Sustainability Reads: October 28- November 3

“Companies Push White House to Follow Through on Climate Action Plan”
A year after Sandy, various companies are making history by pressing President Obama to go through with the efforts that were outlined in the Climate Action Plan announced in June.  These companies urge the President to go through with the Plan as climate risks are heightening, especially for these companies that depend on stability throughout their supply chains. The climate change resiliency efforts that Obama outlined in the Climate Action Plan will demand for better infrastructure, resilient to impacts of climate change. By Sarah Betancourt and Helen DaSilva, published on Ceres.

As a follow-up note, on Friday, November 1st, President Obama did sign an executive order to prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change. The order also orders federal agencies to act in adapting to climate change. For more information check out Adi Robertson’s report on Verge: “Obama issues executive order calling agencies to adapt to climate change.”

“Two technologies that literally shone during Sandy’s darkest hours”
This blog post provides examples of what we can learn from Hurricane Sandy which hit NY and NJ. Specifically explored are microgrids and co-generation which proved to be vital. These technologies can be emphasized and adapted as part of natural disaster preparedness and action plans for the extreme weather events that climate change can bring. Posted by Mary Barber on one of Environmental Defense Fund’s blogs titled EDF Voices: People on the Planet.

“Are your Halloween treats fueling rainforest destruction?”
You may want to give out organic apples and carrot sticks next Halloween, as the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) recently found that candy bar and snack companies like Mars, Mondelez, Nestle and Kellogg have not yet proved that their product does not contain palm oil from plantations that are involved in rainforest destruction. Although these companies did publicly announce that they were shifting away from using palm oil that originates in areas like Sumatra, Indonesia, where destructive deforestation practices take place, the Snack Food 20 companies have not been able to guarantee that their palm oil originates from a responsible source. RAN’s new campaign “Cut Conflict Palm Oil, Not Rainforests” targets these companies to get them to implement responsible palm oil procurement policies. Published on BuisnessGreen, a part of the Guardian Environment Network.

“How you pay farmers to watch their crops shrivel up and die”
Although this article is a little on the longer side, it provides a thorough outline on something that isn’t well known but contributes to an understanding of the farm bill and agriculture in general in the United States. The article talks about government subsidies to the agricultural sector, how crop insurance has changed the way many farmers work, and the impact of crop insurance on GM seed utilization. In a world with a changing climate, crop insurance provides a dangerous sense of security but the article provides other possibilities to keep independent farmers and family farms afloat, such as scaling down subsidies and scaling up adaptation research. By Laird Townsend, on Grist.org.

“How Big Business Can Save Climate: Multinational Corporations Can Succeed Where Governments Have Failed”
This article proposes an elevated role for multinational corporations in addressing climate change due their unique position to reduce GHG reductions internationally through their supply chains. In this sense, instead of continuing to attempt to force countries who may not have the resources or expertise, companies should be required to take the lead in addressing climate change. Companies are already doing a lot in this regard, but this piece recommends companies be compelled and possibly regulated by the WTO to do so. Although difficult to imagine such a system put in place, benefits would include companies and individuals paying for the true cost of products and no ‘carbon leakage’ as companies cannot just move polluting operations to different countries. This is a very interesting read and innovative approach to try to move international climate negotiations ahead. By Jerry Patchell and Roger Hayter in Foreign Affairs (paid subscription).

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