OIT Times: Global Climate Change--While Experts Argue, Industry Acts
March 22, 2001
The Honorable Don Ritter of the National Environmental Policy Institute moderated this lively session featuring prominent spokesmen for opposite sides of the climate debate.
Dr. Dan Lashoff, Senior Scientist with the National Resources Defense Council, reviewed the temperature records and analyses that led the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to declare that arming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.The IPCC is now convinced that CO2 emitted by the burning of fossil fuels is primarily responsible for altering our atmosphere; lesser contributing gases include methane, nitrous oxide, and halocarbons. More recently, the IPCC has said that ecent regional climate changes have already affected many physical and biological systems,such as coral reefs, mountain glaciers, and permafrost.
Individual companies are taking responsible action. Members of the voluntary Climate Neutral Network, for example, are cutting their emissions through energy efficiency, green power purchases, and cogeneration. They offset their remaining emissions through additional activities and gain a market advantage for their efforts.
Dr. Fred Singer, President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, declared, lobal warming is a myth.Conservation and energy efficiency make sense, however, because they can boost profits. According to Dr. Singer, the political agendas promoting non-voluntary reductions in fossil fuel use are unnecessary since new technologies, such as fuel cells and cogeneration, are already moving us in that direction.
While surface temperature records support warming, Dr. Singer has doubts about the accuracy of those records. Separate analyses of the same global historic data have reached different conclusions, and he asserts that the satellite and weather balloon data do not show a clear warming trend. According to theory, the atmosphere should be warming more rapidly than the surface, yet records indicate the surface is warming faster. While CO2 has increased in our atmosphere, Dr. Singer asserts it is not a pollutantn fact, it should help plants grow faster.
Ed Mongan, Manager of Environmental Stewardship for DuPont, has helped his company minimize greenhouse gas emissions while supporting sustainable growth. This effort extends from production processes to the products (e.g., a home vapor barrier they manufacture saves energy in each installation).
DuPont exercises responsible care and openness with communities as a way to grow value while reducing the environmental footprint. To date, the company has reduced priority air emissions by 75%. This has been achieved by such changes as shifting the focus from volume to value. For example, efficiency improvements were realized by changing the base of payments for car paint used by Ford from gallons of paint used to number of vehicles painted.