“The [We Mean Business coalition report] underlines that we do not have to choose between climate action and economic growth,” said Unilever CEO Paul Polman. “The report shows this is a false dilemma. They can be achieved simultaneously. The next 15 years are critical. Around $90 trillion will be investe
IKEA, Swiss Re, Mars, H&M go all-in on renewable energy | GreenBiz.com.
Corporate Leaders who become thought leaders in the counterbalance to global climate change factors are coming forward ! This article is reblogged here in its entirety :
Using the backdrop of Climate Week NYC to underscore their commitments, more than a dozen global companies are making multi-year pledges to switch to 100 percent renewable power.
The campaign, called RE100, encourages 100 of the world’s largest businesses to commit to similar all-in goals by 2020. So far, early signers include (in alphabetical order) include: BT, Commerzbank, FIA Formula E, H&M, IKEA, KPN, Mars, Nestle, Philips, Reed Elsevier, J. Safra Sarasin, Swiss Re and Yoox. (IKEA and Swiss Re were the founding sponsors.) Although it isn’t name, Walmart made this pledge long ago.
“We decided on a 100 percent renewable power approach because as a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance and insurance we believe that tackling climate change while meeting the energy needs of a growing and developing world is an urgent matter. This can only be done by improving energy efficiency and switching to low carbon options including renewable energy sources,” said Jurg Trub, head of environmental and commodity markets for Swiss Re.
“Renewable energy is common sense energy,” said Steve Howard, chief sustainability officer for IKEA Group, during a launch event on the opening day of the Climate Week, convened by The Climate Group. “There is no peak sun, no peak wind. We struck sun, we struck wind long before we struck oil.”
To be clear, 2020 is the date guiding the RE100 pledges. It doesn’t technically mean the full-blown switchover has to happen by then—although IKEA alone will invest close to $1.9 billion dollars in renewable energy projects before 2020 to meet its goal.
So far, IKEA has generated more than 1,425 gigawatts of power from renewable sources, an admirable feat considering how difficult it is for businesses to procure renewable energy. But Howard and other business and political leaders gathered in New York this week say the corporate world must speak up more forcefully and move far faster to address climate change issues.
“You can make a powerful argument that it is the most important challenge that we face on the planet, because it is about the planet itself,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the gathering, referencing the People’s Climate March that took place over the weekend. He added: “It doesn’t cost more to deal with climate change, it costs more to ignore it.” A report published this week by the newly formed We Mean Business coalition suggests that companies making investments in low-carbon technologies are realizing a 27 percent average internal rate of return.
“The [report] underlines that we do not have to choose between climate action and economic growth,” said Unilever CEO Paul Polman. “The report shows this is a false dilemma. They can be achieved simultaneously. The next 15 years are critical. Around $90 trillion will be invested in cities, land use and energy infrastructure globally between now and 2030.”
An estimated 400,000 people took to New York streets for the climate march, four times the number anticipated. Aside from the list of people you’d normally expect to show up (like Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Sting or Leonardo DiCaprio) were top executives from IKEA, NRG Unilever and members of We Mean Business.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also donned his walking shoes to underscore the need for better collaboration between communities, citizens, and the public and private sectors. “This is our world, this is our planet earth. It is a very small planet,” Ki-moon told the roughly 250 people attending the Climate Week opening session. “If we cannot swim together, we will always sink. There is no Plan B, because there is no Planet B.”
The We Mean Business coalition was launched to leverage the collective voices of business leaders around the world, hoping to create a ripple effect of positive actions that help limit the global rise in temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius. Among the causes it is advocating on behalf of the private sector (it wants all these things by 2015):
- A heightened sense of urgency by governments to stabilize emissions
- Policies that encourage businesses to reduce their impact, including an elimination of fossil fuels subsidies; meaningful carbon pricing; an end to forestation; robust energy-efficiency standards; support for scaling renewable energy; and trade incentives that encourage a low-carbon economy
- Clearer long-term goals
- More transparency and accountability related to climate issues
- Public finance mechanisms to support investments in low-carbon and resilient infrastructure by the private sector
“The inclusion of business at the summit and over the past few years is a recognition that climate change is not a one-person issue,” said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, during a briefing call before the summit. “It is not a one-sector issue. It cannot be solve by one country, one sector, by one level of government. Climate is an every-person issue, and it requires everyone to work collaboratively in order to reach the solutions to the level and at the speed that we need to find.”
Among the leaders that We Mean Business recruited to stress the need for collaboration was Apple CEO Tim Cook, who pointed to the need for a corporate ripple effect. “We know we will not make enough of a difference if we only solve part of the world,” he said during an on-stage interview with Figueres.
Top image by Bush Philosopher via Flickr
Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Vitruvian Man sketch has been reproduced by an artist in the Arctic to draw attention to climate change. John Quigley, an artist specializing in aerial art, travelled on a Greenpeace icebreaker to create the copper artwork in the Fram Strait, about 500 miles from the North Pole. The piece, entitled “Melting Vitruvian Man”, measures the equivalent of four Olympic-size swimming pools. The man’s two arms and one leg have been cut off, symbolically melting into the sea to illustrate the disappearing ice.
“We created the Melting Vitruvian Man because climate change is literally eating into the body of our civilisation,” Quigley said in a video statement.
This September could mark the lowest sea ice minimum on record.
via SHFT | Da Vinci Work Recreated on Melting Arctic Ice.
“He said that despite the failures of successive governments – including his own 1992-2000 administration in the US – to forge working treaties on climate change, and to cut greenhouse gas emissions, people should take the initiative by working together and individually to reduce their own impact on the environment. He pointed to the work of the biologist EO Wilson, whose most recent work suggests that human beings and other complex natural societies prosper through co-operation. “I believe that in a complex world … these creative networks of co-operation have to triumph over conflict-driven models,” said Clinton.”
via Bill Clinton: cutting use of natural resources would help US economy | World news | guardian.co.uk.
A study published last August by the UN Environment Programme found that current agricultural trends are destroying the world’s natural resources, particularly its water supplies. Reversing this trend would require integrated land-use planning that coordinates decision-making for farming, biodiversity, water management and air pollution, according to the study.
Another report from the UN – its latest World Economic and Social Survey, found that to stop deteriorating land conditions and depleting natural resources, the world would have to move away from large-scale, intensive agricultural systems as they exist today. Instead, smaller scale farms in developing countries should be improved and expanded using ‘green’ technology that minimised the use of water, energy and chemicals, noted the report.
Scientists urge countries to adopt ‘climate-smart’ agriculture | Eco-Business.com.
The sceptics aren’t the block to action on climate change.They just wish they were.
When you write about climate change, you get even more angry emails than when you write about Muslims. Last time I tried, one reader berated me for mentioning “fictional pompous Al Gore’s enriching scheme of global warming” in my “ridiculous article”. This man ended with a quote from Einstein: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” Another reader, whose sign-off cited his PhD, explained to me that all the international summits weren’t “about man-made climate change ‘science’ … but really about a larger ‘global wealth distribution scheme’.”
It’s tempting to blame “climate sceptics” for the world’s inaction on man-made climate change. (The United Nations’ latest summit, starting in Durban on Monday, won’t save the planet either.) Greens often talk as if the enemy were not climate change itself, but a self-taught band of freelance sceptics. No wonder, because fighting culture wars is the fun bit of politics. However, this fight is pointless. The sceptics aren’t the block to action on climate change. They just wish they were. Instead, they are an irrelevant sideshow.
Sceptics and believers quarrel about the science because they both start from a mistaken premise: that science will determine what we do about climate change. The idea is that once we agree what the science says, policy will automatically follow. That’s why the Nobel committee gave Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change a peace prize.
Mysteriously, though, the policy still hasn’t followed the science. Almost all scientists already agree on the science. An article in the PNAS, journal of the US National Academy of Sciences, last year found that 97 per cent of actively publishing climate scientists believe man-made climate change is happening. Nonetheless, the world hasn’t acted.
Clearly then, science doesn’t determine policy, concludes Daniel Sarewitz of the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes in Washington. Yet the pointless quarrel about science continues.
It’s pointless first of all because what most people believe about climate change has little to do with science. After all, hardly any layperson understands it. Rather, people’s beliefs about climate change follow from their beliefs about the world. “We disagree about climate change because we have different belief systems,” writes Mike Hulme, professor of climate change at the UK’s University of East Anglia.
American sceptics, for instance, are disproportionately likely to be conservative white males, say the sociologists Aaron McCright and Riley Dunlap. Conservative white males don’t like governments interfering with business. They don’t like global co-operation. Nothing will convince them that we need global co-operation to interfere with business and tackle climate change, especially not if Al Gore says so.
Conversely, liberals who do like global co-operation and interfering with business are going to believe in climate change, even though hardly any of them understand the science either. “Climate change has joined gun control, taxes and abortion as a form of social identity marker,” writes Matthew Nisbet, social scientist at American University in Washington. In this debate, and not just in the US, almost nobody is open to persuasion.
Beating the sceptics around the head with the science just gives them attention. It also allows them to roar in triumph whenever the believers get any bit of science wrong, as when the IPCC exaggerated the melting of Himalayan glaciers. The squabble also creates a one-dimensional argument about climate change: do you believe it’s real or not? I’ve found to my cost that many people can only read articles about climate change as statements of either belief or scepticism. This obscures better questions, such as what exactly we should do about climate change.
The quarrel with the sceptics is additionally pointless because they are a small minority – under a fifth of the 35 million Americans who actively engage in this issue, estimates Jon Krosnick, social psychologist at Stanford University. In a poll sponsored by the World Bank in 15 countries in 2009, “in each country the public believed climate change to be a serious problem,” writes Roger Pielke Jr, political scientist at the University of Colorado. He adds: “The battle for public opinion has essentially been won.” Admittedly, he cautions, most people who believe that climate change exists feel only lukewarm concern. However, trying to convince them with even more science is probably pointless too.
The sceptics and the apathetic will always be with us. There’ll never be full consensus on climate change. But if governments could only act when there was unanimity, no law on anything would ever be passed. The US invaded Iraq, bailed out banks and passed universal healthcare with much less consensus than exists over climate change. In short, the sceptics are not the block to action.
Rather, the block is that the believers – including virtually all governments on earth – aren’t sufficiently willing to act. We could do something. But shouting at sceptics is easier.
via Squabbling while the world burns – FT.com.
“Later this month, the countries of the world will gather in Durban, South Africa, to discuss climate change. The omens for progress are poor; the forecast for global warming is worse.So says the International Energy Agency, hardly a left-wing pinko organization but, rather, one that collects and analyzes information for energy-importing industrialized countries.
The IEA minced no words. “On planned policies, rising fossil-fuel energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change.”
“Irreversible and potentially catastrophic” are words not written lightly. They don’t come from the United Nations, the favourite target of the climate-change deniers and skeptics. They don’t pour forth from the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace or the Sierra Club. Rather, they come from the blue chip of energy analysts, relied on by government and industry alike around the world.
The IEA, charged with tracking energy use, reported that, in 2010, emissions of carbon dioxide – the principal greenhouse gas – rose by 5.3 per cent. Little is being done, says the IEA, to “quench the world’s increasing thirst for energy in the long term.” Demand for oil, natural gas and coal continues to rise.
If these trends continue, the world will blow past the target most scientists – and the world’s governments – have said must be achieved if climate change is not to produce negative consequences. That target is a rise of 2 degrees Celsius. Ideally, greenhouse-gas emissions should be reduced sharply so warming doesn’t occur. But anything above that increase, say scientists, would bring on a series of very undesirable events. ”
via Amid dire warming warnings, Canada is MIA – The Globe and Mail.
“Right now, 10 countries — including the U.S., China and Russia — are responsible for 80 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. The United States is the world’s second largest emitter (China ranks no. 1), sending around 5.8 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere a year. That’s the equivalent to a year’s worth of greenhouse gas emissions from 1.1 billion average passenger vehicles. Below, a look at today’s big CO2 emitters — and projected emissions giants in 2030.”
via Climate Change Trends: Carbon Emissions Giants : NPR.