of widespread and possibly devastating damage to infrastructure in low-lying coastal areas, to forests and other ecosystems, to food production, to water resources and to human health. In turn, these potential consequences could result in far-reaching negative impacts on economies and societies worldwide.” End quote.

I believe the leadership of these insurance companies and their industry is emblematic of a broader shift in the private sector. You could say that insurers are the tip of the iceberg – and this one’s not melting.

The Investment Community Takes Note

Another segment of the private sector that is increasingly willing to raise this issue as a real concern is the investment community. Last May, there was a gathering at the United Nations titled the 2005 Investor Summit on Climate Risk. Participants included representatives of U.S. and international pension funds with collective assets of $5 trillion. CalPERS and CalSTERS, the pension funds for the state of California, were there, as were many other institutional investors from around the world. And the reason they were there was to talk about both the risks and the opportunities that climate change poses for investors.

Risks and opportunities. When you are entrusted with investing billions or trillions of dollars, you had better know a fair amount about both of these eventualities. What risks does climate change pose for investors? How can they know that the companies they invest in are positioned to manage those risks? And, in a similar sense, how can they gauge whether companies are prepared to take advantage of new opportunities presented by the growing movement toward regulation and carbon constraints?

The risks of climate change for the business sector can be broken out in three key ways. First, there is litigation risk – companies could face lawsuits. Some of these may be frivolous, while others may have merit. Either way, business needs to factor the risk of litigation into their planning.

The second category of risk facing the business sector is physical risk. Some sectors and businesses will face direct consequences from the physical impacts of climate change, including not just hurricanes, but also drought, sea level rise and flooding. I already talked about insurance companies. But what about agriculture, forestry, real estate and other industries that hinge on the physical environment?

In addition to litigation risk and physical risk, there is also regulatory risk – the risk of government taking action on this issue in a way that affects corporate profits. And this is the risk area that is likely to have the most immediate and substantial impact on businesses and investors.

I know what you are probably thinking. You are thinking that the chance of any meaningful regulation coming out of Washington on this issue any time in the near future is pretty dim. Of course it all depends on your definition of how near “near” is. And you are probably right. But the fact is that many companies, including U.S.-based multinationals, already are experiencing climate-related regulation in their operations in the EU, Canada and other countries working to implement the Kyoto Protocol. And, even here in the United States, most of the CEOs I talk to tell me they view regulation as an inevitability. Maybe not tomorrow or the next day, but sometime soon.

In fact, some of these CEO’s seem to prefer the certainty that comes with regulation to the no-man’s land they are operating in today. Consider what Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE had to say: “Long-term certainty would help us all make smart decisions,” he said. He continued: “We believe that the government can provide leadership by clarifying policy, by committing to market mechanisms [and] by promoting diverse energy sources.”

Jim Rogers, the CEO of Cinergy Corp., said it a little more succinctly: “One day, we will live in a carbon-constrained world.” End quote.

These are the CEO’s of major, major industry, and in the case of Cinergy, a major coal-burning energy company. And the air of inevitability in Jim Rogers’ statement should certainly be a wake-up call for investors that regulatory risk is real.

But of course, it is not just the risks associated with climate change that are attracting the attention of the investment community. It is also, as I said, the opportunities. Those companies that lead the way in low-emission vehicles, clean coal technologies, clean energy, and technologies for slashing emissions are going to be the winners in the 21st-century economy.

Right now, California’s massiveenvironmental risk management into the due diligence process of its private equity divisions.

What’s more, as part of the policy, JP Morgan Chase said it supports reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through market-based, national policies. This is a leading global financial services firm – $1.1 trillion in assets. And now it is leading in another way as well.

The actions of JP Morgan Chase and together with the United Nations Investor Summit on Climate Risk, are clear signs that investors are beginning to take this issue seriously.

And they are not the only signs. A couple of years ago, we saw the launch of The Ca state pension system is investing significant amounts in alternative energy businesses. GE plans to spend an additional $1.5 billion on research on clean technology. And every month, it seems there is another story of a major venture capital or private equity firm – I am talking about the big names like the Carlyle Group – investing in clean energy deals. So while there are many risks, there are also many opportunities out there because of climate change, and savvy investors know it.

Is everyone seeing this as an investment opportunity? Of course not. Just last month, Exxon Mobil announced nearly $10 billion in third-quarter profits but said it has no plans to put any of those earnings toward the development of alternative energy sources. “We’d rather re-invest in what we know,” said the company’s spokesman.

So it may not be for everyone. But you can’t deny that the investment community is beginning to factor climate change into their strategies and research. Last April, for example, JP Morgan Chase announced a set of environmental principles to guide the firm’s global investments and business efforts. Among the highlights: JP Morgan Chase will incorporate rbon Disclosure Project, or CDP. This is an initiative that enables a large number of institutional investors to collectively sign a request to companies for disclosure of their greenhouse gas emissions and climate strategies. When this project was launched in 2003, 35 investors totaling $4.5 trillion in assets signed on. Then in 2004, 95 investors accounting for $10 trillion became signatories. This year, the request to companies went out under the signatures of 155 institutional investors with combined assets of $21 trillion.

CDP then sends this request to the 500 largest companies in the world. Currently, more than 350 of these companies currently report their emissions and climate strategies through the CDP website.

What is happening here, I believe, is a reflection of the post-Enron, post-World Com environment. Investors are asking companies for an even higher level of transparency and information, not just in their accounting but in other risk areas as well. California’s massive pension funds and many others are actually pressuring the SEC to enact separate disclosure rules specific to greenhouse gas emissions.

A related factor in the movement toward greater disclosure is Sarbanes-Oxley. Because of this law, growing numbers of U.S. companies are weighing whether climate change may create a material impact on future earnings. And, as the number of companies disclosing emissions and exposure to climate-related risk increases, Sarbanes-Oxley actually strengthens the hand of activist shareholders who are pressing companies that have not yet addressed the issue.

A study by CERES last year found that oil and gas companies faced a record total of 31 shareholder resolutions on the climate issue in 2004. The filers of these resolutions included state and city pension funds, a foundation, socially responsible investment firms, and religious pension funds. And an important focus of the resolutions was risk disclosure – in other words, to what extent are these companies preparing for looming constraints on their carbon emissions?

So the bottom line, if you will excuse the pun, is that investors are flexing their muscle on this issue – these investors do not want to see corporate boards and CEOs with their heads buried in the sand. They want to see an acknowledgment of the problem, an understanding of its potential impact on business performance, and concrete strategies for staying ahead of the problem and even turning it into a platform for new products and increased profitability.

Business Steps Up to the Plate

And the good news is that those investors who are concerned about this issue are beginning to get what they want from the companies they invest in. At the Pew Center, we work with 41 leading companies to promote action on climate change. These are mostly Fortune 500 companies with a combined market capitalization of over $2 trillion and 3 million employees. They represent most industrial sectors and many of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, including coal-burning utilities, mining companies, aluminum producers, automobile manufacturers, pulp and paper manufacturers, chemical companies, oil and gas businesses, and the cement industry. Council members include BP, Shell, General Electric, American Electric Power, DuPont, Toyota, Whirlpool, Intel, and more.

In joining the Council, these companies are united with the Pew Center in several beliefs, including this one – and I quote:

“We accept the views of most scientists that enough is known about the science and environmental impacts of climate change for us to take actions to address its consequences.”

To date, 30 of the 41 companies that work with the Pew Center have set targets to reduce their emissions, many of them more stringent than those in the Kyoto Protocol. And 13 of these companies already have met or exceeded at least one of their targets. And not a single one of these companies has found that it cost them money or market share. Of course, no one is under the impression that long-term efforts to address climate change will be cost-free. But the sooner we begin and the more we do to help companies manage these costs through market-based and flexible strategies, the more we will realize that we can reduce emissions without causing real and lasting damage to the economy or our competitiveness.

Let me talk briefly about what three of the companies we work with are doing – and I will start with one of the world’s largest companies, GE. GE just joined the Pew Center in July. It has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 1 percent by 2012, relative to 2004 levels, and it will increase energy efficiency by 30 percent. Based on the company’s projected growth, GE’s emissions would have risen 40 percent by 2012 without further action.

But this is really not what is significant about GE. Much more important is that GE is committed to doubling its investment in environmental technologies to $1.5 billion by 2010. Think about that for a moment: $1.5 BILLION by 2010 – that is basically the equivalent of starting a new Fortune 250 company – focused exclusively on clean technology. These efforts are part of GE’s “Ecomagination” initiative to aggressively bring to market new technologies that will help customers meet pressing environmental challenges. In one instance here, you have a company addressing both the risks and the opportunities of climate change.

I also want to tell you about the work of Cinergy. I quoted Cinergy’s CEO, Jim Rogers, at the start of my remarks. This is a company that burns more than 30 million tons of coal each year, and it devoted its entire 2004 annual report to climate change – not to debunk the issue or attack the science, but to acknowledge that climate change is a problem, and that Cinergy should be a part of the solution. Cinergy’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to an average of 5 percent below 2000 levels during the period from 2010-2012.

Cinergy recently announced plans to merge with Duke Energy, and Jim Rogers said that one rationale for the merger is the imminent arrival of carbon constraints. Duke Energy, he says, has a significant number of clean-burning natural gas plants, which will allow Cinergy to retire some of its coal-burning facilities more quickly.

The third company I want to talk briefly about today is Alcoa. Alcoa already has met its 2010 goal of reducing companywide emissions of greenhouse gases by 25 percent from 1990 levels. And in June, Alcoa issued a forecast that the aluminum industry could be greenhouse-gas neutral by 2017. Among the reasons: the increased use of aluminum in cars and trucks, which will reduce emissions from that sector. While this is an ambitious goal, there will likely be some lively debate about which industry – aluminum or autos – gets credit for this reduction.

GE, Cinergy, Alcoa and the other companies we work with at the Pew Center aren’t just looking internally at what can be done to address the climate problem. They are also looking beyond their own operations at public policies. For many years, there was a real hesitancy among business leaders to speak out on this issue, but that is changing. Why are the companies and the CEOs I have mentioned stepping out from behind the shadows now? Because they see that regulation is inevitable, and they want to make sure it is regulation they can live with. They see the states stepping into the void and adopting state and regional policies that seek to curb emissions. They see other countries putting together their own policies, some of them quite ambitious. They see that these actions are having a real effect – or soon will – on significant portions of their operations around the world. They get the picture. It’s inevitable to them that regulation is coming down the pike. In many cases, it is already here.

In addition to their interest in staying a step ahead of the regulations, these companies also want a higher level of certainty – they’re frankly tired of not knowing what’s going to be expected of them in the years ahead. It gets back to the issue of regulatory risk – they need to know what kind of risk they face.

Here is Wayne H. Brunetti, CEO and Chairman of Xcel Energy, as quoted in Business Week: “Give us a date, tell us how much we need to cut, give us the flexibility to meet the goals, and we’ll get it done.”

Four of the companies we work with at the Pew Center testified in front of the House Science Committee this year. The companies included Cinergy, DuPont, Baxter and United Technologies. Another company on the Council, Whirlpool, submitted written testimony. Their message: they are already living with greenhouse gas regulations in Europe and they are thriving in those places. These companies also told the committee that a lot of what they’re doing to cut emissions has bottom-line benefits. Efficiency pays. It’s smart business.

These companies are demonstrating a real boldness in entering the policy debate on this issue. They see it as absolutely essential to couple the work they are doing to reduce their emissions with a more active policy stance. The policy decisions that are made on this issue will have important implications for their future profits and performance, and these companies feel they have a responsibility to their shareholders to be involved.

Policies for Moving Forward

These companies also see a pressing need for U.S. leadership in the international arena. Remember: many of these firms are multinationals – they have operations around the world. So, in the same way that they want certainty here at home, they also want to know that policies around the world will be as predictable and as integrated and as consistent as possible.

At the G-8 meeting this past June in Gleneagles, Scotland, 20 business leaders were part of a special Climate Change Roundtable that identified a set of key principles for climate change policy. Included in those principles are the following:

  • “Policy frameworks that use market-based mechanisms to set clear, transparent and consistent price signals over the long term offer the best hope for unleashing needed innovation and competition.”
  • “Solutions must be global – participation of all major emitters is essential.”

The fact that these corporate leaders, including some from the United States, were able to agree to these and other principles shows how important they perceive this issue is for the future of their businesses. Business is in many respects leading the way, and it is time for policy makers, particularly those in Washington, DC, to get the message and act on their behalf.

What should policymakers do? Over the past year, the Pew Center brought together a group of policymakers and stakeholders from around the world to consider that question. We just recently held our last meeting and we’ll be releasing our final report, International Climate Efforts – Beyond 2012 next week. So without giving away too much, let me share with you a couple of key points.

First, while ultimately we need a fully global approach, what’s absolutely imperative at this stage is engaging the major economies. That includes the United States and the major developing countries. Twenty-five countries account for 83 percent of global emissions. They also account for 71 percent of global population and 86 percent global GDP. This is the core group that needs to act. It’s important, at the same time, that we recognize the tremendous diversity within this group. Their per capita emissions range by a factor of 14; their per capita income by a factor of 18.

So while all the major economies must commit to stronger action, we need to recognize and respect those differences, and allow different countries to take different kinds of approaches best suited to their needs and circumstances.

This leads to a second point: We need a more flexible framework, one that can accommodate different approaches by allowing for different kinds of commitments. Emission targets may work for some countries; but not for others. Maybe the best approach is some type of policy commitment that doesn’t entail a binding emissions limit. In the dialogue, we looked at a whole range of options, and the final report identifies those that seem most promising, and looks at ways they can be combined into a comprehensive framework. But for those details, I’ll have to ask you to stay tuned. The report will be out in just a few days, and we’ll have lots more to say about these ideas in the months ahead.

For now, suffice it to say that a tipping point is almost upon us. The combination of growing scientific certainty, growing concern – and growing action – among businesses and investors has brought us to a place where the kinds of international policies I am talking about are no longer a pipe dream. Even the U.S. Senate has shown support for real action, with a majority of senators supporting a resolution this summer that called for a mandatory national program to slow and eventually reverse U.S. emissions. The resolution was nonbinding, but it is yet another sign of change.

Thanks in large part to the leadership of the financial and business communities; climate change policy is approaching “that one dramatic moment when everything can change all at once.” My only fear is that this tipping point in policy arrives too late to keep another tipping point at bay – the point at which catastrophic climate change becomes inevitable, a force too strong to stop.

That is one case when tipping will not be appreciated. Thank you very much.

Press Release: Alcan, Inc. Joins Pew Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council

Press Release
October 18, 2005

Pew Center Contact: Katie Mandes, (703) 516-0606
Alcan, Inc. Contact: Anik Michaud, (514) 848-8151

Global Leader Joins Effort for Market-Based Solutions

Arlington, VA. -The Pew Center on Global Climate Change announced today that Alcan, Inc. has joined their Business Environmental Leadership Council and their efforts to address global climate change. Alcan is a multinational aluminum and packaging company based in Canada.
Alcan is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their own operations through their GHG emissions reduction program, TARGET. Established in 2001, the TARGET program initially set a reduction goal of 575,000 (absolute) tons of CO2e. At the end of 2004, Alcan had recorded actual reductions of 2.9 million tons of CO2e. Since setting its target and launching its program to reduce emissions, Alcan has consistently outperformed the S&P Index.
"The companies we work with at the Pew Center recognize that the reality of operating in a carbon-constrained world is fast-approaching. We can all benefit from leaders such as Alcan, and we are looking forward to working with and learning from them,"  said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
Alcan has also been selected as one of two Canadian companies on the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) 2005 Climate Leadership Index. Comprised of only 60 companies worldwide, the Index is part of a CDP report that outlines the key features that make climate change a critical shareholder value issue for both investors and global corporations.
"By and large, leading companies are realizing the importance of climate change and its impact on the long-term sustainability of their businesses," said Travis Engen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Alcan Inc. "The Pew Center has been instrumental in bringing business leaders together with policymakers in order to ensure a sustainable future; we are pleased to be a member."
Alcan is a multinational, market-driven company and a global leader in aluminum and packaging. With world-class operations in primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum as well as flexible and specialty packaging, aerospace applications, bauxite mining and alumina processing, today's Alcan is well positioned to meet and exceed its customers' needs for innovative solutions and service. Alcan employs almost 70,000 people and has operating facilities in 55 countries and regions.
The Business Environmental Leadership Council was established by thePew Center in 1998. The group is comprised of mainly Fortune 500 companies representing a diverse group of industries including energy, automobiles, manufacturing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metals, mining, paper and forest products, consumer goods and appliances, telecommunications, and high technology. Individually and collectively, these companies are demonstrating that it is possible to take action to address climate change while maintaining competitive excellence, growth, and profitability. The companies together generate over $1.6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 3 million people.
The other members of the BELC are: ABB; Air Products and Chemicals; Alcoa; American Electric Power; Baxter International; Boeing; BP; California Portland Cement Co.; CH2M HILL; Cinergy Corp.; Cummins Inc.; Deutsche Telekom; DTE Energy; DuPont; Entergy; Exelon; GE; Georgia-Pacific; Hewlett-Packard Company; Holcim; IBM; Intel; Interface Inc.; John Hancock Financial Services; Lockheed Martin; Maytag; Novartis; Ontario Power Generation; PG&E Corporation; Rio Tinto; Rohm and Haas; Royal Dutch/Shell; SC Johnson; Sunoco; Toyota; TransAlta; United Technologies; Weyerhaeuser; Whirlpool; and Wisconsin Energy Corporation.

For more information about global climate change and the activities of the Pew Center and the BELC, visit
The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States' largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment. The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

Political Climate Change

Full Article (PDF)

by Truman Semans, Director for Markets and Business Strategy at the Pew Center--Appeared in Petroleum Economist, September 2005

Press Release: GE Joins Pew Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council

Press Release
July 13, 2005

Contact: Katie Mandes

Next step in company-wide focus on addressing pressing challenges

Washington, D.C.-The Pew Center on Global Climate Change announced today that General Electric Company (GE) has joined the Pew Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC) and their efforts to address global climate change.

GE, one of the world's largest companies, has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions one percent by 2012 and the intensity of its GHG emissions 30 percent by 2008 (both compared to 2004). Based on the company's projected growth, GE's GHG emissions would have risen 40 percent by 2012 without further action. In addition, GE is committed to doubling its investment in environmental technologies to $1.5 billion by 2010. These efforts are part of GE's "Ecomagination" initiative to aggressively bring to market new technologies that will help customers meet pressing environmental challenges.

Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center welcomed GE enthusiastically, "When a company like GE stands up and says that climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate action, people tend to listen. As the newest member of our business environmental leadership council, we are pleased to have them at the table as we work to craft acceptable policy here in the United States and abroad."

"Ecomagination is GE's commitment to address challenges such as the need for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy and reduced emissions," said Jeffrey Immelt, GE chairman and CEO. "It is time for the private sector to assume its rightful place as a major catalyst for environmental change. We believe that the growing market for environmental technology can get us where we need to be."

"But industry cannot get there alone," Immelt continued. "We need to work in concert with the government and important groups like the Pew Center to promote and reward leadership. We are glad to join Pew's effort to work toward these goals - all keys for our shared future."

Members of the Pew Center's Business Council agree that enough is known about the science of global climate change to warrant action, and they pledge to take steps to reduce or offset their own greenhouse gas emissions. Members work together to formulate reasonable public policy, both in the United States and internationally. The Pew Center's council now has forty members, most of them Fortune 500 companies with operations around the world.

GE is among the leaders in energy-efficient power generation technologies, renewable energy technologies, water purification, and energy-efficient consumer appliance and lighting products. Also, GE's aircraft engines and locomotives are among the most efficient and cleanest in the world. GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide.

The Business Environmental Leadership Council was established by the Pew Center in 1998. The BELC is comprised of mainly Fortune 500 companies representing a diverse group of industries including energy, automobiles, manufacturing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metals, mining, paper and forest products, consumer goods and appliances, telecommunications, and high technology. Individually and collectively, these companies are demonstrating that it is possible to take action to address climate change while maintaining competitive excellence, growth, and profitability. The companies together generate over $1.5 trillion in revenue and employ more than 2.5 million people.

The other members of the BELC are: ABB; Air Products and Chemicals; Alcoa; American Electric Power; Baxter International; Boeing; BP; California Portland Cement Co.; CH2M HILL; Cinergy Corp.; Cummins Inc.; Deutsche Telekom; DTE Energy; DuPont; Entergy; Exelon, Georgia-Pacific; Hewlett-Packard Company; Holcim; IBM; Intel; Interface Inc.; John Hancock Financial Services; Lockheed Martin; Maytag; Novartis; Ontario Power Generation; PG&E Corporation; Rio Tinto; Rohm and Haas; Royal Dutch/Shell; SC Johnson; Sunoco; Toyota; TransAlta; United Technologies; Weyerhaeuser; Whirlpool; and Wisconsin Energy Corporation.

For more information about global climate change and the activities of the Pew Center and the BELC, visit


The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States' largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment. The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

GE (NYSE:GE) is Imagination at Work - a diversified technology, media and financial services company focused on solving some of the world's toughest problems. With products and services ranging from aircraft engines, power generation, water processing and security technology to medical imaging, business and consumer financing, media content and advanced materials, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at

Press Release: New Reports Detail Challenges and Opportunities for Climate Change and Buildings, Electricity Sectors

Press Release
For Immediate Release:  June 16, 2005

Contact:  Katie Mandes

New Reports Detail Challenges and Opportunities

Washington, DC —The U.S. buildings and electricity sectors—which together account for the largest portion of our economy’s physical wealth and enable almost every activity of our daily life – also account for approximately half of our nation’s CO2 emissions.  Effective long-term climate change policy in the U.S. must address emissions from these two sectors.  

Two new reports released today by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change identify a number of technologies and policy options for GHG reductions in both sectors.  The first report is Towards a Climate-Friendly Built Environment, written by Marilyn Brown, Frank Southworth and Therese Stovall of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  The other is U.S. Electric Power Sector and Climate Change Mitigation, written by Granger Morgan, Jay Apt, and Lester Lave of Carnegie Mellon University.

Long capital stock turnover, regulatory uncertainty and diverse and often competing interests all contribute to the difficulty of reducing GHGs from these two sectors.  These reports find that a portfolio of affordable technology and policy options exist to completely transform the high-emitting buildings and electricity sectors to low-GHG emitting sectors over the next 50 years.  However, the long lead time required to develop new technologies, deploy available technologies, and turn over capital stock, means that policies need to be launched now to create the impetus for change. Efforts must be sustained over time to achieve the deep reductions required.

"The importance of these two sectors to both the U.S. economy and to the issue of climate change cannot be over-stated,” said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, “This research shows that we can achieve enormous reductions in the building and electric sectors, but only if we craft a clear and comprehensive policy to guide them."

Some insights that emerge from the reports are:

  • Policies are needed to enable meaningful GHG reductions from these sectors. The diverse and fragmented nature of the buildings sector, and the current state of regulatory uncertainty in the electricity sector prevent many available GHG reduction options from being adopted in the market in the absence of policies.
  • Significant increases in R&D and deployment policies are essential if we hope to significantly reduce GHGs from these sectors. A significantly expanded R&D program is needed in the U.S. to develop new technologies, and deployment policies are needed to push and pull available fuels and technologies into the market in the near and long term.
  • An elimination of most GHGs from these sectors is possible over the next 50 years. If managed properly, the electricity sector could undergo a complete capital stock turnover to low or non-GHG emitting generation sources over the next 50 years; while buildings in the U.S. could become net low-GHG energy exporters in the same time frame – but government policies are essential to provide clear policy direction in order to drive the massive public and private investments and choices necessary to enable such a future.
Solutions Series

This report is part of the Solutions series, which is aimed at providing individuals and organizations with tools to evaluate and reduce their contributions to climate change. In 2003, the Solutions series released the first of its sectoral reports, Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from U.S. Transportation, written by David L. Greene of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Andreas Schafer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Other Pew Center series focus on domestic and international policy issues, environmental impacts, and the economics of climate change.

A complete copy of this report—and previous Pew Center reports—is available on the Pew Center's web site, /global-warming-in-depth/all_reports/.


The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States’ largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment. The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

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