Many liberal groups within the United States are taking proactive steps to mitigate climate change. The underlying assumption made by members is that humans burning fossil fuels threaten planetary extinction. To lower built-up levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases and save life as we know it, carbon emissions must fall to zero.
Aggressive timelines have been proposed to meet United Nations sustainability standards with taxes on carbon being considered to apply economic leverage to the perceived problem.
Often, people doing battle with climate change follow the thinking of “Think globally, act locally.” While it’s difficult to enlist the whole world to combat carbon, making change happen in your own neighborhood can be easier.
If every neighborhood did its part to reduce greenhouse gases, so the thinking goes, the entire planet benefits.
Following are three liberal U.S. climate-change institutions and what makes them notable:
- The Sierra Club was one of the first large-scale environmental preservation organizations in the world and currently engages in lobbying politicians to promote environmentalist policies.
Founded in 1892 by the Scottish-American preservationist John Muir, the club’s first president, the organization operates only in the United States. Members believe that the climate crisis is here. Every day, more news about sea-level rise and climate-fueled disasters makes their task clear and urgent: to fight for each other — and the only planet we call home.
The Sierra Club is organized on both a national and local level. The club is divided into large chapters representing large geographic areas, some of which have tens of thousands of members. These chapters are divided into regional groups and special interest sections, committees, and task forces. The club is a unified organization whose decisions made at the national level take precedence. However, a great deal of activity is coordinated at a local level.
The Sierra Club organizes outdoor recreation activities. Its mission is “To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; To practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; To educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.”
- Belgrave Trust is an online retailer that uses revenues to purchase and retire carbon offset securities.
A carbon credit is a tradable monetary security which is equal to one ton of a greenhouse gas (such as CO2). Due to greenhouse gas restrictions imposed by various countries based on the Kyoto Protocol quotas, businesses that are generating emissions below their quotas can sell their carbon credits to companies which are unable to stay below their quotas. Trading also takes place between countries.
There are four major exchanges for the trading of carbon credits: the Chicago Climate Exchange in the United States, the European Climate Exchange in England, Nord Pool in Norway, and PowerNext in France.
Louis Redshaw, director of environmental markets at Barclays Capital, observed, “Carbon will be the world’s biggest commodity market and it could become the world’s biggest market overall.”
Social enterprise firm Belgrave Trust uses carbon offsets to allow individuals to live carbon-neutral. Subscriptions and purchases of eco-friendly products are bundled with offsets.
The company’s main business is conducted through a retail website that offers a selection of physical items as well as personal and gift subscriptions. Revenues gained from subscribers and the sale of products are used to offset greenhouse gasses through the purchase and retirement of carbon offset securities that fund projects creating clean energy or reducing emissions.
- The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and works closely with policymakers and stakeholders to promote pragmatic, effective policies at the state, national and international levels.
Based in Arlington, Virginia, the environmental nonprofit organization was launched in 2011. The group members believe that cutting carbon emissions takes smart policies, innovative technologies, business leadership, and simple steps to shrink our carbon footprints.
The mission of C2ES is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. A key objective is a national market-based program to reduce emissions cost-effectively. A sound climate strategy is essential to ensure a strong, sustainable economy.
The C2ES Business Environmental Leadership Council includes top companies in the power, manufacturing, transportation, high-tech, oil and gas, finance, and other sectors. It is the largest U.S.-based group of companies devoted exclusively to addressing climate change.
C2ES works with these business leaders to better understand the policies and technologies that will help realize climate goals. Climate Innovation 2050 brings together more than two dozen leading companies to examine potential pathways toward substantially decarbonizing the U.S. economy, developing a range of scenarios for reducing domestic emissions. In partnership with The U.S. Conference of Mayors, C2ES is working to strengthen public-private climate cooperation in cities nationwide.