I have an in-law who is, shall we say, rather skeptical about climate change. Any discussion on the topic usually begins with some contrarian science theory that he heard on one of his favorite talk shows (e.g. sun spots, deep ocean magma, urban heat islands), and then devolves from there.
Why do some Americans believe the antithesis of the scientific consensus on issues like climate change?
This topic is explored by Professor Andy Hoffman of the University of Michigan in his new book, How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate. As suggested by the title, Hoffman’s thesis – a distillation of considerable research from social scientists over the past several years – is that the public’s understanding of climate change, like other historically contentious issues such as evolution, acid rain, the ozone hole, and genetically modified food – is as much a cultural issue as a scientific one.
One of the key arguments is that a scientific consensus does not necessarily reflect a “social consensus,” the latter being something that the majority of society would consider to be true. For instance, the scientific consensus that cigarettes harm human health emerged decades before the social consensus emerged.
Market Mechanisms: Understanding the OptionsApril 2015
Climate change poses a significant risk for a broad range of human and natural systems. Policies to reduce emissions are critical if we are to avoid the most costly damages associated with a rapidly changing climate. Compared to traditional command-and-control regulations, market-based policies can more cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by creating financial incentives for GHG emitters to emit less. Ten U.S. states and many jurisdictions outside the United States have established market-based programs to reduce GHGs. Market-based policies would be among the options available to states to reduce GHGs from power plants under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan. This brief describes the theory behind market-based approaches; their success in cost-effectively reducing GHGs and other emissions; and a range of market-based options, including: a carbon tax, a cap-and-trade program, a baseline and credit program, a clean or renewable electricity standard, and an energy efficiency resource standard.
Photo by Ellie Ramm
Elizabeth Craig of the EPA (left) speaks with three representatives of 2015 Climate Laedership Award winners, Andy Battjes of Brown Forman, Bridgeport, Conn., Mayor Bill Finch, and Alexis Limberakis of Clorox
When it comes to climate leadership, the way a message is delivered can be the key to success.
Winners of the 2015 Climate Leadership Awards found that being creative in communicating ideas on sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions helped the message resonate with constituents, customers, and employees.
Sixteen organizations, including C2ES Business Environmental Leadership Council members Bank of America and General Motors, won Climate Leadership Awards this year. The awards are co-sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Association of Climate Change Officers, and The Climate Registry.
Three winners -- Bridgeport, Conn., Mayor Bill Finch, household consumer product maker Clorox, and wine and distilled spirits manufacturer Brown Forman – spoke at the Climate Leadership Conference about three ways to connect climate goals to your audience.
Photo by Ellie Ramm
Emilie Mazzacurati, founder and CEO at Four Twenty Seven, Inc., spoke at a C2ES-sponsored workshop on corporate climate resilience at the 2015 Climate Leadership Conference.
Many businesses are moving beyond identifying the potential risks posed by climate change impacts and are taking the next step: developing solutions.
More intense heat waves, rising sea levels, and heavier rainfall could lower crop yields and labor productivity, increase energy costs, damage property, and disrupt operations.
None of these impacts are good for business.
More than 80 individuals from companies, cities, and nonprofits shared their climate resilience ideas and experiences at a C2ES-sponsored workshop, “Emerging Best Practices for Identifying Climate Risk and Increasing Resilience,” at the 2015 Climate Leadership Conference in Washington.
February 24, 2015
Climate Leadership Award Winners Announced
WASHINGTON – Sixteen organizations and one individual are being honored today with Climate Leadership Awards for their accomplishments in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and driving climate action.
The awards are given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership, in collaboration with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the Association of Climate Change Officers and The Climate Registry. Awardees will be honored this evening at the Climate Leadership Conference in Arlington, VA.
The awardees come from a wide array of sectors, from finance and manufacturing to retail and local government. Recipients have demonstrated leadership in managing and reducing emissions, investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and preparing for the impacts of climate change.
Information on the award winners is at: www.epa.gov/climateleadership/awards/2015winners.html
Following is EPA's press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2015
UPS, Bank of America, SC Johnson among 16 Organizations across the U.S. Recognized for Climate Action
EPA also recognizes Chevrolet Clean Energy Campus Campaign, San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative in new Innovative Partnerships Category
WASHINGTON – From an innovative partnership enabling colleges to sell carbon credits to fund clean energy projects on campuses to some of the country’s leading corporations setting and exceeding aggressive emission reduction goals, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leadership Award winners announced today are demonstrating that innovative actions to combat climate change are smart business decisions. Sixteen organizations and one individual representing a wide array of industries from finance and manufacturing to retail and technology show exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in response to climate change.
“I am proud to recognize our Climate Leadership Award winners for their actions to reduce the harmful carbon pollution that’s fueling climate change,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Our winners are demonstrating that a healthy environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. These organizations are providing the leadership, commitment, and solutions needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and meet head on the challenge of a changing climate.”
EPA’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership, in partnership with the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO), the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), and The Climate Registry (TCR), announced the fourth annual Climate Leadership Award winners.
The 2015 Climate Leadership Award recipients are:
- Innovative Partnerships Certificate (new category): This award recognizes organizations working collaboratively on leading edge climate initiatives with established objectives to measurably address greenhouse gas reduction goals and/or adaptation and resilience activities. This year’s recipients include:
o ChevroletClean Energy Campus Campaign (Detroit, Mich.): The Chevrolet Campus Clean Energy Campaign marks the first time college campuses have been able to use carbon performance methodologies to earn revenue via GHG reductions that result from on-campus efficiency and clean energy. The Campaign set a 100 percent absolute GHG reduction goal through 2014 (2012 base year).
o San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative (San Diego, Calif.): The Climate Collaborative supports members in setting and meeting GHG reduction targets via trainings and information on GHG inventory and monitoring tools; sharing climate action plan templates; supporting local governments in developing climate action plans; developing capacity for local governments to implement measures in their climate action plans; and more.
- Organizational Leadership Award: Bank of America (Charlotte, N.C.) is being honored with this award for not only completing its own comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory and setting an aggressive emissions reduction goal, but also exemplifying extraordinary leadership in its internal response to climate change through engagement of its peers, competitors, partners, and supply chain, and addressing climate risk in its enterprise strategies. Bank of America issued the first corporate green bond to fund energy efficiency projects in 2013. Bank of America is setting an absolute global greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal of 15 percent from 2010 levels through 2015. This goal builds on a previous total reduction of 18 percent of its U.S. GHG emissions from 2004-2009.
- Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Achievement Award): The following organizations are being honored for publicly reporting and verifying organization-wide greenhouse gas inventories and achieving publicly-set aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals:
- The City and County of San Francisco;
- The Clorox Company (Oakland, Calif.);
- DPR Construction (Redwood City, Calif.);
- SC Johnson (Racine, Wis.);
- Sprint (Overland Park, Kan.); and
- UPS (Atlanta).
- Individual Leadership Award: Mayor Bill Finch, City of Bridgeport, Conn., is being recognized for demonstrating extraordinary leadership in driving meaningful climate action within the Greater Bridgeport community and throughout the City’s operations. The Mayor is implementing an emission reduction goal for the city of 10 percent below 2007 levels by 2020.
- Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Setting Certificate): The following organizations are being honored for publicly reporting and verifying organization-wide greenhouse gas inventories and publicly setting aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals:
- Brown-Forman Corporation (Louisville, Ky.);
- California Department of Water Resources;
- Capital One Financial Corporation (McLean, Va.);
- CH2M HILL (Englewood, Colo.);
- The Clorox Company (Oakland, Calif.);
- EMC Corporation (Hopkinton, Mass.);
- The Hartford (Hartford, Conn.); and
- Tiffany & Co. (New York).
“After the hottest year globally on record, action on climate change is more urgent than ever,” said Elliot Diringer, executive vice president of C2ES. “We applaud the CLA winners for demonstrating the many paths forward to a low-carbon future, and hope others follow their example.”
“The Climate Registry is honored to recognize an impressive group of climate champions for their dedication to and leadership in addressing climate change in their operations,” said David Rosenheim, executive director of TCR. “This year’s deserving award winners are leading the way in reducing carbon pollution through greater transparency and consistent data, demonstrating the path to a more sustainable future.”
“Climate change presents immense challenges across an incredible array of sectors, geographic regions and job functions," said Daniel Kreeger, executive director of the Association of Climate Change Officers. "The 2015 Climate Leadership Award winners have shown that incorporating climate into decision making is critical to their organizational success and are raising the bar on climate action."
The awards were presented at the 2015 Climate Leadership Conference in Arlington, Va.
EPA's Center for Corporate Climate Leadership establishes norms of climate leadership by encouraging organizations with emerging climate objectives to identify and achieve cost-effective GHG emission reductions, while helping more advanced organizations drive innovations in reducing their greenhouse gas impacts in their supply chains and beyond. The Center provides technical tools, guidance, educational resources, and opportunities for information sharing and peer exchange among organizations interested in reducing the environmental impacts associated with climate change.
More information about the 2015 Climate Leadership Award winners: www.epa.gov/climateleadership/awards/2015winners.html
More information about EPA’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership: www.epa.gov/climateleadership
One city, company, state or nation can’t solve our climate and energy challenges overnight. Meaningful progress requires a variety of approaches by multiple actors, and that’s why partnerships are critical.
The benefits, indeed, the necessity of partnering and collaborating on climate action is increasingly being recognized.
The MIT 2014 Sustainability Report notes that “a growing number of companies are turning to collaborations — with suppliers, NGOs, industry alliances, governments, even competitors — to become more sustainable.” Collaborating with non-traditional partners was the focus of this month’s National Association of Clean Water Agencies’ (NACWA) Winter Conference, where C2ES President Bob Perciasepe touted the benefits of water and energy utility partnerships. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will recognize the importance of innovative partnerships for the first time in the upcoming 2015 Climate Leadership Awards to be announced Feb. 24 in Washington D.C.
Successful partnerships on climate and energy challenges, like successful relationships, take work. So in honor of Valentine’s Day, we offer the following six rules for strong partnerships:
A new C2ES report highlights lessons useful for companies and policymakers as more states and countries consider carbon pricing to spur innovative technologies and cut emissions at the lowest possible cost.
The report, written for the World Bank’s Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR), examines how three companies — Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Rio Tinto, and Royal Dutch Shell -- prepared for carbon pricing programs.
The PMR shares this type of information with developing countries to help them create their own market-based policies. We were pleased to partner with the PMR to explore how a few of the companies in our Business Environmental Leadership Council prepared for carbon pricing and we thank the companies for sharing their expertise.
The lessons they shared fall into two categories – what business can learn from other companies operating in carbon markets and what governments considering market-based climate policy can learn from business.
Preparing for Carbon Pricing: Case Studies from Company Experience: Royal Dutch Shell, Rio Tinto, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Hear from Leaders in Climate and Energy Innovation
Leaders from business, government, academia and nonprofits will share best practices to address climate change through policy and business solutions at the 2015 Climate Leadership Conference Feb. 23-25, 2015, in Washington, DC.
The Climate Leadership Conference is hosted by The Climate Registry, the Association of Climate Change Officers, and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). The Environmental Protection Agency is the headline sponsor.
C2ES is hosting two workshops at the conference.
Conference registration is required to attend the workshops. Register Here
Emerging Best Practices for Identifying Climate Risk and Increasing Resilience
Monday, February 23, 8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
This workshop will be a knowledge exchange seminar built around discussions on climate-related risks and opportunities for private sector businesses. Discussions will explore strategies companies are using to prioritize and plan; data and tools they use to understand their vulnerabilities and opportunities; key barriers that impede resilience planning; and the partnerships that allow companies to interact with public sector decision-makers that are also building resilience.
Conference Registration Required. Register Here
Chris Benjamin, Director, Corporate Sustainability, PG&E
Robert Kopp, Associate Professor, Rutgers University
Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder and CEO, Four Twenty Seven, Inc.
Janet Peace,Vice President, Markets and Business Strategy, C2ES
Joe Casola, Program Director, Science and Impacts, C2ES
Climate Solutions: The Role of Innovative Partnerships
Monday, February 23, 10:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
This workshop examines ways organizations are working collaboratively on leading-edge climate initiatives, such as greenhouse gas reduction goals and adaptation strategies that go above and beyond the business-as-usual approaches. We know that cross-sector collaboration makes more of an impact than what might be achieved alone. The session will showcase transformational partnerships that produce robust results, innovative solutions and scalability. Participants will be invited to share their own perspectives and explore where new partnerships may be needed.
Conference Registration Required. Register Here
Keith Canfield, Director, Corporate Sustainability Programs, Clinton Climate Initiative
David Tulauskas, Director, Sustainability, General Motors Company
Katie Mandes, Vice President, Community Engagement, C2ES
If your New Year’s resolution is to make a difference, why not start at work?
A majority of us say we’d be more satisfied if we had a job where we could make a social or environmental impact on the world. A recent study shows Millennials especially see businesses as potential partners in helping them make the world a better place.
No matter your title or department, or if it’s just you working in your home office, you can help make your workplace a little greener and reduce the emissions that are contributing to climate change.
Here are 8 steps to consider giving a try:
Photo by Ellie Ramm
Cafeteria composting and recycling are great ways to cut food waste at work.