The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to propose greenhouse gas emissions standards for new power plants soon. This represents an important step forward in reducing U.S. emissions, as the power sector has some of the largest opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
This piece was written with Richard Lavin, President, Caterpillar Group. It originally appeared in China Daily.
China's recent history has been marked by tremendous economic growth and dynamism as it has progressed from a modest farming society to a thriving manufacturing success in less than three decades. As China's economy continues to grow, it must now wrestle with a new emerging challenge: How will it handle the shift from a majority rural population to a majority urban one?
This question represents one of the biggest sustainability challenges of the 21st century.
The statistics speak for themselves. By 2030, at least 220 cities in China will have at least 1 million residents, dwarfing the 35 million-people cities that Europe boasts today. Many of these cities in China will be built from the ground up. Designed the right way, they will serve as a global model for the sustainable, low-carbon city of tomorrow.
But for China to play this world-leading role, it will need to overcome many of the problems that plague fast-growing cities across Asia, Latin America and Africa. In many of these countries, rapidly expanding economies and a booming middle class are increasing pressure on scarce natural resources. Air and water pollution, traffic congestion, poor housing, and overcrowding are just some of the urban environmental and social ills for which cures urgently need to be found.
This piece was written with Stacy Kotorac.
The use of standards to account for corporate greenhouse gases is increasingly common in developed countries – but it is emerging in developing countries as well.
In India, companies’ focus on value chain inventories and life cycle thinking is in nascent stages. That’s why the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a collaboration of the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development is partnering with The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) in launching its two new tools, the Product Life Cycle and Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standards, in New Delhi next week.
These new standards establish a comprehensive, global, standardized framework for businesses and other organizations to measure their value chain and product emissions and to reduce their impacts on the climate.
This piece originally appeared in Ethical Corporation.
There is a growing trend for big companies to use sustainable concepts as core business drivers
For decades, many companies have typically responded to sustainability challenges by pursuing incremental operational improvements. But we are beginning to see an interesting new trend – businesses using sustainability as a tactic for long-term offense, rather than just short-term defence.
Despite the uncertain economic outlook, leading international companies across diverse sectors are investing heavily in sustainable products and services. Others are making cross-industry partnerships to develop next generation products such as the elusive mass market electric car.
Some are even enhancing their business models through mergers and acquisitions that seek to address, and capitalise on, sustainability trends.
This summary provides an overview of S. 2146, the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 (CESA), introduced by Senator Bingaman and 8 cosponsors on March 1, 2012.
This post originally appeared as a guest post on the Google Lat Long Blog WRI was the recipient of a Google Earth Outreach Developer Grant, funded through the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund at the Tides Foundation.
Since 1998, WRI has been using GIS (Geographic Information System) models to develop map-based assessments of threats to the world’s coral reefs. Reefs at Risk Revisited, released in February 2011, is the latest assessment in the series and is based on a nearly three-year study that produced the most highly-detailed global maps of coral reef threats to date. The study analyzed and mapped threats to coral reefs from local human activities such as coastal development, unsustainable fishing, and marine and land-based pollution, as well as climate-related threats caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
We are only a few days away from the world’s largest meeting around water: the World Water Forum. The Forum will take place this month in Marseille, France, with some 24,000 participants from the private and public sectors around the globe. There will be roughly 250 sessions and panels and 100 grassroots and citizenship events over six days. These events, and the audience of decision makers and experts attending them, provide an ideal context to showcase pioneering developments and solutions around water.
For too long, the United States has lacked a clear, national energy policy. Today, Senator Bingaman took a step in that direction by introducing the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 (CESA), which would create certainty for clean energy investments, diversify the U.S. power mix, and yield meaningful carbon emissions reductions.
This piece originally appeared on Forbes.
What do Apple, HP and Dell have in common – apart from making computers? They all source electronics from Foxconn, the beleaguered Chinese company under fire for working conditions at its factories.
There is a clear lesson to be drawn from the ongoing Foxconn furor. Fortune 500 companies’ supply chains are increasingly under the microscope— by consumers, investors, and the media. This scrutiny benefits not just factory workers but also the environment. And while uncomfortable for companies caught in the spotlight today, in the longer-term it will help business, too. Here’s why.
Forested watersheds of the southern United States provide numerous services to the region. At no cost, they purify water, control flooding and erosion, and provide places for people to relax and have fun. Yet despite their value, many watersheds are under threat from development and poor land management.
“Payments for Watershed Services” (PWS) programs are one strategy to keep watersheds healthy. Through a PWS program, landowners receive financial incentives to conserve, sustainably manage, and/or restore watersheds to yield the kinds of benefits described above.