The New York Times reported on a new international agreement that will phase out hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a chemical that is used in refrigerators and air conditioners that is a powerful greenhouse gas. The irony is that HFCs were developed to replace chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, chemicals that caused a hole in our atmosphere’s ozone layer and were banned by the Montreal Protocol of 1987.
The transition to a sustainable, renewable resource based economy will take decades to complete. Just as our organizations learned to incorporate occupational safety, financial reporting, performance measurement, customer relations, employment law, social media marketing and many other elements into their standard operating procedures, so too will they need to incorporate a concern for the physical dimensions of sustainability
What role does public policy play in encouraging and facilitating the green economy? What are the policy tools and incentives that steer green investment effectively?
I left China encouraged by the widespread receptivity to the theory and practice of sustainability, but aware of the huge challenge that lies ahead. As we flew from Guiyang to Beijing for the return flight home, I looked down and saw a countryside dotted with scores of windmills. The transition from a coal-based economy to a renewable one will not be simple or quick — but it has begun.
On Monday, June 2, President Obama will announce proposed federal rules aimed at curbing carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants–possibly a landmark in U.S. climate policy. It is uncertain how far the rule will go, and the announcement is being closely watched around the world.
Population growth is a key contributor to the pressures pushing at our planetary boundaries. In Rio+20 discussions, implications of population growth have become shrouded in platitudes. It is important that discussions on planetary limits clearly lay out possible strategies that can alleviate these pressures.