As our political world turns, who would have thought that Exxon would be pleading with a U.S. President to continue our participation in the Paris Accord to lower carbon emissions and respect global climate change goals?
It may come as a surprise to our current president that “clean energy jobs outnumber all fossil fuel jobs by over 2.5:1 and… all jobs in coal and gas by 5:1.” A U.S. policy to pay no attention to climate change impact, even as green investments and jobs grow, won’t stop a marketplace that has been creating profitable, climate-sensitive business models for decades.
L. Hunter Lovins, CEO of Natural Capitalism Solutions, has been promoting sustainable development for over 40 years. Lovins talks jobs and profit, not polar bears and ice caps. In a recent talk in Chicago, she said there are 300,000 more green jobs that all fossil fuel jobs put together. In her TED talk, she gave one example of recommending a business turn off 63 unattended computers. The company saved $700,000 in their first year. Lovins estimates that we waste $2.8 billion nationally on 108 million unused PCs. (data from 2011)
The profitable business model for lowering energy consumption and carbon emissions also happens to complement our need for humanity’s survival.
Kevin Montgomery, CEO of Collaborate.org, and former NASA Director and Senior Stanford Researcher, told me he met with a group of leaders from around the world. Their task was to create scenarios of the earth’s future based on collective analysis of geospatial data and on other hypotheses. They built 42 scenarios of the earth’s future: only two were very positive.
What do we have to do to make one of those two positive futures a reality? One key, according to Montgomery, is to “meta-collaborate.” For example, if 50 organizations around the globe are innovating to predict natural disasters to save lives, homes and businesses, then we should find a way for those 50 organizations to collaborate to achieve optimal impact more quickly. The Paris Accord is very much like this – if we collaborate about a challenge that defies continental boundaries, our collective, positive future is more likely.
It seems that conscious business leaders understand clean energy business models and their benefits regardless of an official U.S. stand.
Even so, while 30 CEOs wrote an open letter to Trump – yes, including Exxon – to stay in the Accord, and Evon Musk threatened to quit the White House Advisory Council if Trump withdraws U.S. involvement, the conclusion in either direction may be anti-climactic (pun intended). It seems that conscious business leaders understand clean energy business models and their benefits regardless of an official U.S. stand.
Over the last 30 years, conscious capitalists, environmental engineers, climate change scientists, green architects and construction firms – among many others - have been making the case with hard evidence that clean energy is a profitable business decision. The marketplace moves in the direction of its own survival, which just happens to be good for all of us.
So, Mr. President, do whatever your uninformed head tells you to do. Clean energy will inevitably “trump” your denial of the facts in evidence.