Chamber members lead on innovations in climate

By: Editorial Staff Posted: 10/18/2016

New report highlights tangible progress and importance of business leadership

Climate Report_wide

With the Paris Climate Agreement coming into effect, and the critical role of business moving into the forefront, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce issued a report – Bright Green in an Emerald City – which details examples of business leadership and tangible progress by its membership.

“We still have a long way to go but it is increasingly clear that we can stop the worst impacts of climate change even as we grow the economy,” said Seattle Metro Chamber president and CEO Maud Daudon. “Business leadership is critical since it helps put to rest the false choice between a strong economy and a healthy environment. We can and must have both,” she added.

Nationwide, electricity generation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, representing 30 percent of the total for the United States. In Washington state, transportation is the largest source of emissions, representing more than 40 percent of total emissions. Both energy and transportation are critical to our economy.

“Our business depends on fuel, so it’s logical to make our fleet as efficient as possible and to invest in new sustainable biofuels to power our planes,” said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines and chair of the Seattle Metro Chamber’s Board of Trustees. “We feel a strong sense of responsibility to help find solutions and demonstrate what is possible,” he added.

While the report focuses on stories of progress, society still has a long way to go in the fight against dangerous climate change. The United States is the second largest carbon emitter in the world, after China.

To preserve a chance of keeping average temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius, the United States committed in the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce its carbon emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. Under any scenario, business leadership is required to meet this objective.

Businesses involved in developing Bright Green in an Emerald City include Alaska Airlines, Amazon, The Boeing Company, Microsoft, NBBJ, Nucor, Puget Sound Energy, Starbucks Coffee Company, Touchstone, University of Washington, Virginia Mason and Weyerhaeuser.