As we headed to the polls here in the U.S., the economy, the environment, and our collective common sense told us the old ways are not working. The stumbling financial markets show the consequences of unfettered pursuit of profits in a system that has no debits on the ledger for environmental degradation and no credits for a social conscience. The troubled climate is bringing home the cost of fouling the air and abusing fragile ecosystems. And inequitable use of resources is widening the gap between rich and poor.
The election of Barack Obama and a strengthened Democratic Congress is a pivotal opportunity for the nation to reset its course. We must accept the president-elect’s offer in his victory speech to “join in the work of remaking the nation.” And we must hold our new leaders to their promise to assure a future that is livable, safe and just for everyone.
The new administration and Congress must shun the inevitable excuse that it is “too expensive” to curb global warming, or to end our allegiance to high-carbon fuels. It is too expensive not to act, and the cost of inaction is a future world of 9 billion people is what Barack Obama on election night called “a planet in peril.” It is a world in a headlong rush toward climate instability, water scarcity, high food prices, deeper global poverty, and dangerous addiction to oil and coal.
We believe that investors, companies, and those who work for them, are just waiting for the signals from Washington to begin building a green and sustainable economy—one that creates new business opportunities, trains legions of workers, and assures our future.
*The signals should come quickly—in the first 12 months of the new administration—and they should include these concrete actions:
*Reform the capital markets to require honest accounting of financial risks that companies and investors face from climate change and other sustainability threats.
*Stimulate the economy through investments in clean energy technology, energy efficiency, green-collar jobs and training.
*Pass legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent below 1990 by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.
*End tax incentives and subsidies for high carbon-emitting technologies and projects and enact mandates that 20 percent of the nation’s electricity come from renewable power by 2020 and at least 30 percent by 2030.
*Promote energy efficiency policies, including stronger building codes, appliance standards, tax incentives and energy efficiency resource standards, to achieve at least a doubling in efficiency.
*Instruct the Securities and Exchange Commission to address environmental, social and governance issues, including climate change, as part of corporate disclosure by all publicly-traded companies.
Though these reforms will not come easily, the election of America’s first African American president shows that anything is possible in this great nation.
And now, more than ever, Americans are hungry for change. They are ready to do what it takes to put this country on a path that will guarantee their children a brighter future.
Mindy S. Lubber is president of Ceres, a leading coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change. For more information, visit http://www.ceres.org.
To curb the "widening gap between the rich and poor" energy is the most important element. Cheap, affordable, and abundant electricity is what can bridge the gap.
Clean Coal Technology (CCT) offers that chance. Offers us a way to export these technologies to developing nations. Even global warming founder, James Hansen of NASA, supports CCT.
A recent poll:
72 percent agreed that new technologies would allow coal-based electricity plants to meet an ultra-low emissions profile (near zero emissions including the capture and storage of carbon dioxide) within the next 10 to 20 years.
I believe he (Obama) needs to display “wisdom” and focus on the big 3. One may have to go down and the rise of a green player to replace the fallen may need to be his biggest move! If I was an advisor to President Obama, I would encourage him to not bailout anyone-else (excluding the middle class) and focus on transitioning from the traditional economic giants to investing in the new green giants! One of my own favorite quotes is:
“I happen to deeply agree with the wisdom of Tom Friedman (that we cannot consume of way out of this mess and “Have you ever been to a revolution where nobody gets hurt?”). The fact is that the current economic conditions will cause a lot of companies to close their doors (websites too), and they will die off altogether due to lack of understanding the competitive (innovative) landscape. Just look at Detroit and the Big 3 for example! Those that will fight to stay alive will need to figure out — What’s Next?
I believe that the New Green Economy will include the Rise of Green Real Estate Markets paired with the continued success of Cleantech, Clean Energy Markets, and large scale shifts toward Clean Transportation, and the Greening of the IT Industries (plus a fourth quarter of record investment!!), which will lead to a boom in “American Made” Green Collar Jobs and the creation of new wealth. The trick is: “who will get it right??” Execution makes all the difference for most of these opportunities and green investors need to pay more attention to the items that management claim they can achieve.” - Yeves Perez, Founder of EcoInvestmentClub.com - Nov 2008
See more on talk on Fast Company:
On the matter of bankrupting the human family's global economy.
It appears intellectual dishonesty is but one of the perverse ways in which old, out of touch leaders in my not-so-great generation are bankrupting the family of humanity.
Please note the way ideologically-driven leadership is providing ample evidence of being morally bankrupt and spiritually vacuous.
Unbridled greed and institutionalized fraud by mortgagors of our childrens' future are leading to decay within the financial system and threatening to ruin the real global economy.
Many too many economic powerbrokers and their bought-and-paid-for politicians are besmirching our honor and degrading the value of rational authority.
As I recall the course of human events, never in history have a few million stupendously rich people but otherwise bankrupt people stolen, consumed and hoarded so much of Earth's resource base, come what may for billions of other people in the human family who happen to be less fortunate. That a tiny minority of rich and powerful people have been so unfairly and inequitably rewarded by an economic scheme favoring their wanton avarice, is no longer a set of circumstances which can be concealed by the refusals of the mainstream media to bring up this situation for open discussion..... or by our collusive silence.
Thankfully, a new day is dawning.
Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,