Cutting emissions in the industry sector in four steps
In what way could the recognition of the Carbon footprint lead to a cut in greenhouse gas emissions without suffering financially?
Nowadays, climate change has become a hot item. The consequences of this phenomenon start to become visible, with huge damages from flooding and other extreme weather events. A huge increase in economic losses occurred. In 1950 the direct losses were ‘only’$10 billion compared to more than $180 billion in 2005 (see exhibit 1). These losses indirectly and partly arose because of the increase carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Since 1970, the amount of carbon dioxide increased heavily. As a result, climate is changing. Governments try to set policies in order to stabilize emissions, for example through the carbon footprint introduced for organizations. The private sector tends to be unhappy about these policies, because they think that the new rules cause a decrease in economic growth and therefore a loss of profit. But is this really the case?
Exhibit 1. Historical damages extreme weather events 1950 - 2005
Wiedmann & Minx (2007) define the carbon footprint as ‘a measure of the exclusive total amount of carbon dioxide emissions that is directly and indirectly caused by an activity or is accumulated over the life stages of a product’ (Wiedmann and Minx, 2007, pg. 4). In the Netherlands, there are just two organizations of the 27 biggest organizations which have developed such a carbon footprint. This is remarkable, since Dutch companies performed well on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. This index is an international measurement method of social responsible performance of businesses.
To stabilize and cut emissions in the future, a strong international governmental policy is needed. This policy should be supported by all developed countries and memberships of the Kyoto-Protocol. Important emitters, such as the United States, China, India...