“Progress in dealing with the problem of climate change will require that the institutions of government, business, and community work not in isolation from each other, let alone at cross-purposes, but by reinforcing each other’s efforts through consolidation.” Though this is true in & of all sectors, yet, with the crisis of climate change, this has to become a norm.
The article details the cross-sectoral collaboration towards combating climate change & examines 12 existing climate change initiatives to show that they amount to a collection of separate strategic positions more than an integrated strategic perspective. These positions suggest three forms of organized action: orchestrated planning, which tends to be characteristic of many efforts in public sector governments; grounded engagement, most common in plural sector communities; and autonomous venturing, which is favored especially in private sector enterprises.
Climate Change Initiatives
Consider the following 12 climate change initiatives, the first four in the public sector, the next four in the plural sector, and the final four in the private sector:
The Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) came into force on November 4, 2016, following the 11th meeting of parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. It calls on the almost 200 signatories “to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase … to 1.5 degrees Celsius” above preindustrial levels, through “ambitious” but “non-binding” “nationally determined contributions.”3
Carbon taxes and cap-and-trade markets have been implemented, or are scheduled for implementation, at transnational, national, state, and local levels—for example, in the European Union, Chile, several New England states, and Tokyo. Together, these efforts address 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.4
Sixty percent of the forests of Bhutan have been preserved by decree, through the work of its Gross National Happiness Commission, established by the previous king. The commission has also prohibited private road traffic one day a month.
The United States, the European Union, Canada, Japan, China, and Brazil, among other countries, have adopted fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles sold in their jurisdictions. (Road transportation accounts for 10.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.5) In the European Union, the target is above 26 kilometers per liter, compared with the year 2000 target of just over 15 kilometers per liter.
Residential buildings account for 10.2 percent of global carbon emissions, and commercial buildings an additional 6.3 percent. The US Green Building Council is a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainability through its green building certification program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED). Buildings receive points for features such as energy efficiency and on-site energy production (micro-generation). These buildings typically sell or are rented out at premium rates.6
In 2015, the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign celebrated the retirement of the 190th coal-generation facility in the United States since its 2010 launch. In the summer of 2018, the number of closures grew to 270. Coal power is a particularly emission-intensive form of electricity generation, responsible for 25 percent of global emissions. It is the largest US contributor to climate change.7
Because children can capture the attention of their parents, the Girl Scouts of the United States has engaged its members in learning about energy-saving behavior. One study calculated that the Scouts’ education campaigns have reduced energy usage in these households by 5 percent on average.8
Wind power has become one of Denmark’s leading industries. Its growth began in rural communities during the energy crisis of the early 1970s. Simple turbines were made with local materials, using designs developed by Christian Riisager, a carpenter, and Karl-Erik Jørgensen, a mechanic. This knowledge was shared and refined through locally organized “wind meetings” (Windmøde); eventually 10 wind energy manufacturers were established, among them Vestas Wind Systems, currently the world’s largest wind-turbine producer.9
Tesla has developed vehicles, batteries, and chargers that have positioned electric cars as not only a viable choice of vehicle, but also a prestigious one. When a Tesla is charged with electricity generated from renewable wind and solar power, driving it can be significantly emission-free.
Philips, the electronics company, sells lighting as a service. Customers pay only for the light generated; Philips supplies, installs, and maintains the equipment at its expense. According to its management, installations in Singapore, Buenos Aires, and elsewhere are reducing energy costs and associated emissions by 50 to 70 percent, resulting in particular from the superior, long-term energy efficiency of LED lighting.10
A vegetable protein called Pulled Oats was the phenomenon of the 2016 Finnish food market, riding the global wave of demand for sustainable as well as animal-free foods. Vegetarian food products reduce the use of livestock, which contributes 5.5 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
Communauto is a car-sharing company in Montreal that provides personal vehicular transport to its members on an as-needed basis. According to its calculations, each car in the fleet displaces at least four privately owned vehicles from the road.11
Some of these initiatives have achieved significant success, and some others show the potential to do so. Certain ones have been decidedly deliberate, as in the Paris Agreement that emanated from a meeting of heads of almost all the governments of the world, and others have emerged locally, from grounded learning in communities, as in the Danish wind meetings. Then there are the initiatives developed in the private sector to capitalize on competitive advantages, as in the Philips example. Most notably, all of these initiatives tend to exist apart from each other. Each occupies an isolated strategic position.
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