Sustainability and Climate Change

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"Sustainability is defined as meeting current needs without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs by balancing environmental, economic and social (equity) concerns."


Therefore, sustainability and climate change initiatives are those that attempt to reduce an entity's "carbon footprint" and limit its production of greenhouse gases and/or increase its "eco-friendly" strategies. The following is an outline of those strategies and their estimated costs.



Strategies

Strategies often utilized include (but are not limited to):


Increasing opportunities for use of renewable resources - conserving non-renewable to the greatest extent possible & renewable resources should not be used faster than they are replenished by the environment.

Not disposing of waste into the environment at a rate that is faster than nature can absorb it.

Carbon Footprinting & Water Footprinting - considering the impact of a company's practices and carbon emissions as well as the emissions of suppliers, customers and utility providers.

Water sustainability

Sustainable cities & green buildings

Renewable energy credits

Carbon Offsetting


Costs

As stated by Newsweek, "Environmentalists maximize the dangers of global warming while pretending we can conquer it at virtually no cost."


Before even engaging in various sustainability initiatives, many businesses face costs by hiring outside services to manage their sustainability efforts.


Yet, the initiatives themselves create various costs for businesses and "going green," especially in a struggling economy, is too difficult for businesses to do.


For example, according to USA Today, "Across the country, government agencies are either cutting or shrinking programs that use or fund renewable energy projects. Green power — from wind farms, solar power or other renewable energy sources — remains more expensive than traditional power sources. For example, the city of Durango, Colo. bought electricity for all its government buildings from wind farms. The City Council ended that program reverting to electricity derived from coal-burning plants and saving the cash-strapped city about $45,000. 'It's very hard for us to lay off an employee to justify green power,' City Manager Ron LeBlanc said. 'Those are the tradeoffs you have to face.'"


According to BusinessWeek, "“many major initiatives simply aren’t money-savers. They come with daunting price tags that undercut the conviction that environmental salvation can be had on the cheap."


For example, FedEx planned to switch to hybrid trucks until huge costs got in the way, and companies like PepsiCo and Caterpillar could face problems of their own making from support of more government regulation.


As for carbon offsetting, Economist Arnold Kling pointed out the ridiculousness of the process stating, “Subsidizing ‘good’ energy in order to justify ‘bad’ energy is like eating salad in order to justify eating dessert. It is an exercise in self-deception.”


Despite what media outlets and environmentalists are preaching, sustainability initiatives create a greater cost than benefit.



References

http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/sustainability/

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2009-05-03-greencities_N.htm

http://www.denvergov.org/SustainableInitiatives/tabid/386886/Default.aspx

http://www.erm.com/Service/Sustainability-and-Climate-Change/

http://www.newsweek.com/2009/04/26/selling-the-green-economy.html

http://www.mrc.org/bmi/articles/2007/Going_Green_Puts_Business_in_the_Red.html

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