The chances of even an outline global climate deal at Cancun in December 2010 look slim after America’s Democrats failed to garner the 60 votes needed for a cap and trade bill in the dying days of July. Short of a miracle, President Obama will in effect go naked into that conference chamber.
The passage of the House of Representatives bill in 2009 was a high watermark (ENDS Report, May 2009). Since then, the US Senate, which must also get a version through before a unified bill can pass into law, has struggled against strong fossil fuel interests (ENDS Report, June 2010). (more…)
The UN Global Compact recently published a thought provoking report on a survey of over 750 chief executives from member companies on how business can help create the social, political and economic conditions to cut carbon and become more sustainable.
It found that over 90% of chief executives believe that sustainability will be critical to the future success of their businesses. A similar proportion believes that sustainability can be fully integrated into strategy and operations within 10-15 years.
Consultants Accenture, which conducted the survey, said this is an important shift in attitudes. Only a few years ago, most executives would have said that business sustainability was impossible. (more…)
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The coalition government made great play of the need to cut red tape and costs from new regulation, both before and after the general election. It believes legislation should be periodically reviewed under a sunset clause to make sure it’s worth keeping.
The basic mantra is that any new legislation with cost and time implications will have to be balanced by reductions somewhere else – deputy prime minister Nick Clegg’s so-called “One in, one out” principle. New regulations are to be screened by a ‘star chamber’, the Reducing Regulation Committee, headed up by business secretary Vince Cable.
In principle, that sounds like common sense. Business often complains that innovation is stifled by over-complicated, often overlapping and sometimes counterproductive regulations.
But will it really work for environmental measures, such as energy and climate change regulations and taxes? (more…)
Traditionally, research, development and training are among the first things to go in hard times. Squeezed by falling sales, businesses look to consolidate by relying on mature technology.
This pays in the short term but provides little hope of competing with new technologies, often developed overseas, when good times return. And government investment in basic research, which translates only indirectly into cash in the long term, is another soft touch.
Why does this matter? Because if we really are serious about a more diverse, energy-efficient and low-carbon economic recovery then we must stop expediently cutting back the wrong shoots when we look to make savings.
And even where the investment means continued borrowing in the short term, we need to recognise that there is nothing wrong with that if it transforms the economy and provides the future jobs so desperately needed. (more…)