Michael Northrop of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, argues in this Washington Post op-ed that hundreds of businesses have taken steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, mostly by using energy more efficiently. In so doing, they have reduced their costs and increased their profitability:
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. Numerous other smart companies, such as Alcoa, 3M, Kodak, United Technologies, Lafarge, Shell and BP, have also far exceeded the smaller reductions envisaged under Kyoto and have saved large sums by using energy more efficiently….
International corporations were among the earliest leaders in reduction efforts. DuPont, for example, began an ambitious carbon dioxide and energy reduction program 10 years ago that today has brought greenhouse gas emissions down 70 percent; in the same period, production increased almost 30 percent.
These carbon-reduction and energy-efficiency measures have produced significant financial benefits for DuPont. In addition to cumulative energy savings of more than $2 billion, renewable energy saves $10 million annually over fossil fuels. DuPont also hopes to realize $40 million in coming years from trading carbon emissions credits. To underscore its commitment to this new commodities market, the company became a charter member of the Chicago Climate Exchange, a pilot program for greenhouse gas emission reduction and trading.
Northrop goes on to cite other examples of businesses and government entities that have reaped big savings by using energy more efficiently. “Hundreds of companies and national and local governments have to various degrees begun to see similar results from their efforts,” he writes.
The bottom line: cutting carbon dioxide emissions is good for the environment and good for companies’ profitability. It’s win-win. Hooray!
Since companies have such a strong financial incentive to undertake these money-saving strategies, the obvious impolication is that there is no need for new government restrictions such as the Kyoto Protocol. Right?
Wrong. Northrup concludes his piece by saying just the opposite: “Only serious, across-the-board federal and international policies and programs will solve the problem of global warming.” Huh?!? He just got through telling us that companies are saving beaucoup bucks by undertaking cost-cutting energy-efficiency measures on their own–so why are new government mandates necessary?
Of the hundreds of op-ed submissions the Post receives every day, was this really one of the best?
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