The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Strategic CSR - Climate Change (I)

This week’s Newsletters are all related to climate change. While not necessarily central to the idea of strategic CSR, our collective response to the threat of climate change is instructive in terms of the intractable aspects of human nature that make meaningful change so challenging.

The article in the url below is important because of where it was published. The Wall Street Journal is a great paper that does some very important investigative journalism, but it’s op-ed pages are, shall we say, of inconsistent quality. As such, a large truck-load of salt should be kept close at hand while reading them. Nevertheless, if the WSJ op-ed page is publishing articles claiming a “new climate-change consensus” that actually recognizes climate change is real and man-made, there is still hope:

One scorching summer doesn't confirm that climate change is real any more than a white Christmas proves it's a hoax. What matters is the trend—a decades-long march toward hotter and wilder weather. But with more than 26,000 heat records broken in the last 12 months and pervasive drought turning nearly half of all U.S. counties into federal disaster areas, many data-driven climate skeptics are reassessing the issue.

Given this, the fact that this article even appeared should be seen as progress. That the article is also well-written and contains progressive, innovative solutions to advance the climate debate can be considered a punctuated leap forward. The key is to agree on fundamental propositions—the article advances two, in particular:

The first will be uncomfortable for skeptics, but it is unfortunately true: Dramatic alterations to the climate are here and likely to get worse—with profound damage to the economy—unless sustained action is taken. … The second proposition will be uncomfortable for supporters of climate action, but it is also true: Some proposed climate solutions, if not well designed or thoughtfully implemented, could damage the economy and stifle short-term growth.

The important thing is that, as long as there is common ground, there is a basis for conversation and broad-based solutions:

We'll have a much better shot at developing solutions to our climate and energy problems that are good for our economy if leaders from across the political spectrum get re-engaged in the debate. It is time for conservatives to compete with liberals to devise the best, most cost-effective climate solutions. Solving this challenge will require all of us.

Take care

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A New Climate-Change Consensus
By Fred Krupp
April 14, 2012
The Wall Street Journal
Late Edition – Final