US businesses turned out in force at COP 23 in Bonn, demonstrating to the rest of the world that they are committed to action on climate change, despite the US government’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. In fact, 2017 has been a banner year for corporate climate leadership: over 1700 businesses signed the We Are Still In declaration, and nearly half of all Fortune 500 companies now have climate and clean energy goals.
Now, there’s an immediate opportunity for companies to show leadership on climate change here at home: speaking up in defense of the Clean Power Plan, which the current Administration wants to eliminate but is still very much in play.
Here are three reasons for your business to publicly defend the Clean Power Plan before the EPA comment period ends on April 26, 2018.
1. The Clean Power Plan is good for your business & the economy
The Clean Power Plan establishes a predictable framework for continued progress in reducing carbon pollution from the power sector, and gives companies from all sectors the flexibility to use the most cost-effective opportunities to reduce emissions.
Repealing it would end the country’s most substantial effort to address climate change, which poses significant risks to businesses, communities, employees, and customers.
Additionally, millions of Americans work in the clean energy sector, which is adding jobs far faster than the rest of the economy. Rolling back the Clean Power Plan would slow job growth by reducing demand for clean energy in the United States.
At the same time, the global market for advanced energy technologies has reached $1.4 trillion, and countries like China are stepping up to meet that growing demand.
US manufacturers of clean energy and related technologies will be at a disadvantage globally if demand for their products shrinks here at home.
2. Defending the plan underscores your sustainability leadership
If you want your company to be a sustainability leader, speaking up for smart climate and energy policies like the Clean Power Plan is part of the package. For example, publicly supporting the plan should be a no-brainer for companies that signed the We Are Still In declaration, or have set goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or switch to renewable energy. It shows your stakeholders that you’re walking the talk, which is what they expect.
- Investors are increasingly scrutinizing companies’ engagement in public policy, and demanding consistency with their sustainability goals.
- Customers and employees broadly support policies that cut carbon pollution.
- Millennials, in particular, care deeply about climate change and are significantly more likely to support companies they perceive to have strong environmental values.
3. Business voices CAN shape the Clean Power Plan’s future
Under existing law, the EPA cannot simply revoke the Clean Power Plan by fiat. It must take public comments into account when drafting and finalizing a new rule or withdrawal, and justify its reasoning for departing from its past decisions. Moreover, the Supreme Court has ruled three times that the Environmental Protection Agency must address harmful carbon pollution, so even if the agency repeals the Clean Power Plan, it must come up with a replacement.
As an American business, you are uniquely credible in communicating the value of sensible climate policy to the US economy, and can underscore the flawed reasoning behind efforts to roll back the Clean Power Plan. But that will only happen if you take your place at the table of stakeholders, and speak up.
Here’s what to do:
- File public comments to the EPA on the proposed repeal by April 26, 2018.
- Talk publicly about why energy efficiency and climate change matter to your business, through op-eds, blogs, social media channels, and shareholder communications
- Register now for the Ceres/EDF webinar on Tuesday, November 28 from 1 – 2 pm ET on the future of the Clean Power Plan and opportunities for businesses to weigh in.
Defending the Clean Power Plan is about much more than the plan itself: it’s about speaking up for action on climate change, access to clean energy, low-carbon innovation and a stable framework for long-term planning and investment. It’s about leadership. Will you make your voice heard?
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