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Kyoto By Choice for Savvy Businesses
Sarah Rich, 31 May 06

mcdonough5.jpg Since the Kyoto Protocol went into effect, the idea that we in the U.S. are free to do whatever we want has a slightly different timbre. Somehow the refusal of the American government to participate in Kyoto doesn't exactly have the spirit of admirable defiance and fierce independence that characterizes the U.S.A. No, it's becoming more and more apparent that refusing to reduce our carbon emissions is just plain unethical.

Luckily, one of the other values that the U.S. embraces is a willingness to do good voluntarily. And so a number of state and city governments, and corporations big and small, have decided to comply with - and even supercede - Kyoto's carbon reduction guidelines of their own free will. In concert with the increasing number of participating institutions, individuals have finally (thanks to media attention and high-profile releases like An Inconvenient Truth) begun to understand that global warming is real and stopping it is vital.

The New York Times Business section had an article yesterday addressing what may be a tipping point among U.S. businesses, where those who do not opt to reduce emissions may find themselves up a creek when one of two things happens: either the U.S. finally does implement emissions regulations, or consumers start prioritizing environmental responsibility, and those not complying will face insurmountable competition.

Scientists, economists, environmentalists and a growing rank of business leaders warn that corporate America needs to move more quickly or it will face the consequences: higher energy prices, a potential cost for carbon pollution and, eventually, products that will have trouble competing globally because other countries are reducing emissions.
Freezing emissions at today's levels will not solve global warming. Experts say that large reductions in global emissions — 50 percent or more by 2050 — are needed to stop carbon concentrations from rising. But reaching that goal requires a major transformation of how economies and businesses operate.

While a number of large corporations based in the U.S. have put forth real efforts, some of the worst culprits still resist changing their ways. Utility companies and auto manufacturers at the top of that list. As Bill McKibben notes, the main challenge we face is getting businesses to understand the magnitude and immediacy of the problem. Fortunately it's becoming a little clearer that global warming does equate to dollars and cents down the drain; and those who wait to make changes will ultimately face the wrath of their investors, shareholders and consumers.

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Comments

The Kyoto Treaty is a poinless waste of time. Can we move on to more important / relevant topics?


Posted by: Jason on 1 Jun 06

Isn't Kyoto treaty a start ? Once everyone signs up to it meaningful efforts can be made to create a follow up that can actually achieve the desired goal.

The current state of affairs is leading nowhere other than future climate chaos....


Posted by: Big Gav on 1 Jun 06

If you feel that Kyoto is so important, take responsibility for yourself and go to CarbonFund.org to offset your own carbon footprint.


Posted by: Eric on 3 Jun 06



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