Major Corporations Contradict GOP By Profiting From Carbon Reduction Projects

sheep tricks photo
"Sheep Tricks" by Doug Roncarati and Karen and Stephen Seymour. Image credit:Flickr, David Smith

This is a follow-up to last weeks post: Major Utility Contradicts GOP Talking Points On EPA's Proposed Air Emission Standards.

Matt's related post, Two-Thirds of World's Biggest Businesses Now Put Climate Change at Heart of Strategy sets the stage for this one.

Environmental Leader provided the money quote:

"Respondents [participating in the Carbon Disclosure Project] said they are seeing significant commercial benefits from emissions reduction and energy efficiency programs, with over 60 percent of projects offering payback in three years or less." The classic five-year payback requirement for investing is way too long when there are competing requests for scarce capital resources. A shorter payback on a modestly priced carbon reduction project has a better shot at getting executive committee support - an especially good prospect while corporations hold record amounts of cash.

Here's the point.
The current GOP political strategy is to portray EPA and anything to do with mitigating climate change as "job killers." Even if these politicians know better, the strategy misleads voters who lack insight into what business leaders - the 'job creators' as Republicans like to call them - really are up to.

As documented by the referenced CDP findings, a number of Fortune-listed firms with no government regs driving the decision and no special tax incentives offered, are investing their own money in carbon reductions and getting fast returns. Stockholders are beginning to realize that cutting carbon emissions means greater operating efficiency: i.e. greater profit. You would think Republican politicians would cheer that. But they don't.

Here's why not. When innovation becomes important, business sector members self-sort into a spectrum of: 1.) innovation leaders; 2.) fast followers; 3.) slow followers (the 'me too' crowd); and, of course, there are always the recalcitrants who would rather invest in lobbyists and lawyers to fight change.

If the recalcitrants make enough noise and give enough money to politicians, lobbyists and think tanks they can pretty much own public policy, as is the current condition.

But, they can't easily hold back innovation leaders. A few more sheep tricks like these and larger numbers of stockholders will be asking the "me too" players why they too can't pull out a rabbit once in awhile?

We'll still need EPA rules to pull the recalcitrants along and also a variety of programs to give encouragement to the "me too's." We need these because we do not have a century before climate change becomes serious.

For now, though, it's hats off for the innovators and CDP.