With rising seas, fighting climate change is a participatory challenge of us against the elements. It is all hands-on deck reducing carbon emissions.
Friday, President Biden stood by the Red Sea in Egypt before delegates from 197 nations at the UN Climate Conference COP27. With Republicans taking the majority of the House and Congress hogtied on delivering on climate change pledges, Biden took command with administrative actions to achieve 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) by 2030.
Major federal government contractors interested in bidding for any of the over $630 billion that the US Government spends annually would be required to publicly disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, climate-related financial risks and set science-based emission reduction targets.
In short, corporations without a responsible carbon emission plan with accountable benchmarks will not be awarded government contracts. It is a waste of taxpayers’ money for the government to pay companies that are not implementing steps to reduce their carbon emissions while also compensating communities for damages caused by extreme weather events and sea level rise.
Biden’s solution for businesses is not prescriptive or regulatory. Instead, it is market driven and competitive. Game on. Businesses are incentivized to develop their own best carbon-emission-reducing practices.
The process is transparent where all may see what companies propose as their best practices. With government contracts at stake, it is likely business groups will collaborate to fast-track the development of best practices and not get caught without a government contract.
This is game over for corporate greenwashing. How green a corporation is will be quantified by the actual amount of carbon emissions being reduced right now and more in the future. Less important are flaunted superficial factors such as percent of recycled materials, number of trees planted, or carbon offsets purchased. Public records will demonstrate to what extent corporations are fighting climate change or colluding with global warming.
Biden has taken a page from the Massachusetts Decarbonization Roadmap Act of 2020 where the government works with businesses to develop best practices to reduce emissions and set ambitious timed benchmarks. Businesses who snooze, lose, while the decarbonization and money-saving train leaves the station.
For example, about a decade ago, Frito-Lay, a subsidiary of Pepsi, improved the fuel efficiency of their delivery trucks. This led to a dramatic increase in applications of drivers. Many were climate champions who wished to show off green trucks. Recently Frito-Lay announced the purchase of 40 Ford eTransit trucks.
By setting the bar for government contracts to meet carbon-reducing benchmarks, the work is put back on corporations. World leaders understand that government expenditures should remediate not worsen climate change.
The climate change costs of buying diesel locomotives is borne by everyone. Better for nations fighting climate change to follow the lead of Canada and Australia to purchase battery-electric 4,400 horsepower locomotives built in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Together, corporations working with governments, held to task by savvy citizens, we are slowing global temperature rise.
As more climate-best practices take hold, we turn the tide to reduce the 900 billion tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere ton by ton.
We can do this.
It is just a matter of effort and time.