Sunday, June 03, 2007

How Businesses Can Lead on Global Warming Solutions

I found a really interesting article the other day by Chris Taylor of Business 2.0 magazine. He looked at which businesses opportunities are best positioned to help us slow global warming, and which aren't. He works on the premise that we have about eight years to shape up; that's based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's third report that said we have until about 2015 to roll back emissions before we experience the worst of climate change's impacts Many clean energy industries are poised and ready to meet that challenge.

Biofuels, wind power, and solar power are on the rise, with yearly revenue ranging from $16 - $21 billion. in the next decade they are expected to pass the $60 billion mark. So, the momentum is growing. Also critical is the public demand for change, which seems to getting louder. A CBS/New York Times poll found that a record 78 percent of respondents said steps should be take "right away" to combat global warming. The presidential candidates are also talking about it, although I want to hear more and I hope it's a major topic at the very public events like the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries.

Another opportunity is the creation of a cap-and-trade system for global warming emissions. With the support of companies like Chevron and GM, many analysts say this is a likely outcome.

Carbon capture or carbon storage is an area that many business are exploring. Companies like Planktos are experimenting with dumping tons of iron dust into the ocean, which helps carbon-eating algae boom.

One technology probably ruled out is hydrogen fuel-cell cars. That's not a big surprise to most; the cost, technology, and infrastructure requirements would be near impossible to get in place in the next eight years. Super efficient cars, cars that run on biofuels, and electric cars all carry great promise, however.

The solutions are clearly here; with our innovation and with adequate policy and infrastructure support, America can lead the was towards this 21st century energy system.

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