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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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Strategic CSR - Climate Alarmism

The article in the url below brings a much needed sense of balance to the climate debate. It does not dismiss the notion of climate change (in fact, it acknowledges it as a fact); what it does do, however, is present a balanced view that takes into account the notion that not all of the changes that are occurring are necessarily disastrous:
"It is an indisputable fact that carbon emissions are rising—and faster than most scientists predicted. But many climate-change alarmists seem to claim that all climate change is worse than expected. This ignores that much of the data are actually encouraging. The latest study from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that in the previous 15 years temperatures had risen 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit. The average of all models expected 0.8 degrees. So we're seeing about 90% less temperature rise than expected."
The article contains a number of specific examples:
"Facts like this are important because a one-sided focus on worst-case stories is a poor foundation for sound policies. Yes, Arctic sea ice is melting faster than the models expected. But models also predicted that Antarctic sea ice would decrease, yet it is increasing. Yes, sea levels are rising, but the rise is not accelerating—if anything, two recent papers, one by Chinese scientists published in the January 2014 issue of Global and Planetary Change, and the other by U.S. scientists published in the May 2013 issue of Coastal Engineering, have shown a small decline in the rate of sea-level increase."
The value of such an approach is that it respects empirical reality. To ignore such data is to fuel the belief that climate change is a myth propagated by people with vested interests. Instead, presenting all the facts (especially those that do not fit the prevailing narrative) encourages trust. And importantly, such disclosure is more likely to result in realistic responses (both in the market and in public policy) that might move us more quickly to where we need to go:
"Alarmism has encouraged the pursuit of a one-sided climate policy of trying to cut carbon emissions by subsidizing wind farms and solar panels. Yet today, according to the International Energy Agency, only about 0.4% of global energy consumption comes from solar photovoltaics and windmills. And even with exceptionally optimistic assumptions about future deployment of wind and solar, the IEA expects that these energy forms will provide a minuscule 2.2% of the world's energy by 2040. In other words, for at least the next two decades, solar and wind energy are simply expensive, feel-good measures that will have an imperceptible climate impact."
The conclusion (and, remember, this is an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal) is measured and reasonable. As a result, it stands a chance of advancing the debate, rather than inciting both sides to continue shouting past each other:
"In short, climate change is not worse than we thought. Some indicators are worse, but some are better. That doesn't mean global warming is not a reality or not a problem. It definitely is. But the narrative that the world's climate is changing from bad to worse is unhelpful alarmism, which prevents us from focusing on smart solutions."
Happy Earth Day!
David Chandler & Bill Werther
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The Alarming Thing About Climate Alarmism
By Bjorn Lomborg
February 2, 2015
The Wall Street Journal
Late Edition – Final