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Catch The Economist article called The New Green Wave. I appreciate that CSR’s future includes license to operate in a changed world http://t.co/SFOnzjpNmD

RSVP: Sept. 18 NJ Sustainability Summit. Focus on small biz success & leadership http://t.co/VbELob2eXj

+1 for Hamilton Nolan’s response to sky-fell-oh-well WSJ carbon tax op-ed. Count me in for climate action hope http://t.co/iKkYDAL3g5

Good read: How sustainability leaders hold steady over the long haul http://t.co/HDcvdwW1CN

NJ sits on sidelines while our neighbors fight for our health & safety in EPA lawsuits http://t.co/PnCgRBvry3

GREAT explainer: Stop Trying to Kill EPA’s Carbon Rule http://t.co/PnCgRBvry3

US Resilience Project offering a “How-To” biz resilience workshop 9/16 at NJIT http://t.co/nY3n5VjfE4

Breath of fresh air for CSR: no-smokes leadership–here’s to better health. Kudos CVS Health http://t.co/n3qudMwljT

Glad NYT is adding a climate editor. We need more biz sustainability reporting. http://t.co/Wk7V9tDjP0

Dave Roberts is back! http://t.co/aF7pgcAvuT

Big idea for a big problem but how real? Via FastCompany: Secaucus testing solar-power commuter pods http://t.co/4baYnwgoPI

Rising tide lifts all boats so paddle hard RT @chrisleewilson The key to success is to focus on the needs of others.

What’s next for “responsible business”…my susty convo w/ Christine Bader for Earth People Media http://t.co/KaVMMB9Cnb

New Jersey PACE’s Sept. 4 press event & plan to power AC’s economic recovery w/ clean energy http://t.co/QuQILDpIo3

Listen in: @ASBCouncil & @GinaEPA Sep. 4 to discuss #climate policy & #smallbiz http://t.co/e1yNMRd3dU

YES–A banker counts social capital as equal to economic capital, vital & essential to business. http://t.co/505G3iIgia

My take on the communications dust-ups surrounding the new EPA rules–that aren’t even out yet. http://tinyurl.com/ojr92bm

Stash this for climate & sustainability comms: Krugman explains why carbon reduction is affordable (and prudent!). http://t.co/qqh1qgq1fj

GREAT prep on the EPA ‘s 6/2 rule to limit carbon & why it’s a positive BFD. http://t.co/24RGaJyEJ0

Tons of Newark Riverfront summer fun planned. Love seeing NJ citizens enjoying our shared waters. http://t.co/9lvANmTZ6a

Congrats to @GreenSportsBlog friend Lew Blaustein for 1 year & 100 posts about where green & sports connect! http://t.co/Ec11h1E1ar

Grateful to say I’m a new Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise. http://t.co/Vf3mVZ21Z7

Getting to a carbon tax: 3 options for improving how EPA addresses air pollutants. http://t.co/jl2XORmzDY

Do it, Mr. President: President Said to Be Planning to Use Executive Authority on Carbon Rule. http://t.co/OyA05eZK8z

Attended a letter writing evening with my local CCL chapter. Felt good to write directly & honestly to my reps asking them to act on climate for a carbon tax.

China announces next steps for cutting .28b tonnes of HFCs by 2015. http://t.co/6RNPs45jVR

Just registered, looking forward to 6/25 sustainability event with the U.S. Green Building Council in Philly. http://t.co/FEuyGyVP8l

Searing. “I don’t give a shit that you feel sorry for me…Get to work and do something.” http://t.co/GdrC4xNqq0

Simple and clear.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy spoke on a briefing call today about the rules her agency will announce on June 2 to fight global warming.

The new regulations will limit “coal-fired plants from spewing so much carbon into the atmosphere,” as Jonathan Cohn puts it, writing with verve for The New Republic.

Administrator McCarthy made three points:

1. This is about moving from climate risk to economic opportunity.

2. The proposed rules are “legally sound, solid and doable.”

3. It’s not one-size-fits-all. U.S. states will have flexibility in how to apply the rules.

That’s the way to do it. Simple and clear.

By talking today, she got out in front of the controversy already in full spin from people who oppose these measures.

They claim that stricter enforcement of Federal clean-air laws will cost jobs, endanger businesses and send homeowner electricity costs soaring.

Exhibit A, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has come out swinging:  U.S. industry gears up to fight Obama’s climate rules

On the pro-climate action side, Cohn’s piece for The New Republic is a valuable Q&A on the issues.

Via The New Republic:

Obama’s New Rules for Coal Plants Are a B.F.D. The Ensuing Political Fight May Be Even Bigger.

Conventional wisdom holds that second term presidencies rarely yield accomplishments and that this second term president, in particular, has lost the ability to get much done. In one week, President Obama has a chance to prove that the conventional wisdom is wrong.

And he can do it while helping to stop the planet from cooking.

On June 2, Obama will to unveil a new set of federal regulations on power plants, designed primarily to keep coal-fired plants from spewing so much carbon into the atmosphere. The hope is that these new regulations will slow down climate change—at first incrementally, by reducing emissions from existing plants in the U.S., and then more dramatically, by providing the Administration with more leverage to negotiate a far-reaching, international treaty on emissions from multiple sources.

I’m sensing a growing divide between businesses that align themselves with spokespersons on the anti-regulation side, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, or on the pro-climate action side, such as Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP) or the American Sustainable Business Council.

Sooner or later–I’m betting sooner–businesses will have to choose which side of the table–anti-regulation or pro-climate action–will best be able to represent and further their interests long-term.

I’m looking forward to that debate.

Green Links: Friday Round-up

October 18th, 2013 | Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Links - (0 Comments)

So much good stuff.

DVR Alert! A new “Climate Tipping Points” TV series starts Sunday at 9pm EDT http://wxug.us/18tli 

If you want great cities, grow good citizens. Cogent truth from future-thinker Alex Steffen http://www.alexsteffen.com/2013/10/reboot-the-civic-sphere/ …

Super piece on perverse outcomes of pay & price transparency, for corporate responsibility and metrics folks
http://www.thelowdownblog.com/2013/10/open-season-on-ceo-pay.html …

Incongruity meet sustainability: Sustainable business leaders call on Obama to approve Keystone XL pipeline?
http://goo.gl/fb/72A6K

Meme tracker: Carbon Tracker says that climate communication memes like “unburnable” and “stranded assets” are showing up in sell-side conversations. http://shar.es/EEMKp

Air pollution causally linked to cancer. What are the implications for the U.S. EPA, climate action and sustainable business? http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/10/17/2795791/air-pollution-cancer/ …

Fuzzy and unclear no more. A new Green Building certification puts rigor to Net Zero Energy certification http://fb.me/10D8PuPMc 

Financial astrologers? Surely it’s snark? http://on.ft.com/GSItEp  Or a re-tread of this 2007 article?: http://on.ft.com/1hZJWEG

 

So, how’d it go?

Yesterday, new EPA administrator Gina McCarthy and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz appeared before a House Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

The topic: President Obama’s climate change policies.

Here’s what she said:

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Testimony Before House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power

Chairman Whitfield, Ranking Member Rush, members of the Committee: Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.

In June, the President reaffirmed his commitment to reducing carbon pollution when he directed many federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, to take meaningful steps to mitigate the current and future damage caused by carbon dioxide emissions and to prepare for the anticipated climate changes that have already been set in motion.

How come? Because:

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Based on the evidence, more than 97% of climate scientists are convinced that human caused climate change is occurring. If our changing climate goes unchecked, it will have devastating impacts on the United States and the planet. Reducing carbon pollution is critically important to the protection of Americans’ health and the environment upon which our economy depends.

Fair enough.

And here’s a snip from Secretary Moniz’ prepared testimony.

The threat of a warming planet to our communities, our infrastructure and our way of life is also clear. Rising sea levels and increasingly severe droughts, heat waves, wildfires, and major storms are already costing our economy billions of dollars a year and these impacts are only going to grow more severe. Common sense demands that we take action.

How did the Sub-Committee members like it? Pretty good.

Via The Guardian.com:

Obama climate change plan gets first airing in front of House sceptics

EPA asserted authority to move forward without new laws from Congress at hearing where contrarian views were on display

There was some climate skepticism. Some explaining of science.

And some outright factual falsehoods. Worth the click to see regular people wearing tinfoil hats.

Via thinkprogress.org:

The Five Craziest Arguments at Yesterday’s Climate Hearing

Here are the five oddest things Administrator McCarthy and Secretary Moniz heard from House Republicans at Wednesday’s hearing.

The upshot? Tomorrow, Administrator McCarthy will present the EPA’s next steps to reduce carbon pollution and climate change impacts. She’s expected to announce curbs on new power plant emissions.

Via EPA.gov:

FRIDAY: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Speaks at National Press Club Sept. 20

WASHINGTON – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will discuss EPA’s priorities in addressing climate change at a National Press Club Speakers’ event on Friday, Sept. 20 at 9 a.m. Administrator McCarthy will highlight the Administration’s commitment to carrying out President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution and address the impacts of a changing climate. She will also discuss her vision for the EPA and challenges the Agency will face going forward.

Yes. Please.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz will testify before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. EDT at a hearing to discuss President Obama’s climate change policies.

Why does this matter?

Because:

a) This discussion has been a long time coming. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives hasn’t wanted to talk about it.

b) High-ranking Congresspeople who are on record as denying Climate Change will likely, once again, deny that human-caused Climate Change is a problem for our country and the world. That is good, overall. Sunlight disinfects.

So why now?

c) President Obama is set to announce a new EPA Carbon Pollution Standard on Friday. Without Congress’ help. This ruling will limit greenhouse gas emissions from newly built power plants.

“Companies that value and integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services into their strategic plans are best positioned for the future by operationalizing sustainability.”–Dow Chemical CEO

We care for things we value.

What a tree worth today? What’s it worth 20 years from now? Which time frame provides the greater financial and human well-being?

A scientific concept called “EcoSystem Services” helps answer these questions by providing tools to measure and consider the value of natural resources long-term when making business, political and social decisions.

It’s a new idea to me to try to put a financial number on what a forest is worth. But now that I’m thinking about it, I can see the value in treating natural systems as capital assets. By assigning hard-cost value to trees and seas and wildlife today, the full long term value of these resources can be considered, replenished and protected for long-term sustainable human and natural success.

Here’s how the U.S. EPA puts it:

Ecosystem services are rarely considered during environmental decision-making, principally because they are not well identified, quantified, or considered in ways applicable to commerce. The Program research results will enable economists, social scientists, environmental managers and others to incorporate an enhanced understanding of value and risk when making decisions about the costs and benefits of using and protecting ecosystem services. To ensure sustainable human and natural systems, the full long term value of ecosystem services must be considered when making decisions.

The best example I can think of in my life is how the Hudson River’s health has dramatically improved in the last 40 years. Thanks largely to the awareness raised by the Clearwater Environmental Foundation and successful polluter litigation waged by Riverkeeper, the water is cleaner.

Fish have returned to New York Harbor in greater numbers. With more food, harbor seals now live and breed year-round on rocky outcrops south of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Dolphins are a common sight. The cleaner water attracts more people who want to live, work, and play on and near its banks. Business, city, environmental and citizen groups profit and benefit from the water in ways not seen since the early 20th century when the city’s piers teemed with ship commerce. Multiple stakeholders have skin in the game to keep the water clean. So they do. (Visit the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance for more on this interconnected, unfolding success story.)

The Ecosystems Services definitions were formalized by the United Nations 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), a four-year study involving more than 1,300 scientists worldwide.

The MEA assigned four broad categories to show the relationships among Ecosystem Services and human well-being. These categories are: provisioning, such as the production of food and water; regulating, such as the control of climate and disease; supporting, such as nutrient cycles and crop pollination; and cultural, such as spiritual and recreational benefits.

MEA: Relationships Among Ecosystem Services and Human Well-Being (click to view larger)

Millenium Ecosystem Assessment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the earth’s resources are  intrinsically linked to our collective well being. They have value. In a way, Ecosystems Services is like a worldwide General Ledger to help us measure, grow and prudently spend from our global bank account.

Ecosystem Services Links:

Wikipedia

EPA’s Ecosystem Services Research

USDA’s Forest Service on Ecosystem Services

Nature Conservancy on Ecosystem Services

Nature Conservancy’s Jan 2012 Partnership with Dow Chemical

 

What does a Sustainable Business look like? It’s a business that considers the environmental, social, and economic impacts of business actions and decisions. Read about the U.S. EPA’s path towards greener business practices, including an excellent chapter on the history of the Sustainability movement, in a new report. Tree-Free Download.  (Now that’s Green!)

How do the three sustainability pillars–environmental, social and economics impacts–factor into your business’ operations and bottom line?