COMMENT: Green machine

02 February 2007 18:34  [Source: ICB Americas]

Like it or not, the environment is taking center stage

Whether to prevent dire consequences of climate change, wean the country off its dependence on foreign oil, or seek alternative materials to reduce the environmental footprint and costs, Green has become the new Black in our collective consciousness.

What happened? Just a few years ago, nobody would have guessed that the environment would be such a key talking point.

The shift is owed in no small part to soaring energy prices, which have dented pocketbooks and the overall manufacturing economy.

Thus the ethanol and biodiesel boom was born, with government incentives adding fuel to the fire.

Alternative methods of producing energy such as solar, wind, coal and even nuclear were suddenly explored once again.
In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush pushed for a five-fold increase in ethanol production by 2017.

Former Vice President Al Gore’s best-selling book and hit movie An Inconvenient Truth elevated the issue of global warming in the public mind, influencing public debate.

The impact has had major reverberations in the legislative arena. In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger passed the Global Warming Solutions Act, the first law putting caps on industry greenhouse gas emissions.

And while industry may worry about the more stringent regulations and magnified scrutiny, it must not lose sight of the huge opportunity.

The industry must be seen as a big part of the solution rather than the problem.

With its vast store of intellectual property and history of innovation, the industry is in prime position to take the lead in coming up with answers.

From solving the global clean water crisis to catalyzing the creation of new biofuels to blanketing the next generation of roofs with solar panels, the industry can be the engine to drive real, practical solutions.

With the US and the world facing a whirlwind of change, the industry cannot afford to be left behind.

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