If you've followed WorldChanging for any length of time, you'll know that it's increasingly evident that corporations are waking up to the problems posed by climate disruption. There's self-interest involved, of course; a late, haphazard, panicked response to global warming could be as bad for business as no response at all. The Los Angeles Times published a lengthy report earlier this week -- reprinted by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development -- detailing the ways in which big American companies are trying to push Washington to be more active on the subject.
There is also far less momentum for global warming regulations in the House than in the Senate, backers acknowledge, making passage of any legislation unlikely.
"We're not there yet in the House, quite frankly. These businesses are way ahead of us," said Rep. Sherwood L. Boehlert (R-N.Y.), who supports a federal program to reduce greenhouse gases. The Bush administration stance "happens to be wrong," he added, but he expressed optimism that it could change as dissenting businesses become more vocal.
For many of us, the proposals pushed by the big companies will seem timid and a bit too-easily gamed. The importance here is changing the course of the political conversation. Right now, it's stuck at "should we do something now?" -- with enough momentum, it will become "how much should we do?", which in turn can soon become "how much more do we need to do?"
I'm sorry, but the "World Business Council for Sustainable Development" really has a very bad reputation in the altermondialist community.
During the Earth Summit in 1992, this "Council" of corporations bluntly refused to accept any kind of external monitoring mechanism. It didn't consider even the mildest form of multilateral agreement, based on external criteria.
Instead it paternalized the entire community of scientists who warned that when corporations set out their own "sustainability" agenda, this basically comes down to doing nothing. And they were right.
The "WBCSD" really has a lot to prove. And a lot to catch up.