Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Big Issue at Year-End 2015

By Jim Vaughan, Senior Fellow 

Last year, in December, I posted a blog entitled, Nuggets of wisdom, interest, and of possible value in which I included quotes gleaned from my electronic clippings file that I thought might be of interest to economic developers and city builders. 

I planned a similar wrap-up for this year. Except that one item seemed to overshadow all the others. 

The Paris Climate Accord. 

This agreement is so important that economic developers and city builders must both understand the key elements of the global deal and help develop local plans to support our national climate goals. Going forward, Market Street Services will help our clients develop strategies to capitalize on the new reality of an economy in the post carbon era. 

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This is not my first post on this subject. I have written three blogs on climate change (Sorry Candidates, Climate Change Is Not a Hoax; Can We Still Do Big Things; and Climate Change: It’s No Laughing Matter) each making the case for action. Today’s post celebrates action. 

Here’s how I see it:

1. There is consensus to act. 196 countries approved the historic climate agreement
“The Paris agreement on climate change is a monumental success for the planet and its people.”U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

2. The agreement provides a broad foundation for meaningful progress
"Anyone who suggests this is a success or a failure is only speaking based on ideology, not reality. Only 10 to 20 years from now, when we look at the implementation of all this, will we really know."Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program

3. New technology has changed the rules
“Many people still seem to believe that renewable energy is hippie-dippy stuff, not a serious part of our future. The reality is that costs of solar and wind power are close to competitive with fossil fuels even without special incentives. (So) the cost of sharp emission reductions will be much less than even optimists used to assume.”Paul Krugman, The New York Times, Dec. 14, 2015

4. Businesses are preparing for opportunity
Chief executives of blue-chip companies like Coca-Cola, DuPont, General Mills, HP and Unilever all expressed support for an ambitious deal. BP, the British oil giant, called the Paris agreement a “landmark climate change deal” and pledged to be “a part of the solution.”Clifford Krauss and Keith Bradsher, The New York Times

“We have the technologies, we have the business incentive, and we have the responsibility. Now all we need is the commitment.”Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens

5. The climate accord provides confidence for investors
“Investors … will now have the confidence to do much more to address the risks arising from high carbon assets and to seek opportunities linked to the low carbon transition already transforming the world’s energy system and infrastructure.”Stephanie Pfeifer, chief executive of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Changer

6. This is big, but it’s just a start
“Make no mistake, the Paris agreement establishes the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis." President Barack Obama

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On behalf of everyone at Market Street, here’s to a prosperous 2016! We look forward to following your successes in the New Year, and encourage you to follow us on Twitter for the latest thought-provoking community and economic development quotes, news, best practices, and innovations.