Rachel Crandell Earth Day, April 22, 2001 
<skip to page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8>

As of last month a bipartisan group of US senators and representatives introduced the Clean Power Act of 2001. This legislation will require dramatic reductions in power plant emissions of four pollutants by 2007 and will encourage the development of renewable energy facilities and energy efficiency programs. You could urge your senators and representatives to co-sponsor the Clean Power Act of 2001. Do you know whom your senators and representative are? If not, check it out online. The four nasty pollutants it aims to cut emissions of are:

  1. nitrogen oxides which cause smog by 75% from 1997 levels,
  2. sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain, by 75% from levels, set by Title II of the Clean Air Act
  3. carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming, to 1990 levels and
  4. mercury, which contaminates fish and threatens human health by 90% from 1999 levels. (Nucleus Spring 2001 p.12)

Here's another good sign. In 1999 the NY Attorney General sued some of the dirtiest power plants around the nation - the first time a state has directly sued out-of-state power plants for violating the Clean Air Act. Since then, two companies have come forward to negotiate settlements. One company will spend $1.4 billion to slash smokestack pollution, and another will spend $1.2 billion and cut pollutants by 70%. , Both of these companies burn coal whose emissions cause acid rain in New York. (Amicus Journal, Spring 2001 p.7) Money talks. You might as well clean up and save, rather than stay dirty, get caught, and pay anyway to clean up.

"As heat records continue to be broken and extreme weather events intensify around the world, the reality of global warming is sinking in - everywhere it seems like, except Capitol Hill. At the 1998 World Economic Forum in Switzerland the CEOs of the world's 1,000 biggest corporations surprised organizers by voting climate change as the most critical problem facing humanity," reports Ross Gelbspan. (Sierra, May June 2001 p.63) "European countries are planning drastic reductions in their CO2 emissions while growing numbers of corporate leaders are realizing that the necessary transition to highly efficient and renewable energy sources could trigger an unprecedented world wide economic boom." UK is committed to 12.5% cuts by 2010 and 60% by 2050. Germany is working toward 50% reduction. Holland who is worried about being flooded by rising sea levels is planning to slash their CO2 emissions by 80% in 40 years. British Petroleum is investing in solar power and likes to be called BP - Beyond Petroleum now. Shell has created a $500 million renewable-energy company. Ford and DaimlerChrysler have invested $1 billion in a join venture to put fuel cell powered cars on the market in 2004. Even William Clay Ford recently declared "an end to the 100 year reign of the internal combustion engine." (Sierra, May June 2001) But we have a way to go...

A concept called the Natural Step has caught on in Scandinavia and is spreading through Europe and starting in the US. The idea is that companies who realize the economic advantages to being ahead of the game in efficiency and resource management will gain far more than they invest in research to create products that use less water, emit no toxins, use no fossil fuels, and are willing to be responsible for recycling the product after it is used cradle to cradle and reused so that there is nothing to throw away! For example, Electrolux in Sweden realized that the growing economy in China was going to enable millions of people to own washing machines. But if all the Chinese wanted to wash in machines like the ones we have, there wouldn't be enough water in China to do it. So they invented a washer that used about 1/3 as much water. No other company was ready with such an innovative machine and when the Chinese wanted washers, guess who led the market and made millions? Taking $$ and time for research to create a more efficient product also made $$. Efficiency and economy and environment are the three Es that go together. They are not mutually exclusive.

<skip to page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8>

Copyright © 2001-2002 rainforestrachel.com All Rights Reserved.