Sustainability Reads: July 20- July 26

Global Threats

GlobalTheatsA new international survey of over 45,000 people showed that climate change is perceived as the biggest global threat. We think so too. However, richer countries are more worried about the Islamic State (IS). Other threats include economic instability, China, and Iran. See the graph for a breakdown of how people in different countries responded. Research by Pew Research Centre, article from The Economist.

The Economic Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on Nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States
Did you know that a carbon cap and trade system has been operating on the East Coast since 2009? The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) doesn’t seem to receive much attention, but actual carbon emissions in participating states have declined since the system began. Here are the main takeaways from a new study on RGGI’s performance between 2012-2014:

  • RGGI led to $1.3 billion (net present value) of economic value to the nine-state region.
  • These economic benefits reflect the complex ways that RGGI dollars interact with local economies.
  • Local reinvestment of RGGI dollars in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs is offsetting the impact of increased electricity prices resulting from the cost of RGGI allowances.
  • Energy consumers overall – households, businesses, government users, and others – have enjoyed a net gain of $460 million, as their overall energy bills drop over time.

Also explored is how power plants are affected by RGGI and how the economic effects have shifted over time. The study’s level of detail is valuable as lessons learned and best practices are still emerging around the world in regards to cap-and-trade systems. More understanding is needed about how systems impact producers, consumers, overall economies, and actual carbon reductions. Study by the Analysis Group.

4 Ways to Tell If a Company Is Really ‘Green’
It’s difficult sometimes to tell if a company is just greenwashing or if they are really committed to reducing their environmental impact. And we think it’s worth finding out whether the companies you support are the former or the latter. Tips on how to tell the difference:

  1. Look for specific claims (detailed information vs. vague general statements)
  2. Check for commitment (recently hopping on the sustainability wagon vs. incremental improvements over time)
  3. Ask within your personal conversations (feel free to ask a company what they are doing to reduce impact)
  4. Study the packaging (products made from recycled material are a great sign and a “please recycle” message on the product is even better)

By Scott Huntington on Triple Pundit.

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