I began writing this blog post in a positive, good feeling tone about all the great work companies are doing to improve their sustainability and corporate responsibilities. I was then going to link that to the role government plays in those successes.
To be honest, I couldn’t think of anything with our current administration. If anything, government is just making it worse.
Let’s talk facts:
1. On June 1st, 2017 the Trump Administration withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord.
(Here is the official transcript if you are interested.)
A few positive things came out of this:
- A growing list of 2,732 CEOs, governors, mayors, academic leaders, and other leaders in climate change mitigation joined forces in the We Are Still In campaign, pledging to continue to put measures in place to mitigate carbon emissions and work towards the goals set forth in the Paris Climate Accord.
- Over 400 local governmental leaders joined the US Climate Mayors, where local governments commit to continue efforts to mitigate climate change as set forth through the Paris agreements and provide support for policy concerns regarding the environment.
This shows an interesting shift in local, municipal governance tackling issues that impact the entire country, making a statement regarding our environment, and holding everyone accountable to environmental regulations.
And businesses are responding to uphold those commitments.
2. EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, has been busy working on revising the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, as well as rolling back the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
Again, some positives came out of this:
- Numerous companies (Apple, Google, Nestle, 2015 support letter for the clean power plan ), local government leaders, and organizations have responded to the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, condemning this move.
I spoke with some of my friends in the automotive industry regarding the CAFE rollback to hear their thoughts.
Their take was that automotive companies have already invested a lot of time an energy into improving fuel efficiency, it seemed silly to rollback those standards, and doesn’t necessarily benefit those companies.
More and more companies are realizing the benefit and competitive edge that leading new technologies that improve efficiencies and decrease environmental degradation.
By rolling back standards and policies based on outdated ideologies, we cannot progress as a country, and we certainly aren’t making America great.
Instead, local municipalities and governments can continue to uphold policies, standards, and incentives that both improve and preserve our environment while stimulating economic growth.
Erin Quetell, Environmental Sustainability Planner, City of Ferndale
Her day job is serving as the Environmental Sustainability Planner for the City of Ferndale where she oversees all sustainability-related projects, ranging from recycling to the urban tree canopy. She holds a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University, and Bachelor of Science in Biology from Grand Valley State University.