When the Pew Center on Global Climate Change was established in 1998, climate change was largely viewed as a fringe concern. Today, 10 years later, climate change sits atop the list of global issues facing world leaders, and the November election presents new opportunities for climate leadership in Washington. These developments posit a potential turning point for generating the political will necessary for action both globally and domestically.
"For more than a decade, the Pew Center has served as an honest broker in the complex and often controversial debate over climate change,” said Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). "Their message that we can protect the climate and grow the economy has resonated with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. The years of hard work the Pew Center has put into this issue is a major reason why the tide is turning in Congress, and we will soon pass strong legislation that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and addresses the challenge of climate change.”
In the 10 years since the Pew Center's inception, U.S. states and regions have adopted innovative climate strategies, an ever-increasing segment of the business community is calling for reasonable – but mandatory – climate policy for the U.S, and Congress has taken significant steps toward developing such a plan. And internationally, negotiators have established a solid road map toward a comprehensive post-2012 agreement.
"We have seen an enormous amount of progress on this issue in the last decade,” said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, on the occasion of the organization's 10-year anniversary. "But obviously, much more needs to be done – and the Pew Center remains as committed as ever to providing the information and answers that will lead to real, wide-ranging action to protect the climate.”
Ten years ago, the Pew Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC) was launched with 13 companies dedicated to climate solutions. While climate change was relevant to the business community 10 years ago, the continued growth of the BELC – now 42 members with over $2 trillion in combined revenue and nearly 4 million employees – reflects the critical importance of climate solutions to today's businesses. Demonstrating a continued commitment to engaging the corporate community, the Pew Center today welcomes two new BELC members – BASF Corporation and Deere & Company.
BASF Corporation is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, the world's largest chemical company.
With more than $90 billion in annual sales globally, BASF is actively engaged in climate protection efforts from the development of innovative technologies and materials to a focus on energy-efficient production.
The German-based business invests more than $600 million annually in its energy efficiency, climate protection, and conservation research. Working in a variety of industries, including oil and gas, plastics, and agriculture products, BASF applies advances in modern chemistry to deliver sustainable products that result in greenhouse gas emission reductions.
Deere & Company is the world's leading provider of advanced products and services for agriculture and forestry and a major provider of advanced products and services for construction, lawn and turf care, landscaping and irrigation.
Deere participates in the EPA's Climate Leaders program and is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP). USCAP is a coalition of major corporations and nongovernmental organizations, including the Pew Center, that is calling on Congress to pass climate change legislation at the earliest possible date.
In June, the Illinois-based Deere & Company announced plans to further reduce its total global greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent per dollar of revenue from 2005 to 2014. Deere locations worldwide will implement energy-saving projects to meet the target.
"BASF and John Deere reflect the leadership and innovation required to answer the challenges of climate change,” Claussen said. "These two industry leaders join a dedicated group of businesses that, after 10 years, continue to demonstrate a true commitment to implementing effective solutions for their companies, customers, and the climate. I welcome the involvement of BASF and John Deere as we pursue enactment of a sensible, mandatory national climate policy and a new international agreement.”
TEN-YEAR HIGHLIGHTS of the PEW CENTER
The Pew Center on Global Climate Change was established as a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization. The Center's mission is to provide credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. Highlights of the Center's engagement with decision-makers at the federal, state, and international levels include:
Working on an issue that is often polarized and politicized, the Pew Center has provided a forum for objective research and analysis and for the development of pragmatic policies and solutions. Today, the Pew Center is a leading voice for sensible action to address the most pressing global environmental challenge of the 21st century.
"Dealing successfully with climate change is the greatest challenge of my generation,” said J. Wayne Leonard, Chairman and CEO of Entergy, a BELC member. "The Pew Center's thoughtful analyses of the science and economics of climate change have helped bridge what was once a sharp divide between business and environmental interests. Their work has helped convince many in the business community that the costs of addressing climate change are far outweighed by the costs of doing nothing. It's a credit to Eileen Claussen and the Pew Center that it's no longer unusual to see business leaders and Boards of Directors step forward and support mandatory national climate policy.”
Convening business leaders to shape solutions. In 10 years, the Pew Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC) has become the largest U.S.-based association of companies committed to advancing both policy and business solutions to climate change. The Council started with 13 members and now includes 42 mainly Fortune 500 companies with combined revenue of over $2 trillion and nearly 4 million employees. In addition, the Pew Center serves as a founding and active member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), an influential business-NGO coalition calling on Congress to establish a mandatory national climate policy.
Producing first-rate information and answers. Highlighting the broad mix of approaches required to tackle the climate challenge, the Pew Center has produced nearly 100 reports by noted climate experts covering a range of critical topics, including Economics, Environmental Impacts, Policies, and Solutions. The Pew Center's "Climate Change 101” series presents a detailed and accessible introduction to critical subjects, while a wide collection of Briefs and White Papers inform more specific audiences. The Pew Center also regularly appears before Congress and meets with other key stakeholders to share innovative ideas for addressing climate change.
Advancing international solutions. Internationally, the Pew Center engages closely with leading governments and experts to advance effective options for a new global climate agreement. In the Center's Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, senior policymakers and stakeholders from 15 countries produced an influential consensus report recommending ways to engage all major economies in the post-2012 effort. The Center regularly attends the U.N. climate negotiations and has partnered internationally with the World Economic Forum, the Asia Society, and other leading organizations.
Building public awareness of the problem – and solutions. In addition to keeping policymakers informed, the Pew Center seeks to educate the public through the media about the many complexities of climate change. Pew Center experts have become go-to sources for mainstream newspapers and magazines, and they frequently appear on national TV and radio programs to explain solutions to climate change that already exist, as well as innovations demanding more advanced technologies.
As U.S. leaders move closer to developing a national climate plan and a new global framework for reducing emissions, the Pew Center will continue providing credible, independent information on domestic and international climate policies and solutions.
"The Pew Center has built its reputation over the past 10 years by providing credible information and reasonable answers,” Claussen said. "And we are committed to continuing in this role as the United States finally gets serious about addressing the most urgent global environmental challenge of our time.”
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions site.