The buck stops... where?
DuPont is only one of the big companies who have called on Congress to take action on climate change, Nicholas Varchaver reports in the most current issue of Fortune. (See "Chemical Reaction")

Our Going Green special report also lists 10 companies that have gone beyond government regulations to operate in an environmentally responsible way.

If the private sector is leading the way on preserving the environment, does that mean the government is failing in its responsibility? Or are companies, which we expect to be more innovative and efficient than government, the best candidate for the job?
Posted by Deirdre Terry 2:57 PM 18 Comments comment | Add a Comment

We are all responsible for the benefit of our children. We have to stop the selfish quest for oil profits and be innovative.

Try this: require electric utilities to install solar systems on their customer's houses and charge a monthly amount to recoup the investment equal to the current energy sasavings. That has to cost less than a new nuclear plant or even a coal plant.

Just do it!
Posted By Arne Schonberger, El Paso, Texas : 12:12 PM  

Big business should lead the way, however, they may need a push from the Government. Big oil and the US auto makers should be on the forefront. However, as noted in the Dupont story 'Green is not Black'. If the US automakers had devoted more time, effort and money to alternative energy than perhaps they would not be where they are today. They probably spent more money on lobbying against government restrictions than on energy savings. Big oil's budget for lobbying , one would guess, is more than money spent on alternative energy as well. It is a viscious circle with the bulk of the financial resources spent to fight legistlation rather than to preserve the world. US politicians have to take some blame- (along with the lobby money).In the end it is going to take some courageous politician to 'say no' to lobbyist and push 'Green' legistlation. The 'Green' way is the key to the US and most of the world ridding itself of oil dependency a main contributor to climate change and mid-east crises.
Posted By tom o'donnell, virginia beach, va. : 2:04 PM  

? The environment is our collective responsibility. Although we might expect corporations to be more innovative and efficient, we don't expect (or shouldn't expect) large corporations in particular to be driven by anything but LARGE market forces. Witness for example the detroit auto industry's reluctance to go for high mileage standards based on principle. It would be nice if the government took a leadership role at the policy level, offering various incentives to encourage further development in technologies and practices. But it should also encourage us individually to contribute.
Posted By Tom Bourgeois, Tucson Arizona : 2:30 PM  

Combustion of gasoline produces mainly 2 componentes: water vapour and carbon dioxide. ( chemically speaking: HxCy + nO ---> mH2O + K CO2 plus other things).

Photosyntesis in plants transforms CO2 absorbing C and delivering O into the atmosphere.

Ergo, more trees are the most efficient way to reduce CO2 greenhouse gas responsable of global warming.

In practical ways, trees should be planted in spare spaces among highways and in streets, and of course in evry available areas within the cities.

A simple statement to a complex problem.
Posted By michael J. Heavey, Vi�a del Mar CHILE : 2:45 PM  

The leader is the average American's pocketbook. Companies will not get greener unless it positively affects their profits and government elected officials will not get greener unless it positively affects their chances of re-election. Economics drives the direction we go, it always has. There where plenty of 40 mpg cars sitting on dealer's lots when gas was $1.29 per gallon.
Posted By Larry Nass, Phoenix AZ : 2:58 PM  

It's this simple: if you live on Planet Earth, you have a role in saving it!

Whether you recycle, drive a hybrid, use Energy Star rated appliances, use a programmable thermostat, install energy efficient windows, walk/bike to work/shop ... do something, now!
Posted By Susan Fernandez, Arvada, CO : 3:07 PM  

Let me see if I have this straight. Civilization has been around for about 7000 years, give or take a few years. Scientists tell us the earth has been here for billions of years, give or take a few million years. Which needs to be saved?
Posted By Tom Wolenski, Butler, PA : 3:32 PM  

2/3 of our economy is consumer spending. Cap CO2 emissions and divide equally among all citizens. Each time a purchase is made, a CO2 cost is charged along with the dollar cost, be it a gallon of gas, a utility bill, a hamburger, a book, whatever. For those without a "CO2 debit card", or who have exhausted their credits, charge a premium (10,20,50 percent?). Those who use less CO2 could sell their extra credits to movie stars and corporate executives who (think they) need private jets, thus making it an anti-poverty program as well.

Driving a hybrid is good, driving less is better.
Posted By Damian, Dublin CA : 3:46 PM  

The buck stops with Joe Citizen- for him to educate himself and lobby his Congressman for sensible policies, or, failing that, to work to get his Congressman removed in an election.
Its not enough to say that economics drives the direction. The Government needs to implement progressive policies that help set an environment that, with business and individual citizens, get the country as a whole where it needs to go.
It also starts with reporters who write seriously about the subject with not to much TV and movie on the brain.
Posted By Steve Reed Lebanon IL : 5:13 PM  

Hollow appeals to people's conscience and responsibility will not work. Certainly, it won't work long term. What will work is stick and carrot, and I wonder why our politicians are so reluctant to use taxes to punish for the activity they consider harmful. If they really think burning fossil fuels is bad, why not tax it accordingly?
I often hear that gasoline taxes are unpopular and, worst of all, they would cripple the economy. But I also heard that song when gas was $1 per gallon, several years ago. Now, it is around $3, and I don't see the economy in ruins. IF back then the federal government would set up an extra tax of around $1.20 per gallon, the resulting reduction in demand would keep the oil prices low, the US coffers would be full of easy money, AND we would still be paying less for gas than we pay today. Only oil producing countries would lose - but that would only be to their benefit long term: easy oil money corrupts nation. You can see it in Russia, Arab world, Venezuela, ...
Posted By Gregory, Mahopac, NY : 5:14 PM  

The largest contribution to peak power requirements is air conditioning load. Air conditioning is a recent technology that we could easily live without. Eliminate air conditioning and there will be enough power so we don't need new capacity.
Posted By Ted Jones, Petaluma, CA : 5:16 PM  

I have to laugh at the liberals who want contols on our economy to fight the global warming "crisis". After we went through one of the five coldest Febrarys in history and are still having below normal weather in March, seeing Al Gore fretting about global warming is like watching Chicken Little. Do me a favor Al, go home, mind your own business and leave us poor middle class slobs alone!
Posted By P. McGraw--Long Island, NY : 5:58 PM  

We are all human race, one family living together. Our planet is not separate from us. It isn't something to abuse today and ignore tomorrow.

We have serious crises like nuclear radiation leaking into the atmosphere, along with degredation of our water, food, and soil. "Business as usual" simply cannot continue forever at this rate.

It's time to wake up quickly and for EVERYONE to take action to restore our planet's health! There is little time left to change course. Poverty is directly linked to environmental degredation, and vice versa. Man must learn to respect Mother Earth and share the world's resources. Only then will we create lasting peace and true sustainability.
Posted By Andy Morgan, Dallas, Tx : 6:47 PM  

As an investor, I think it is my job to help save the world. One thing I've been doing is putting a lot more money in countries and companies that are providing solutions - with higher returns than if I invested in non-green firms and countries like the US.
Posted By Will Affleck-Asch, Seattle, WA : 7:40 PM  

It is MY responsibility and it is YOUR responsibility, but as a practical matter some have more power to help in this area than others.

(I can't understand why some of the the politicos questioned Gore so rudely or made such rude comments to him. Why??)
Posted By Gracie, Petaluma, CA : 8:23 PM  

Everyone. We all live on this planet right?

I think the Republicans need a good swift kick in the you know where. Wake up people. The Earth is getting dirty.
Posted By Andrea, Orlando, Florida : 8:47 PM  

Its great that Al Gore is putting pressure on the government to go green, but in reality moral issues such as proper stewardship of our environment are really social (not legislative) imperatives.

While the government certainly bears the burden of leadership, we must remember that (especially in democracies) real power for change comes from the people. We are responsible for allowing this issue to continue, and we have many responsible and reasonable actions available to us to effect change.

We can start with changing the light bulbs in our houses. Already done that? Great! Now resolve to recycle a larger percentage of household waste. Recycling as much as you can handle? Awesome! Now make sure you're not wasting heating/cooling energy by insulating your home and using a programmable thermostat. Done? Good, now you can resolve to walk as much as possible for those 1/4 to 1/2 mile trips to the store/theater/what-have-you. Got that down? Now start researching what products you buy, and if you can afford to, buy from the greenest manufacturer you can. Handling that nicely? Excellent. Now don't forget that you have a voice. Use it! Tell your elected officials and favorite companies that you will exercise your democratic rights and your vote (or dollars) will go for the candidate with the greener record and agenda.

There's many things we can do, while we wait for our government to get with the program. The responsibility to be good stewards of our Earth is not just on them, its on us too, and more so, because we put them there.

The truth is that the buck stops here. With me. And you. With the citizens of this great country and this living planet.
Posted By Johan, Hollywood, CA : 9:19 PM  

Frightening, but it appears from the submitted posts that everyone here has bought into the charade that is global warming. While I'm not suggesting that we purposely do anything to harm the environment, I am refusing to buy into the junk science al gore is peddling.

If a problem does exist, it will be resolved as many others have been in the past, by the efforts brought forth by our market economy. The last thing we need is more government involvement in our lives.
Posted By James Nellis, Clarkston, MI : 9:38 PM  

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