The Pew Center on Global Climate Change and the Business Enviro

  • The Pew Target Global Climate Change was established in 1998 as a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization whose mission is to address global warming (Pew). Alongside the creation of the Pew Center was the Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC). BELC was created in the belief that businesses must develop efficient and effective solutions in addressing the climate problem. BELC has grown into the largest U.S. based association of corporations dedicated to addressing climate change. It currently consists of forty-one members representing $2 trillion in market capitalization and over three million employees (BELC). Many sectors are included, such as for example oil, gas, transportation, utilities, chemicals, and many more.

    Many popular companies are element of BELC, including: Boeing, BP, GE, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM, Intel, Lockheed Martin, Maytag, Novartis, Toyota, and many other companies with tremendous market influence (BELC). It is incredibly interesting to notice that the Pew Center doesn't receive money from the companies of the BELC. Instead, it receives its money from The Pew Charitable Trusts ("Pew Charitable"). The Pew Center and BELC companies hold four core beliefs. First, they accept the views of most scientists that enough is famous about climate change to finally do something positive about it. Second, businesses can and should establish and meet emission requirements, invest in new, more effective products, practices, and technologies. Third, they notice that The Kyoto Protocol is the first step in the international process. They feel that the countries that have joined the Protocol must implement the market-based mechanisms which can be written to the Treaty. And lastly, they feel that significant progress could be manufactured in both addressing climate change and sustaining economic growth in the United States (BELC). Before getting into the transnational controversy that the Pew Center and BELC is engaged in, examining the issue of global warming is needed to understand the context and scope of the issue.

    Global Warming is a huge problem threatening the very existence of our species with this planet. In 2002, the Pentagon predicted that a sudden change in the Earth's climate might lead to

    Prolonged droughts in northern Europe and the United States [that would] result in acute food and water shortages, while typhoons and hurricanes devastate low-lying regions like Bangladesh. Africa is crippled by disease and famine; southern Europe is flooded with countless refuges; in the Persian Gulf, Chinese and U.S. naval forces square off over use of Saudi oil fields. (Goodell 132)

    The Pew Center is found in Arlington, Virginia. Its measures and activities extend throughout the globe, especially because global warming is a problem affecting every nation. How do the planet trust the Pew Center and BELC once the BELC companies are composed of so many companies historically known to be huge polluters? This seems such as a conflict of interest domestically. The United States hasn't signed the Kyoto Protocol, and the Pew Center admits "The Kyoto Protocol is the first step in the international process" (Pew). When the President of the Pew Target Global Climate Change, Eileen Clauseen, was asked why the U.S., the largest producer of carbon dioxide, hasn't ratified the Kyoto Protocol, her response was, "...no, it hasn't ratified the Kyoto Protocol. President Bush in addition has managed to get clear that the U.S. will not ratify the Protocol..." Clauseen goes on to say that

    Most countries were waiting for the results of the November meeting in The Hague before moving forward with ratification. They are now awaiting decisions that could be manufactured in Bonn. But whether enough countries ratify it for this to enter into force is an open question. The EU has indicated that it will ratify, and other may as well. It will take 55 countries representing 55 percent of developed country emissions for the treaty to enter into force" ("Global").

    The Pew Target Global Climate Change and the BELC are engaged in a transnational controversy that extends all around the globe and includes extremely poor third world countries in addition to very wealthy countries. They are ultimately trying to cut back and eliminate global warming. Global warming affects all nations, and all nations have contributed to the problem. Thus, the key question is whether or not you are able to trust the Pew Center, and especially the BELC, to find a solution. There are lots of actors involved in this initiative. Because the United States only contains 4% of the world's population yet emits 25% ("Global"), it's a huge actor because this problem is of global proportions. The leaders of numerous top businesses will also be key actors because their companies are partly responsible for environmentally friendly problems we face. Herein lies a conflict of interest and an open door for criticism. Several top businesses certainly are a area of the BELC. Many of these companies are huge polluters and are, according to the Pew Center and BELC, trying to cut down on their emissions and come up with new alternative energy sources. How sincere are these companies in actually addressing global warming? Are they willing to accept the financial losses related to being 'green' and 'clean'? Other actors include most of the heads of nations, NGOs, environmental and green groups, and even each individual who makes an effort to cut back pollution.

    In examining the international political economy of the global environment, you will find four facets of environmental problems generally speaking: "...the environment as a communal good, the increasingly global scope of environmental problems, the proliferation of actors involved in these issues, and the multidimensional makeup and linkage between the immediate causes and ramifications of environmental issues" (453). An extremely positive example was when Alcan joined BELC on October 18. "Alcan is a multinational, market-drive company and a worldwide leader in aluminum and packaging...aerospace applications, bauxite mining and alumina processing" (Michaud). Alcan has already established great success in reducing its greenhouse gases. It has proven that it's possible to address global climate change while maintaining competitive excellence, growth, and profitability.

    The reason why Alcan is this kind of positive example is really because

    The principal vehicle with this effort is Alcan's GHG emissions reduction program, TARGET, that was implemented in 2001 and is a key part of the Company's Environment, Health and Safety (EHS FIRST) management system. In TARGET's first four years, Alcan's cumulative GHG reduction objective was set at 575,000 tonnes of CO2e. By the finish of 2004, Alcan far surpassed this by recording a reduced amount of 2.9 million tones of CO2e (Michaud)

    That one company, a person in BELC, set a unique policy and reduced its emissions 2 million tones more than its original goal! It is unquestionably interesting to notice that in accordance with Anik Michaud, the Pew Charitable Trusts, among the United States' largest philanthropies, established the Pew Center. It comes with an influential voice in improving the surroundings and is dedicated to providing credible information and innovative solutions to address global climate change and sustainability engagement for employees. Maybe the Pew Center is sincere in its efforts to greatly help global warming, seeing how it was really setup by way of a charity. It's important to understand some of the IPE problems regarding global climate change before examining what the Pew Center has done about it.

    Thus, it's possible to see that the Pew Center must address the climate issue globally and that BELC is necessary in order to actually accomplish the reduced amount of greenhouse gases. What the Pew Center has done is come up with several many top companies that operate in lots of countries. Because the Pew Center's goal is addressing global climate change, having many of these top companies pledging to do there part makes the Pew Center more credible and puts them at an edge over other environmental groups because it's ties to these forty-one companies that represent over $2 trillion in market capitalization. As Alcan illustrated, these companies are actually doing their part in curbing emissions while still maintaining economic growth.

    After extensive research, it's fair to say you will find no major critics of The Pew Target Global Climate Change. As a matter of fact, a Pew Center quote was used to debunk a critic of global warming in a PBS article. A massive critic of global warming is Petr Chylek, Professor of Physics and Atmospheric Science at Dalhousie University in Halifx, Nova Scotia. He wrote "Scientists who wish to attract attention to themselves, who wish to attract great funding to themselves, have to (find a) solution to scare the public...and this you are able to achieve only by making things bigger and more dangerous than they really are" ("Debating"). The PBS article used this quote from the Pew Center to debunk Professor Chylek

    Addressing climate change is not any simple task. To guard ourselves, our economy, and our land from the negative effects of climate change, we should ultimately dramatically reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases...shifting from a century's legacy of unrestrained fossil fuel use and its associated emissions in pursuit of more effective and renewable sources of energy. Such a transformation will need society to engage in a concerted effort, on the near and long-term, to search for opportunities and design actions to cut back greenhouse gas emissions. ("Debating")

    It would appear that The Pew Target Global Climate Change is a very reputable and positive organization that's using its resources to address global warming. The study indicates that different sources all agree that both global warming is a huge threat and that the Pew Center is positively addressing it. The Pew Center receives its funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Trusts will invest $204 million in fiscal year 2006 to supply organizations and citizens with fact-based research and practical solutions for challenging issues ("Pew Charitable").

    With the evidence presented, it's quite evident that a coalition of top companies, contrary to what one may think, are actually addressing the global climate issue. The deeper political economic issues behind all this include political pressure from companies (non-BELC) that lobby hard for lax industrial regulations, environmental groups that lobby the opposite, the need to address this issue with each country in the world, the need to unite with every country to fight this battle, and lastly, addressing the climate issue while still growing economically. There are lots of actors involved from a variety of perspectives. From the industrial side, business leaders want to lobby for regulations that help them. From environmentally friendly side, organizations just like the Pew Center are main actors because they are independent, non-partisan, and in cases like this, encompass many top companies which were demonstrated to take measures to their own hands and address the global climate issue. You can find other actors as well, such as for example researchers who're looking for that next big energy alternative, and every individual, who's ultimately affected by decisions which can be made by top of the levels, because environmental policy and economic issues go hand in hand. In answering cui bono, one must first realize that The Pew Target Global Climate Change isn't looking to make a profit; The Pew Charitable Trusts contains billions of dollars. The BELC represents over $2 trillion in market capitalization and 3 million workers, so profit isn't a large deal to them. The environmental surroundings benefits. The people who go on this planet benefit. When addressing Global Warming and than asking cui bono, the clear answer is "Everybody."

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