Limiting CO2 emissions: smart business
Eric beat me to it, but I wanted to point to a WaPo editorial making what should by now be an obvious point: cutting carbon dioxide emissions can be a profitable undertaking. Author Michael Northrop marshals boatloads of evidence, from business…
For example, six companies — IBM, DuPont, BT (British Telecom), Alcan, NorskeCanada and Bayer — have each reduced emissions by at least 60 percent since the early 1990s, collectively saving more than $4 billion in the process.
to national government…
British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently told the Economist that between 1990 and 2002 Britain trimmed emissions 15 percent, while boosting its economy 36 percent.
Toronto has decreased greenhouse gas releases from municipal facilities by 40 percent and is saving $2.7 million annually through energy efficiency improvements. In addition, the city earns $1.5 million annually by selling electricity generated from methane gas captured at three municipal landfills.
There’s more where all that came from. It’s all anecdotal, of course, but at a certain point the weight of proof shifts over to the other side.
Why would we think cutting emissions costs too much? Emissions are waste. Pollution signals inefficiency. Attempts to become more efficient, to do (and make) more with less, are the very soul of capitalism. As Northrop says:
Only serious, across-the-board federal and international policies and programs will solve the problem of global warming. Unfortunately, concerted action is unlikely to occur as long as administration officials and some members of Congress continue to use worn-out arguments against limiting carbon dioxide releases, even as hundreds of multinational corporations and smaller businesses are proving them wrong. Meanwhile, these individual initiatives offer valuable insights and lessons for the path ahead.