Eco-Advantage Blog

April 3, 2007 | Andrew Winston | Jump to: Comments (0) | Post A Comment

The Supremes Take Action on CO2

Of course the big news today is the 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are in fact pollutants under the Clean Air Act (Times coverage here). The Wall Street Journal called the decision,

“the latest sign that greenhouse gases are about to affect U.S. industry and the economy in a big way”

You think? (A quick tangent: Now I enjoy and respect the Journal’s business coverage as much as anyone, but their feel on this issue is a bit dated…it’s already affecting the economy in a big way)

There isn’t much i can add to the extensive coverage of this. But a couple of thoughts. First, since this ruling really just covers regulation of transportation emissions (cars and trucks), we’re going to see some heavy duty lobbying from the auto companies to make sure any regulation or Congressional action covers the whole economy. The car CEOs have already been playing Mr. Smith and going to Washington to push this idea that they shouldn’t be burdened alone. By and large, while predictable, this pressure is a good thing. We’ll increase the odds of a economy-wide solution.

Second, from a corporate strategy perspective, I just point to the example of BP and Shell (which we cover in Green to Gold) and their early interaction with the UK government on carbon trading. They were there from the beginning to help shape what became the UK system, then the EU trading system. They increased the odds that they would have a system that fit their business best.

Getting ahead of regulation, and even helping to shape it, is just smart business. The train has clearly left the station on this one, and the smart companies are climbing on board.


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