Posts Tagged ‘Climate Legislation’

News Flash: Climate Legislation Lacks Leadership

Page 3 of this morning’s Wall Street Journal announces, “Senate Halts Effort to Cap CO2 Emissions.“  I am outraged … but not surprised.  Not in the least.

I was in Washington yesterday, on business unrelated to climate legislation — I was invited to a Congressional briefing on the role of private enterprise in rebuilding a devastated Haiti.  That’s a topic for another blog post … but it almost doesn’t matter why I was there, since the experience is so often the same regardless of the focus.  Too many so-called “leaders” posturing and posing and blowing hot air in form of prepared, approved, predictable remarks.  Too many politicians that have been entrusted to lead, to put the best interests of their states and their constituents first, instead doing predictably nothing to fulfill their duties or address any interest that isn’t their own, or that of their party.  Senate Democratic leadership shelved their cap-and-trade effort?  The most astonishing part about that news to me is that the effort ever made it this far.

The article could have stopped there, one paragraph in, but goes on to offer half a page of familiar excuses from climate legislation opponents for why cap and trade is to be feared and avoided like a deal with the devil.  I can see them — did see them, yesterday, our principled “leaders” — wringing their hands and shaking their heads and trying to work up expressions of earnest concern: “Cap and trade would kill jobs!  Cripple our industries! Put us at a disadvantage to Chinese rivals! Force higher costs for consumers!” From Congress and the President — instead of legislation, instead of engaged democracy, we get the EPA setting guidelines in a backroom somewhere.  This is not the way to make America energy independent, or to ensure that American business is sustainable–financially and environmentally.

Washington can – and will – continue on the path of pretense, working hard to appear to be working hard on the crisis facing our natural environment, while actually doing nothing — except making cheap headlines, by demonizing “fat cat bankers” or “scurrilous CEOs,” which earns a cheap laugh from the press, and maybe even earns votes from the manipulated masses. Is this what the greatest democracy in the history of humankind is reduced to — toxic rhetoric from the left and the right?

In the meantime, thank goodness for the creative power of the private sector.  The solar industry will continue to expand (especially in China, where that government has decided that clean energy is a priority).  And despite the absence of a clear policy, or even any real policy on sustainability, private enterprise, maligned by this administration regularly, will continue to reduce their emissions and lower their energy costs. It is good business, common sense, and competitive advantage to lower your environmental impact.  No wonder our “leaders” in Washington don’t get it.

Timberland has reduced our carbon emissions by almost 40% against our 2006 baseline–lowering costs, making our business more profitable and more sustainable. We are a mid-size business competing in the global economy, and we are doing what our “leaders” say can’t be done — we are being competitive, and we are building sustainability into our business model.

Would a clear government policy on carbon help — the way a minimum wage or CAFE standards help industry? You bet.  But as the Wall Street Journal article demonstrates clearly — if you’re waiting for leadership from the Beltway Denizens on climate change, settle in.  Rhetoric aplenty … leadership, not a whit.

Someone let me know when there’s actual news breaking about principled leadership regarding climate change from this administration … in the meantime, I’ve got a responsible business to run.

Jeff Swartz
President & CEO, Timberland

Happy 40th (B)Earthday!

We’re honoring the 40th anniversary of Earth Day this year with 140+ community service projects across the globe – planned and executed by 7,600 eager and enthusiastic Earthkeepers.  That’s one mother of a celebration!

Here are just a few of the ways in which we’re pulling on our boots to make a difference around the world:

  • In the Dominican Republic, nearly 600 Timberland employees and more than 800 community volunteers will join forces to plant 18,000 trees in the communities of Sajoma and Santiago (that’s more than 12 trees per person!).
  • Working with the local chapter of the National FFA Association, 100 volunteers in Newfields, NH (close to our corporate headquarters) will design and plant a sustainable landscape at the historic town library and construct raised garden beds to enhance a community garden.
  • As part of our ongoing (9 years and counting) commitment to reforestation in China, 200 volunteers will plant 600 trees in Beijing.  The Earth Day tree planting will serve as a warm-up for when we plant our one millionth tree in China’s Horqin Desert in August.

In 40 years’ time, Earth Day has gone from radical environmental protest to mainstream movement engaging millions … but at the same time, the threat of critical impact from global warming is greater now than ever.  While it’s good news that more and more people are actively engaging in Earth Day, even more important is active engagement on a constant basis.  Here’s how you can help:

Stay tuned for photos, videos and first-hand accounts from our Earth Day events worldwide!

See You In Copenhagen . . . Wait, We’re Here!

Seventy days ago, at the Climate Week Opening Ceremony in New York City, brilliant filmmaker, Gabriel London , released the short-film series, “See You in Copenhagen.” The films played to a crowd of climate legislation influencers United Nations policy leaders–including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Danish Minister of Climate and Energy Connie Hedegaard.

Through impassioned imagery, the films tell the stories of the real people–the innovators, entrepreneurs and UN Ambassadors–behind the Climate Change "policy puzzle." Simultaneously, the series highlights the urgent need for upcoming action on climate legislation.

Inspired, I joined Gabriel London’s efforts to call for action. First, I lent my voice to his series–literally by introducing and tracking three abridged episodes.
Watch the first episode here–explaining why small island nations, like Grenada, have so much at stake.

Though great, the series is "See You in Copenhagen." Now Gabriel and I are actually IN COPENHAGEN! The need for action is no longer "upcoming," but here and now. With said urgency, Gabriel and I have teamed up with Earthkeepers to bring you daily–from the ground reports–on anything and everything related to COP15. The events here–as they unfold before us–IN Copenhagen.

We’ll be here for the next two weeks of negotiations so be sure to leave your thoughts and suggested questions (for interview subjects such as green entrepreneur Shai Agassi and Nobel Peace Prize-winning scientist Stephen Schneider ) IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW.

Til tomorrow, signing out from Copenhagen.
Can’t wait to see what happens!