A bill introduced in California’s state Senate last week holds enormous potential to give sustainable business a push by making it — well, legal.
Under current law in California and most other states, companies can be sued by their shareholders or investors for taking environmental or social measures that negatively affect shareholders’ financial returns. The proposed bill would enable a new form of for-profit corporation, encouraging and expressly permitting companies to pursue other things besides simply making money.
The idea of how effective a national design policy is came up a few times this week during casual conversations with my friends in the design world. I am generally unimpressed with these activities because I am a result-oriented person and I don't waste time on just talking. I've seen many of these paper written up that don't worth the paper that they were printed on.
The latest WikiLeaks revelation that much of the American government's secret diplomatic cables read like entries in a mean girls' burn book has got politicians and pundits blathering about how it might affect foreign policy, guessing if/where Interpol could apprehend the group's founder, Julian Assange, and wondering when the next batch of secrets will be released (rumored to be Bank of America emails in which execs come across as, gasp, heartless capitalists).
A couple weeks ago, I sketched out an Oil Independence Plan for the United States that was based on a combined move to more efficient uses of petroleum as well as a much more aggressive move to oil- (and natural gas-) independent infrastructure, than is currently proposed in existing legislation in the US Congress. [Since posting that plan, Craig Severance has written an equally ambitious and more detailed plan which can seen here.
In part I, I made the general case for cap and trade as an unserious policy framework that inserts extraneous elements into pricing carbon that threaten the whole enterprise. I generated general definitions of seriousness and unseriousness and applied them to cap and trade and its market mechanisms.
In a few days in Copenhagen, world leaders will debate and, we hope, agree upon aggressive targets for humanity’s greatest challenge to date: to avert devastating man-made climate change by transforming our economies’ use of energy and of land while maintaining and improving social welfare for the world’s peoples. We have in the past 250 years proceeded on a course of development which has used fossil energy to replace human and animal muscle power with mechanical energy.
Friday was dubbed "Business Day" here in Copenhagen — a chance for the corporate community to come together to discuss their considerable role in addressing climate change.
Significantly, business has been all but shut out of the discussions taking place a few kilometers away at the Bella Center, the site of the official UN COP15 negotiations. There, governments from around the world are talking about a slew of critical issues surrounding the commitments the everyone hopes will emerge a week from today from the global community on climate mitigation and adaptation.