A Pragmatic Approach to Sustainability
In general perception, Sustainability is closely associated with the Climate Change, especially since Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize with his movie An Inconvenient Truth.
Today, almost all serious people believe that the global climate is changing. One faction holds that Climate Change is being caused in significant extent by human beings through the generation of greenhouse gases (GHG), primarily through combustion of fossil fuels. They regard GHG abatement as an international must, at great urgency. The opposing faction notes the strong geologic evidence for natural warming and cooling cycles, therefore they discount the importance of human contribution and GHG generation.
In the U.S., this difference has been extensively politicized, such that effective action on controlling GHG emissions has been virtually impossible at the federal level. This is not so in many other nations. Many nations have endorsed legally binding GHG abatement commitments. In several large countries, the Green Party actively (and effectively) participates in elected legislatures. Just now, GHG regulation is the dominant national political issue in Australia.
So, Cassandra or Chicken Little? For the smaller manufacturing business unit, the happy fact is that power consumption is closely linked to GHG generation, so closely that many smaller manufacturers can use reduction in power consumption, taken across the value chain, as a reasonable proxy for reduction in GHG emissions. Reduce power consumption to reduce GHG emissions, or reduce power consumption to decrease operating costs — same result. GHG emissions are a form of waste, and waste costs money. Regardless of how harmful any firm or any individual may or may not believe GHGs to be, reduction in power consumption is a necessity for competitiveness, especially as power costs continue to rise.
What are your thoughts on this?