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Businesses push new administration towards green initiatives


After eight long of years of diddly squat in terms of environmental legislation (unless you count the flurry of 11th hour regulations set to exploit America’s public lands), green-minded folks are pumped for Obama to take office. While environmentalists, utility companies, and manufacturers dominated the energy discussion during Dubya’s administration, a growing number of sectors are making sure their voices are heard in the new administration.

Five US companies announced yesterday that they would join Ceres, a coalition of investors and environmental groups, to form the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP). The partnership—which brings together Nike, Starbucks, Levi Strauss, Sun Microsystems, and Timberland Co.—aims to push Congress to breathe life into the economy by embracing initiatives like renewable energy development and carbon allowance auctions.

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

The group asks that polluters be required to pay for the freedom to pollute and wants Congress to stimulate renewable energy and “green” job growth.

 

“The companies have a clear message for next year’s Congress: move quickly on climate change and create a prosperous green economy and green jobs at the same time,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres.

BICEP outlined eight key principles for Congress that will help both the economy and the environment: Reduce GHG emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050; establish a cap-and-trade system; create policies that double the historic rate of energy efficiency improvement; promote fuel-efficient cars and public transit; eliminate subsidies for fossil-fuel industries and invest in carbon sequestration; invest in green-collar jobs; require that 20 percent of electricity come from renewables by 2020, 30 percent by 2030; mandate that new coal-fired power plants contain “clean coal” technology.

BICEP is just one part of the business sector that’s already pushing the new administration to make aggressive environmental policies that stimulate economic growth: Dow chemical called on Obama to create a national energy policy; the US Climate Action Partnership, a group made up of 26 corporations and six non-profits, urged Congress to create climate legislation.

More and more people seem to be embracing the notion that fixing the environment could also fix America’s crumbling economy: On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd introduced a $100.3 billion economic recovery plan that included funding for environmental initiatives like energy efficiency and renewables R&D, home weatherization to cut back on energy use, battery research, and public transportation.

It’s encouraging to see that politicians and the public are finally realizing that the economy and the environment are not such separate issues—curbing carbon and creating green jobs (among other eco initiatives) could certainly promote economic growth. Perhaps Obama has a Green New Deal up his sleeve, like so many world leaders have called for.