Cause For Optimism: US Chamber Joins Environmental Battle
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A Partner’s Perspective by Co-Founder Phil Coupe
With 7 billion passengers aboard, the good ship planet earth is like an old yet still beautiful 20th century luxury liner – excellent bones, but in need of a serious makeover. Repairing the environmental damage from 200 years of Industrial and Technological Revolutions powered by fossil fuels is a colossal undertaking, and thankfully humankind has proven time and again it is up to the task.
Who thought it possible to restore fish and biodiversity to the Cuyahoga River, which literally caught fire 13 times throughout the 1960s? In the late 1970s, who believed we could reverse the scary disintegration of the ozone layer that protects us from ultraviolet radiation? But the global Montreal Protocol agreement of 1987 banned the use of Ozone Depleting Substances and the ozone layer is gradually restoring itself. From the construction of ancient Pyramids to landing rovers on Mars, humans have an astonishing track record of beating long odds.
And now the greatest power of modern times is rising to confront our existential challenge, as Big Business adds it formidable resources to solving anthropogenic climate damage. Apple, Amazon, Facebook, FedEx, Google, UPS and Walmart are just a few of the global juggernauts taking serious measures to reduce their enormous carbon footprints.
Although it took far too long, the irresistible force of big business has finally brought to heel one of America’s most influential lobbyists, formerly known as the US Chamber of Carbon for its pro-fossil fuel agenda and denial of human-caused climate damage. In fact, President Trump used the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s past opposition to the Paris Climate Agreement to justify pulling America out of the pact.
While some may compare it to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, we see the U.S. Chamber’s complete about-face on climate damage to be a pivotal triumph of perseverance by the environmental community. Now everyone can read about how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce fully supports America’s participation in the Paris Climate Agreement.
Two centuries of fossil fuel wealth creation in the trillions of dollars is not going to give up the self-preservation fight overnight based on the Chamber’s new environmental agenda, but we can justifiably derive fresh motivation and a positive outlook from the fact that vast modern wealth and power are rising to the occasion to help us beat the odds again. It’s even more rejuvenating to note that progress on social justice is becoming a natural companion to the enviro-justice movement, as big business evolves to meet the appropriate demands of a human race that deserves better treatment from the business sector than what previous generations received.