Can We Slow Climate Change Without Government Intervention?
As we look at the next four years with a Trump Presidency, we are unlikely to see Federal support for climate change progress. The International Energy Agency states that we absolutely need government to slow the worst effects of climate change. Unfortunately, for the next four years, that simply might not happen. So how can Americans move forward with climate change progress without help from the Federal government? Nonprofits, business leaders and states will need to lead the way.
Rocky Mountain Institute
Amory Lovins, cofounder and Chief Scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), offers a compelling argument that we can transform our energy system and slow climate change without government intervention.
The RMI outlines how we can do this through advancing technology in transportation, energy efficiencies and advancements in renewables, greener buildings and industry improvements.
Transportation: “Super efficient autos, trucks, and planes, far more productively used, would need three-fourths less fuel, no oil, and less lifecycle cost,” according to RMI.
Electricity: “Dramatically increased energy efficiency could flatten or even modestly decrease total electricity use, despite a 158 percent bigger 2050 economy and electrified autos,” according to RMI.
Buildings: Buildings use a lot of energy. Through building and remodeling methods developed by organizations such as LEED (developed by the U.S. Green Building Council) and Net Zero Homes, buildings can significantly reduce energy consumption and decrease their environmental impact.
Industries Leading The Green Revolution:
These businesses and industries are leading the green revolution and changing how business as usual gets done:
Tesla – Always on top of the green companies list. They make electric cars and energy storage, just in case you hadn’t heard. Soon they will merge with Solar City, the market leader in residential solar power according to PV Magazine.
Ikea – The worlds largest furniture retailer: “We’re working towards 100% renewable energy – producing as much as we consume in our operations – and sourcing all of our wood from more sustainable sources by 2020,” according to the Ikea website.
Unilever – Their mainstream products such as Axe, Dove and Lipton are not usually synonymous with green living, but they are a global company with sustainability plan.
We believe that business must be part of the solution. But to be so, business will have to change; there is not ‘business as usual anymore’. Sustainable, equitable growth is the only acceptable business model. Our vision is to grow our business, whilst reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact.
Low Carbon USA – American companies such as HP Inc. and even Monsanto (a company often under serious scrutiny by the environmental community) have signed the Low Carbon USA pledge and open letter to the Trump administration and members of the US congress:
“Failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk. But the right action now will create jobs and boost US competitiveness. We pledge to do our part, in our own operations and beyond, to realize the Paris Agreement’s commitment of a global economy that limits global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius,” states part of the Low Carbon USA letter.
Cities, States and Regions
Although the Trump administration may not be on board with a climate action plan, cities and regions throughout the world are showing their commitment to becoming carbon neutral:
Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance – Lists cities that have committed to cutting greenhouse emissions 80% by 2050.
Under 2 MOU – California, Connecticut and Washington are a few states that have signed on to “The Under2 Coalition’s shared goal of limiting greenhouse gas emissions to 2 tons per capita, or 80-95% below 1990 level by 2050,” according to Under2MOU.
Palo Alto, Ca – Cities such as Palo Alto, California, not associated with either of the above organizations, have long had sustainability plans dedicated to carbon neutrality.
Although it’s frustrating that the climate action community probably won’t have support from the Trump administration, we can’t loose hope and we certainly can’t give up. It’s just an obstacle, not a dead end. Let’s build on the ideas endorsed by the Rocky Mountain Institute and continue to support companies and communities that are committed to changing business as usual.
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu