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The Latest Corporate Social Responsibility News - Sterling Planet and Sustainable Business 20 Rise to Gore's Renewable Energy Challenge

Submitted by: CSRwire Weekly News Alert

Categories: Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Jul 22, 2008 – 11:59 PM EST


Jul. 22 /CSRwire/ - Last week, Al Gore wowed the world by announcing a bold "Challenge to Repower America" with 100 percent renewable electricity within the next decade. Unlike the media-hyped Pickens Plan from oil baron T. Boone for supplanting oil dependence with wind and … natural gas (a fossil fuel), Gore calls for a comprehensive end to "our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels" as a solution to economic, environmental, and national energy security crises.

The challenge leapfrogs existing projections - for example, the recent Department of Energy report on achieving 20 percent of electricity generation from wind energy by 2030, and a joint Co-op America-Clean Edge report on reaching 10 percent from solar by 2025. While this may seem to undermine Gore’s goals, he points out that JFK's vision of sending humans to the moon in a decade seemed impossible in May 1961, but Neil Armstrong took his giant lunar leap a mere 8 years and 2 months after Kennedy's speech.

Joining John McCain, Barack Obama, Bill McKibben, and James Hansen in supporting Gore's Challenge is the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), the 10-year-old non-profit behind Green-e, the gold standard in verifying renewable energy and carbon emissions reductions certificates. CRS points to the mutually reinforcing benefits of committing whole-hog to renewables. For example, building a clean energy infrastructure fuels good-paying green-collar jobs that cannot be outsourced and relies on energy inputs that do not need to be imported, all the while achieving carbon emissions reductions necessary to avert catastrophic climate change.

Gore stressed that the Challenge requires a collaborative effort, building on existing work. For example, Sterling Planet, which offers Green-e certified renewable energy certificates and other carbon offsets, just bought the first Voluntary Carbon Units (or VCUs) issued in the US. The purchase supports the Greenville County (South Carolina) landfill gas utilizations project in preventing the annual emission of 6,000 metric tons of methane (or 125,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) over the next decade. It is the first to be verified to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), a component of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) framework under the Kyoto Protocol.

Gore also stressed the pivotal role of private investment in building a clean energy economy. Pointing the way toward this kind of investment is the seventh annual Sustainable Business 20 (SB20) list of the "world's top sustainable stocks" from SustainableBusiness.com. Chosen by a panel of experts in sustainable investing such as Matt Patsky of the Winslow Green Growth Fund Andrew and Andrew Brengle of KLD Research & Analytics, the list is comprised of more than a third clean energy companies, such as First Solar and Solar Millennium, as well as Suzlon in wind and the Climate Exchange representing the new industry category of carbon markets.

About a million and a half people already support Gore's Challenge, and the above initiatives are among the pieces necessary to put in place for solving the environmental, social, and economic crises facing us.

This article was written by CSRwire contributor Bill Baue.

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