President Obama, along with 13 of the country’s largest companies, this week announced a number of impactful new measures that represent forward progress on climate action. According to the White House the announcements by companies such as Alcoa, General Motors, UPS and more represent “at least $140 billion in new low-carbon investment and more than 1,600 megawatts of new renewable energy.” The business pledges reinforce America’s commitment to climate change and to facing it head on as both an economic and environmental challenge.
“Announcements by companies such as Alcoa, General Motors, UPS and more represent “at least $140 billion in new low-carbon investment and more than 1,600 megawatts of new renewable energy.”
Climate change isn’t only an environmental issue; it’s an economic one as well. That’s why it’s significant that the country’s largest companies arehelping to lead on climate action. We can address our climate in a way that also results in a prosperous and thriving economy across the United States. While today’s announcement commits 13 companies to specific climate action, this bold move can inspire many others to do the same.
In addition to the potential ripple effect the American Business Act on Climate pledge could have influencing other businesses, applying the right climate change solutions can also be an economic windfall. Investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and much more can help to grow domestic jobs, expand manufacturing and support local businesses along the way. Besides the commitment of billions in new low-carbon investment and renewable energy, each company set specific goals that will contribute to cutting emissions as much as 50 percent, reduce water intensity as much as 15 percent, purchase 100 percent renewable energy, and pursue zero net deforestation in supply chains.
Alcoa’s commitments will help reduce absolute GHG emissions, deploy innovations to develop materials, products and technologies that move toward a low-carbon, sustainable future, and demonstrate a net reduction of GHG emissions from the use of products equal to three times the emissions created by their production.
General Motors has committed to reducing energy intensity from facilities 20 percent by 2020 over a 2010 baseline, promoting the use of 125 megawatts of renewable energy, achieving 150 landfill-free facilities by 2020 and setting an aspirational goal to have all manufacturing sites send zero waste to landfill.
Lastly, UPS rounds out a diverse set of commitments by pledging to minimize the miles traveled and energy consumed, investing in fuel-saving technologies to reducing dependency on petroleum-based fuels and conserve energy facility design, operational practices, renewable energy, and retrofitting.
Today’s climate action commitments are an acknowledgment that without comprehensive climate action, we’ll all continue to be impacted in more and more ways. Nineteen of the 20 hottest years on record occurred in the past two decades. As a result, our infrastructure is bearing the brunt of more frequent extreme weather.
Just last week a bridge in Southern California collapsed during a flood, injuring one motorist, closing a major highway in the state and stranding hundreds of motorists. The I-10 bridge that collapsed had passed inspection but couldn’t stand up to the extreme flooding that battered it.
What today’s announcement shows is that the country’s biggest companies aren’t taking climate change sitting down. Big or small we all have to find ways to do our part to act on climate change. Doing so offers a chance to stimulate growth, create jobs and make an impact that can create waves far beyond our own lifetimes.