On June 2 the Obama administration publicly announced policies designed to bring change to industry emissions in response to global climate change data. These strategies aim to modernize power plants and cut carbon pollution. The proposal, authored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), aims to lessen carbon dioxide emissions in the United States by roughly one-third before 2030. In an effort to tackle global warming concerns head on, the administration’s initiative targets power plants and industrial factories, charging businesses with remaining responsible for reducing America’s carbon footprints. Officials hope that these new climate change policies, some of which will not take effect until after President Obama has left office, will bring vital change to industry and factory emissions.
According to The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, electricity, transportation and industry are the leading culprits in greenhouse gas emissions. Through partnerships with the private sector, the EPA has used voluntary climate and energy programs to reduce emissions dramatically. The organization has also partnered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to champion the production of clean vehicles.
The Carbon Disclosure Project reports that change is slowly creeping into American business policies. Despite relatively consistent surveys and reports indicating that businesses do not believe the threat of climate change is a priority, energy efficiency and the finance of renewable energy technologies has been on the rise. Tom Carnac, president of the North American CDP, projects that recent regulatory changes will hasten the shift to affordable, low-carbon economies. Carnac also intimates that he believes managing the effects of global warming from a preventative standpoint will offer U.S. companies an advantage among local and international competitors.
One of the greatest arguments against environmentally conscious development defends the notion that the cost of going green is unfeasible. Those opposed to climate change awareness contend that policies which bring change to industry emissions such efforts do not justify the minimal positive impact of environmental protection policy. Among objectors, the belief that rising production costs, lower quantity of goods manufactured, and increased financial risk are major deterrents to adopting environmental production policies.
Some of North America’s largest consumer corporations, however, have discovered that ignoring climate change has proved much more costly than optimizing facilities and reducing carbon emissions. World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, attributes rising global poverty rates largely to global warming. Manufacturer Nike has adapted materials used in factories to minimize losses after extreme weather contributed to halts in supply. Coke, also experiencing financial losses after bad crops cramped productions and gains, has implemented water conservation technologies at bottling plants and production facilities.
Over 750 signatories to California-based Climate Declaration are proof that climate change policies are bringing change to industry emissions and pollution control. Industrial successes such as Ebay, General Motors, Disney, Ikea, Nike Microsoft, Apple, Starbucks and many, many more have pledged to encourage low-carbon economy. These companies have pledged to no longer dismiss the steep cost of ignoring increased carbon pollution, many taking steps to make business practices more environmentally conscious and sustainable. Wind, solar and other renewable energy sources and clean technologies are positioned for market growth, energy efficiency advocates claim, and may even offer a wealth of economic growth and advancement as companies invest in greenhouse emissions reduction.
The Third National Climate Assessment, the most comprehensive source of data regarding climate change in the U.S., says that policies and actions to reduce industry emissions also have the potential to improve quality of life nationwide, echoing sentiments advocating change from the EPA. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy states that limiting carbon emissions from power plants will reduce the pollutants responsible for global warming, protect homes, the health of the nation, as well as jobs and economies. The National Climate Assessment provides an in-depth look at the environment and minimizing the severity of carbon emissions in the U.S. at present. The assessment details the multitude of ways climate change already affects and will increasingly affect the lives of Americans, and it also explores options and the sort of aggressive gas emission reductions needed to reduce global emissions.
By Mariah Beckman